What are social signals?
Social signals refer to the various forms of engagement a piece of content receives on social media platforms, such as likes, shares and comments. They’re used by businesses and marketers to indicate a content's popularity and relevance to its target audience.
Tracking these signals is an important part of social media marketing strategies because they can show brands how well-received and popular their content is among its target audience. Businesses can also use social signals to inform their wider marketing strategies by gathering valuable feedback to build brand awareness and improve their online presence in a positive way.
The concept of social signals emerged with the rise of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. As people began to spend more time on these platforms and engage with content in new ways, marketers realized the value in considering these interactions for their own businesses.
Over time, social signals have evolved to encompass a wider range of activities on social media, including video views and even direct messages. As the world of social media marketing continues to evolve, so do the methods businesses use to leverage social signals and improve their marketing efforts.
What are social signals actually?
The following are some of the main social signals a business should monitor to improve the success of their marketing:
Number of followers
Benefits of tracking and using social signals
There are many advantages for businesses who pay attention to social signals, including:
· Increased brand awareness and engagement
· Greater social proof and credibility
· Better understanding of audience preferences and behaviors
· Opportunities for user-generated content and word-of-mouth marketing
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Examples of how social signals can be used as part of social media marketing
Here are some scenarios where social signals can be used effectively to inform and improve a business’s social media marketing strategy:
A clothing brand creates a Facebook post showcasing their new line. The post receives hundreds of likes, shares and comments, indicating high levels of interest and engagement among the brand's target audience. This indicates to the brand that the posts format and content is effective in capturing attention, and they may consider sharing it again or creating a similar new post.
A travel blogger posts a new photo on Instagram, using a caption to ask followers to tag their favorite travel companions. Since the post receives dozens of comments and tags, increasing the blog’s reach, this blogger will probably consider posting more interactive content to engage with their audience in the future and learn more about their preferences.
A software company creates a YouTube video showcasing its latest product features. The video receives thousands of views and positive comments, increasing the brand’s visibility and social proof in the industry. By monitoring these social signals, the brand would understand the level of hype around their product, and the effectiveness of their video marketing efforts.
Best practices for tracking and improving social signals
Here are some practical tips and best practices for using or implementing social signals in the context of your own brand’s marketing efforts:
· Create high-quality content that resonates and engages with your audience.
· Include social share buttons on your website and blog posts to make it easy for users to share content with new audiences.
· Engage with your followers by responding to comments and messages promptly.
· Partner with influencers or other brands to increase your reach and foster a positive reputation on social media.
· Track social media analytics and metrics regularly to monitor your progress and adjust your social strategy as needed.
Challenges of relying on social signals
One potential drawback associated with social signals is the risk of brand’s using fake or spammy engagement. Some businesses may resort to buying likes or followers to boost their social proof, but this can actually harm their reputation and credibility in the long run.
To address this issue, it's important for businesses to focus on building genuine relationships with their audience, rather than just chasing numbers. By increasing the value of content and engaging more authentically with followers, businesses will generate a strong, loyal following and reap the benefits of social signals over time.