10 ways to find common ground with your social media audience

True story. I was having lunch with a colleague of mine a couple years ago or so, and as I began to take pictures of the food on my plate he asked me why I would do such a thing.

I explained to him that food was a huge draw on social media, and that the restaurant where we were eating might reply to me if I tweeted about it, as might my followers. I was as convinced then as I am now that it’s a myth that no one on social media cares what you’re eating for lunch. After all, everybody likes food.

While there’s an art and a science to success on social media, there’s also a certain psychology that brands should note.

If you can identify your audience’s hot buttons and trigger points – that is, what’s going to capture their attention and cause them to respond – you can increase the chances of your social media activities resulting in more revenue, as opposed to simply more effort on your part.

Of course, the majority of your content should be focused on your products, services and industry. But a portion of your posts should stray beyond those parameters every once in a while, highlighting your employees and corporate culture. The brand that portrays itself as interesting, entertaining and fun proves it has a personality, not just a pulse.

Which topics and themes are popular with almost everyone? What can you say or show that will resonate with practically everyone within ear- or eyeshot?

Here are 10 ways to find common ground with your audience on social media:

1. Love

What the Beatles sang in 1968 is still true in 2015, both in real life (IRL) and online, too – “all you need is love.” And by love, I mean love in all its incarnations. Heartfelt romance between two people is one thing. But brands can also show love for those who work for them, their customers, their families and friends. Gratitude. Fondness. Appreciation. Praise. Love in the broadest sense is what we’re celebrating here.

Example:

2. Recognition

If love is too strong, at the very least you can acknowledge the presence of your audience. Surprise and delight them with free swag. Treat them like VIPs. Provide them with a discount.

Give them a shout-out. Move them to the front of the line. Even if what you have to offer is only a favorite, like, reply or retweet, your followers and fans will be grateful for the nod.

Example: Earl of Sandwich https://twitter.com/earlofsandwich/status/618207817535610881

3. Food

You don’t have to be a restaurant to share pictures of food on social media. Everybody eats. But don’t share just anything that’s on the plate in front of you, anytime, anywhere.

If you’re enjoying a gourmet meal on a very special occasion, that’s a moment to seize. If there’s an opportunity to associate your brand with food in any way, shape or form, take advantage of it and take plenty of pictures.

Example: WSM Partners LLP

4. Sunsets

It’s something everyone can relate to, something everyone likes. No one can deny the magnificence of a colorful sky when the sun disappears below the horizon.

No one can complain about seeing a beautiful sunset. One of the most popular images in our personal feeds should make at least an occasional appearance in yours.

Example: Carnival Cruise Line 

5. Humor

As I’ve written before here on ClickZ, “many brands are going out of their way to let their hair down on social media, taking great pains to reveal their lighter sides.”

The last thing they want is to be perceived as uptight and self-centered, unable to take – or share – a joke every so often.

Humor shows you’re human, not some stiff corporate logo. Smile and the whole world smiles with you. Clown around from time to time and you’ll have your followers at your feet.

Example: State Farm 

state farm

6. Current Events

Many trending topics are related to what’s happening in the news. A big game. Political elections. Awards shows. Celebrity gossip. National holidays. The whole world is paying attention. And sharing their opinions with hashtags.

This is your chance to not just weigh in with timely, relevant commentary, but to newsjack the story, injecting yourself into the global conversation in order to be seen by a much broader audience.

Example: Goose Island Beer Co 

7. Weather

Small talk can be a big deal on social media. No, really. It’s actually a great way to break the ice and strike up a dialogue with someone you’ve met for the first time.

Ask them how the weather is in their neck of the woods. Tell them it’s raining cats and dogs where you live. You never know where the conversation is going to lead.

Example: WCVB Channel 5 Boston

wcvb

8. Inspiration

People use social media for a number of different reasons – marketing, sales, networking, entertainment, gossip, news and information, you name it – but everyone could use a lift now and then.

Pump up your audience with motivational sayings and stories, anything you can think of that fills them with confidence, boosts their egos, inspires them to achieve more than they could imagine and helps them to enjoy life to the fullest.

 

Example: Jazzercise Official

9. Selfies

I’m not going to lie. Selfies have been kind of a big deal lately. Take them. Share them. Ask for them.

As I’ve written before here on ClickZ, “The selfie has gone from a silly little trend to a mainstream phenomenon, something almost everyone has embraced 

Selfies aren’t going anywhere soon but onwards and upwards.

Example: Nathan’s

nathans

10. Pets

There’s a reason pet ownership in this country has more than tripled since the 1970s and that more than 60% of U.S. households today include at least one pet.

Dogs, cats, fish and ferrets. Pets are wildly popular. Employee pets. Customer pets. Ordinary pets. Unusual pets. Include them in your content stream and you’ll get plenty of likes, favorites and retweets, never mind all the oohs and aahs.

Example: Steelcase Store

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