By Steph Jones

Control the controllables of social media

March 23rd, 2023
6 min read

Ever felt frustrated at the lack of traction you’ve gained on social media? Ever seen a competitor’s really average content blow up out of nowhere whilst your awesome content seems invisible to even your most loyal Facebook fans? You are not alone.

Growing your social media presence is challenging but worthwhile. If you’re finding it difficult and you’re losing faith, focus on what you can control.

Whilst an undeniably important mantra for everyday life, focussing only on what is in your control means you can stop worrying about those things out of your control. Understanding what falls into each category is the first step in becoming the master of your social media destiny. Below are two lists of some of the things you can’t and can control when it comes to social media marketing and social selling.

You can’t control:

  • The organic content people see on their social news feeds

  • How people respond to your page or latest content

  • If something goes viral(!)

  • Whether people choose to buy from your online store

  • What your competitors are doing on social media

You can control:

  • The quality and consistency of your content

  • How you utilise paid advertising

  • Your visual brand and voice

  • How you interpret and use data

  • How your website looks and feels to users

Focussing solely on items in the “controllable” list gives you several advantages. First, you only spend your time and brain space on things that you can actually do anything about – you’re not wasting time on anything beyond your influence. Secondly, it forces you to really get to grips with content optimisation and data analysis. Thirdly, it enables you to put processes in place that you can repeat and iterate over time.

Let’s take a look at the five items we’ve highlighted above in a little more detail.

The quality and consistency of your content

Quite simply, if the content you’re sharing is not up to scratch, people are unlikely to engage with it. For example, Facebook uses a complex algorithm to determine the content every single user is shown. If there are few positive signals to Facebook that your content is interesting or relevant to your audience, it will generally show your content less often or less prominently to potential fans or customers.

The majority of social media platforms now operate with an algorithm and it should come as no surprise that social media is a very noisy, competitive space. Standing out, or even being a part of what someone sees when they’re scrolling social media requires your brand to share stuff that’s genuinely interesting and valuable to people.

Focus on creating thumb-stopping content using eye-catching graphics and compelling copy. Focus on quality over quantity, always, and keep your consistency up. Post regularly, even if not frequently.

How you utilise paid advertising

Paid ads, especially on Facebook and Instagram, are incredibly powerful. They can be highly targeted and extremely good value if optimised correctly. Building a fan base, reaching new audiences and building a rapport and even converting customers can all be achieved using paid media.

Setting up the right audiences and crafting campaigns that will resonate with them can seriously supercharge your efforts.

Your visual brand and voice

Developing a strong brand identity is very much in your gift. Even if you’re not a whizz with photoshop or don’t have the budget for a graphic designer, there is plenty of tools and guidance available for you to create a strong visual brand. Accompanying this with a consistent voice and tone provides you with the foundation for social growth.

Trust and familiarity are key factors in deepening the relationship you have with your fans and, therefore, encouraging engagement and more widespread influence.

How you interpret and use data

The social networks are pretty good at giving business pages insights into their audience and how their posts and pages perform. Even without using additional third-party software to analyse the data, the raw figures can be leveraged to drastically improve your growth strategy.

Find trends amongst the performance metrics of certain posts and identify which posts gain the most traction and why. Knowing when posts tend to perform well can help you schedule them at the right times during the week. Significant intelligence can be gleaned from paid ad data – which copy, images, and calls to action are more effective? Which audiences are most receptive to certain messages?

You have access to this data and it can shape your strategy.

How your website looks and feels to users

Whilst you cannot control how a user behaves on your company website, you can certainly help make their experience smooth and give yourself the best chance of making a conversion. Having consistent branding and language across your social platforms and your website helps users feel at home on your site, but it’s important to see how users then behave on your site.

Google Analytics is a great place to start in seeing how effective your site and landing pages are in getting users to do what you want them to. Are they navigating the site in the way you want? Is their behaviour conducive to achieving your marketing goals? The data should give you a strong indication of how ‘sticky’ your site is and how well it serves the needs of your visitors.

If you’re investing in paid ads, but you’re not seeing results from users visiting your site, consider changing the user journey. Could you avoid sending them to your site by running a lead-generation campaign on Facebook? What about sending users to a landing page built on Instapage or Unbounce? Making small improvements to the landing page experience can make a huge difference to the ROI of a campaign.

Final words

If only for your sanity’s sake, ensure your marketing strategy and activities are centered around things you are able to control. Putting all of your effort and energy into these pursuits means you can consistently and reliably improve your performance, even if there are some ups and downs that occur outside your control.

Steph Jones.
Steph Jones

Head of Social

A hands-on Head of Social, with extensive experience across Charity, Retail and eCommerce, both agency side and client side, with brands such as WWF, Virgin Pure and Purity Brewing. Steph considers all facets of the customer journey through social and paid media, as well as creating engaging content in line with the business goals to capture attention and convert audiences.