You might be using social media for marketing, campaigning or bringing attention to a worthy cause, but you'll be battling against every other person who has the same intention or is just there for a fun time.
How do you cut through all the social media noise and get people to notice what you have to say?
Fact is, it's not always easy. To help you, here are 10 ways to make your message more likely to get noticed …
#1: Simplify Your Message
Your first job is to edit your message down to the bare essentials. What are the facts? Can you use the most simple language to get your point across? Could it be misinterpreted?
This doesn't necessarily mean you should be super-brief, but it does mean that you can crystallize your ideas and make sure you're very clear on what the recipient should understand, take away and do.
Develop a hook. Why is this interesting, why should anyone care and what's different in a beneficial way?
Test your message to make sure it's understood. A complicated message isn't going to be fully understood, won't be remembered, and therefore will certainly not be forwarded or acted on.
#2: Find Your Space
If noise is getting in the way of your message being noticed, don't add to your problem by choosing the most busy times and locations!
Yes there will be more people who might potentially see your messages at peak times, but you have to weigh that against the fact that there are more competing messages at those times too.
The same with venue. If everyone else is competing for attention on a certain site, in a certain group, presenting in a certain way, you need to test to see if an alternative time, location or format is going to work better for you.
#3: Use Appropriate Channels
Following the previous point, where and how you present your message is as important as what you say.
Rather than just stating your facts, perhaps you need to tell a story. Pulling at the heartstrings with a human interest narrative often has more impact than a set of bullet points.
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It might be that all you need to do is zig when others zag; for example, use short headlines when others are wordy, or a long headline when everyone else is brief. Perhaps others only use text and you can use video. Break out of the mold and find your place to breathe.
#4: Spread Your Message
Don't think you have to stick with one medium. There's no reason why you can't go with all of them. Re-purpose your content into whichever packaging is required.
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Get it into the hands of colleagues, contacts and friends. These are your seeders and sneezers who will start the viral process.
Tell people you want them to share, email and retweet your message far and wide. Tell them why it's important and exactly what they need to do.
You need to make it as easy as possible and remove barriers such as opt-ins or logins. Just give them the content and the tools to share it. Make it as easy as one click with an obvious benefit and they'll do the rest.
#5: Get Help
Stop thinking solo. You're not going to be able to get much reach on your own.
Reach out and ask for help. Pitch your message directly to key influencers.
Yes, some will reject you. Some will listen, then not follow through. But it's a numbers game, and worth the effort.
Don't make it about you or your mission, make it about them and their audience.
Explain briefly what the hook is and why they should care, tell them how to take the next step and leave it for them to come back to you.
#6: Appeal to Ego
People are most engrossed in their own self-interest, so play into that.
Use “you” and “your.” Make it about them, their needs, goals, wants and desires. Relate it to their own history, situation, reputation and behavior.
#7: Cut the Clutter.
You need to remove anything that doesn't directly support your message or argument.
Remove fancy phrases, clever wording or embellishments. Use short words and sentences.
#8: Appeal to Primitive Instincts.
Observe the newspapers. They sell sex and fear because that's what people respond to. We're hardwired to look out for danger and problems and to follow other base instincts.
If you're having trouble being heard, try turning your message into a warning, highlight a problem or emphasize the dangers.
#9: Use Keywords.
Another element of our brain programming is to be on the lookout for keywords and phrases that interest us. Rather than using clever headlines, key into the words people are looking for, not just in searches but while scanning down headlines.
People are always on the lookout for what interests them, consciously and subconsciously, and when these particular words or phrases pop into view their reticular activating system will say “Hey, look!”
If your message is about Apple or the iPhone, mention those words. If you're talking about Seth Godin or Natalie Portman, use their names.
#10: Stick to One Point.
This whole article builds to one argument. One point. Do the same.
Getting your message out there is not always about what you say but as much how you say it. Don't just shovel your messages out into your social media channels. Think carefully about your audience, what they like and react to, and what else is going on within those services and networks.
Most of all… It's not what you say that matters, but what your readers hear!
It's your job to keep crafting and honing your message until you get it right. If people don't “get it,” keep working until they do!
How are you cutting through the social media noise? What tips do you have? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below.
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