Digital Storytelling: Give 'Em What They Want
Posted: Jan 9, 2015
One of the questions from our webinar on Building the Case for Social Media in December someone asked was, “How the heck do you figure out what people like and what you should share?”
Admittedly, the question wasn’t exactly worded that way, but that sentiment was there. Since we never got around to answering that question I figured now would be a good time to answer it.
It’s a new year, a fresh start. Why not make the most of 2015 and give the people what they want!? Here’s how you start:
Listen and review
Odds are, you’ve been active on social media for a little bit. Something we often overlook or deprioritize due to a bajillion (official number, yep) other things is reviewing and assessing our content performance. But if you think about it, that often means that we’re not listening to what people are telling us they want. If they interact with a post, whether it’s by liking it, commenting on it, or sharing it - they’re expressing an opinion. Carefully reviewing which posts performed best, which posts drove the most traffic to your website (if that’s a priority), and which posts garnered the most positive opinions can help you understand the themes and types of content people like to see. Identify those key themes and use them to guide your content strategy.
Articulate your priorities
Of course, you’re going to have things that you’re going to need to communicate and share with people, that they might not necessarily think is as fun as your post rooting on the hometown sports team. After all, it’s just as important to take your medicine as it is to enjoy a little dessert. Heading into the new year, write down your top priorities that your office needs to communicate in order to keep your communities informed. Priority really is the key word, here. You’re going to need to find a balance, which may mean cutting things or saying “no.” A great way to make that decision is to ask yourself, “Is this message really important for people to hear, and will they be better off knowing it?” By asking yourself questions like this that are geared toward the benefit of your audience, you’ll be sharing things that are more valued by them. It’ll also inform how you write a message, where you choose to share it, and what it looks like.
Package your posts
It’s more important than ever to think beyond just the message when considering what to post on social media. The top performing content consistently on Facebook and Twitter are posts that are shared with images. Video is also skyrocketing in popularity due to Facebook’s auto-play feature on Facebook. We’re seeing image-centric networks like Instagram, Vine, and Snapchat buzzing and growing. As communicators and messengers, we need to think creatively and differently about what makes a compelling message — and how that can be enhanced or made more powerful with an image or video. After all, as they say, a picture says a thousand words.
Monitor your keywords and topics
There’s an old social media belief that all organizations and brands should share a 60/40 mix on social. 60% content from others, 40% content from you. While this mix has changed and will continue to change as social media channels evolve and people’s attitudes about how to use it changes, I think there’s still an important lesson to be learned: Don’t talk about yourself all the time, it’s not polite. Using a 60/40 mix mentality can be an important way to remember that we’re all working within a larger context and there are other things happening in the world outside of what we want to share. We should be good community members.
Also, if you’re limited to what’s happening within your organization, you can certainly share positive experience that people tag you in or want you to know about. Sharing the voices of your constituents can be a great way to demonstrate that you’re attuned to people’s needs, you value their contributions, and you’re there to help.
Now is a great time to reflect on all the things that made 2014 great — or maybe not so great. Learn from what you know, plan for what’s ahead, but always remember to stay tuned into the present. Let’s give the people what they want! Here’s to a great 2015!
This article was previously posted on ELGL, where you can find Kim Ervin's monthly column, Digital Storytelling.