The power of silence: 5 ways to hear what your followers aren’t saying

By Kristen Gramigna

Despite the focus on social media as a form of two-way communication, the silence of your social media audience can be just as telling as what they say — assuming you’re armed with the tools to translate the meaning into a more impactful strategy.

Make the conversation what your audience is already talking about.

Research confirms that some topics are simply not conducive to generating a widespread response on social media. For example, one study conducted by the Pew Research Center confirmed that less than half of research participants would divulge a controversial viewpoint on social media, despite being willing to share it in a face-to-face setting.

Similarly, posting content that is irrelevant to the conversations your audience is already engaged in via social media will likely be ignored. Social media analytics tools can provide you with a real-time comprehensive view of exactly what your audience is talking about — on social media, blogs, websites, and even online discussion portals — so you can post appropriate content based on such trends, at the very moment the conversation is taking place.

Boost engagement with those who have clout.

Though the number of followers or fans you have on social media can impact the size of your potential audience, audience quality can prove to be a source of great influence in boosting engagement. Social media analytics tools can show how many people your post reached, along with who among them is driving the most traffic back to your social media channels, and your site(s), by way of their inherent online influence. With this information, you can devise new strategies to boost your brand’s relationship with the most important influencers for your specific audience across various social media channels including Twitter, LinkedIn, Vine, YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.  

Post at optimal times for your audience.

Understanding the optimal time to catch your most important customers’ attention is key to cutting through any social media silence your brand is challenged to overcome. In terms of post frequency, there’s evidence to suggest that the most successful brands in social media post an average of once per day on Facebook and Google+, publish three tweets per day on Twitter, and 20 posts per month (once a workday) on LinkedIn.  But, social media users are unique; what works for one brand’s collective target audience may not be optimal for another, or applicable to when they have time to read, share, and respond to social media posts — even if they like what you have to say.

Social media analytical tools essentially are a set of virtual “eyes and ears,” indicating which keywords are most popular among your audience at various times, measuring sentiment on various topics, and indicating the times of the day and week your audience is most engaged.

Stay on top of your competitor’s strategy. 

Not engaging with your social media followers gives your competitor an opportunity to form a valuable relationship you can’t afford to lose. With social media analytical tools specifically designed to monitor your direct and indirect competitor’s online activity, you can build insight into new social media topics and ideas to which your audience has proven responsive, and gain an understanding of which posting and content patterns are working for your competitors that you haven’t yet tried.

Learn how to start conversations in new channels.

Though being a part of “household” social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter can help you find a broad audience, the social media user landscape is constantly changing, as evidenced by the rapid rise of SnapChat, the once unknown social media tool that is wildly popular among younger users (particularly male millennials).

Social media analytical tools can compare your activity across channels for an “apples-to-apples” view of what’s working and who you’re reaching, in addition to indicating what users are talking about, and where. Should you decide it’s time to develop a presence on a form of social media you’ve not yet explored, such real-time data can help you enter the venue with relevance.


Kristen Gramigna is Chief Marketing Officer for BluePay, a credit card processing firm, and has over 15 years of experience dealing with marketing, sales management, and direct sales.


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