Tips to Managing Both Your Content and Community

Being a business running an online community as either a blog or a Facebook page, we need to think about two very important things – the content we send out and the community that we’re sending it out to. We can perceive ourselves as online publishers, and being a publisher is a role that has definitely changed along with the emergence of social media platforms.

With social media platforms providing both individuals and businesses so many opportunities, it’s easy to forget that we need to give our community as much thought as the content we publish. Making content available to our tribe is not enough.

As publishers, we need to make an effort to include and engage people. This should also be kept in mind when posting something. We should always ask ourselves whether our content is relevant for the community. Now, it’s also easier than ever to maintain this kind of approach, since we are offered the opportunity to know more about our individual readers or fans, through the transparency of social media.

In order to actually achieve greater engagement from your community and obtain the objectives you have set for your social presence, there are some  points that can be effective. They go as follows:

Care more about community than distribution
When publishing content on, for instance, your blog, it’s important to remember that it’s not only about making people hit the “share” button. If you want to have an engaged community, it’s important to make people leave a comment and give you feedback as well. Of course, it’s effective to have people spread your content as well, but this probably doesn’t create conversation in the same way – or at least not where you have published your content.

Build a strong editorial point of view
In continuation of the point above, it’s also crucial that you try to stand out from other publishers that write some of the same things as you. This means that you have to build a strong editorial point of view to keep a competitive edge. It’s good to build a community that is as passionate as you about the subjects you talk about. When your readers are looking for interaction, they also choose to interact with you if you give them the possibility.

Always be human
When we talk about how to create an engaged audience, you might think that the importance of being human is always on the list. However, that’s because it’s still so important! When fans want to have a conversation with you, it’s vital that they feel they can relate to you. They should not feel that they’re just talking to a computer. They should be able to understand you and feel who you actually are. Have a defined voice that is appropriate for exactly your brand and community.

Be up-to-date and innovative
What is also an important point to mention is the one about being up-to-date and innovative. New initiatives and changes on current social platforms are happening all the time and it puts pressure on you as a publisher. It’s crucial for you to be up-to-date with the development in technology, since you otherwise will fall behind very fast. If your community starts comparing you with competitors and their communities, it doesn’t take long for them to move to another player in the field, if you’re perceived as being less innovative. Convince your community that you’re an expert in what you do and that you both manage to think about content and community.

Have a team that sees the value
Talking about being up-to-date and innovative, it’s also worth mentioning that the team handling your social media channels needs to understand the value in a social presence. If your team consists of publishers who know how important a community is and what it can do for your business, you’re on the right way. Always use the same team, so you know that the people handling your community have the right priorities. Naturally, an online community should be on your business’ terms, but remember to give your readers or fans the feeling of engaging in a way that they want to. That is something that can help you increase engagement and then nurture both content and community at the same time to obtain the desired value.

Do you have other points to add? Let me know 🙂

 

Clickbait: Information overload! How can brands cut-through all the noise?

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 10.11.34You won’t believe the hidden message in this blog post! Or rather – there isn’t one, I just wanted you to click through and read this. But bear with me – I’m about to suggest something incredibly controversial – a never-heard-before admission by a social agency!*

As much as clickbait is the emotional catnip of our online experience and can drive consistent traffic for publishers like The Daily Mail and Huff Post who churn out multiple stories each day, it’s still hugely annoying to discover you’ve been duped by an over-excited headline promising to give you all the feels. For brands, adopting the same practice can negatively affect perception and ultimately – sales. So how can brands cut through all the sensational copy and deliver successful results without falling prey to creating clickbait themselves? How do they beat them rather than join them?

 

Platform crackdown

In the early days of social, Facebook optimised content based on engagement, meaning that if users clicked on a piece of content, it received a higher ranking in newsfeeds. In 2014 Facebook took steps to try and crack down on those gaming this ranking using clickbait, and in February this year it introduced an update based not just on what users engaged with in their feed, but what they wanted to see. Facebook’s advice is that Pages should avoid encouraging people to take action (such as encouraging lots of clicks), because this will likely only cause temporary spikes in metrics that might then be rebalanced by feed’s ranking over time – meaning the latest ranking favours content that users naturally engage with rather than content that users click on through coercion.

 

Last month Instagram followed suit and announced it would alter user’s feeds to optimise the content users “care about the most”, and Twitter has also adopted a similar change (although users can opt-out and revert back to the chronological feed). The changes will hopefully make it harder for clickbaiters to game feeds with meaningless content, but the real aim for the platforms hosting is to surface more engaging content more frequently so users return often and stay longer.

 

The same goes for brands on social. If the content they produce is consistently engaging, then users will interact more frequently, leading others to discover it through preferred ranking. Ultimately, these new newsfeed algorithms exist to generate more meaningful engagement, driving not just clicks, but conversations via comments, and shares.

 

Learn and adapt

Meaningful engagement begins with relevant content that creates value for the user and the brand. While an insight-driven content strategy is key to delivering this, brands should also adapt stories and messages based on the emotional needs and behavior of their audience. This is more than just a case of ‘test and learn’ or refining what has already been done. Brands must also evolve their approach in line with new behaviors, platforms, competitors and rankings or risk being left behind by those who do.

 

A good example of a brand that does this well is Buzzfeed, who’s CEO recently shared their new strategic thinking, revealing how their objective has changed from getting users to click through to their main site to view stories, to allowing content to be consumed directly on other platforms. The new direction was prompted by analysing which content generated clicks and discovering that users prefer to consume some types of content within the platform they are already on. The company also found a discernable difference between user interactions with the same content on different platforms, demonstrating how content demand and consumption vary across sites. What spreads like wildfire on Facebook might fail miserably elsewhere.

 

Relevance is key

For brands looking to use social content to drive click-through to their site, it’s important to balance the goal of the company (clicks to eyeballs, or conversions to sales, for example) with the desire and behavior of users on different sites, and monitor response over time. Relevance is key to interaction, and brands that think like publishers will know that relevance is an ever-changing chameleon. While users are bombarded with meaningless clickbait, there is ample opportunity for brands to channel the social zeitgeist by delivering valuable content that meets audience needs in the format, time and platform that suits them. If they get this right, they won’t need clickbait.

 

At Mindjumpers we help companies and brands to think as publishers and provide end-to-end social media management across multiple markets, encompassing full social strategy, planned and reactive content creation, analysis and reporting.

 

If you’d like to find out more please get in touch.

 

*Don’t be naughty and scroll to the last paragraph – I’ve hidden the controversial part somewhere to optimize your dwell time in finding it!