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Beyond the like: how to get more engagement from your social media audience

Building a Social NetworkIn the five seconds it takes to read this sentence, 30,000 tweets were posted on Twitter. In 60 seconds on Facebook, 510 comments are posted, 293,000 statuses are updated, and 136,000 photos are uploaded. As the number of these updates build over minutes, hours and days, your audience’s attention gets smaller and smaller. Couple that with the increasing limits of the Facebook algorithm and projected Twitter content filtering and you run the risk of not even having them see your organization’s social media posts at all.

So how can you use social media channels to better reach your online community?

You can start by leveraging your existing social media strategy by turning those channels into an acquisition tool. Doing this captures your audience’s attention and move them into a more regular, reliable digital relationship with you. While your audience may not always pay attention to your posts on social media, if you can get them to sign up to receive emails or text messages, you can reach your entire audience on through those direct channels at any time, increasing your odds of engaging them to promote services, enhance awareness and improve involvement in your community.

 Here are four tactics to consider when looking to extend the life of your messages across multiple channels using social media:

Start with a static email sign-up

One of the most effective and low-maintenance ways to convert Facebook followers into an engaged audience is to add an email sign-up app to your Facebook page. Any time your Facebook fans visit your page, they’ll be presented with an easy way to subscribe to your email lists without ever having to leave Facebook. Check if your digital communications platform offers an opt-in app to subscribe to your emails or text messages.

Optimize real-time location-based sign-ups

Location-based social networks like Foursquare allow government agencies to drive people toward nearby e-government services. By integrating an email or text-messaging alert sign-up option into a Foursquare tip, you can make it easy for citizens to access ongoing information. For example, if a user checks into a state park on Foursquare, you might include a link to sign up for a specific email list with information about park services. Some digital communication platforms, including GovDelivery, will offer the option to include a short URL that can be left as a tip promoting direct sign-up, making it easy for users to sign up for your emails on their phones.

Promote email and text messaging updates via social media

People who follow you on Facebook and Twitter don’t necessarily know what additional communication channels you offer, especially if they’re just finding you for the first time, so make it easy for them to find out! Use weekly or monthly social media posts to promote your email and text message communications and convert observers from newsfeeds and timelines into subscribers. Make sure to entice your followers with value propositions that make it clear why they’d benefit from receiving your communications on a more regular basis.

Invite new audience members to promote your outreach options through social media

Encouraging your audience to speak directly to their networks about the value they’ve received from your organization can obviously make a big impact. So don’t forget to encourage your audience to share and broadcast the new information they’re learning to organically expand your reach. If your digital communications platform offers it, try to append social sharing to the end of your email sign-up process, so new subscribers can easily tell their friends, families and followers they’ve signed up for your communications. You can also include a suggested tweet and hashtag at the top of your messages.

FloridaFWC Suggested Social Post in Email

For six more great ideas on how you can expand your reach and increase your organization’s impact, check out our post “Build your audience first — 7 ways to grow your reach for greater impact.”