Without a doubt, social media is one of the main ways (some would argue THE most important way) to market your products or services, get new customers, and grow your brand awareness.
A 2019 survey by Emarsys revealed there are 3.5 billion social media users worldwide, which is around 45% of the world’s population. And this number is only growing, especially since people are so attached to their smartphones. Globalwebindex found that people average at least 3 hours a day on social media platforms. That’s a whole lot of opportunity to get your brand in front of a vast audience.
But the problem is that every business, both large and small, has the same goal. So the question becomes not WHY social media, but HOW to get noticed in an ocean of global competition? The answer lies in two main areas.
On the one hand there’s content strategy planning, like creating a well timed social media content calendar that engages people at the right time. We explore this in our article: How to Build a Successful Social Media Calendar.
The second area is creating — how do you make content that stands out, gets people sharing, and ultimately makes them want to buy what you offer? That’s what we’ll look at in this article.
To know how to create great content on social media, you first have to understand what type of content inspires people to engage and share. Psychology researchers have discovered the four main factors which trigger people to get socially active on platforms are: communication, entertainment, social approval, and supporting ideas.
These obviously often overlap, and there can also be differences in the type of content people seek on different platforms. For example, Instagram is mainly about awesome images.
What’s important to remember is your content should always be focused around one or more of these four triggers. People relate to content that interests them on a personal level. One of the biggest mistakes businesses can make on social media is to focus content primarily on their brand and promotions.
If promotions are all you put out, people will come to view your content as spam, which causes brand aversion. Instead, your business needs to engage audiences around what people are interested in, or around solving their pain points.
Giving people content they enjoy will naturally make them interested in your brand enough to want to know more about who you are and what you’re offering. The days of aggressive sell have gone the way of the dinosaur.
Awesome content is a long game, so don’t tie yourself in knots trying to create perfect content from the get go. Over time, you’ll get better and better at understanding your audience, based on what they engage with. That said, if you keep these tips in mind , you can’t go wrong, whether you’re experienced or a complete newbie startup:
Picture and video content is vital for engagement these days. They grab attention faster and more effectively than text alone. For example, photos are liked 200% more than text updates.
To source static images for your content, you have these options:
Over the past few years, video content has become crucial, especially when dealing with a millennial audience. Facebook’s algorithm even prioritizes videos. A study by Small Business Trends found that social video generates 1,200% more shares than text and images combined!
SMBs often shy away from video because they think it would overstretch their budget. But the opposite applies to video compared to what we said about images — keeping it real is far more appealing to consumers than a professional production. Themes like a behind-the-scenes look at the people and operation of your business, or a Q&A session, filmed from your phone or computer, can make people feel a human connection with your brand.
But if you want to do a professional, branded product promotion, there are a number of video production apps that can help you do that at very affordable prices, and without needing specialized skills.
When adding visuals to your social posts, keep a few things in mind with your content strategy:
Social proof, meaning the views of your peers instead of companies, is vital in today’s competitive marketplace. And it’s not just about Likes. Sharing user created content — like the photos and videos people take with their phones, product reviews, and strategic guest posts — give your brand credibility.
Be sure to have a content strategy that effectively repurposes this type of content. For example, a survey by BrightLocal found that 68% out of 74% of customers who were asked for feedback gave an online review. And reviews are a powerful brand trust tool. If you’re a new business, you could even offer a discount code to anyone who leaves feedback so you can gain fast traction.
When deciding what user content to repurpose, keep those four triggers we listed in mind: communication, entertainment, social approval, and supporting ideas. It’s also highly advisable to steer clear of polarizing shares, like political ideas, because you don’t want to antagonize a large portion of your audience.
But you can never go wrong with general humor about everyday life, and feel-good content like people helping each other. Your main guide should be content that unites people, or content that you’re sure your audience will find funny or attractive.
Positive emotion is key to engaging people on social media. You want to strike a balance between appealing to as wide an audience as possible, while having some unique personality so you stand out.
If nothing else, remember these rules of thumb to keep you on track with professional messaging that appeals to readers:
Creative content strategy starts with understanding what makes people share and engage. This boils down to the four main triggers we outlined
And when it comes to producing great content, three main factors come into play:
Also make sure your content has the right sizing to fit different platforms, and looks good on different devices. That’s why a social media manager is so valuable — it does all this for you from a single, easy dashboard.
Now that you have the core foundation for creating great social media content, check out the Need-to-Know Social Media Management Tips to successfully build ongoing audience engagement.
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