I see myself as someone who has grown with social media. The other day I was discussing with a close friend about how our presence on social media has adapted to suit our current lives. When you look back over the past ten years and think about your social media footprint, isn’t it amazing how much has changed?
My first ever ‘life’ on social media was MySpace (remember that!?) Somewhere out there in the digital world of 2006, there is a profile describing me as a student working at a newsagent who loves dogs. In some ways not a lot has changed – I still love dogs, although the social and digital life I now lead is vastly different. I cannot for the life of me remember the last time I logged into Myspace but I can remember why I left – everyone got Facebook. And by everyone I mean, my audience.
I feel that’s the pivotal thing that underpins a social platform’s success – audience retention. Yes, we use social media to be ourselves but really at the end of the day we all use it to communicate with others – the ones that matter to us. So as our lives change and our social circles adapt to reflect this shift, our social platforms need to host our latest audience for us to want to remain a member. After all, this audience is our life now.
These days I have active accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and LinkedIn. Collectively it’s a big group of people, but I live different lives on each – because of the audience. I send snaps to my close friends when I don’t feel the need to tell the story to my 400 odd Facebook ‘friends’. I Instagram something that I feel my followers would like to see on a train each morning, because that’s what I like to see in return. I tweet something that is short and sweet and usually involving digital because that’s what I enjoy to consume from that audience. I post innovative and career devolvement milestones on LinkedIn because that’s what that audience wants to know. Bringing me to the realisation of my social life’s purpose; I tell my audiences what I want them to hear, see and feel. I cater to them.
In my role as a consultant I encourage people to understand their social media audiences because it ultimately determines the content they should share. If you cater to your audience’s needs, you should in turn retain them. They want to be engaged, knowledgeable and interested in your content – that’s why they followed, liked or added you in the first place. It’s now your role to fulfil that obligation to your audience. What does your audience want to know? What can you give them that someone else can’t? Look at the social media presence of others, read blogs on latest trends, try new things – social media is ever changing so even the experts need to work to stay on top to please their audiences.
Developments in digital technology will continue to revolutionise the way we communicate messages to our people. There is no need to be shy, embrace it – everyone in your network should be doing the same.
This morning I purchased groceries with my fingerprint on the phone that I was also using to message a friend and listen to music. To be in that moment 10 years ago I needed a swipe card with a pin number, mp3 device and a separate phone to send an SMS on. What a different, efficient and beautiful digital life I now lead 2016. Now, let me take a snapchat of that future office dog on the train and Instagram that morning view, they’re going to love it.
Feel free to share this with a relevant audience (and thanks for reading).
Feature image courtesy of: Christiaan Colen