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5 Expert Approaches for Engaging the Right Audience on Social Media

Social media is to marketing as coffee is to your morning routine. It’s no longer a question of if you’re using social media, but how you’re using it. Is it having the desired effect on your marketing? Are you reaching the right people?

To answer these questions, we decided to talk with five individuals who’ve developed a keen understanding of what makes social media work for their brands. We asked each of them the following question:

What has been your most successful approach for engaging the right audience on social media?

Here are their top answers.

Daily content planning

headshot of adelyn biedenbach of the florida panthers“Our most successful approach to engaging the right audiences has been daily content planning with an emphasis on high-quality writing, creative, and videography. Hockey is a lifestyle brand and we’re learning more and more every day through qualitative feedback and quantitative feedback. We also look at what content performs and doesn’t perform to determine who our South Florida fans are and what they want. We explore, market, and create group nights geared towards target segments and aim to develop an array of content that appeals to different age groups in our fan base.” – Adelyn Biedenbach, Florida Panthers

Highlighting the most relevant events

headshot of matt vinson from daytona“When thinking about how we at Daytona International Speedway successfully engage our audience, we have to touch on the unique position we’re in. We’re a facility that is open 300+ days a year hosting some of the world’s largest sporting events, including the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA, DAYTONA Supercross, music festivals, American Ninja Warrior tapings, daily tours, and of course the DAYTONA 500. With such a variety of events and entertainment, our social channels essentially act as a melting pot of different audiences who engage with those specific pieces of content. What’s been most successful for us has been creating a highly targeted content calendar focused on the most relevant upcoming event at our facility and our major ‘tent-pole’ events while also periodically keeping the audiences of our other ancillary or more niche events engaged with content featuring those events. This creates a ‘seasonal’ approach to our content, while also letting fans of the events not in ‘season’ know we still care about them and want to engage with them year-round.” – Matt Vinson, Daytona International Speedway

Analyzing fans and influencers

headshot of sarah boison from communities in schools“My most successful approach involves gaining insight into the users who are currently engaging with content on our social platforms. Being able to do an audience analysis and learn about the demographics, geography, and interests of our users really helps to pinpoint the type of content they respond favorably to. We’re actually using Zoomph to better understand who our influencers are and to develop a robust influencer engagement strategy that drives users like them to share and engage with our content. We also aim to develop stronger relationships with individuals and groups who are already champions for our organization.” – Sarah Boison, Communities in Schools

Thoughtful experimentation

headshot of bryan van balen from nestle usa“Successfully engaging with the right audience happens at the crossroads of preparation and experimentation. It starts with knowing who your audience is and where they spend their time online. With all the demographic data available to social media marketers today, there is no excuse for not knowing your audience. However, social media remains an art; you can tailor your message down to a unique interest or a zip code, but it takes trial and error to nail down what resonates. That’s the approach that has been most successful for me–throw the most educated and informed guess at the wall, see if it sticks and adapt.” – Bryan Van Balen, Nestlé USA

Emotional storytelling

headshot of sally mobley from the university of south carolina“When you’re talking about an extremely large fan and alumni base, it can be difficult to tailor the same message to the entire audience. At South Carolina, we’ve found success in bringing our audience together through emotional storytelling using video. We know where each audience spends the most time. So, we try to bring the story to them by reformatting videos, making sure that each audience is able to receive and view the video but in different mediums.

In addition to that, reading the sentiment of our audience grants us the ability to know what kind of content our audience wants to see in certain situations. For instance, if all odds are against the program and we win against those odds, we take light of the content and poke fun at it. However, building up the expectations (and hyping up) the fan base can get dicey when you experience loss and adversity. We are able to read that sentiment and adjust our strategy week to week. For example, we may lean towards lighter video content when the sentiment is more negative around loss. We are able to lean on our brand attributes, such as being resilient, committed, and hardworking and weave those into our social messaging and visual storytelling. In all, understanding the sentiment of the audience has allowed us to tailor our visual storytelling strategy week to week.” – Sally Mobley, University of South Carolina

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