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Social Testing: Unleash the Power of Social Media for Business Experimentation

Social testing can provide insight into the performance and health of your social media campaigns. Learn how to use social testing to your advantage here.

Knowing what your customers like can help you deliver exceptional experiences across channels, establish stronger relationships, and foster loyalty.

You've done your research and know everything there is to know about your market and target audience, but that doesn't mean your organic or paid social media posts will perform well.

Social media platforms are powerful marketing tools, but to stand out, businesses must go above and beyond to create posts and ads that attract followers and convert them into paying customers.

Social testing can help you learn about your social posts by identifying the most impactful elements and turning them into social media campaigns that perform. This data-driven approach to social media marketing can help you refine your strategy to create better campaigns that stand out.

Keep reading to learn more about social media tests and how they work.

What is social testing?

Social testing is the process of conducting experiments and analysis on social media posts and strategies to determine which elements or variables perform best. By analyzing data, you can refine your posts and overall strategy to improve performance and drive results.

With a social media test, you can learn which features of specific posts or strategy elements resonate best with your audience to enhance engagement and increase your social media return on investment (ROI).

By optimizing content, audience targeting, and timing, you can boost your online visibility, drive conversions and lead generation, and delight customers.

Types of social media tests

You can use social media testing tools to experiment with different elements of your strategy. However, first, you must determine which type of social media tests to perform. You have 2 options:

A/B testing

A/B testing social media posts allows you to determine which version performs best.

Each version is different, and you can only test 2 versions simultaneously. Once the test is complete, you can track key performance metrics (KPIs), such as likes, comments, and shares, to see which performed best.

For instance, let's say you wanted to determine whether one graphic was better. You might leave the post copy the same, but version A will have a different picture than version B. Then, once the results are in, if version A has higher levels of engagement, it will be deemed the winner.

Split testing

Split testing and A/B testing are often used interchangeably. However, A/B testing typically compares 2 variations (version A and version B). On the other hand, split testing can involve many more variations, allowing you to compare multiple versions at once.

Multivariate testing

Multivariate testing is another social test. Like A/B and split testing, it allows you to test multiple versions of a post simultaneously.

However, the difference is that while A/B testing focuses on 2 variations of a single variable (the social media post or ad), multivariate testing involves testing multiple variables or elements.

For example, you can test calls to action (CTAs), timing, audience targeting, graphics, and copy at the same time.

Advantages of social testing

Social testing arms you with the knowledge you need to make better data-driven decisions, optimize your marketing strategy, and increase your ROI.

You can determine which elements yield the best results by testing social media posts, visuals, copy, timings, and audiences. Whether you're using multivariate, split, or A/B testing for social media, the benefits include:

  • Creating content your audience likes. Social tests allow you to determine which types of content your target audiences are more likely to engage with. The higher your metrics, the better the post, giving you key insights into the types of messaging, images, graphics, and CTAs that drive traffic from Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, or any other social network.
  • Boosts engagement. Creating content your audience likes directly boosts engagement. Finding out whether a photo makes a difference in metrics can increase engagement throughout your social media campaign, whether organic or paid.
  • Continuous improvement. Social testing encourages continuous improvement in your marketing strategy. With these tests, you can refine your strategy using data to back up your decisions over time.
  • Target the right people. Not all small businesses have a comprehensive understanding of their target audiences. With social tests, you can determine which audience targeting parameters yield the best results.
  • Posting at the right time. Timing is crucial on social media. Your audience may miss your content if you don't post at the right time. Social testing allows you to test the same post at different times to determine which gets better engagement results.
  • Cost-effective. Social testing is affordable because it increases your social media return on investment. By optimizing your marketing efforts, you can identify the most effective variant and elements and allocate your budget more efficiently.

How to create a social testing strategy

Testing different types of social media content can help your posts stand out from the rest. Still, you should always develop a robust social testing strategy to ensure you're using your resources effectively.

Follow these steps for running a social media test:

Determine what you're testing

Before you run your test, you should determine what you're testing. You can test everything from social media captions and thumbnails to CTAs, timings, hashtags, and graphics. Identifying the elements you're testing can help you set goals.

For instance, if you want to increase engagement, you might test the images you use on organic posts because they're often the first thing your followers see when scrolling their feeds.

Choose your social testing methodology

Again, the 2 most popular types of social tests are A/B and multivariate tests. The one you use will depend on the variables you're testing, available resources, and overall goals.

A/B testing is best when you want to test 2 different versions and determine a winner. It's also the more cost- and time-efficient option.

On the other hand, you may choose a multivariate test if you want to test multiple variables simultaneously to determine the absolute best combination of post elements.

Create a hypothesis

Before you set up and run your test, you can create a hypothesis of what might happen.

For instance, if you're testing 2 different images, you might guess which one will perform better. On the other hand, if you're trying to find the best and worst times to post on Instagram, you might assume that the hours between 9 am and 5 pm are the worst.

Creating a hypothesis can serve as a benchmark. Finding out you're right means you have a good idea of what your followers want. However, if you're wrong, it provides a valuable learning opportunity.

Define parameters

Defining parameters like duration and platform used can further guide your social testing. Plan to run your test for at least a week to give the platform sufficient data to assign a winner.

You should also determine the social test software you want to use. Suppose you've already implemented a Facebook marketing strategy. In that case, the easiest way to test paid ads is to use Meta Ads Manager, which allows you to create A/B tests for your ads and identifies a clear winner.

Many social media management tools offer testing features for testing social media posts while providing other key insights into your strategy.

Run the test

When you're ready to begin testing, you can choose your chosen platform to set up the campaign. Remember to include the different versions or variables you want to set and the duration. Then, review your test to make sure all the correct information is there, and you can publish it.

The tool will begin collecting data over the next several days.

Evaluate your results

You can review your results throughout the social media test, but you shouldn't form any assumptions until it's over. Once you have the results, you can evaluate them to determine which elements, versions, or variables performed best and use them in your next social media campaign.

Social media testing tips

Social media testing can help you determine which post types, elements, times, and other variables impact your social media strategy.

Follow these best practices to ensure each test can provide you with sufficient results to ensure better engagement:

  • Identify your campaign goals. When testing on social media, you should determine what you want out of it. Is your goal to increase conversions, engagement, or followers, or is it something completely different? Defining your objectives can guide the testing process by helping you determine which variables to test.
  • Know your target audience. By deeply understanding your target audience, you can drastically reduce how many tests you run and how long they take. It's better to know information about audience behavior, geographic location, gender, interests, and preferences to help guide your testing.
  • Keep track of metrics. While your social media testing tools can determine a clear winner, understanding the metrics involved can help you determine their accuracy. For instance, your primary objective may be to increase comments. In this case, version A might have a higher overall engagement rate, but version B has more comments. Your testing tool may declare A the winner, but it might actually be version B.
  • Start small. Start with smaller tests to help you learn how social testing works and refine your approach over time. You should always test one variable at a time and make as few versions as possible to simplify the process.

Ensure success with an effective social testing strategy

Social media testing can give you valuable insights into your audience, posts, and overall social media strategy while helping you optimize content for maximum engagement. By testing your posts, you can learn more about audience preferences that drive engagement, find the best time to post, and create more effective marketing campaigns.

Use Mailchimp's content creation tools to leverage the power of social testing. Create social media posts, use A/B tests, and optimize your campaigns to drive web traffic, engagement, and sales. Try Mailchimp today.

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