The Social Dilemma 🔥 Content Hell

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Alan Wanders
Alan Wanders
Hi everyone,
I’m back from Sydney now and struggling to get my baby to understand how timezones work. Maybe I should just give in and start my day at 2am?
Anyway, this week I’ll focus on why using a sprint approach to social media works so darn well. And why no one does this because it’s far too stressful.
That’s my Social Dilemma.

The other, dumber Social Dilemma
The other, dumber Social Dilemma
Social media is very important but also not important
Little contradictions eat away at SaaS business’s efforts on social.
Lots of them come from these conflicting views of the channel:
  • it’s easy, everyone’s doing it so we should too, we want to be young and fun
  • there’s no business case, it’s not a serious channel, I don’t get it
Even clear-eyed marketers like maybe you, reader, struggle to bat back your boss’ (boss’) hesitancy. And same here, I find it tough to get specific about the leap of faith that links likes to revenue.
(Though this is a good explanation if you needed one.)
The best way to prove that social makes a difference is by actually doing it. To get the go-ahead from management, dip into their world and borrow an approach they swear by: the motherflipping sprint.
Social Sprints make improvements inevitable
Everyone has their own take on what a sprint is. This is the classic definition product teams use.
But for the next few minutes the sprints I’ll focus on are biweekly - and look a little like this:
  1. Track progress on impressions, likes, follower growth every two weeks
  2. Identify three well-performing content ideas/formats to do more of
  3. Kill off three content ideas/formats that underperform vs the others
  4. Come up with three new content ideas/formats to test over the next two weeks
  5. Share this report as a deck with bossman every two weeks
I started this approach for ContentCal’s Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook accounts a couple of years ago. When the numbers came in every two weeks I was surprised at how predictable the improvements were…
What’s happening here?
By producing quality stuff every week, I set in motion a neat feedback loop that pushed ContentCal’s audience to engage more with posts, which let me know what to produce next.
Looking back it all sounds very Vorsprung Durch Technik, but at the time it felt like a house of cards…
Social Sprints are unsustainable...
Social sprints meant that every two weeks I was in competition with me from two weeks ago.
The slightly older me always had a slim advantage - two weeks’ more data - and I worked harder every two weeks to make that advantage count.
But two weeks is always just 14 days. Before long I needed longer than that to produce content that kept momentum going - which was a bit stressful.
After two months I had a choice: go all-in and build out a content team specifically for social, or let the programme fizzle out. Both options were a touch dramatic, especially when I was still building the business case.
I decided to hand over social to another freelancer who could give it more of their time, and started working on search instead (which you read about in last week’s email).
... Here's what to do instead
What would I do next time around? I’d use sprint methodology for a couple of months until I’d found the reliable content formats and messages that work well on social.
Then I’d keep one eye on engagement stats to make sure these tested formats weren’t getting tired, while giving myself more time to work on bigger creative ideas to a less stressful timeframe.
Once sprints have helped you figure out the nuts and bolts that make your social work, I reckon it’s these more ambitious projects that help balloon engagement.
And these always longer to produce than you think.
👉 Over to you
Thanks for reading! Now you’re done there are two ways you can help. Either would be amazing.
  1. Forward it on to someone who you think would like it
  2. Reply and let me know what you thought of it
See you in two weeks 👋
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Alan Wanders
Alan Wanders

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