Working with social media can be fun—but it’s not easy.
It’s a difficult task to build your organization’s reach and engagement online, especially if you work for a brand that’s not inherently fun or sexy. Spencer Sutherland, public relations and social media manager for CHG Healthcare, knows the uphill climb well—but uses several strategies and tactics to increase online interaction both inside and outside his organization’s walls.
Follow these three tips to boost your social media content and engagement:
1. Tell great stories.
Storytelling is the primary ingredient in outstanding content, so if you want to engage people online, find and tell an interesting tale.
There is no perfect length for a video or article. If you can tell your whole story in 30 seconds, fantastic! If it takes 10 minutes or more, that’s fine, too—as long as you can keep people’s attention throughout the story.
Not every story is going to be a winner, however, so take a good look at stories before you share them.
“Ask yourself if it something that you would read our watch,” Sutherland says. “If it’s not appealing to you, there’s no way other people are going to be interested.”
People should be at the heart of your stories, too—not your products and services.
Whether or not you’re in B2B, you’re in B2C, at some point your end product is going to touch a person. So, why not show off the people that are making that happen—and why not talk about the people who are actually helping?
PR and marketing pros need look no further than their own organizations for a collection of stories waiting to be told—but you’ll have to leave your desk to uncover them.
“A lot of writers prefer to sit behind their desk, but if you really want to get good stories, it’s important to go outside of your comfort zone,” Sutherland says.
Sutherland says this method will also help you strengthen relationships with your co-workers:
Talk with people—especially those who work in other parts of the company. Tell them some of the interesting stories you’ve been hearing and they’ll likely reciprocate with stories of their own. Not only does spending face-to-face time with people help you come up with story ideas, it helps you build long-term relationships.
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2. Embrace visuals.
Sutherland says that more than ever, consumers will watch videos. Sharing video content can also help declining reach on platforms such as Facebook, which give preference to that content type.
However, you don’t have to blow your budget to produce and share engaging videos:
“Luckily, smart phones take great video, and Facebook Live, Instagram, YouTube, and Periscope all make it easy to broadcast your message,” Sutherland says. “Your video doesn’t need to be perfect to capture your audience’s attention, but make sure the audio quality is good.”
Here’s an example from CHG’s 2017 Halloween celebration:
If you don’t share videos, use images to make your social media posts and blogs more enticing. Sutherland says, “You want a visual that grabs people and makes them want to read the text of the post.”
Use GIFs, infographics and pictures to pump up your text—but skip unnatural stock photos or images that don’t match the story.
“Make sure your images complement the story and make it easier to consume,” Spencer says.
3. Crowdsource your content.
Whether it’s a hashtag or a photo contest, asking consumers to share their stories and images can help you gather excellent content for your next campaign. It can also boost engagement and give consumers another reason to watch your social media profiles.
Because employees are often the biggest source of stories, asking for content inside your organization’s walls can be highly effective. Just as with customers, asking employees to contribute will naturally encourage them to interact with your social media posts—because they’ll be more inclined to engage with their own and co-workers’ stories.
It takes a lot of work to get your people to engage with your content. We’ve created a street team made up of one employee from each division. The street team is tasked with taking photos of their team and sharing them with our social media experts.
We also make the most out of the digital signs in our offices. Not only do we post corporate messages, we also share our Instagram feed. Any time our people use our hashtag, their photos show up throughout the building. Work is more fun when you can see your own photos throughout the building.
Sutherland says CHG encourages employees to interact with the organization on social media from their very first day:
To make it easy, we have them get out their phones and look at all of our social channels while they’re still in training. And to make them instant social media celebrities, we post photos of them on their first day.
Learn more insights from Sutherland in his Facebook Live interview with Ragan Communications’ chief executive, Mark Ragan—and then join us at our Social Media Conference at Disney World to listen to his presentation: