Having a social media profile is one thing, but getting people to read, react and otherwise engage with your content can seem like an uphill struggle. What on earth can you post and how do you know what your audience want to read? If you’re spending over long trying to come up with the perfect social media content (and failing) then here are my top 7 tips on how to create content that will enthral your audience and get them coming back for more and, just as importantly, help you stand out amongst your competitors.
What makes good content?
Let’s first have a look at what good content is and why you should bother trying to master this. The not-so-quick answer to what makes good social media content is that it’s all about your audience. What is going to interest them enough to keep them coming back for more?
Now, good content means using variety. That’s variety in subject matter and variety in format. You’ll need to really get to grips with who your ideal or target audience is. There can be all sorts of questions here that you could ask in order to build up as complete a picture of them as possible; What is their name? Where are they located? What is their job? What is their relationship status? What are their wider interests outside of work? What do they do for fun? It is this sort of information that allows you to really get to grips with creating content that will be of interest to them. Not all your content should be based around your products/services. If you understand the “wider world” that your target audience inhabit, then you’ll be able to find content to appeal to these interests. Similarly, you’ll know what format is likely to appeal to them. Are they likely to be more open to video? Are they more traditional and would prefer text-based content?
1. Create with Intent
The first step to great content involves having a strategy. It’s not enough to just post “something”; you need to underpin your social media content with strategy. Start by taking a broad overview of your business for the coming year. (If that’s just too scary, try 90 days) What’s planned? Are you launching a product or event? Are you speaking at a conference? Are you planning a workshop? Whatever you have planned for your business, write that into your content plan and then, working backwards, start planning promotion via your social media accounts from that date in the future to the present date. You’ll want to start building anticipation some time in advance of “D-Day” and gradually ramp up promotion as the launch date gets closer. Think about how you could write blogs, what posts you could create, what teaser videos you could do, what graphics etc. to promote your business. Intersperse this promotional content with curated content.
A useful tool for content curation is Feedly. Look for articles that will appeal to the wider interests of your audience, not just work-related items. Remember, this is not about the content that you find of interest, it’s about your target audience, so create content with them in mind.
2. Conversation Starters
Show you value your audience and their opinion by including a poll. Questions trigger the natural human reflex called instinctive elaboration. This reflex forces people to pause and start looking for or formulate an answer. In other words, we all love to have an opinion! This could be a question about your services, your website, your branding, floating a new idea for a product/service or it could just simply be something fun. Never underestimate the power of humour in your social media content!
3. Be Responsive
When someone mentions you in their own social media, perhaps in an Instagram Story or a Facebook or Twitter post, then share that mention. It’s a simple strategy but it’s one that gets forgotten.
4. Visual Content
According to HubSpot the brain processes images 60,000 times faster than it can decode text. So, rather than ask your audience to invest valuable time in reading text, make it easy for them and use video instead. Many platforms are visual – Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Pinterest to name the most popular. Indeed, Instagram prioritises video on its IGTV app by placing it at the top of any search results. That should tell you something.
GIFs are another, fun way of attracting your audience and can be used in both Facebook and Twitter to give a little extra “something” to your content.
5. Go Live
Facebook and Instagram now offer a “Live” video facility, which gives you a fantastic opportunity to connect with your audience. Live video allows you to build the “human” side of your business. Your audience get to see the face behind the business and strengthen their relationship with you. Try using Live videos for:
- Behind the Scenes videos
- Interviews with customers or members of your team
- Product demos
- Product tests
- Sharing events
- Live events
Take inspiration from Luis Vuitton, who live-streamed their whole Spring/Summer fashion show, including behind the scenes footage on IGTV.
6. Use Emotion
When creating social media content, try to be as emotive as possible. What emotion could you spark in sharing a particular piece of content? It is this content which is most likely to be shared and to go viral. In this earlier blog I looked at exactly why storytelling is a great element of your marketing strategy. What story can you share with your audience? When you share this type of content, you appear relatable to your audience, so don’t be shy.
7. Be Controversial
Lastly, be controversial. Share your thoughts on a particular piece of content and ask for views. I always remember the advice my father gave my brother when he became old enough to frequent pubs, “Don’t discuss religion or politics” and this piece of advice is worth remembering. After all, you want to provoke conversation, not alienate anyone!
With upwards of three billion people active on social media, there is no doubt that your target audience is out there, somewhere. With targeted social media content, you have an unparalleled opportunity to attract those people and easily convert them into allies and brand ambassadors, so that, when they need your products and services, they wouldn’t consider going anywhere else.
If you’re struggling with social media content, then why not buy our Smashing Social Media 365 Pack. This amazing pack will give you a full 365 days’ worth of social media content. You’ll receive:
- A 12-month editable social media planning calendar.
- A PDF version for you to print off and pin on your noticeboard.
- Daily prompts and suggestions to create engaging social media posts.
- 25 captions to spark inspiration and make publishing your posts a breeze
- National Holidays, Awareness Days and other “Special” Days (Some serious, some just downright fun!) for you to use as themes for your posts.
- 50 graphics illustrating these “Special” days to pep up your content.
- 25 quote-based graphics, to inspire you and your audience and designed to fit in, whatever your branding.
- 25 engagement graphics, to get your audience talking and encourage those conversations.
- All 100 graphics are provided in both square and wide sizes for ease of use and to make them as versatile as possible.
A full year of social media content ticked off your list and all for just 8p a day! Click the link to get your Smashing Social Media 365 Pack now!