Yikes! Social media is so “cluttered” today – which you probably know from your own feeds. It should come as no surprise, then, that the average attention span of a reader – meaning, how much time we actually have to grab their interest – is on the decline.

In fact, social media and marketing expert Mel Kettle – who recently hosted a webinar for DC on the topic – tells us, “According to a study from Microsoft in 2015, the average person’s attention span is just under 8 seconds. They suggest this lack of concentration is due to our  increasingly digital lifestyle. It’s dropped from 12 to 8 seconds since 2000!”

Mel Kettle has over 20 years’ experience in this area, and during her career has found that one of the biggest challenges businesses face is how to communicate effectively so they attract, retain and engage their customers and clients. So, we set out to learn from Mel how to  reach our key audiences as effectively as possible – in this blinkof-an-eye 8-second timeframe.

Pick Your Platform Wisely
Mel recommends keeping your focus narrow at first: identify your target audience, get a good understanding of where they “hang out”  online – then, go to the social media channel where they already are. “While there are many options (e.g., LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter,  Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.), I strongly suggest you start with just one,” says Mel. “Most businesses will either choose Facebook,  Instagram or LinkedIn as their starting point.”

Have a Game Plan 
For any channel you choose, Mel suggests this approach: decide how frequently you will post, the purpose of posting to that channel, the  type of content you’ll post, your budget – and how you will measure success.

Set Goals to Measure “Success”
“How you judge social media success depends a lot on what your social media goals are,” notes Mel. “Be careful of using ‘likes’ as a standard for success, as high numbers of likes can easily be bought.” Look instead at your engagement, she suggests – and not just how  many comments you get, but more importantly, the nature of those comments. How many people share your posts? How does it drive traffic to your website? Is it leading to a direct increase in new enquiries and/or sales?

Grab Attention with Proven Tactics
To cut through the clutter, Mel suggests trying posts that tell a story, use eye catching visuals (photos, infographics, drawings etc) and use video. “Just make sure your posts are eye-catching on a small screen,” she cautions, “as most people use their phone when checking their social media accounts.”

Interweave Your Business and Personal Lives
You can combine your business and personal lives without baring your soul, Mel says, but it’s important to remember that people do business with people they know, like and trust. “There are ways to weave in the personal with the business, and using storytelling is a great way.”  For an example of how to do this, check out her recent blog post: https://www.melkettle.com/2018/06/making-master-stock/

Be Real
“It’s really difficult to put up a fake front for a long time,” says Mel. “People who aren’t authentic are usually caught out sooner or later.” When you’re authentic on social media, other people can relate to you more easily, she explains, which increase the trust factor: “It’s easier to build a relationship based on trust when you show your authentic self. This is true regardless of whether you are an individual or
a brand.”

Focus on Creating Stronger Relationships
“Show your true self, and your personality”, Mel says. “Do this by using video, especially live video where you can’t hide behind fancy editing. Be yourself, show your personality and have fun with it! “

Mel Kettle is a communication and social media expert, speaker, author, trainer and mentor.

Learn more here.

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