Whether you manage social media for your company, or use it to promote a personal brand, it’s important to diversify your content to keep the interest of your audience; and there is no better way to make friends with your followers than by engaging them in a discussion of things they love. Plus, staying on top of trends in your field can help establish you or your company as a knowledgeable figure in your field among your social media followers.
One of the golden rules we follow at Hootsuite is “join the conversation, don’t interrupt the conversation.” In order to do that, however, you first need to find out what exactly it is that your audience is talking about. The good news is, all the information you need is out there, you just need to find the right tools to discover it. To dispel any possible fears you may have about the process of finding relevant content, here’s a handy guide to engaging your social media audience using their interests.

How to incorporate your audience’s interests into your social media strategy

1. Find out what interests your audience

In some cases, figuring out the common ground with followers is easy: chances are, if your company specializes in products that appeal to a certain lifestyle, your followers will share a passion for all things related to creating such lifestyle. For example, if you manage social media for a microbrewery, your audience will probably be interested in all things craft beer.
Not all audiences are this easy to read; especially in the cases of social media management for B2B, where the interests of followers can be more of a mystery.  Don’t despair, as attracting a wider audience is always a good thing, and there are tools to help you analyze your audience’s interests.
One of those tools is Nexalogy, a social media intelligence tool that analyzes your Twitter network to find trends among your audience. Using Nexalogy, you can find out what’s trending in your Twitter network at any given time by viewing the interest map or the analysis view for a more comprehensive breakdown.
Nexalogy automatically divides the topics into three categories: the Obvious, the Potentials, and the Long Shots. You can use the Hootsuite Nexalogy appto figure out the topics most frequently discussed by your audience, but don’t ignore niche interests either – those might have the most devoted fans! Alternatively, you can search for a hashtag you already know is relevant to your audience (such as #SocialMedia is for us at Hootsuite!)
Nexalogy example

2. Use hobby-based networks to find content relevant to your audience’s interests

Once you have successfully figured out what your followers are into, it’s time to start finding interesting content to share. One way to do this is to explore aggregators such as Pinterest to find frequently reblogged or “pinned” content in your field of interest.
Pinterest search example
If your audience’s hobbies include crafting or cooking, there are specialized platforms such as Craftgawker and Foodgawker that only collect content relevant, respectively, for all the foodies or DIY aficionados in your network. You can search using keywords you isolated earlier in your Nexalogy search, or check out what’s popular on the aggregator home page.
Foodgawker example
When you create an account in any of the aggregator platforms mentioned above, you can create a list of favorite links to help keep track of links you have shared, and the articles that caught your eye.

3. Regularly share the most irresistible content with your audience

Once your followers get know you or your organization as the food/fitness/fashion/[insert your field of interest here] guru that you are, make sure to stay this way! It can be difficult to check all those websites we mentioned earlier every day, but not to worry – Hootsuite has tools designed to make the process easier for you.
Suggested Content Feature Header
One of them is the new Suggested Content feature, with a BETA version available for all Hootsuite Pro and Enterprise users. The feature works by analyzing your posting history on Twitter, and searching for recent relevant matches on similar topics. You can sort through the suggestions, and schedule the links you find interesting to be posted at set intervals, or let Hootsuite autoschedule them for optimal posting times.
And last, but not least, a strategy I will never tire of recommending: show a little personality in your social media presence (within reason, of course). If you share an article you find unusual or humorous, your followers will probably agree; if you have fun with the content, so will your audience!