Adapting your online engagement to suit your audience

Catherine Brown Food Standards Agency LinkedIn blog post
Catherine Brown Food Standards Agency LinkedIn blog post

With the Digital Action Plan, we encourage participants to take the time to understand their audiences and to develop a well thought-through approach to online engagement that reflects the particular needs and expectations of different audiences.

Recently, I’ve seen some good examples of Digital Action Plan participants successfully adapting their style of online engagement to better suit their audience. I’d like to share a few examples from our current Food Standards Agency cohort to recognise the good work our participants are doing and to encourage all of us to reflect on whether there is more we could be doing to improve how we approach online engagement.

1. Go where your audience is

Senior members of staff, including Chief Executive Catherine Brown, have published blog posts directly to LinkedIn, using the LinkedIn Pulse long form content feature.

Posting articles directly increases the content’s visibility to industry stakeholders, who are active on LinkedIn.

Direct posts are more visually appealing in users’ news feeds. They are also more likely to be relevant to users, thanks to participants being able to tag articles according to subject matter.

LinkedIn also makes it easier for people to comment and contribute to posts than is the case with traditional corporate blog posts. Readers tend to already be logged in, allowing them to comment without the faff of registering their details.

Here’s an example from Julie Pierce, Director Openness, Data & Digital at Food Standards Agency

Openness and Transparency – What???!!

2. Be part of the wider conversation

It’s often tempting to think that what we have to say is so important that others will want to know about. On social media, this can lead to us focusing on broadcasting our messages, rather than being part of the online conversation.

Earlier this year, Catherine Brown and Julie Pierce from the Food Standards Agency showed how to be part of the wider online conversation and still get across your message when they blogged about attending the Big Bang Data exhibition at Somerset House.

In case you missed it, Big Bang Data looked at the critical importance of data to how our modern world operates. In particular, the exhibition focused on how ‘Big Data’ and advances in computing power are transforming all aspects of our society, offering significant benefits but also potentially posing a risk to privacy and other freedoms.

Catherine and Julie’s posts served as personals reviews, helping their respective audiences discover the exhibition and decide whether it was for them. It also provided an opportunity to remind their audiences that ‘Big Data’ is highly relevant to the future of food and to start to present some of the work the Food Standards Agency is doing in this area.

I know where your cat lives (using citizen data)

Big Bang Data becomes human

3. A little humour goes a long way

On first glancing at Georgina Collins’ job title of Head of Chemical Safety Policy Unit at the Food Standards Agency, you wouldn’t necessarily be expecting a laugh-a-minute blog post. In her blog post, how to kill the over dinner conversation, Georgina makes a virtue of this, gently poking fun at the reactions she gets to her job.

Georgina’s use of humour provides a great way of helping more people understand the importance of food safety regulation. Having introduced herself on LinkedIn, Georgina will be able to follow up with more in-depth posts over the coming months.

How to kill the over dinner conversation