Social marketers are experiencing the similar visibility challenges as SEOs, so it stands to reason one of the most successful search solutions - testing - would apply.

Marketers have often treated social networks as just another content delivery system for their blog content, but that habit ignores the fact that these channels are unique ecosystems. When social content is properly deployed, it boosts engagement, sends referral traffic spiking and ultimately helps raise awareness about a brand. However, a lot of brands might be missing the mark if they struggle to find materials for fresh daily Tweets – a problem Brafton recently reported they face with blog content.

Reduce, reuse, recycle…and research?

Where are these companies going wrong? The missing ingredient may simply be research. It sounds to straight forward to be true, but brands can drive stronger results when they do a better job understanding what social connections want to see on Facebook, Twitter and other platforms. According to a study conducted by the Association of National Advertisers and Ipsos OTX, brands create a lot of social marketing content: 96 percent produce regular posts, 87 percent share videos and 84 percent publish social content explicitly about their own companies.

Want to learn about recycling fresh content? Check out our latest infographic about doing more with less.

However, they’re not very confident about the success of their social marketing strategies. Only 27 percent say text-based posts are effective, 19 percent feel comfortable with their social video ROI and 8 percent believe posting about the businesses themselves actually drives engagement and interest.

Perhaps that’s because only one-third actually conduct research to plan or test their content.

On social or in search, it’s all about content

The lines between blog content developed for organic SEO and posts designed for social marketing have been blurred. As prospects and customers increasingly use multiple devices and switch between them at will, the delivery format for one type of media or another is less important  and best practices for one channel are applicable to another.

For example, websites with the highest conversion rates test multiple versions of landing pages and calls to action until they know which iteration works best. 

Brands should consider doing the same on social media. Customers can be broken into multiple groups, each of which will receive different versions of posts, videos and other content. From there, it’s simple to see which got more engagement and clicks, and which are the social equivalent of conversions. The value of testing is obvious to email marketers and SEOs, but there’s no reason it doesn’t apply in the social world – so start experimenting to produce the best results. 

Alex Butzbach is a Marketing Writer at Brafton. He studied Communications at Boston College, and after a brief stint teaching English in Japan, he entered the world of content marketing. When he isn't writing and researching, he can be found on a bike somewhere in Metro Boston.