Takeaways from the Boston PRSA Social Media Summit

Keeping up with social media

Last month, we had the opportunity to learn from successful social media professionals from a variety of organizations in the area at Boston’s PRSA Social Media Summit. As a PR professional who is constantly scrolling through social media myself, whether it be to connect with friends or to draft engaging social posts for a client, I was excited to see what advice they had to offer.

The opening keynote speaker was Tory Starr, Director of Social Media at WGBH, which was a presentation that I found especially interesting. Her key points touched upon tips and tricks regarding social governance, engagement, storytelling and social strategy. Among all of these topics, however, there were a few key takeaways that resonated with me, which I outlined below.

Understand what your audience wants to see

Who is your audience, and how do you connect with them? Understanding what exactly your audience wants to get out of the content they consume is essential in order to maximize your social content. It’s difficult to connect with your audience if you don’t have a full grasp on what their motives are when consuming content. For example, there are many people who watch the news, but among this news-watching audience, everyone has different objectives. Which individuals are just flipping through the channels to see what’s on TV tonight? Which ones are searching for outlets that deliver trustworthy news?

How does your audience want to consume your content?

On top of understanding what your audience is looking for when consuming content, it’s also essential to recognize how your audience actually consumes this media. Some people prefer consuming social content through mobile devices, and some prefer to use the computer. Beyond this, some of your audience may prefer to consume your content by reading text, and some may prefer to consume it through watching a video. Once you understand which audience consumes media through your various platforms, then you can assign each platform to get in touch with a specific audience. When implementing sequential storytelling across social, it’s important to take into consideration how your audience consumes media to ensure that you are maximizing your content.

Where is social media going?

Social media is evolving rapidly by the day, and we need to think of social media as more than just Facebook and Twitter. While keeping in mind that people are consuming more content through their mobile devices, it is also important to diversity your mix of social platforms that you utilize because different platforms target different kinds of people. Diversifying the social platforms you use will also lead to overall higher engagement.

Beyond this idea, audiences as a whole are being drawn more towards people rather than companies. For example, people are more likely to connect with and follow Anderson Cooper rather than the outlet of CNN. What people say to people is more important than what brands say to people. Instead of trying to connect to your audience through your brand, consider facilitating this connection through the people of the brand.

We are also shifting from the idea of producing content for the reaction, to producing content for the share. We are also changing the idea of success. Gaining more followers does not necessarily equate to success. Instead of solely aiming for your audience to react to what you are posting and gaining followers, think of your social platforms more as a storytelling platform that your audience wants to share on their own social accounts.

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