Content for Community: Giving Your Audience What They Really Want to See


In November 2, 2018
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Social Media

We all want results—results from that new product you just tried out, that recent investment, even that gym regimen you decided to give a shot. As a small business owner attempting to use social media to expand your client base, results hold even more weight; engagements, likes, comments, shares, followers, those little bits of social media gratification that reassure you you’re doing something right. On top of that, there’s nothing that can make a business owner feel more discouraged than constantly pushing out business-related content you believe in, without seeing results. So, what will make your followers hit the thumbs up or that coveted share button? Here are a few tips to help you start creating content that will connect with and expand your online community.

 

Get to know your audience

Although it may feel like it, you actually don’t need everyone’s attention. Yes, you do want attention, but it’s just as important to realize the value in a loyal and targeted following. In the end, these followers are more likely to engage with your content, ultimately expanding its reach and building upon that targeted community. In other words, start by speaking to who is already listening—those who are already invested in your product or service.

 

Okay, you’re thinking, but how do you determine exactly who is already listening? Luckily, many social media platforms provide analytics that can help you get to know your follower base—who they are, what they value, and what will catch their eye. To start, demographics such as age range, gender, or location can provide you with an understanding of what your audience may reach for in terms of content. This will allow you to either tailor your content to best suit who is listening or tweak your content to reach diverse audiences. Additionally, impressions—the number of times your ad appeared on users’ screens—and reach—the number of unique users that have seen your post—alongside likes, comments, and profile visits can give you an idea for which types of posts are attracting the most attention. However, focusing too heavily on analytics can produce a temptation to continue generating the same content over and over with no variation, simply because that content had produced positive results in the past. Analytics are helpful for providing information on who is listening right now, but providing variety in future content will ensure your current followers stay engaged and any new followers become intrigued.

 

Speak their language

Once you have an idea for who your audience is, don’t just throw content out there and hope it will stick. Crafting content intentionally will attract a more specific and engaged following. In order to appeal directly to your audience and create a social media feed that will resonate with them, it’s valuable to speak their language. Instead of using industry-specific language, choose terminology that speaks to them and that will resonate with what they think or find important.

 

To do this, some research is required—become an audience member for a day and find what interests you. Google is a great place to start honing in on language and keywords. Just type in a keyword you’re interested in, say, “media marketing.” Scroll to the bottom of the search results, and you will see a list of other keywords that relate—here you may find a search term that may help you tap into a narrower, more niche following, rather than going as broadband as “media marketing,” which may ultimately get lost in the noise.
 

Social Media

Additionally, research your competitors! What sort of content is working for them? What are their audience members clicking on the most? Realize, though, that your audience is not 100% the same as your competitors’. Every business, even within the same field, can reach a different sub-sect of people. However, a quick study of your competitors’ social media platforms can reveal important buzzwords and provide you with inspiration or direction to appeal to your own following. The comments section is also a goldmine of information. What sort of questions are your competitors’ followers asking? What issues are they experiencing? Perhaps you can be the one to push out content that addresses those questions or issues, providing a solution before your audience even knows they need it.

 

Lastly, in research, be sure to look beyond your field and study what your followers are interested in on a daily basis. It will then be easier to target your content towards these interests, drawing a connection between your followers’ daily lives and the services you provide.

 

Let them speak for themselves

This is perhaps the most important tip. Although doing your research and turning to analytics is worthwhile, it does pay to go directly to the source. Listen to what your audience is telling you and find out what they need and want from your social media presence. Think: what does our community not know that we could help them find out and understand? Encourage your audience to get involved and provide feedback. Survey them, reach out to your email list and ask what they would like to see on social media, or use polls on Instagram or Twitter.

 

Again, the comments section is a goldmine of useful feedback, allowing you to create solutions pre-emptively. Comments also allow you to communicate directly with your audience. Ask questions in your social media posts and encourage users to leave a comment or ask a question. Find your audience’s place of curiosity and what makes them excited. In your posts, appeal to these strong positive emotions and provide content that answers their questions.

 

Further, don’t just interact with your followers online—engage with them directly! Genuine interaction and meaningful discussions out in the field will help you to get a feel for what matters most to your clients. You will also be able to develop a personal relationship, which will not only allow you to empathize and see things from your clients’ perspective (all leading to better content and word choice!), but will also lead consumers to associate positive emotions with your business, ultimately investing them long-term.

 

In the end, be honest with yourself about what you’re putting out on social media. If you were a consumer, that audience member you are trying to target, would you read or watch it? If yes, then great! If not, then perhaps something is out of line with your audience. In the end, though, finding out what your audience wants to hear really is simple—once you determine who they are, all that’s left is to listen to what they have to say.

 

 

Madison Wayland

Marketing Assistant

 


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