How Authentic Engagement Will ‘Up’ Your Social Media Game
Social media has gone through a real shake-up recently. We’ve heard about the changes to the ‘algorithms’ of Facebook and Instagram, the whole Cambridge Analytica saga, and news again that Facebook’s partner app, Messenger, is monitoring personal messages to ensure the safety and security of users.
So, as a not-for-profit, or simply just as a socially conscious socialite, what does this all mean for you and your organisation?
We want to help break it down a little bit for you.
The whole basis of these changes is to reinforce and highlight real connections between people.
“The research shows that when we use social media to connect with people we care about, it can be good for our well-being. We can feel more connected and less lonely, and that correlates with long term measures of happiness and health.
“We’ve seen people interact way more around live videos than regular ones. Some news helps start conversations on important issues. But too often today, watching video, reading news or getting a page update is just a passive experience…Pages whose posts prompt conversations between friends will see less of an effect.”
— Mark Zuckerberg, Founder of Facebook
These very abstract ideas of ‘meaningful engagement’, ‘personalised experience’ and ‘authentic connection’ are thrown around in this conversation, and so it’s important for us to digest this and understand how to best connect with our community to continue the two-way connection.
That’s why it is so important as an organisation to monitor social media, as there will always be opportunity to connect with your community. If someone comments on one of your posts, reply authentically and reply quick. Not only will the reply make that individual feel included, it will also likely show Facebook that you can have a meaningful interaction with your followers, pushing your current and future posts higher in the ranking stakes.
Facebook wants users to have conversations and to be ‘real’ on social media, rewarding those who can be authentic, and demoting content that is pushed out repeatedly without any true engagement and discussion.
This is a point to step back and understand that, even though any organisation that uses Facebook Pages is at a disadvantage, theoretically, charities and not-for-profit organisations are at an advantage, as discussion, conversation, awareness (and donation) is often at the core of the mission and purpose. Flaunt that and show who’s boss in the rankings. Use your socially aware mentality, authentic purpose and engaged community to your online advantage.
Image via The Guardian
Much of these suggestions won’t just help your Facebook engagement, but also your other social platforms, including Instagram. The way in which Insta has decided to focus its post selection is much the same: how much followers engage with it; how quickly they do so; and as importantly, how long they stay looking at the post.
This whole idea of user retention is so important in the social media world, as the more time it takes a follower to digest your post, the more interesting, and therefore, the more engaging these social media algorithms think the post is.
There’s a lot of misinformation out there about how video is the way to go and just because you put out a video, it’ll pop up at the top of everyone’s feed.
However, the most important thing to think about in terms of video is retention and meaningful engagement. A video usually takes longer to digest because you have to watch it! Therefore, users are going to give the video a go, watch a few seconds then work out if they like it or not.
If they do, great, you’ve got an engaged viewer. If not, that’s ok, they’ve interacted with the post for a few seconds, often much longer than just some text or a picture, which many people just scroll past.
Image via The Michael Group
Multimedia features on social media, including video and ‘live’ modes of posting, give viewers much more reason to interact and like/comment/share the post (if it’s interesting, obviously). They may want to ask a question, gain some clarification on what’s being said, even may have an issue which will cause debate. This is good! It’ll move you up the algorithm’s rankings on posts, as followers are discussing and engaging with your post. You just need to make sure you’re there to converse back. So, if you can balance this meaningful engagement and user retention well, you’ll be hitting your target audience all the time.
Above all, us here at Content live by one rule when it comes social media: the three Cs.
Be Critical, have Consistency, and use a Call-To-Action.
First, always be critical on what you are posting to your social media, when, and how. There’s no point for all charities to have every social media under the sun. You may use Twitter well, but don’t need Insta. Cool! Or maybe Instagram is where your audience is, and so use that wisely! In terms of the ‘how’, say, for example, you’ve had this amazing community event and someone writes 2000-word blog post about it, well that’s ok, but how about get someone to video some of these activities and get some people on camera saying how wonderful the day is, and put together a 60-second video collage with some cool backing music to show how fun your cause is?
Secondly, consistency is key to gaining traction and upping yourselves in the rankings. There’s no point posting six posts one day, then having nothing for the next fortnight. That’s why scheduling features are great to use.
Finally, a Call-To-Action. CTAs are when you get your user/follower/watcher to act on a social media post and provide a follow-on source that users can continue to learn. The most common one is ‘read more!’, but we’ve got some better ones up our sleeves.
We explain our three Cs, as well as heaps of other juicy content in our newly created Social Media Toolkit.
Get in touch with us and we can hook you up!
– Content Team