In this continuing series on effectively harnessing social media to positively impact animals, it’s time to discuss content. What do you post and how do you go about posting it?
Recall the importance I’ve placed on growing your audience. This will increase the reach of your posts, as well as the engagement you get on each post.
The primary method of growing your Facebook and Instagram profiles is by getting others to share your posts. On Facebook, these are simply called “shares;” on Twitter, they’re “retweets.” When people share your post, it goes directly into the newsfeeds of those who follow them, potentially leading to an exponential increase in your reach. The beautiful part is that these shares lead to your content being seen by many people who don’t currently follow you, which means your voice is amplified and that you are reaching people who may not already subscribe to your beliefs. For that reason, be share-focused when drafting and publishing posts.
Growing your Instagram following is a bit less straightforward. There is no “share” function, but there are backchannel tactics you can implement to increase your following. Firstly, engage with other profiles. Because Instagram is such a fantastic place for community, you can easily locate accounts who have similar interests. Engage with their posts -- like and comment and create connections. Partner with well-established brands, companies, organizations, and individuals. This will lend you credibility and allow you to reach an entirely new audience. One of the most effective ways to grow your following is by consistently posting high-quality content that receives a high level of engagement. Proper hashtag usage is also important, which is something I’ll cover in great detail later in this series
Of the different types of content to post -- photos, videos, multiple photo(s)/video(s), links, or just text -- video is the most important. It’s the future of social media, as well as having the highest likelihood of going viral. When posting video, make sure to upload natively; don’t post a link to YouTube or Vimeo.
Different types of media perform better on certain platforms. Links work best on Facebook and Twitter, not Instagram. Although video is important for Instagram, photos still perform very well on the platform. A text-only post may perform well on Facebook, but Instagram is such a visual platform, so text must be accompanied by a solid image and/or video.
The specific content you’re pushing out will vary depending on the niche you’re filling. Post a blend of content to keep your audience guessing as to what’s coming next. Variety is the spice of life. Some safe bets in the world of animal advocacy, however, are videos of shocking animal abuse (remember, most consumers don’t know the true horrors farm animals endure), animals experiencing joy, and media coverage of progress around vegan food and living.
Don’t develop the habit of exclusively posting content that your audience wants to see. The content that is most important to your mission could possibly be the content that gets the lowest engagement, but that’s okay. Including it in your social feeds is vital.
John Oberg is a social media pro, dedicated to making the world a kinder place for animals by utilizing the power of social media. He recently launched his own independent project for animals through Patreon. Prior to that, he served as Director of New Media for the international animal protection organization, The Humane League. And prior to that, John served as Director of Communications for Vegan Outreach. In both of these roles, John oversaw social media for the organizations which led to a tenfold increase in following in both, as well as over 1 billion views of content posted to these pages.