As digital marketers, we certainly know a thing or two about social media. Chances are, we’re probably a step above the rest. We know the “optimal” posting times for every social network. We’re masters of the hashtag. Our Facebook posts always use images. Our Instagrams are perfectly edited.

And that’s the problem. When everyone is posting the exact same thing at the same exact time using the exact same format… well, it’s no longer optimal. Suddenly, you’re just a part of the noise.

Social media has always been about one thing: communicating a message. As with all forms of communication, yelling in a noisy crowd will not get your message heard. To be heard, you must transcend the noise.

So how do you do it? It’s not enough to simply be active on an account and hack your way to thousands of likes. No, if you want to be heard, you need to start focusing less on quantity and more on quality posts.

Quality is not amassing likes or followers. Quality is actively engaging your audience to reach your goals as an entire company – not just to inflate the numbers of the marketing department.

Whether you’re just beginning to use social media as a company or you’re a seasoned veteran in a rut, keep these thoughts in mind if you want to be heard next time you post.

Goals and metrics matter. Focus on the right ones.

What are the current goals of your organization as a whole? Common examples include, but are not limited to: increasing sales, raising a seed round, building a community for users, lead generation. Do you know what yours are? Figure this out. Then, figure out how you’ll know when you’ve succeeded by defining your metrics of success. Now focus on those numbers and those numbers alone. Chances are, “number of likes” will not be one of them.

Quality posts: Help you reach your goals as a company by growing the metrics that matter most to you.
Quantity posts: Focus more on the day-to-day goals and do not keep the long term in mind.

It’s ok not to post sometimes – seriously

Struggling to find something to share today? Don’t share anything. It’s ok. In fact, it’s better for you in the long run. Bad posts have lower engagement and will hurt your reach. Plus, they damage your brand and ruin your customers’ trust. If you find yourself with nothing to say, turn inward and ask, what do we need to create to help us reach our goal? Don’t create more content; create better content.

Quality posts: Posted only when you have something worth communicating
Quantity posts: Stick to a formula of when and how many times to post and force fill in the blanks

Create value for your audience, not yourself

Posts that have value to your audience are posts that are unique and exclusive to you. They cannot be found anywhere else, because they come directly from the heart of your organization and communicate important, authentic stories. Original content, of course, fits this description, but even if you don’t have a fulltime blogger or designer at your disposal, you can create value by uniquely curating and sharing useful content.

Quality: Original and authentic to your brand and cannot be found elsewhere
Quantity: Constantly re-posting what is popular and easily found elsewhere

If they jumped off a bridge, would you jump too?

Before you post anything to any social network, ask yourself why you are doing that and what you hope to achieve. Just because a network is popular right now doesn’t mean you should be on it. Every organization is different. Again, this goes back to your goals. If you don’t have the capacity to create a thorough strategy for a network you want to use, DON’T use it.

Quality: Limiting yourself to a few networks that you can do well
Quantity: Making a profile on every social media site and diving in, just because you can

Test, test, test, and refine!

Constantly experiment to learn what works best for your audience. Analyze the performance of individual posts over time to understand what is best for YOU. Then, set rules and stick to them.  Write them out, so you can share internally as your team grows.

Quality: Posting content that fits within your rules. If you don’t have any, don’t post anything
Quantity: Posting anything you can find, even if it doesn’t fit in your guidelines

Every effective social media strategy is different. No matter what you read, there is no “one-size-fits-all” formula that will work for everyone, but that’s ok. Forget the rules, and instead focus on creating quality content. You’ll break through the noise and guarantee long-term success.

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