Directing the Dialogue: How to Alter Audience Behaviour Online

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When you’re putting together an online ad campaign or publishing content on social media platforms, it’s important to consider these three key factors: 1) what you want to say, 2) why you want to say it, and 3) how you want your message to be received. If you’re able to cover these points, you’ll find that your audience’s reactions to content will become increasingly foreseeable, and aligned with your organization’s objectives. Read on if you’re eager to learn how to anticipate and even direct your audience’s behavior online.

Utilize the five dimensions

If you’ve ever dabbled in behavior change marketing, you may have read up on the five dimensions of behavioral change every now and then. If you need a refresher, the five dimensions are as follows:

– Attitude → tailoring audience or societal attitude towards desired actions or outcomes

– Competences → equipping the audience with resources (i.e. knowledge, drive) to achieve the desired outcome

– Environment → addressing physical or social environment to promote the desired outcome

– Expectations from the messenger → establishing your brand identity as authoritative and knowledgeable

– Triggers → predetermined events or scheduled calls to action that can inspire the desired outcome

Social marketing professionals can attest to the pragmatism and interconnectedness of these five dimensions. If you’ve been able to accommodate all five of these dimensions into the planning of your campaign, then chances are high that you’ve adopted an incredibly detailed approach, and that your audience’s behavior should be generally easy to predict from the get-go.

Finetune your forums

One of the most daunting aspects of organizing online campaigns is identifying the scope of your message. You want to be as succinct as possible so that your main objective doesn’t get lost amongst any unnecessary noise. One powerful solution to ensuring that online content stays relevant or on-theme is the adoption of unique style guides and posting guidelines. Establishing these guidelines prior to posting any material, will greatly aid in the narrowing of your campaign’s scope, as well as ensuring that your social media pages stay well-curated.

And posting guidelines don’t always need to be followed by your staff alone. In fact, it’s becoming increasingly common for pages run by organisations in both the public and private sectors to have their own separate posting and comment guidelines for their followers to adhere to. These audience guidelines will ensure that your page stays free from any unnecessary nastiness like arguments in your comment threads, and can also demonstrate an added level of professionalism and responsibility to your client base.

Influencer outreach

The one dimension that most organizations tend to get stuck on is addressing the ‘expectations from the messenger’. This is primarily due to the fact that brand identities generally perform best when they’re consistent, and shouldn’t be altered from campaign to campaign. The only exception to this rule would be bodies operating within the public sector, such as the NSW Police Force, who is renowned on Twitter and Facebook for their quick wit and topical use of memes.

So what’s there to do if you’re running a corporate campaign that has a very specific target audience, your campaign’s core message isn’t aligned with your posting guidelines, and your new audience may be removed from your page’s main demographic? This is where influencer outreach becomes an absolute lifesaver. When you outsource some of the delivery of your campaign to social media influencers and other new media outlets (like Buzzfeed or Tech Insider), you can utilize the pre-existing brand identity of these figures to expand your audience without having to greatly compromise your own brand identity in the process.

If you’ve engaged with our tips here, you may be thinking that altering audience behaviour online is all about being proactive and staying on the ball. And you’re right! Genuine behaviour change takes time, especially in the fast-paced world of social media. So we urge you to take your time developing your campaign schedule and keep on adhering to your own procedures. Your hard work will be guaranteed to pay off.