Tips for Increasing Organic Engagement by Prompting Reactions

Over the last century, the public relations and marketing industries have seen several dramatic paradigm shifts requiring marketers to adapt and overcome or risk falling by the wayside. The spread of television in America hit critical mass during the 1950’s, and with it, advertising billings more than doubled from $5.7 billion to $12 billion in the 1960’s.

As advertising agencies multiplied, increased their efficacy, and competition heightened, the ‘speed’ of advertising picked up in 1970’s. The average length of a television spot dropped from sixty seconds to just thirty-seconds, meaning thirty-seconds to build a brand, thirty seconds to sell an idea or a product, and thirty seconds to establish credibility with a (hopefully) watching world.

Fast forward to today, the stakes are even higher. The great leap in technology accompanying the development of mobile phones in the 1980’s — and the spread of smartphones in the early 2000’s — means a screen in every hand. Today, consumers are accessible to anyone, anywhere, at any time.

But enough with history. Why does this all matter? Put simply, it means we are living in the fastest-moving, highest-intensity, most cutthroat communications market… period. In Push Digital’s arena — digital communications — our team has five seconds to catch consumers’ attention, promote an idea, and prompt an action.

In this competitive field, paid advertising is integral to any successful campaign. Indeed, it’s Push Digital’s bread and butter. However, paid advertisements are only one of the many weapons in the digital marketer’s arsenal. And much like quinoa, avocados, and other dietary staples for millennials, the best way to attract audiences and build brand loyalty is….


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… organically.

Bad jokes aside, taking advantage of earned media might be one of the most effective ways to grow audiences and increase engagement rates. In truth, the Facebook ‘Like’ might be the greatest earned-media, engagement-increasing tool of our time. No, I’m not talking about tacking ‘LIKE if you agree!’ on at the end of a post. I’m talking about integrating unique, creative ideas into your daily content that’s flashy, sometimes ugly, and something that your consumers cannot ignore. Case in point…

But before delving into content creation, we must begin with the end in mind. This means never going unprepared into the creative process. Ask yourself, “what emotion am I trying to tap into?” Moving beyond the traditional ‘Like,’ Facebook gives us six paths from the get-go: Like, Love, Haha, Wow, Sad, and Angry. Once you have an expected reaction in mind, the tone of the copy and creative begins to take shape.

Now that you have an idea, take a look at your audience. What do you know about them? Do you know what makes them pause in their social feeds? Use your advertising and analytical teams, your data vendor, and Facebook’s built-in tools to diagnose the audience. Know their online habits. Learn their likes and dislikes. Follow the issues they care about and speak to them in familiar terms. Only by knowing your audience — what makes them tick and what they are seeking in content — can you encourage their engagement.

To that end, create content for all of your audiences. In political terms, these would be the policy wonks, the activists, and those with a casual interest in politics. For those with an informal interest — your twenty-foot audience — drilling your message down to a refined point is key. The twenty-foot audience will engage based on a passing approval of the message advertised in the creative.

For the activists, or the ten-foot audience, the content captures their attention for the same reasons as the twenty-foot audience. The difference here, however, is that the activist lingers, analyzes the social copy, and will engage via a like, comment, or share. Last up, the five-foot audience — the policy wonks. They are the consumers who watch MSNBC, read the Wall Street Journal, and are more than happy to talk politics at Thanksgiving. The five-foot audience notices your creative, clicks “see more,” and visits the website because they have a genuine interest.

The goal, here, is by the time you get to the five-foot audience, you have targeted someone who has a high enough interest that they are almost guaranteed to give their email, donate to your cause, or take an additional action on the website.

As a parting tip, follow up with your audience. Take advantage of Facebook’s features and send a direct invitation to those who have liked your content, but who are not yet following your page. While this may be a time-consuming task, these people are the low-hanging fruit. They’ve already demonstrated support for your cause, they’ve recently interacted with your brand, and therefore are more likely to be served your content by Facebook. Besides, an invitation from the page just seems authentic. Authenticity often translates to relatability, and the more an audience can trust and relate to a brand, the easier its message will stick.

This may seem like a lot for a daily social post, but the ultimate goal here is to use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel it was wasted by your brand. Once you get the hang of this process, producing meaningful content relevant to your audience becomes second nature. Your clients will reap the benefits of your efforts to focus on organic content — and it all starts by soliciting a well-crafted message encouraging a simple ‘Like.’