My mother is the managing editor of a central Oregon newspaper. As part of her position, she’s also responsible for managing the paper’s Facebook account. The other day, she mentioned something interesting: one of the paper’s most popular recent Facebook posts was about the low precipitation level in the town so far this year. It wasn’t big news by any means, she said, but it garnered nearly as many responses as other posts about major political or social issues.
Her viewers’ interest in such a seemingly mundane topic was unexpected. Her explanation? It was something different from the topics the paper usually posted, and it was accessible. “That’s the kind of stuff people want to talk about around the water cooler,” she said.
Few people want to be bombarded with the same types of messages day in and day out. When you’re developing social media posts to promote a business or organization, it can be tempting to default to flashy, promotional messages. Although it’s important to include this type of content from time to time, the key to creating social media posts that will keep viewers engaged — especially if you’re posting every day — is variety.
Keeping some of the following tips in mind will give you some tools for mixing things up:
1. Understand your audience: Effective customer engagement should be as much about psychology and audience research as any other marketing strategy. Who is your primary audience? Consider things like your location (metropolitan area or small town?) as well as who is most likely to buy your product or use your service.
2. It’s okay to be conversational: Social media posts can be much more casual than other types of marketing. Correct grammar is still important for maintaining your organization’s professional image, but accessibility is key. One simple way to establish a conversational tone is to begin a post with a question. Encouraging your audience to engage is a great way to stand out in their minds.
3. Use different types of media: Experiment with different types of media to see which kinds your audience reacts to the most. Simple links to other sources, while informative, are commonplace and don’t always grab a reader’s attention. Go a step further and try to include images, videos and podcasts.
4. Keep track of results: Even with something as informal as social media, it’s possible to keep track of trends and responses to improve your strategy. Make note of which tactics are better received and experiment with using them more often. While variety is still important, it may be necessary to alter the ratio from time to time — your viewers might respond more positively to lighthearted posts one month and hard-hitting posts the next. Keeping up with these trends will ensure your audience stays entertained and engaged.
Kristin Pugmire is a senior copywriter with ProPRcopy, a firm that offers copywriting services for blog content, social media content, press releases, articles and much more.