Gretchen Tibbits knows how to create a direct and continuous dialogue with readers. As COO of LittleThings, she leads a brand dedicated to “doing well by doing good.” The company has experienced unprecedented growth since its launch in 2014, becoming the fifth largest mobile site and number one in engagement per article on Facebook.
As a noted speaker at the Folio: Show on November 1 and 2, Tibbits will host a session entitled, “Beyond Posts and Tweets: New Social Media Strategies (and Networks) That Engage Audiences Now.” Here, she tells Folio: how to drive audience engagement through shareable content.
Folio: What makes content shareable, in your experience?
Gretchen Tibbits: There are a lot of aspects that drive shareability. Specific to LittleThings, it’s both the art and the science that we put into our content creation. We only publish things that are positive, up-lifting and engaging. So there are frequently stories that we find which we know are going to trend, but that we walk away from because, first and foremost, our mission as a company has a foundation of positivity.
We have a proprietary testing algorithm with over 30,000 data points; every piece of content runs through that algorithm to make sure it drives the highest engagement possible.
Content wise, "shareable" is something that drives engagement and emotional response—maybe it makes you a little sad before it makes you happy; or it’s a recipe or DIY post that you look at and you’re like, “I can do that! I can handle that.”
We always want to be very approachable to the audience, and create something that is not only engaging, but that will elicit a response in our reader which makes her want to bring that joy or practical tip to her network—a network which is primarily on Facebook, though not exclusively, and very much multi-generational.
Folio: What’s something most companies do wrong when it comes to social strategy?
Tibbits: We’re all about positivity. So I don’t like to talk about what other people are doing wrong. We like to look at who’s doing it right. A lot of times it’s not replicating what someone is doing, but looking at what the audience is responding to and adjusting it to our audience. Our audience is unique because we are 80 percent female, but those women are predominately 30-and-up. We’re not in that same millennial zeitgeist.
One of the great benefits we have is with the engagement of our audience, their likes, their comments, and their shares. We’re able to get direct feedback of what they’re responding to.
Folio: What’s something a lot of companies are doing well on social these days?
Tibbits: A lot of people, like us, are having fun with Facebook Live as a new medium. The ability to have a direct dialogue with the audience is fascinating and fun, and we’re one of, not a huge number, but many publishers that have embraced that medium as a way to have a direct and continuous dialogue with our audience.
Folio: Is Facebook the best social network for audience engagement?
Tibbits: It depends—for our demographic, definitely. Our core audience is 30-and-up, but there are other platforms out there that have a huge adoption in the millennial markets. A lot of people are spending a lot of money figuring out the who/what/where of that.
Folio: What are you looking forward to most at the Folio: Show?
Tibbits: I’ve been in media since before there was digital, and Folio: was one of the key publishers all the way back in the early 90’s when I got into the media world. So for me, it’s just a lot of fun to be associated with one of the iconic B2B brands in this space who has evolved as our industry has.
For more information about the Folio: Show, taking place November 1 and 2 in New York, click here.