Improve Your Social Presence

and Watch your Engagement Grow!

1. Identify Your Target Audience – and Follow Them!

Knowing who you want to engage with your page is step #1 in growing a healthy social media account. If you are looking for patients with heart disease to follow your pages, you should think about the types of people who might have heart disease (those who are overweight, elderly, have a history of smoking, etc.) and find accounts that these people might already be following. Take a look at the ‘Followers’ of those identified pages and start following their users and liking the content on their pages. This will grab their attention since people almost always look to find out more about the users who engage with them and give you a chance to have those target user see your page and – if you have great content and have a relevant page that interests them – they should start engaging with your content and following you back!

Hint: Be sure to unfollow people after a while. You want your page to maintain a health relationship of following/follower ratio.

2. Use the Power of the #Hashtag

Hashtags are powerful tools that can help other people find your content through social media. By using hashtags at the end of your posts that cite related content, other users can find your content if they are searching that term. For example, tagging an educational post about heart disease with #heartdisease will allow users searching for either of those terms or on any relevant pages that use those tags to find your content as well. Also, be sure to use hashtags that are not extremely common (i.e. #funny) or too unique (#yoursitesname — unless you are using it to build a personal gallery or for branding purposes) or your content may be buried with a plethora of other posts or lost if no one is searching for that tag.

3. Post Daily

Or at least several times a week. The only way to build an engaged audience is to be in consistent communication – and the easiest way to do this is by posting. This might seem time consuming, and it very well can be, but the long term benefits of building an engaged fan base are well worth it. By posting often with high quality content, your audience will begin to expect your posts and trust what you have to say and share. Luckily most social networks integrate smoothly with one another so that if you post to Instagram (for example), your Twitter and Facebook accounts will automatically share the same post if you would like them to. This can help you reach multiple audiences across a variety of social mediums with a lot of saved effort.

4. Engage with Other Content

In addition to using hashtags, the easiest way for other users to find your content is by visiting other pages and engaging with their posts. This means liking, commenting, and sharing things that you find relevant. Doing so will not only grab the attention of the page administrator and help to build a relationship, but also other users who may see your comment and find it funny, educational, etc. which may prompt him/her to visit your page in turn. Think of it as another version of the Golden Rule: engaging with someone else’s content is the easiest way for get their attention and prompt them to engage with yours.

5. Hold a Contest

Who doesn’t like the chance to win something? Whether you’ve established an engaged audience or are still building your page, a contest is a great way to offer something to your users and grab the attention of people who might not know about you. The prize should be something either relevant to your page and something that lots of people in your target audience would want. For
instance, if you want to attract women aged 40-65, giving away a free bowling ball is probably going to flop. Use your common sense when holding contests and put yourself in the shoes of your audience. Also, don’t think that just holding a contest will be enough. Make sure you spend a lot of time promoting through hashtags, cross page promotion, emailing, and whatever other tools you have at your disposal.

BONUS TIP: With everything in social media, consistency is key. Like cultivating a skill or a houseplant, social pages need attention and care. If you follow these five tips regularly, your social pages will grow and thrive!

The Takeaway

The power of social media is real and you can start using it to boost awareness about your research site, recruit patients, or simply connect with people. In order to do this effectively, you have to use social media actively, consistently, and with honesty.

Post quality content, take your time to develop posts that people will find interesting and that you know will bring value to people’s lives. You may not go viral over night but, with patience and consistency on your side, following the rules above will help you expand your reach and improve your social presence over time.

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