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Considering the exponential evolution of the digital age, the question is no longer whether businesses should feature on social media platforms. It is rather how to best leverage social media to create awareness and drive business results. By now it is also no longer a secret that having your content shared on social media will expand your reach in a manner that is second to none. Again it is the “how to” part of it that still remains largely elusive. Here are a couple of top tips to help increase your content shares and let you gain optimal exposure.
1. Make an effort to grab the attention of your audience first
Create the right foundation by initially sticking to basics. You have to effectively catch the eye of your target audience first, before they will be able to share your content. But in the digital space where people are overloaded with information, it is becoming increasingly difficult to stand out from the grey masses. A medium that is however proving to be highly successful to accomplish this – is video.
A joint study by Google and Forbes Insights that was published in 2010 (http://images.forbes.com/forbesinsights/StudyPDFs/Video_in_the_CSuite.pdf) indicated for example that executives are more inclined to watch videos than read online content, and that 65% of them actually visited the website of a company in question, after watching the video.
In the same study, more than 80% of the respondents stated that they were watching more online videos at the time, than they were the year before. Considering the explosion of the digital space ever since, it does not take rocket science to figure out that now, five years down the line, these stats must have consistently been skyrocketing.
For this reason, digital tools such as animated explainer videos are increasingly becoming one of the most powerful mediums to make businesses seen and heard.
2. Understand that you are speaking to people
It is critical to note that it is called “social media” for a very specific reason. By definition, the word “social” relates to society or its organisation. “Society” in turn refers to the community, the public or an aggregate of people.
Key to take from this is that we are talking to people; not objects. And people are driven by psychological motivators and emotions. So do consider the people aspect in the content you share. Make sure you share information that is useful, let them feel good, make them think; inspire them or touch their emotions in some form or another.
3. Remember that people are visually inclined
Never lose sight of the fact that people are more inclined to take in and respond to content that is visual. It is scientifically proven that close to 50% of our brains are engaged in visual processing and 70% of all our sensory receptors can be found in our eyes. Studies such as Pearson’s International Edition of the Human Anatomy & Physiology 7th Edition by Merieb, E.N. & Hoehn, K make for an interesting read on this topic.
For this reason, you will enhance engagement with your target audience substantially, by bringing your message across through powerful imagery, infographics or short text that is complimented by photos.
Again, quality and professionalism is of the utmost importance. So if you are making the time and effort to engage on social media platforms, maximise the opportunity by having your visuals designed by a professional. If it looks dodgy, people will most probably not trust the source and will be even less likely to share the content. And consider the up side. If you hit the mark – you could have thousands of shares in record time.
4. Time is of the essence
When using conventional marketing channels such as television or radio, you ideally want to feature in what is referred to as “peak time” when most users are tuned in. In the same way, you have to be mindful of the times that you post content on social media platforms – to increase your hit rate and ensure that you get maximum participation.
This will of course vary from country to country and it will be subject to the profiles of your target audiences too. Fortunately there are a number of great digital analytical tools that enables you to gauge and share your content during the time slots that will guarantee that you get the most out of it.
5. Beware of information overload
A new disturbing trend that is on the rise – is what we refer to as “information overload”. In an attempt to win the war for attention, businesses are posting too much, too often.
Admittedly the jury is still out on an ideal frequency rate for posts. But it will also differ from industry to industry and depend on whether your communication is from business to business, or targeted at consumers. So you will have to test and monitor this over time.
However, a good rule of thumb to go by is the following creed: just like a good poker player will fold more hands than he actually plays – less is more when it comes to communication. If you constantly post about everything yet nothing, your target audiences will soon stop taking you seriously. What you rather want to achieve, is to let them sit up and notice on the occasion that you do post.