Ask a Social Media Director #7: The Events Promo Madness Edition
By: Tom Garruto, Director of Operations, The Social Edge
January 6, 2020
Hey there, webby folks! I’m Tom Garruto, director of operations for The Social Edge, a New York City-based social media marketing company. I helped build George Takei’s multi-platform social media presence to over 24 million followers and counting. Now I help other organizations develop their brands on social media while I pursue an MBA at NYU Stern School of Business. You can connect with me on LinkedIn.
Let’s take a look at your burning social media questions.
How do you make sure that each platform has a unique feel to it while still feeling cohesive as a whole to the business?
You’re off to a head start in considering this. Too commonly I see social media strategies that hinge on using one piece of content with a static version of copy that is then distributed to all social platforms with zero variation. This makes sense to those who view “social media” as one bucket in their marketing strategy rather than as varied platforms, each with its own purpose. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter differ not only in presentation and formatting, but more importantly voice.
The way your brand differs in presentation and voice from platform to platform will depend on who you are, what you offer and what segment of your audience is active on each platform. For those out there who are still scratching their heads as to what the difference in platforms could be, consider this (very) general multi-platform strategy:
- Facebook: a place for community building and longer discourse in the comments
- Twitter: good for company news updates and personal customer service interactions
- Instagram: a visuals-first platform to showcase your photo and video content
But how to make these three different approaches feel cohesive to your business? The answer is simpler than you might suspect. I think of each platform as a different side of a brand’s personality. Much like people, businesses can be flexible from platform to platform in tone and content while still promoting one consistent brand. I talk to my boss in a much different way than I talk to my BFFLs, but in both contexts my personality as “Tom” is consistent. What you want to avoid is a Jekyll & Hyde situation where your Facebook community manager and your Instagram community manager (should you be so lucky as to have a specialist for each platform) see each other’s posts and say, “My platform would never post that.” Each platform should amplify a side of your brand’s personality, not create an entirely new brand.
Still unsure whether your multi-channel messaging is cohesive? Bring it back to your core strategy. What are your values? Is your messaging aligned with your brand’s recognizable experience? Use brand as the framework to develop each platform’s voice. Let the strategy form the foundation with the personality layered on top.
How do you manage promoting multiple events at the same time on social?
This comes down to two simple words—organization and teamwork. And lots of it.
Social media managers will encounter this question in two different scenarios:
- How do I manage promoting events from different organizations simultaneously?
Freelancers and agency workers face this situation constantly. You’re working for a handful of different brands who all have events happening concurrently, each with a unique set of demands and challenges. What do you do?
For example: Last summer, my team was helping a foundation to promote their application window for entrepreneur grants, running campaigns for a nationwide screening event of a Broadway show and managing social media channels and influencer management for the Stonewall Day concert to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.
- How do I manage promoting multiple concurrent events for one brand?
Social media managers who work internally for one company will often encounter this challenge. To make matters more complicated, businesses will often have a “busy season” where many events are scheduled for a short period of time.
Right now, George Takei is traveling the country to meet with fans and celebrate the release of his graphic memoir, They Called Us Enemy. My team has been managing the social promotion of George’s book signing events in different markets. How do we let George’s fans know about events in their area without creating audience fatigue?
Fortunately, the solutions for both situations are similar:
- Build your team. Find the strengths of your team members and exploit them to distribute labor in the most efficient way. On my team, I usually own the client relationship and act as account manager, with others responsible for visual assets, copy writing and social post coordination. This assembly line template works wonders.
- Standardize your schedule. This is my most important tool for staying sane when working on multiple events. When I start thinking about campaign strategy, I solidify the cadence of posts and on which platforms, then build out a Google Sheet to reflect that structure. A comprehensive schedule should include the following information: date/time, social media platform, the asset (we link to Google Drive folders), copy, approval (if needed), a link to the live post and additional columns for performance data. This is your Bible. When you feel crazed and can’t tell each event apart, this will give you a pathway back to sanity.
- Work ahead. I promise this is one of the best gifts you can give yourself. There are few things as nerve-wracking as trying to get a piece of content up on social in twenty minutes when you need to seek approval from three different teams first. Now try it for three events and three different teams. I usually submit posts for approvals 48 hours before they are scheduled to post to allow for any adjustments, which means working with your team well before that to develop the assets and copy. This helps me feel like I’m one step ahead of the schedule, making sure everything goes as planned across campaigns, rather than a step behind where I’m scrambling to get everything together in time.
These two extra tidbits are helpful specifically for one company promoting multiple simultaneous events:
- Give each event its own branding. Defining different visual styles for each event’s posts will help differentiate the events not only for your audience but also for your own mental organization.
- Geotarget by location. When promoting events in different markets through Facebook, we use the geotargeting tool to focus distribution in individual markets and reduce unnecessary noise for followers outside of that market.
How many times a day/week should I be posting? What is too much? How much are small organizations expected to post, vs. larger ones?
Many social media managers succumb to the idea that “more is more” and post as often as possible to increase exposure. Now, I won’t say that “less is more,” but I will say that “smart is more.”
Rather than categorize different posting frequencies by size of organization, I think it’s more important to think in terms of the function of an organization.
My company’s primary function is creating digital content for immediate release. We create about 20 pieces of content per day and post nearly all of that to our social channels the same day. If your main market is digital content, you might find it’s appropriate (and expected) to post to your channels over 10 times per day.
Of course, most companies post far less frequently than that.
If your company is promoting a specific upcoming event or campaign, I suggest posting daily for at least two weeks before the event or throughout the run of the campaign. I must clarify, though, that you should not post identical messaging day after day. Use a daily cadence only if you have the bandwidth to create fresh content each day. Otherwise, post as often as your content creation schedule allows. This will give you many chances to A/B test your creatives and decide which to put paid spend behind. The more bites at the apple, the better chances of finding a winner. (If you’re struggling to create more content with few resources, read Justin’s response in a previous edition.)
During status quo periods when you are not promoting an upcoming event or ongoing campaign, feel free to lighten up on the cadence. Three to four posts per week is plenty, depending on where social media sits in your business strategy.
The goal is to find the optimal balance between audience expectation and resource capabilities. Post as much as you are able without fatiguing your audience (if you’re reading the comments and data, you’ll know), but don’t commit to posting beyond your production capabilities.
It’s been a treat to get to share some of the things I’ve learned along the way with you folks. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you’d like to discuss these topics or any others (particularly horror movies and drag queens).
‘Til next time!