Study participants were selected by the following criteria: 1. They were on LinkedIn at the moment, and 2. They were me.
Okay, so this study would fail every last requirement for a true scientific study, but I am a big believer in the power of anecdotes, so bear with me, and if you have a different experience, please share!
My methods: browse my LinkedIn timeline and stop when a post actually drew my attention.
The results: LinkedIn struck me as nearly excruciatingly boring. How-to images, advice, branded content, even pretty photos of sunsets or selfies. MEH.
What Actually Catches Attention on Social Media?
100% of study participants (me) stopped at two posts in their timeline. Only two. Want to know what those were? Drumroll, please.
They were both videos, and they were videos that I didn’t need to have the sound on to get a feeling for. Both videos included people interacting with other people. In one video, a group of people was laughing. It was so simple. But I wanted to stop and watch and smile along with them. In the other video, people were hugging each other. Seeing it felt like this beautiful, emotional, fantastic, wonderful, [insert other superlatives] thing.
I will admit, I have hugged some of my friends and family since we’re all vaccinated now, and it has been so nice to have human contact beyond my household again. But I still don’t have my fill. Not yet.
Not Everyone Wants Touchy-Feely on Social Media
Good point. Oddly enough, I’m kind of one of those not-so touchy-feely people. I like hugs from people I know well, but I’m not as big of a hugger as, say, Michelle, who heads up the web development side of our company. She loves hugs! But to appreciate a good laugh doesn’t require you to like affection, and it was BOTH of these types of content that really struck our study participants as interesting, valuable, and significant.
Post(?)-Covid Social Media Content: Human Connection
Now, don’t go posting random videos of people laughing and hugging, just to see if you get attention. Look through your actual photos (not stockphotos, like what I’ve done here [hangs head in shame]), and find images that show what you actually do, and show the human aspects of that. In other words…
How do you help people connect?
Show us that. We want to see it. We long for connection after such a strange and sad year. You don’t need fancy copy or even a video if you can’t make the time to create one. But let us see how you bring people together, even if it’s just in a very small way. Note: for people with visual impairments, it’s important to write descriptions for your images so that they can also feel this connection.
For nonprofits this might mean showing pre-Covid images of your volunteers working together, or the communities you serve participating in your activities and services. It could even be your staff enjoying each other’s company, being silly, doing something together, etc.
If you’re a for-profit, then spend some time thinking about how you help people connect. Even the stodgiest and least personable businesses must have SOME way of helping people connect, or else they wouldn’t be relevant.
Search for photos that feel good. Now might not be the time for guilt and pain, though they can inspire action as well. Right now we’re craving connection, we’re craving each other. I think we’re tired of the disconnect of Covid, tired of political animosity, and we want to feel good. Give us that!
Different opinion? Do you look at other types of content on social? Do you hate hugs and laughing? Tell us below!