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Does Your Social Media Content Annoy Or Engage?

Do your social media posts annoy your readers? If so, you run the risk of a social media contentshrinking readership as your audience turns to other social media accounts where they can find useful, entertaining and compelling content.

With the amount of time that people now spend on social media, your business can't afford to post irritating content that could cost you readers.  Neilsen's Social Media Report 2012 says that 30 percent of mobile online user time and 20 percent of personal computer time is spent on social media sites.

Identify and avoid social media content that turns readers off. Instead, concentrate on creating engaging social posts, tweets and status updates that will broaden your online audience.

When Social Media Content Becomes Annoying

So what annoys readers? Review your last week of Tweets, Facebook status updates, LinkedIn posts, and Pins. If your social media strategy includes some or all of these mistakes, it's time to revisit it.

  • Too many posts: A constant stream of social media posts every few minutes, is annoying even if your content is excellent. People are busy, and don't have time to sift through mountains of updates. Instead, choose your updates and time them carefully based on the data generated by your social media analytics.
  • One-way communication: Are you guilty of only posting hard-sales type social media updates? An occasional post mentioning a new product or sale that may benefit your readers in some way is fine, but readers quickly tire of the in-your-face sales tactics that some businesses use online.
  • Social media advertisements:  Along the same lines, according to Neilsen's Social Media Report 2012, about 33 percent of social media users are irritated by blatant advertisements on social media sites. Remember, they are on the sites to socialize, interact, and communicate.
  • Useless or fluff content: Have you heard the expression "Content is King?" It applies to your social media accounts as well as website content. Readers don't want to waste their time scrolling through Twitter feeds full of useless, stale, or repetitive updates. Prior to publishing each new post, ask yourself, "Does this provide value to my readers or lead them to content that does? Will it open up a new conversation?" If the answer to both is no, it could fall into the "annoying" category.

How to Engage Readers With Social Media

Replace your annoying social media content with posts that grab your readers' attention in a positive and unique way, using language that inspires readers to take action and participate in your online conversation. Think of your social media strategy as a vehicle to drive a conversation with readers and potential customers, instead of as a platform for broadcasting your sales message. Look for opportunities such as these to create two-way communication and invite your audience to share their thoughts, comments and feedback. This keeps your readers engaged and involved in your social media efforts.
  • Customer Service: Social media provides a unique channel for site owners and businesspeople to provide customer service and customer care online, a convenient alternative to telephone or face-to-face contact. This is an excellent way to encourage reader communication via Twitter or Facebook.
  • Contests and Giveaways:  Use your social media accounts to run contests and giveaways. Some businesses offer online ballots, discounts, or giveaways through Facebook once participants "Like" a Facebook business page. Engage your readers and use their creativity and input to develop new products, services, or even web content. For example, do you need a name for your new widget? Run a contest through your social media account and award a prize for the winning entry.
  • Reader Recommendations and Stories: A great way to get readers to participate is to ask them to share stories and recommendations on how they use your products and or services. As Neilsen's Social Media Report states, people are more receptive to reading about the experiences and recommendations of others than viewing ads on their favorite social media sites. 

Create an Online Community Around Your Brand

Change your mindset about the role social media plays in your business. Instead of thinking about how you can use it to sell your products or services, consider social media an online tool for creating a community around your brand, and as a virtual meeting place to interact with your followers and customers. Remember to keep your posts short, and position them as conversation starters that compel your readers to respond. Once you change the way you view social media opportunities, it will become easier to think of creative, compelling and engaging social media posts. 

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