My target audience is ESL educators in higher education in Ontario. I chose this target audience because I am an English Language educator and because I volunteered as the director of communications on a local committee for the past few years where I managed all the social media accounts and the website for this target audience. I had no knowledge of social media management when I began working in the role, but learned a lot through trial and error. My volunteer term has nearly ended, but I enjoyed it more than I expected so I’m eager to learn how I can create even better engagement with a target audience in my next opportunity.
There is a lot of demographic diversity in ESL educators, but we tend to agree on topics such as education and immigration and we are always looking for ideas and information to benefit our classes and our students. As language educators, we use a wide variety of materials and methods to build skills in our students, but this means that we can find and use resources from a lot of places. Language educators spend a lot of their time (work or spare time) seeking these resources, so one of the best ways to connect with them is to provide ideas and lessons or guide them towards resourceful sites.
The local committee I worked with always struggled with social media engagement and I think the main reasons for this is because the educators we targeted had so many other places that they could engage with. TESL Ontario is the main governing body of our executive committee, and it governs the licensing and accrediting of adult ESL educators in Ontario. TESL Ontario has a decent social media following of 3,500,000 on Facebook, 3,073 on Twitter, 800 on Instagram, and 11,000 on LinkedIn. Not only does TESL Ontario share a plethora of resources and information with it’s members and online followers , but there are other organizations as well such as national language organizations and government resources for immigration and refugee education that share resources with ESL educators. As our target audience has so many choices in whom they can connect with on social media, how can our local committee hope to gain some attention and engagement for ourselves?
The best strategy, then would be to join the conversations of other organizations, engage with our audience there and share information about all events (other organizations and our own) on all platforms.
As our target audience has so many choices in whom they can connect with on social media, the best strategy then would be to join the conversations of other organizations that our target audience already trusts, engage with our audience there and share information about all events (other organizations and our own) on all platforms (https://sproutsocial.com/insights/target-audience/). By joining the conversation on other trusted organizations, we could become part of our target audiences’ circles of influence and could draw attention to ourselves by what we are commenting on and sharing. Once we’ve listened and commented for a while, we could then begin offering conversation topics of our own and ensure that we post at times when our target audience is free to engage. We could use tools such as Facebook Meta, Google Trends and Sproutsocial to monitor trends in conversations and peak engagement times and begin sharing information that our audience cares about at a time when they are looking for it.
I think the biggest take away from this is that we don’t always have to create unique content to grab our audience’s attention. Many times, we just have to join the conversations and organizations that they are already a part of, engage with them there and then slowly encourage them to check us out too. It’s worked for so many other organizations, so I’ll definitely give it a try in my next communications role!