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Social Media Testing: What and How

Social media comprises a huge part of a successful marketing plan. In the 21st century, you must excel at social media for your business or brand to succeed. Social media testing can help you determine which method provides the greatest rewards and most improves the number of customers through your sales funnel.

What is social media testing?

Social media testing refers to structured, measurable testing, typically comparing two or more items that use large enough sample size to return statistically significant results. You test your variables with clear controls and with many messages. The most basic type of social media testing is the A/B test. The point of social media tests are to provide your business with data-driven insights into the ideal choices for social media marketing.

How does social media testing help?

You might have brand influencers or consumers clamoring for a new video, but your existing budget doesn’t provide for that and you need to convince higher-ups that you need the video and the budget to produce it. Through testing various content types, including the video you want, you can obtain actual actionable results that provide you with the hard data and numbers to show that the video would benefit your KPIs for engagement, impressions, or the all-important sales funnel conversion.

Without social media testing, you might use messages you can’t count on for results. You can’t succeed in social media by doing the same thing forever. Social media continually evolves and so should you. Rather than copying the strategies of other businesses or the platforms they use or their outreach methods, you need to determine what resounds best with your target audiences. It all comes down to making sales and delivering products. Your competitor might use Instagram, but your own target audience might prefer VCSO. Where should you be? VCSO, of course. Social media testing provides you with the hard data to backup your reason for not using Instagram.

How do you get started with social media testing?

Before you jump in with social media testing you have some self-assessment to do. Once you have this data organized and written down, you’re ready to start. Here’s what to bring to the meeting:

  • Your overall business goals.
  • Your marketing plan, especially your social media strategy with your general goals by platform.
  • Your understanding of your target audiences and your actual audience by media channel.
  • Your current performance overview.
  • What you want to test – ideas, questions, etc.

You might want to jump right in, but the smartest way to use social media testing is to choose one thing to test. Just one.

Make a list and check it twice. Pretend you’re Santa Claus if you need to do that. Pick the thing you most want to know. What kind of things do you ask?

  • Do emojis help your tweets with engagement? Do they get you more likes?
  • Should your business use .gifs?
  • Does your brand’s new tagline grab consumer interest? Do they understand it?
  • Should you use a new tagline?
  • Which of the two versions of advertising copy work best?

We’ll help you determine what question out of your lengthy list to address first. We will also help you design the tests and implement them. Bake More Pies can also create the reports from the data for you so you can better understand the results. Our consultancy goes beyond advice. We pair it with actionable data that you can implement to make better business decisions.

The first question you answer with social media testing should be the one that can make the biggest difference for your brand.

Knowing the Lingo

Let’s review the most essential lingo used in social media marketing specific to testing.

Hypothesis: The term hypothesis refers to an assumption that you can use as the starting point for social media testing. It is generally based on limited information (you have some data or anecdotal evidence, but not enough to know if your statement is correct) and is something that you can clearly prove or disprove through testing.

Variable: The term variable refers to an object or element that will vary or change. In social testing, a variable might be something like the copy you use, the imagery you select, or the time you post a message.

Control or controlled variable: The term control or controlled variable refers to something that stays the same throughout your test. The control is used as a point of comparison for checking the results of changing the variable you are testing.

Metric: The term In social testing, a metric refers to a standard of measurement that you’re using to gauge results. Examples could include impressions, engagements, or clicks on a post.

Statistical significance: The term statistical significance refers to the likelihood that your test results are indeed caused by the variables you change and not due to chance. Developing a test with statistical significance requires a large enough sample size (for example, testing a variable using 100 messages rather than 10) and a clear control.

A/B testing: The term A/B testing refers to the most essential test you can conduct on social media. In A/B testing, you change just one variable but keep all else the same. You might use the same advertising copy on a photo post and a video post. Only the post type changed. Which performs better? Changing just one variable in the post, lets you compare the results. Changing more than one variable invalidates your data. You test each variable separately. During one test, you compare video to static photo, in another test you compare two times of the day. In another, you might change from using he/she to the pronouns in another test. Test each item separately so you get actionable, valid results.

Multivariable testing: The term multivariable social testing does just what it sounds like it does. You can use it to test combinations of variables. You should use this after you complete the A/B testing, and only when using an excruciatingly well-designed test.

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