Viral. Trending. We all want the content we share on social media to gain notoriety (for good reasons) but is there a science behind making this happen?3

Not exactly.

Social Media marketing is far more of an art that’s adapted from science. We compile heaps of data (spent time in Google Analytics lately?) and then throw it out the window in a best-guess scenario of marketing to what we hope will appeal to our audience.

Fear not, however. In a landscape that’s so data-driven, the numbers support 3 key things you should be doing across every platform

1. Pick the Best Hashtag

Sprout Social, a leading social media scheduling app, says that 7 out of 10 Instagram hashtags are branded. For instance, shoe companies leverage the brand power behind their name and associate their hashtags with the exact products that they’re selling. Think #newbalance shoes rather than #shoes.

Hashtags are the foremost way to optimize the discovery of any given subject or content.

2. Generate Massive Engagement

Marketers are sometimes hyper-focused on Likes and Follows. While it’s an important metric, it’s not the only one that carries any weight. Comments, shares and certainly ad clicks are all powerhouses when it comes to engagement that can lead to a return on your social media investment.

Although Facebook’s exact algorithms aren’t shared publicly, researchers speculate a whopping 80% of posts aren’t seen. Facebook isn’t purposely trying to keep posts hidden, but rather it looks at the engagement from prior posts to determine the success of future ones. If a company routinely receives a lot of traction from their content, it stands to reason people like what’s being shared, and it will stay in the visibility cycle. Instagram is the same way – even though the platform currently holds the highest engagement stats, it too deals with content overload.

Researchers suggest being different than your competitors in creating engaging content so as not to fall prey to the “algorithm trap.” Using the live video function and geotagging your location are great ways to differentiate yourself from the rest.

3. Utilize The 3×5 Hashtag Method

Marketers know that trying something new is sometimes a gamble, but it can also pay out high dividends. The 3×5 hashtag method is a way to enhance account engagement by being extremely crafted in the way you select your hashtags – you want to be specific but different from what others are using for the same product or service. Be specific and honest to your brand by choosing hashtags that are regionally appropriate, relevant, and authentic.

Most importantly what you need to do is make sure that the hashtags you are going to use within this method are relevant to your brand, business, and the message or story you want to tell your audience and potential customer base. Don’t just use this method to use it. Be specific, be intentional, and most importantly be real.

Social media author, Seth Godin famously said “Build it, and they will come” only works in the movies. Social Media is a “build it, nurture it, engage them, and they may come and stay.”

Building a strategy that does this requires a lot of dedication and isn’t for the faint of heart. But, by mastering the 3×5 hashtag method, you’re on the right track for gaining the elusive engagement that your brand is seeking.

By effectively using Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, your brand can tap new audiences and build relationships across multiple channels. Social media continues to outperform traditional means in telling your user base just who you are and what you’re about. Duncan/Day defines the voice of your brand and connects you to your audience. For help writing your business’ social media strategy, leverage the 30+ years of experience we have.