Content is King!
Creating and publishing quality content is the key to social media success. In fact, sharing second-rate or passé material can actually damage your brand, making your social media efforts not only redundant but destructive.
Like everything in life, social media marketing is only worth doing if it’s done properly. Everything you share – be it an image, an article, a video, or whatever – should be able to stand alone as a quality piece of content. And it should also fit in nicely with your overarching social media campaign, too.
Beware, however, because this can be both time-consuming and laborious – and is a process that’s likely to go on indefinitely.
So, if you don’t enjoy creating social content, you may want stop reading now. There are plenty of resources that promise a shortcut to social media greatness (though we don’t think there’s much to them).
But if you do enjoy creating content, let us show you how to create stuff that you can be proud of, that will captivate and engage your audience, and make your social media campaigns a success.
You may also like: 14 Holiday Social Media Marketing Ideas
Write Scannable Copy
The internet is jam-packed with words. They’re everywhere. So you need a way to make yours stand out.
To do this, no matter whether it’s a blog post, a Facebook update, or a tweet, make all of the text you publish scannable.
Unlike other mediums – newspapers, books, etc. – only 16 percent of people read web-based content word-for-word. Instead, internet readers scan the text they’re viewing for individual words or phrases. These flag up things they’re already interested in or wish to find out more about.
For example, a football fan may hurtle through various pages until they find the name of their club. Or a Radiohead fan may only stop when they see “Thom Yorke” or some other related term.
Just think about how you surf the web yourself. Unless you’re one of the 16 percent word-for-worders, you probably scroll, click, and swipe your way through content at a rapid pace, looking for things that catch your eye.
And why wouldn’t you? With so much content on the web, you’ve got to have some way of finding the bits you actually want to read.
There are a few techniques that you can use to help make your writing more scannable.
- Write in a succinct, but not pithy, fashion.
- Use lists or bullet points to break up long, dense copy
- Emphasize important terms with bold, italics, and underlines (be wary of CAPITALS, though – they can make you seem a bit shouty)
- And don’t introduce too many ideas in one post/update/tweet. The rule of three generally works really well
Testing the scannability of your content is easy.
If you want to check how scannable a blog is, just ask a friend to look at it for 15-30 seconds and then tell you what they think it is about.
If you want to check a Facebook update, tweet, or the like, show it to them for 2-5 seconds and ask them to do the same.
And remember, practice makes perfect.
Visuals, Visuals, Visuals
Another way to halt internet scanners in their tracks is with a picture that, for some reason, takes them aback. It could be a beautiful image, a shocking image, a humorous image, or any other type of image capable of grabbing their attention.
Part of Greenpeace’s latest #StopShell campaign to #SaveTheArctic from the high risk of Shell mining for oil in this beautiful and ecological vital area of the world.
But this isn’t always an easy thing to do and, unfortunately, people will judge your content by its cover.
There may not be as many images on the internet as words, but there’s still an absolute abundance of them. Social media users will be used to seeing high-quality images everywhere they look, which means you’re unlikely to get away with posting a poorly executed image.
We’ve written a blog detailing exactly how to create an unforgettable image; The Truth about Creating Unforgettable Images (And How to Make Them).
Try to create content that elicits an emotional response. And not just any emotional response, you want your audience to associate your brand with emotions that complement it (such as calmness for air fresheners, for example).
You also want to make sure your images – photos, illustrations, and graphics – are well-composed. Photographers, designers, and artists spend years learning how to get this right; still, on social media, sticking to some fundamental rules will go a long way.
— TripAdvisor (@TripAdvisor) March 15, 2016
Finally, in order to give your images the best chance of getting high engagement levels, it’s important to tailor them to each of the platforms you use.
Games, Giveaways, and Contests
Social media users love a freebie and are likely to share content or undertake other tasks that give them a chance of winning a prize (just think of all those “Like and share this content to win a prize” posts you see on Facebook).
These type of posts are so popular because they work, and are particularly effective at generating online interest for SMEs and at driving traffic to a landing page and also spiking engagement levels.
It’s important when you run a social media competition, however, to carefully consider where you will host it – Facebook? Instagram? Twitter? A mixture of all three? – depending on what type of competition it is. Facebook and Instagram, for example, are very good platforms for running photography competitions. Just bear in mind that, each time you add another “venue”, your oversight responsibilities increase.
There are six basic social media competition types:
- Sweepstakes (prize allocated randomly to an existing follower(s)/fan(s)
- Connect to win (“like” or follow a company to enter)
- “Like” share to win (“like” a single piece of content to enter)
- Share to win (share a single piece of content to enter)
- Vote to win (state a preference to enter)
- Create to win (create and upload original content to enter)
All are fairly easy to implement and control, but it’s important that you choose the most appropriate competition type for your audience.
Asking your audience to upload their photographs, for example, is fairly time-consuming, so is probably not appropriate if your audience is made up of a lot of professionals. Teenagers, on the other hand, providing they are old enough to be the social network, may get quite enthusiastic about the prospect of taking and uploading their own pictures. They just love a good selfie…mind you, don’t we all?!
Quality over Quantity, Every time
No one likes to feel the fool, and social media users are no different. If they choose to follow you, they expect you to say something worthwhile or nothing at all.
This means you need to take time planning what you’re going to post and when. And if your posts require you to generate original content, you need to make sure that you have both the time and the skills required.
Quality and original content also rank higher on Google, so there’s a huge SEO benefit as opposed to plagiarised, copied or “me too” content, too.
If you’re running a social media campaign, you’ll likely be your own quality controller. This means you have to thoroughly review any third-party content you wish to post, and scrupulously checking your own content for errors or other lapses in quality.
Think of your social media campaign as a conversation. Your followers do not owe you anything; it’s up to you to capture their interest. So long as you’re a good interlocutor, they’ll respond.