Last semester, I took a sports promotion and fan engagement class that focused on how professional sports teams can leverage social media to engage their fans. The majority of the topics that we covered can be applied to any organization’s use of social media. Whether it is a few posts or a full-blown campaign, the four steps below can help guide an organization to creating engaging content for its followers.
The key to delivering appealing content is to understand who your audience is and why they are following your organization on social media. Each message should be tweaked based on the platform that is being used to deliver it. The audience on Facebook will not be the same as the audience on Twitter or Instagram. Understanding the purpose and demographics of each platform will help deliver content that is appealing to the audience.
Once the social media team knows what platform(s) they want to deliver a given message on and who their audience will be, it is important to strategically plan how the message will be delivered. What is the voice, tone and persona of the brand, and how will the content demonstrate each?
Social media is meant to be social! Fans, followers and customers come to social media for two-way, personal interaction with their favorite brands, teams and companies. Planning content ahead of time will help increase engagement and avoid being redundant and boring.
Will the message include a photo or video so that followers can feel like they aren’t missing anything? Will a hashtag or tag be used so that followers can keep up with key conversations and people from the organization? Does the message include a link to another page so that followers can get more information? These are all things to consider in the strategic design phase.
Implementation and Monitoring
Many organizations tend to publish cut and dry, professional, informative messages that have little planning for interaction behind them. Purposeful interaction with an audience can be created when content is planned and conversations are joined. Just because an organization is professional doesn’t mean that it can only communicate professional information. Have fun with it by including a survey, GIF or meme.
Once the engaging message has been put out, don’t stop there. The follower’s attention has been captured, now acknowledge their reactions by replying, retweeting, favoriting and liking their content too. By doing things like personally responding to a follower or holding a free giveaway during a campaign, the organization is making the audience feel like they are valued by the organization.
Social Media Evaluation
The final step is evaluating the effectiveness of the content. It is important to not just count interactions but to actually analyze what those numbers mean. This is the step where the value of social media within an organization is illustrated.
Next time you need to plan a social media campaign or post, consider following these four steps to increase engagement with your followers.