Not Getting Much Engagement on Social Media: Don’t Despair!
Some organisations get discouraged when they compare the amount of time they spend on social media and the number of responses they receive as a result. Most people think of social media as being a medium that promotes direct contact amongst groups of people, especially within communities that share common interests. However, when it comes to interacting with organisations and companies, individuals can unexpectedly become very passive. By some estimates, as many as 100 people can view a post for every person that takes the time to respond! Those that voice an opinion are in the minority and are a usually on the fringes of a given issue.
Using the 1:9:90 Rule As an Estimate for Engagement
The 1:9:90 principle refers to a pattern in which 90% of the audience are “lurkers” or observers who will view the content but not engage or contribute; 9% of the audience will contribute from time to time; and only 1% will regularly participate, accounting for the majority of contributions and engagement. Simply put, those that regularly comment are in the minority. Many more visitors will only view the information without commenting or adding to it.
To overcome the 1:9:90 challenge, try to set the example by remaining as active as possible over the long haul. Initially, most organisations promote their social media initiatives by strongly encouraging their employees to contribute. However, internal participation in social media commonly declines, once the novelty wears off. So after the accounts are launched, it is important to maintain that initial participation to generate audience interest and encourage viewers to keep coming back and to comment. A high level of engagement may not be a realistic expectation, but continually providing content that keeps viewers interested is nonetheless an important goal.
Another strategy might be to identify a group of users ahead of time who are committed to contributing new content. These can be patrons or volunteers from the community, but they can also be from other heritage institutions on the Internet. Institutions can use social media to communicate and collaborate with other organisations with shared values. This strategy can be beneficial both in generating and enriching content through feedback and engagement, as well as expanding the audience that will be viewing the information.
A Passive Audience is Still an Audience
Social media is a good vehicle to get those messages across, even if the communication is one-directional. Rather than looking at a lack of participation as a signal that a social media strategy is not effective, organisations can view it as a way to communicate their message to a large audience who will view the content. Of course, there are ways to increase engagement (as we previously reported in our News section), but social media can still be used as one-directional promotional tool. It is possible to transmit a message to your target audience without it being a constant two-way dialogue. As long as the message is received on the other end, institutions shouldn’t worry too much about the lack of an enthusiastic response.