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90% of Social Media Marketing is being told that what you did sucked

That’s not an actual stat, but a comment I made to a colleague when talking about the importance of analytics when it comes to my job.

Let me preface by saying that I didn’t say that out of sadness or anger, I love being told what didn’t work so I can focus on what does work.

Even if I spend hours on a creative series or researching different B2B copy that has worked for other companies just to see a tweet crash and burn, resulting in a note next to my scheduling spreadsheet along the lines of “lol don’t do this again”.

My first salaried job in social media was a little over a year ago with bright-eyed Claire all happy to be paid for doing something she loves to do. Fast forward two months from that first day and I was crushed that more than half of what I put out failed miserably. I hated crafting reports for my CMO and was utterly embarrassed in 1-on-1 meetings with her.

It wasn’t until a colleague at the time told me that no one in marketing really knows what they’re doing, and we’re all relying on constant data to hopefully reach our targets.

Granted, the longer you’re with a company and in a role, the better chance you have at reaching your goals, but the first year or so is really just trying out every possible idea you can think of and testing it against what was considered “the standard” before you joined the team.

My first “win” at that company was when an advertisement that I created (based on what I was seeing on social media) performed better than something the design team created. My confidence in my job soared and suddenly data wasn’t this monster standing over my shoulder telling me I should quit.

Anecdote aside, people outside of digital marketing (especially social media) seem to have this fairy tale idea of what my job is. That I just get to sit on twitter all day and post gifs and do fun stuff. While I definitely spend an insane amount of time on twitter, it’s to research:

  • Competitor brands and their social media staff
  • Trends in B2B
  • Trends in social media marketing
  • What the top influencers are saying
  • Any relevant news or “hashtag holidays” that I can align to the company and its assets

And while all of that is going on (on every platform), I’m watching my analytics feeds and taking note of what didn’t work, what is working, why it worked, and if there’s anything I can do to repurpose that post in the future.

Some days absolutely nothing works the way I thought it would, my go-to-engagement posts don’t get retweeted and our popular assets don’t get clicked. But sometimes you get a surprise (like a lead from Facebook) and realize there is a ton you still have to learn and test.

That’s one of the things I’m driven by in my role. I love the creativity of the copy and images, seeing real-time engagement, and being told that 90% of what I did sucked. Because that means I have more to learn about how to engage my audience and create a better experience for them.

Have you had similar “aha” moments in social media marketing (or other digital-lead roles)? Share your anecdotes and thoughts!

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