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How to make people listen to you on social media

Social media is a great way to connect to people from across the globe, but the problem is that there is too much noise and often it becomes very difficult to be heard by people. It doesn’t matter how many friends, followers and connections you have on various social media and networking websites; what really matters is how many people actually listen to you. What matters is what impact you make.

It’s not that people don’t purposely want to listen to you. The timelines are constantly buzzing with activity, what with zillions of images, videos and text messages being posted every second. You will loose scores of messages even if you don’t check your timeline for 30 minutes. The same holds true for your followers and connections: most of your messages are missed by them.

The act of “listening” may have different meanings for different people. Some people may prefer their posts on Facebook being “liked” by as many people as possible. On Twitter you may want people to retweet your postings. Some people may prefer actual engagement where messages are exchanged to and fro. So for your particular case, you will have to define what listening entails.

There are some good points touched upon by this article on entrepreneur.com, regarding how to make people listen to you on social media, but it has missed a vital point: the time factor. Anyway, the summary of the main points are (with my own take added afterwards):

  • Keep your messages as short as possible: This thought comes from Twitter where the character limit is 140. People normally don’t respond to longer messages to keep your message as short as possible. Although it differs from audience to audience. But smaller messages are easier to share and retweet.
  • Don’t post too much: If you are posting continuously, people develop a blind eye for your content. They get so used to seeing your updates that they begin to ignore them, especially when there isn’t much value in your postings.
  • Listen to what people are saying: When you listen to people and know what they are saying you have an idea of what they are talking about and then you will be able to post content that is more relevant to the ongoing discussions. This way people will be able to pay more attention to your messages.
  • Analyze your performance on social media: For true, scientific performance analysis, you need the facts, you need the real data. This data can be obtained from various social media analytics tools. For instance if you are using Hootsuite it gives you daily and weekly reports on how many people share your content, click your links and reply to your postings.

And here is my own take:

  • Post your messages when your friends and followers are most active: This can greatly impact how people listen to you. In most of the cases your followers and connections miss your messages because they are not online at that time. Spend some days observing the interaction pattern of your friends and followers on the social media websites of your choice and make note of when they are active the most.
  • Focus on the quality of content you post: People should relate to the quality and trustworthiness. As soon as they see your profile appearing on their timelines, unconsciously they should be prepared to come across something very interesting, useful or relevant.