This week, millions of Americans will tune in to the 2018 Masters Tournament. The half-weeklong event brings the world’s top golfers to Augusta, Georgia for the sport’s premier showdown and a shot at $11 million and the illustrious green blazer. In recent years, social media channels have become popular platforms for fans to engage with the event beyond the big screen. As marketers, there is a lot we can learn about social media content and engagement from golf and its fans.

Make it Visual

It’s no secret that images substantially increase interaction rates on social platforms. Images are par for the course for most companies. To make posts stand out, marketers should test other visuals like video. My favorite medium to gain an audience’s attention is the graphics interchange format (GIF). Straddling the line between picture and video, a GIF repeats short video sequences with no audio. These quick animations are ideal for a culture with limited attention spans. Services like GIPHY provide ready-made and customizable GIFs. Tweets with animated GIFs get up to 167 percent more click-throughs than those with static images. So, make your posts a hole-in-one with GIFs (so sorry for the pun).

Targeted Social Media Content

To reach your audience, you must first clearly define who comprises that audience. There is a reason brands targeted to a younger demographic like H&M and Disney are absent from the Masters advertising. Instead, you’ll find ads from companies like JP Morgan and BMW directed toward an older male crowd. There are a number of free analytics tools to help segment audiences by demographics and other attributes; take advantage of these tools to focus your social media dollars where they’ll have the most impact. Both Twitter and Facebook offer native data collection services that show strong and weak performing posts. Another tool for tailoring content to audience base is Follower Wonk, a free service that measures the demographics of Twitter followers. Between social platforms’ own analytics information and demographics from services like Follower Wonk, you can easily fine-tune your social media content to fit your audience’s interests.

Know and Grow with the Platform

Like golf, the rules of social platforms are constantly changing. Each platform runs a different algorithm to favor different social media content. Facebook recently changed its algorithm to favor posts that will “spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people.” Instagram is going through an algorithmic change to make its content timelier. Perhaps the most drastic change was when Twitter changed its rules to allow a 280-character limit instead of 140 characters. To stay in front of these constant updates, regularly check each social media’s newsroom/blog (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter). Staying up to date on these continually evolving platforms is like checking the weather and wind on the course you’re playing; it’s something of which you must always be aware.

Platforms and audiences are always shifting, but by keeping up with new trends and offering interesting material, you can keep your social media content on (or under) par for success. Let’s play!

communications planning
With a degree in journalism and media studies from Rutgers University, Cletis brings a passion for current events to Stern’s media relations department. He works with clients spanning wide-ranging fields – from business to thought leaders to healthcare – delivering impactful results. Outside of the office, he loves to see friends take pictures and ski.