What We Learned by Participating in a 30-day Social Media Challenge

Figuring out what to post on social media can be a daunting and time-consuming task. Social media seems simple, but when you sit down to post, it suddenly becomes very difficult and can feel overwhelming. To alleviate some of that anxiety, we created 30 days of social prompts and challenged our newsletter subscribers to commit to 30 days of guided content creation.

Using an automated campaign we created in Sendinblue, we were able to plan, prepare, and schedule each email. This allowed us to create timely and consistent communication with our participants. We delivered one prompt a day to participants’ inboxes to keep them engaged and excited. And to help participants generate ideas, we created a fictitious coffee house with sample posts to accompany each prompt.

We recognized our own social channels were in need of a little love. And we couldn’t talk the talk without walking the walk, so we joined in on the challenge.

After thirty days of posting consistently on Facebook and Instagram, here’s what we learned:

It Helps to Plan Ahead

We were able to approach the challenge from a different vantage point than other participants in that we knew which prompts were coming. For the most part we performed the challenge one day at a time, but there were times we took advantage of our ability to plan ahead. This was especially helpful for weekend posts, and provided relief and a feeling of accomplishment when workflow was heavy. Plus, sometimes you just get in the zone when creating content. We found it beneficial to take advantage of those opportunities as they presented themselves. 

You Become More Connected to Your Business

Of course you’re connected to your business everyday. However, creating a daily post about your business or your industry puts you in a different mindset. You’re pulled out of the day-to-day operations of payroll, sales goals, processes, and other tasks and forced to reconnect with why you’re in business. You remember why you do what you do.

You’re Less Likely to Overthink

There’s nothing more intimidating than staring at a blank “New Post” prompt contemplating whether what  you’re about to post is original enough, creative enough, interesting enough, or good enough. The daily prompts provided a task, and all we had to do was complete that task. In fact, there were several days we were able to generate multiple approaches, which means we now have content for future posts.

There’s Something to be Said for Consistency

We didn’t pick up any additional followers on Facebook through our daily posts. However, we did experience a 224% increase in our reach compared to the previous month. We also saw a 180% increase in traffic to our website from Facebook.

Until this challenge, we weren’t present on Instagram. We established an Instagram account to engage with participants. Admittedly, we were also curious and up for some experimentation. And we were pleased with the results. In 30 days we gained 60 followers, reached 146 non followers, and generated 430 impressions. We attribute much of this growth to traction gained through the use of hashtags as well as follow backs.

We Have a Better Understanding of our Audience

Posting consistently provides more opportunities to engage with and learn about your audience. It’s easier to recognize patterns in your platform’s insights when you share more frequently. For example, our Facebook followers engaged the most with posts that contain video, samples of our work, or provide behind the scenes insights. This information is helpful when planning future social media strategies.

It Pays to Pay

Just for fun, after the 30 day challenge, we tested the effectiveness of a paid ad focused on gaining followers. We only invested $10 and ran the ad for three days. We targeted geographical areas in adjoining states close to our office in East Tennessee. The ad reached 178 people, compared to our highest organic reach of 55 during the 30-day social challenge. We also gained 10 new followers. We found that posting consistently does positively impact social media growth and engagement over time, but sponsored posts will do so more quickly. And, of course, we have yet to see whether that investment will yield greater results.

It’s Habit-forming

They say it takes about 21 days to create a habit. At the end of the challenge, we’re already nine days ahead of the game! As with all marketing efforts, it’s best to have a plan aligned to your goals. However, sometimes your goal is just to start, or—like us—get back on track, or avoid burnout. The social prompts were a great way to get our creative juices flowing, reconnect with our brand, and provide value to our audience. The prompts also helped ensure we were providing a good mix of content, from original to curated. We enjoyed determining the best way to deliver the content, whether it was just text, a fun graphic, photography, or video. 

It’s Evergreen

The best part is we’ve been able to continue using the social prompts far beyond the end of the challenge. We can generate content days or months in advance and use native scheduling tools or our social scheduler to free up time for busy days ahead. Or, as we’ve recently done, have a little fun with it and use a random number generator to reference the 30-day challenge guide when creating daily posts.

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