Do you ever spend months planning a campaign, storyboarding, filming, hunched over your computer editing, putting your blood sweat and tears into a piece of content that you nervously post up and nobody seems to care?
Do you blame Facebook’s algorithm put some money into boosting it and try to ignore the fact that any engagement stats are just manufactured? Then the next day you quickly post up a user-generated snap of your campus in the sun with a caption like ‘Who’s enjoying the sun on campus today? Thanks to @amazingstudent for this great pic! #blessed’ and it organically demolishes your previous post and you question why you even tried in the first place?
Yeah me too.
So if ‘reactive’ content garners so much engagement why don’t we give it the same attention and time as we would a slick piece of labour-intensive content that takes up massive amounts of resources and doesn’t reach half as many people?
Here are five tips that we follow at the University of Glasgow to make sure we’re ready for those reactive content moments.
1. Time and importance: Everything takes time, and it’s easier to justify allocating more time to a task if it’s important. So if you understand how important reactive content is and you place a higher priority on creating that content, when the time comes to drop everything and grab a quick video or snap, you can assure yourself that you’re prioritising an important task… guilt-free. It’s about adjusting your mindset.
2. Give the people what they want: Your audience initially followed your page because they are interested in your organisation. They already like what you do; if all you’re putting out is promotional (one-dimensional) content they will quickly switch off. Have a look at previous posts that your audience have already liked and commented on across your channels and do more of that! Sometimes you just need to give the people what they want: Tours of your city, favourite student hang out spots, blue skies, Quidditch, dogs, Unicorns and the like. Content that only has the motive to entertain and inform while connecting with your audience on a human level.
3. Listen: We often get so caught up in planning, strategising and churning out content that we forget to take a breath and listen to our audience. We use a listening programme called Talkwalker (but there are lots of others available out there too), and we find it useful to see what the community is engaging with day to day. Putting aside time in the morning to have a quick scan of what people are saying about our organisation helps to prioritise what goes out on our channels.
4. Forecast and prioritise: Working in Higher Education, each day can sometimes feel like Groundhog Day: This can sometimes be a good thing. We often know when our busiest times will be. Graduation, exams, national holidays, Fresher’s week, Open Days, various on boarding/offer holder activities; these dates come around every year, and often they’re the perfect time to listen and create reactive content. So make it a top priority to know your institution’s key dates. Taking Freshers’ Week as an example: This past year we blocked off the entire week and dedicated it to being reactive (though we did the same for Graduation too). Sometimes you just need to get out there and see what you can find and construct the story when you get back. Just by getting involved and creating one short video each day we ended up reaching almost half a million people, with 220K video views, 8K engagements and had a lot of fun doing it too.
5. Rough and ready: Sometimes you just need to grab your phone, film something and stick it straight up. Usually, if you find it entertaining, your audience might too. The key to reactive content is striking when the iron is hot… our most successful video to date was filmed by my colleague Tasha (and I’ve been trying to top it ever since). These guys are called Saltire Beat and perform at all our Open Days. The video was filmed on Tash’s phone as she was passing by (no fancy equipment at all) and it has reached over 1.5 million people, viewed almost 700K times with 57K engagements!
So that’s it, follow these five tips and you’ll be churning out amazing, creative and engaging content in no time… or at the very least bump up the importance of being reactive and trying to prioritise certain days on your calendar that you know will produce quality content.