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How do I engage my social audience in 2016?

In the relatively short time it’s been around, social media has become an increasingly powerful medium. When you look at the time it took the telephone and television to reach an audience of 50 million – 75 and 13 years respectively – the 1.5 years it took Instagram is simply awe-inspiring. The 35 days it took Angry Birds, even more so!

The average person in the UK now spends two hours and 13 minutes on social media every day, whether it’s checking the news, or keeping up with friends. In the past 10 years social has overhauled our communication patterns. In doing this it has also overhauled the PR job role too, the way our clients communicate has changed and this has created an incredibly competitive and crowded landscape for brands on social.

So with so much noise on social media, how can you make your content engaging enough to stand out from the crowd? Here are my key tips to maximise engagement on each of the big five in 2016:


Key tip: Increase video content in 2016

Video content is the new ‘it’ type of content, so much so that Facebook is now prioritising it to take up 30 per cent of our newsfeeds. With video uploads to Facebook surpassing YouTube in November 2015, the platform’s autoplay video function has opened up a whole new way to engage in meaningful conversation with your audience.

The key thing to remember if you are looking to make Facebook video content for your organisation’s page is to ensure it is optimised to be watched (and understood) without sound. A prime example being the Buzzfeed Tasty videos, these simplistic captioned videos can be digested (mind the pun) easily when scrolling through your feed, they’re eye-catching and fun.


Key tip: Utilise Twitter’s poll function

If you’re a social media manager, you have no doubt asked a few questions in your time that have fallen flat. Unfortunately, commenting can be seen as a bit of a commitment from your social audience – if they aren’t entering a competition – the general feeling is often ‘why bother’. This is why I love Twitter’s new poll function, it makes answering a question so easy for your followers!

We have been utilising Twitter Polls across all our clients’ accounts the last few months to great success. With the addition of a little bit of advertising support behind them we have seen fantastic uptake in terms of engagement and have learnt a lot about our audiences. Just make sure you remember to tweet the results, as if you are asking a quiz question – it doesn’t allow you the option to program which answer is ‘right’, so don’t forget to share.


Key tip: Always consider photo composition

The key tip to great Instagram content is simple - make sure you images are well-presented. Therefore when you are taking your snaps it is really important to consider your photos composition and how it sits comparative to the big players in that industry. For instance, I have seen some pretty rubbish food shots on Instagram, and food is definitely one thing that is super-easy to style up!

It may seem obvious but if you are taking a photo, ensure you clear out any noise – such as rubbish bins, or a splash of sauce – from the shot. If you want some tips and tricks as to how to make your shots look polished I recommend incorporating photography techniques such as the rule of thirds.


Key tip: Have a plan for your stream

Periscope is set to become a big player in the world of social brand comms, it’s a great way to enable your followers to get a live access to your organisation, sharing with them behind the scene sneak-peaks and access to exclusive events they would otherwise be unable to see.

If you are looking at using Periscope as part of your social in 2016, my key tip is to have a plan and stick to it. As Periscope is all about live content, it is quite easy for brands to just figure they will ‘go with the flow’. However, the key to an engaging stream is to have a solid plan, do a basic story board of what you want to show. Also, make sure everyone else around you is aware you’re streaming live, probably best to not have a member of the team swear live on the internet!