We know it's a difficult subject, and finding ways to engage readers, attract new readers and provide useful information is essential. We have an ever shortening attention span and on a daily basis are bombarded with information from many sources. Here are a few tips to help you focus your social media efforts to be as effective as possible:
What is the goal of your social media engagement?
Be mindful about what your articles and posts will compel your readers to do, such as: engage you further by contacting you, comment on your articles and posts, access your services, sign up for more information, call you, apply for a job, volunteer, donate etc. Knowing what you would like your readers to do, providing an avenue of access to you through email, telephone number, posting on your blog or social media site, sharing information etc. and preparing yourself and your staff for hearing from people as a direct result of your social media engagement is as important as the engagement itself.
Light-hearted heavy discussion!
Some people take the subject matter waaaayyy toooo seriously and are more passionate about it then the average Joe! Having said that, your expertise in the field is of great value if you can present it in an engaging vibrant way that is informative without too much negative emotion. When I teach about the dying process to massage therapy students I tell strange and engaging stories about the patients I've had the pleasure of serving mixed in with the educational material that they need to know.
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I bet most of you were able to figure out the heading of this tip. And if you couldn't, it still grabbed your attention which is exactly what you hope to do when you communicate on the internet. Or maybe you find supernurse entertaining. She looks even better with her cape flapping in the wind. Whatever the method you use, knowing what will get readers attention is the key. People read websites in a predictable way, so placing your articles strategically on your site will result in more clicks on your links. Visual readers are engaged by pictures and colors while detail oriented readers love to see lists and tables that summarize the content. However you must put your listening ears on first, so you can get your finger on the pulse of what the people in your community are looking for. Then find interesting ways to present the material.
Is there anyone out there?
The last thing you want to do is to present information without engage your readers. Providing the opportunity to give feedback, creating a discussion forum, making professional online services available or even asking your readers to guide the discussion is very useful. People love to give their opinion and your goal is to provide resources and services around the subjects that they are looking for. If you don't.....you've missed the boat!
While your journey into the online world may be frought with questions, look to the people who are successful at it, and follow their lead. Identifying your mission for your organization in the social media forum and be an active participating tangible human in the process. On a personal level, we are doing well with our facebook, you tube, linked, myspace and blog pages, tracking and following our friends and families. Some of us tell the world far too much information, while others create a stellar online personality. It's up to you! You at least need to be on the train and enjoying the scenery!