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5 Tips for Using Social Media to Change Behavior

  • October 27th, 2016

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1. Segment your audience and go where they are.

Don’t assume that everyone uses every platform. For example, Twitter is more popular among politically engaged adults, while Instagram is more popular for art and food lovers. Segment your audience using psychographics and then select the social media channels where your target audience is already having conversations online. If they move platforms, follow their lead.

2. Use each social media platform differently.

Use each social media platform the same way your target audience is using it. For example, the same person might use Twitter to catch up on news, a Facebook group to connect about homework, and Instagram for self-validation. Your brand should emulate their online behavior and interests.

3. Show your audience you care about the same things they care about.

Make sure the content you’re sharing is compelling to your audience–not just to you or your co-workers or boss. It doesn’t matter that you think lung cancer is a compelling reason to not smoke if the audience doesn’t see lung cancer as a real threat. Expand your content beyond just your message by talking about things your audience is interested in. This will engage them and make it more likely that they will read your more message-focused posts too.

4. Speak to cultural values.

Create content that taps into your target audience’s values. What do they stand for? What do they believe in? Use their values to argue for the behavior change you are looking for. This sparks engagement and nurtures sharing. Remember, they don’t have to agree with your reasons to change their behavior. Find reasons that align with their values.

5. Make sure the tactic fits into your strategy.

What is the outcome you’re looking to achieve? Wanting to have a Snapchat account is different than wanting to create conversation and dialogue around the risks associated with smoking on Snapchat. Be clear about the purpose for each account before you start using it. You may find that there is a popular platform that may not fit your goals.

For more information on social media and technology, check out this panel discussion on Overcoming Technological Challenges in the Government from the Agents of Change Summit. And stay tuned for a big announcement about Agents of Change 2018.



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