2.6 Billion People Want to Know…
What captures and holds the attention 2.6 billion social media users on Facebook alone? (Statista, 2017). Social Media attention and engagement builds from the simple matter of what the purpose of social media networks was originally designed to do, to create a meeting place for interaction between people. People are attracted to things that grab their attention and then remain engaged by what catches their interest. Engagement through published content such as pictures, videos, music, or articles, are why social media exists. Facebook, for example has 1.2 billion monthly active users. “Social networking has replaced email as the top Internet activity among online users in the United States, averaging at least 37 minutes a day on their favorite social network”. (Gregorio, n.d.) 60% of the time, users access social media on mobile devices, more than spent on laptops or desktops. Currently the dominant network, Facebook boasts cumulative user time of at least 114 billion minutes each month and those numbers are in the US alone!
Capturing Attention in Social Media
Thales Teixeira PhD, an Associate Professor in the Marketing Unit at Harvard Business School, is well known for developing a scientific approach to the attention-capturing process. He provides five tips for attracting attention:
· Avoid overly prominent branding. People tend to avoid what is perceived as attempts at persuasion.
· Immediately create an emotional response. “Thanks to a new study from the University of California, Yale, and Facebook, we know that emotional responses can be contagious across social networks”. (Melin, 2014).
· Surprise, but don’t shock. According to Teixeira, 90% of viral visual content is humor. “There are two types of humor: pure and shocking. While “pure” humor triggers viewing and sharing, “shocking” humor only promotes viewing”. (Goldberg, 2016).
· Target users who will share your message. People share content when it serves their own self-interest. Emotion will inspire people to watch or read content, but sharing the content is about the sender’s personality. A user shares to gain social recognition, it is not just about content, according to Teixeira.
This presents the next challenge. Once user attention has been established, how do you establish and maintain engagement?
Maintaining Engagement in Social Media
Social media is similar to meeting new people at a gathering. The more you interact with new people, the more they become interested in your personal or business brand. People you interact with on social media can become friends, followers, or fans if initial engagements get their attention and interest enough for them to want to know what is next. To keep the interest going however, you need to maintain a social media presence on a regular basis. Giving people, a sense of value and importance expected through social media engagement is what creates audiences, sharing, and inviting others from their own networks “into the fold”. So, what inspires continuing engagement?
· Controversy: People love stories. If the stories provoke thought, sometimes unpopular view-points, or debate conversation and engagement follows.
· Shared Resources: People like to feel important. Providing resources, a video, a presentation, an article, will feed this emotion if nothing is asked for in return and will create future engagement.
· Conversations: People love conversations. Taking time to engage in conversation helps builds relationships and loyalty.
· Personality: Personality helps people identify with the writer and develops familiarity and trust. This is an important aspect of maintaining engagement.
· Entertainment: “People use social networks because they enjoy doing it and are entertained with the many activities they can do there. Feed this need for entertainment by providing them with the content they need”. (Gregorio, n.d.) Remember humor’s 90% mentioned in attracting attention.
· Timeliness: Be aware and informed of current events, particularly if they are especially relevant to your target audience. Current events are also great opening points in establishing social media engagement.
Next things, and these may be some of the most important considerations, are:
· The title: the heading that brings people to you at the beginning.
· The hook: where I tell you my next blog will talk about these important things and make you want to come back and check it out. The call to action: where I tell you hurry and connect with me before time runs out, so I can keep you up to date with all my latest.
Goldberg, C. (January 13, 2016). “5 Ways to Grab Your Customer’s Attention in a Distracted World”. Retrieved from https://www.appboy.com/blog/5-ways-grab-customers-attention-distracted-world/
Gregorio, J. B. (n.d.) “Comprehensive Look at Social Media Engagement and Why It’s Important?”. Digital Marketing Philippines. Retrieved from http://digitalmarketingphilippines.com/comprehensive-look-at-social-media-engagement-and-why-its-important/
Melin, E. (March 18, 2014). “Big Opportunity for Social Media Campaigns with Emotional Appeal”. Social Media Today. Retrieved from http://www.socialmediatoday.com/content/big-opportunity-social-media-campaigns-emotional-appeal.
Statista. (September 2017). “Most famous social network sites worldwide as of September 2017, ranked by number of active users (in millions)”. Retrieved from https://www.statista .com/statistics/272014/global-social-networks-ranked-by-number-of-users/