Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Oh, Yeah, Everyone Has an Opinion

Are you a professional genealogist or an officer in a genealogical society or perhaps a family historian who is trying to find distant cousins? All of these people are using social media to connect with other people.

In order to connect with people, you need to engage your audience or your potential audience. There are lots of ways to do this.

Have you ever noticed that everyone has an opinion? One of the simplest ways to engage your audience is to ask them their opinion.

Yankee Magazine, a publication that celebrates New England life, has the most brilliant social media campaign going on right now that demonstrates this point perfectly. On their Facebook page they are asking their followers to decide which Classic Yankee Magazine Thanksgiving covers were the best. Each week they pit two historical covers against each other and ask their audience to choose their favorite one.

Everyone has an opinion! And everyone wants to share their opinion. I couldn't help myself from stopping to write a comment and tell them what I think. Neither could the other 200+ people who have left comments.  Now that's engaging your audience.

Their approach was so simple. They created no new content. They simply dove into their personal historical archives and asked their followers to share their opinions, turning it into a contest.

Now think about your audience - potential clients, society members, distant cousins. How can you ask them for their opinions? Here are a few suggestions to get your started.

Potential  Clients - try comparing two documents side by side that relate to your niche. Ask your followers which is a better source and why. If you are changing your logo, involve your audience in helping you choose the best one.

Society Members - Post two books related to your region and ask your members which they found more helpful. Then change the books each week. If you are a society hosting webinars, feature two potential webinar topics and ask your members to choose.

Distant Cousins - photos work great when trying to attract distant cousins. Post two photos of the same person at different stages of their life and ask the cousins to confirm whether it is indeed the same person. Likewise post an identified photo next to an unidentified photo and get your cousins to figure out if it's the same person or even the same family.

The responses from all these people will be opinions and they will feel happy to give them to you. Opinions don't cost a cent but they certainly do bring a priceless reward. Start thinking about how you can engage your audience by simply asking for their opinions.

1 comment:

  1. Very savvy. I especially like the "post two photos" suggestion. And you know what? this is so much better than trying to guess what people like/don't like about your posts, your views, your sources . . . !