Having well prepared content is great, but how do you make sure it is relevant and compelling for your intended audience within your social media campaign? In this post you will learn how to engage with your audience on social media.
When I’m starting to think about an audience, I try as much as possible to get under their skin. So, I ask myself questions. What are they seeing? hearing? thinking? their problems? What other communities do they belong to? What is the layout of their day? And what mood are they in at different parts of the day? And the more you can get under their skin, the more you are able to create content that bridges what you are trying to do and what is valuable to them.
Once I have done that, I research things like hashtags they might use and other websites or communities they might be a part of. Also, I just look at what content is successful and try and deconstruct why that is working, and think about whether I want to recreate some of those methods. For example, if I am teaching preschool. I’m not going to be engaging the preschoolers because they won’t be on social media. I will be looking out for who is responsible for the preschoolers and engaging them. I go on Facebook, on different Facebook mum groups, asking what clubs and activities are in my area. So, I tend to use those same platforms to advertise my own work. But first I identify my audience in research. I want to find out their habits, what they are likely to be doing at particular times of day.
And I want to know about that online footprint. What websites do they usually visit? What news articles are they reading? By looking at this sort of information, I can mimic the content that they are already viewing and make mine similar to something that they would like already. When you are on social media, you are dealing with people who have very short attention spans and a lot else that they could be looking at. So, you have to think about what value you are offering in exchange for their time, and how you are going to engage with your audience on social media so that they do the things that you want them to do. It is more of a seduction than anything else.
A post of mine that has been quite successful based on a trial I did is one of me sharing personal information. So, I have been introducing more of myself and that has been getting quite a lot of engagement about who I am and my family background, and the project I am working on. Compared to many of my other posts, this has been getting more engagement.
How to engage with your audience on social media:
One of my main tip to engage with your audience on social media is to be who you are. It’s important to engage in the conversations and in each post and try to keep them going after you’ve posted content. Not only does that spawn a much stronger community and a much stronger relationship between you and your users, which means they’re more likely to look out for your content next time, but it also often informs things like the Facebook algorithm that your content is interesting and people want to see it. And so, they’ll send that content out to more people. And your post will get more reach and make it quite relatable, and they can laugh at that.
So, my top tips for engaging your audience on social media are, firstly, really get to know them. Get under their skin. Figure out what words they use, what communities they’re a part of, what makes them emotional, and what their values are.
Secondly, speak to one or imagine you are speaking to one person. So, once you understand what that audience segment is as a group, think of it as an individual with quirks and everything else. That you can be really authentic when you are creating your content for them and personally. And lastly, and perhaps most importantly, always think about what value you are giving. 80% of the time, you want to be giving away everything you can, that you can give away for free, that is going to be significant and meaningful to people.
Making your campaign visible: organic reach Once you have identified your audience and thought about your key messages, you need to consider how to get your content in front of them. There are millions of accounts publishing billions of content updates every day. You can post on most social platforms for free, but it is difficult to ensure your campaign is visible in a crowded online space.
Most social media platforms are based around the core concept of:
An individual user who can follow and be followed by other users to create a network of relationships.
Every user posts content which can be seen by their followers.
Each user can see posts from one person they follow, or a ‘stream’ of amalgamated updates from everyone they follow.
A social media stream acts like a TV channel containing content created by all the people you follow in that space. Scheduling content to be posted at peak times allows you to optimize for this stream, making your content more visible and giving it greater reach.
In the early days of social media sites and blogs, the stream was reverse chronological with the most recent content at the top and older items further down the page. The recency, or timestamp attached to a piece of content, dictated where it appeared in the stream. Today major platforms operate differently. Instead of determining order by time of publication alone, they instead use ‘importance’ or ‘relevance’ scores to determine when, and whether, to show content to users. This relevance is determined by an algorithm, a step by step set of rules used to process information or data.
Social media companies tend to be secretive about the exact factors which contribute to how the algorithm determines relevance. They also frequently tweak the input factors and metrics, so that the algorithm can’t be exploited. For example: A supermarket announces that customers wearing red hats will get a 50% discount. How many people will show up the next day to do their shopping wearing red hats? Even if the supermarket changed the relevant item every day, it would be straightforward to watch the traffic grow. So instead, the supermarket might use a secret combination of factors, different every day, or even every hour, to encourage usage and maintain interest in the promotion.
There are several factors related to content which feed into the algorithms used by different social platforms: Recency may only be one factor in determining when content is shown to an audience. You can try to optimize your content by guessing at some of these factors, for example, using relevant hashtags, adding pictures and encouraging commenting, but this will only help so much. The more factors an algorithm uses to determine how content appears organically on the site, the harder it will be for you to reach a particular audience with your content. This is intentional. Social media platforms want you to pay to be seen. Their business model depends on it.
Do you engage with your audience on social media? What tips do you use?