Have a quick scroll through your social media feeds (make sure you return to this post afterwards!) - you'll see that there's hundreds and thousands of stories, all vying for your attention. 

Did you pause to look at any of those posts in any detail? If so, what prompted you to do that? 

There could have been any number of reasons for the post grabbing your attention; I'd imagine those reasons might include an eye-catching graphic, a video, as well as text written in an engaging way.

Social media offers a brilliant way to connect and share knowledge with people from all over the world - and as such, the various social media platforms offer an invaluable resource to help you influence change. 

In the midst of the hundreds and thousands of other posts about all sorts of things - some useful, others....less so, you need to make sure yours stands out from the crowd - and, crucially, seen by those whom you seek to influence.

When posting on social media, always think:

"So what, and who cares?"

Some questions to think of:

  • Why am I posting this?
  • What am I hoping to achieve?
  • Who do I want to reach with this?
  • What do I want people to do, or feel as a result of this post?
  • How will I make people want to care enough share the post? (Sharing, of course, means spread and reach).

Asking yourself these questions will help you to craft a post that grabs people's attention, and compels people to act. Crafting an effective post, especially on Twitter where there's a character limit takes time - and it's worth the investment.

Things you can do to help your post attract attention include (while these pointers focus on Twitter, the principles are relevant to other platforms such as Facebook and Instagram:

  • Add an appropriate graphic that illustrates the point you're trying to make, or action you'd like people to take - tweets with pictures gain much more engagement than those without (try to make sure you give credit to the source of the graphic)  
  • Make use of appropriate emojis and gifs - remember, we're all human and we enjoy a bit of fun! 
  • Include relevant hashtags. This will not only help build your networks as you'll be able to find others using the same hashtag and they'll be able to find you, you'll be better able to measure and track the effectiveness and reach of your message. There are free tools available such as FollowTheHashtag and Symplur.
  • If you've got too much to say for in one tweet, don't worry. You can signpost to further information by adding a link to a website. If that information doesn't already exist elsewhere, you could set up a blog. Alternatively, you could create a thread. This is where you reply to your own tweets so it's all threaded together one chain. Here's an example.

More resources:

10 Tips for Social Media Success (blog post)

What's Your Return on Social Media Influence? (blog post)

The Importance of 'So What' (short video by Dan Connors via Crafty Counsel)


(Image credit: Gaping Void)