Relevant, Fresh and Authentic Social Media Keeps Your Audience Engaged
Posting about your business on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like) is an effective way to keep in touch with your customers, potential customers and the general public alike. Sharing regular bits of business news and in friendly banter with folks makes you a familiar presence in people’s timeline or news feed. It can also help establish you as an informative fixture which can heighten your authority in your field.
On the other hand, social media that is poorly administered can result in the opposite effect of putting people off by being repetitive, non-interactive or simply boring and uninspired. With each passing day, it seems people’s attention spans shrink while bits of information vying for their attention increase exponentially. That’s why it is important to pay attention to your social media persona. Do not get complacent; these communication channels are not “set it and forget it” tools. Effective social media use requires that you be - and remain - relevant, fresh and authentic.
Your goal on social media is to keep your name in front of an audience so they recognize you as someone worth taking a moment to notice. Some techniques for successful social media administration include:
- Use images - If you don’t already have a specific photo for a post, take one yourself or find one online. There are free and low-cost stock photo sites from which you can download appropriate images to accompany your posts. An image draws the eye and adds context to a post, making it more likely to be consumed or shared.
- Use GIFs - A GIF (stands for Graphics Interchange Format) is a short animation or video snippet that can be added to a social media post that adds interest and captures the attention of the viewer.
- Join in and start conversations - The point of social media - or any communication, really, is to establish a two-way conversation. That’s where the audience engagement lies. If all you are doing is broadcasting information, you’re only reaping half the benefit of the platform. Pose questions of your followers and respond when they reply. Conduct a poll to gather opinions from your audience. Share relevant information to your followers’ accounts to show your interest in them. It is all about the give and take.
- Create a social media calendar - It’s hard to reinvent the wheel every day. So instead of starting each day with no idea what you’re going to post on social media, create a schedule - or calendar - with some topics you’d like to share about and the way you want to approach each post. Since many people will see your posts, it is best if you don’t repeat yourself verbatim from day to day, lest people tune you out.
- Consider a theme - A theme can help you grab an audience with particular interests and keep you relevant to them for the duration of your theme, be it a week, a month or a season. Your theme can be based on a topic particular to your business, like the fact that you now offer vegan options on your menu or reference a bigger campaign, like National Life Insurance Month.
- Mix it up - Offer your audience a variety of content. While, as a hair salon, most of your readers will be those interested in hair and beauty topics, throwing in some occasional mentions of a new small business in town you like or the farm stand you frequent will demonstrate that your account isn’t only about promoting your offerings.
- Be the real “you” - Authenticity is crucial. People can spot a fake online persona from a mile away. You do not have to (or even want to) post every thought and opinion you have but what you do say should accurately represent your own thoughts, opinions, values and ways of doing business. It is that authenticity that resonates through the technology to bring your online presence alive.
- Vary your delivery - People like to see things presented in different ways. Sometimes, post a video; other times ask a question and run a poll; or post with a photo or GIF. Sharing other people’s content with your commentary is another way to offer a variety of content. Even if the content itself is similar from day to day, it will not look the same and consequently be skipped over by readers.
- Update your profile image periodically - Adding a new profile image makes people stand up and take notice. You may have a new head shot, an updated logo or you want to showcase your new signage; an image update can, in and of itself, be news worth sharing. Do note, however, changing your profile image too frequently can confuse your audience, leading them to wonder whose avatar they are seeing.
- Make sure profile information is accurate and up-to-date - When people are drawn to look at your profile page (as you definitely hope they will) you’ll want all the information they find there, like your address, phone number, hours/days of operation, email address... to be correct. If they are not, they may be led to believe that you are not very thorough in the way you conduct business.
Social media can be an engaging way to promote your business, but only when it is administered effectively. As a bonus, it costs nothing but your time - so be certain that you make the most of this powerful tool by keeping your interactions relevant, fresh and authentic. Here’s to building strong connections via your social media platforms!
How do you keep your social media content engaging?
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