Social Media Best Practices: Audience Interests



This is part of a little series of posts about social media best practices. I want to start with social media categorization.

In essence the post is not just about categories you assign, topics you choose but mainly about the interests of your audience.

Ask yourself when creating and popularizing content on your site:

  • What are your faithful visitors interested in?
  • What do searchers look for?
  • What do you want casual social media visitors to discover?

As you probably know social media can be a great source of valuable traffic when you know how to use it.

A key factor in making people visit your site, stay there, and appreciate your content is the audience interest you choose to cater to.

Dealing With Too Many Choices

The Web and social media in particular offer an overwhelmingly large number of content choices.

I’ve used the Web since 1997 and over the years the sheer number of content pieces trying to get your attention has been ever growing. One of the best ways to deal with that onslaught is to only look for certain topics.

Audiences are often interested in one specific topic or a few at best.

This is the more true for business users. Some will only care for UX, others only read about ecommerce, many just look for content on SEO.

When dealing with too many choices most people just limit their number by simply narrowing the scope of content they are looking at. Categorize yourself accordingly and you’ll be seen. Otherwise nobody will even venture beyond your headline.

In this short post I want to advise bloggers, social media and search marketers on categories they can use for their posts to and why.

The 7 best fitting audience interests are:

  1. Marketing
  2. Business
  3. Writing
  4. Blogging
  5. Search
  6. Web development
  7. Internet

Social Media = TV

Social media (unlike search) is similar to TV. People do not know what they are looking for yet and thus they want to discover it. Like on TV they only choose specific channels:

  • CNN for news
  • Discovery Channel for science
  • Disney for kids

Social media often works like a TV set. When you serve marketing topics on the discovery channel or at CNN people will frown upon you.

When you say “marketing” in general you will get significantly less traffic per se. Most people do not like marketing and are not interested in it. They may mistake it for ads altogether.

For business users marketing is already a way too broad category. You want to decide upfront which specif marketing category you are talking about.

Real Life Examples

When the post is covering strictly SEO put it in there right from the start:

SEO Techniques for Rocking the Holidays

Remember that your audience is comprised of SEO people then.

When you are after a larger audience, think marketers in general, small business owners or online shoppers categorize accordingly.

A post like “Why Twitter is So Important for Small Business” could fit in “small business” category, but may try to write for an even wider audience. Still: Not the biggest traffic here.

Writing: Copyblogger posts fit here. Remember though, also people interested in writing books read it. Writing advice is not just about blogging then. You get a larger audience potentially.

You can use “search” when you write about search engine optimization for an audience of end users not just website owners or optimizers.

Here the audience is a little smaller than in “writing” and “marketing”, but there are more people interested in search than blogging e.g.

A post about ten ways to tweak your website to make it more suitable for search engine spiders fits in “Web development”. You can get quite a big audience here that is not only comprised of people who already work in search.

Beware of the Wrong Topics!

Now beware though! People will hate you for wasting their time once you get too popular.

You may get thousands of visitors but also get lots of negative feedback when you lure general audiences who are not interested in a very specific topic to your content.

Be both as specific as needed and as general as possible.

Ask yourself before posting: Is my post really relevant for the Internet as a whole? Does it really matter to all business people or even small business owners? Maybe it’s just written for marketers after all?

* Creative Commons image by Maersk Line