When creating social media content, what strategies are you using?

Do you perform in-depth research before posting or are you winging it? I admit it, sometimes I do both! 😉

Creating social media content can be overwhelming when it comes to strategy and idea generation. But, when it comes to developing an audience and growing a brand, social media platforms are invaluable! Your audience is using social media and so are your competitors.

Consider these facts about social media marketing (compiled by Blue Corona):

  • 69% of adults use at least one social media site.
  • 68% of U.S. adults are on Facebook.
  • 41% of Americans say it’s important that the institutions they engage with have a strong social media presence.
  • Almost 90% of marketers say their social marketing efforts have increased exposure for their business, and 75% say they’ve increased traffic.
  • 90% of marketers said that social media is important to their businesses.

Yet, the truth about social media marketing is that it’s not for everyone. Using social media as a marketing channel is not a simple case of creating some profiles and sharing the most basic information about your business and niche.

Social media content creation is a persistent task that requires effort and research. There are things you should know BEFORE you hit the ground running with your social media posting.

Why not start with the best chances possible of a successful strategy that gains traction and benefits your overall content marketing goals? Pay attention to these six tips BEFORE creating social media content to maximize your efforts and improve your results.

There are things to know BEFORE you start your social media posting. Like, what content works?Click To Tweet

1) Too Much Sharing Doesn’t Help Your Brand

Curated content is often promoted as a quick and easy way to gain followers and develop a social media presence. However, it’s important not to get carried away with sharing relevant third-party content when you’re posting on social media.

Curation helps develop relationships with brands, influencers, companies, and colleagues in your industry.  Although the content is complementary to your brand, it’s important to find the balance between supporting key influential people in your niche while also building your own brand.

It’s also critical that your curated content does not take the focus away from your own brand and offerings. The aim here is to provide added value, without becoming a feeder for somebody else’s social marketing strategy.

Find the balance between supporting influential people in your niche & building your own brand.Click To Tweet

Consistency, as a rule, is important, but it doesn’t precede quality, branded content. Post less frequently if you need the time to create better, brand-related content.

KEY TAKEAWAY

Limit your content curation and sharing by incorporating enough of your own branded content into your strategy.

PRO TIPS

  1. Before you even consider social media, be prepared to invest in content creation.
  2. You can repurpose your own content from other sources (e.g. blog, podcast, video) if necessary.
  3. Don’t move forward with social media marketing until you have enough branded social media content.

2) Visual Content Rules Supreme on Social Media

90% of information transmitted to the human brain is visual! It makes sense that visuals need to be the driving force in your social media content.

Keep in mind that when marketing on social media, you’re competing for screen time with thousands of other posts that your audience is exposed to every day. Your content must stand out in a way that keeps your audience engaged for longer.

According to research, visual content is a priority for social media marketers. Not only is visual content what’s working on social platforms but also it’s how people are consuming information. Look at these facts compiled by WebDam:

  • People remember only 20% of reading text without visuals.
  • Verbal intelligence scores are dropping, while visual and nonverbal intelligence scores are rising.
  • 81% of educated people skim without reading.
  • Images produce 650% higher engagement than text posts.
  • 85% of viewers are more likely to purchase a product after watching a product video.
  • Social media posts with videos attract 3x more inbound links than text posts.

Creating social media content - Use more visuals

Now that you know what people prefer in terms of text versus images, you can plan accordingly before creating your content. When it comes to visuals, there are plenty of choices:

  • Images
  • Videos
  • Slideshares
  • Cinemagraphs
  • GIFs
  • Memes
  • Mini infographics

Don’t let the variety overcome you. Select only a couple of social media content types to try at first, especially if you’re short on time.

KEY TAKEAWAY

Make your content for social media VISUAL because it rules when it comes to visibility, engagement, reach, branding, and growth.

PRO TIPS

  1. Posting just to post on social is one strategy but one that probably won’t yield the results you need.
  2. Convert your text posts into visuals by batching your creation process. Just a small change from text to visuals can boost your results!
  3. Try easy-to-use graphic tools that allow commercial use, such as:
Images produce 650% higher engagement than text posts. Use visual content!Click To Tweet

3) The Goal of the Three E’s

One of the simplest content marketing concepts to understand is also one of the most important. Create content that people want to consume. And, people gravitate to content that stirs emotion, educates, and entertains.

Emotion, Education, and Entertainment—the three E’s—should factor into every piece of content that you develop. Any business owner can benefit from understanding the Three E’s and incorporating them when creating content for social media.

The three E's of social media content

Emotion grabs your audience and draws them into your content. It gives them something that they can directly relate to on a personal level. Emotion is effective in titles as well as in the overall message of certain content.

Education informs your audience about a topic that they want to know more about. It expands their knowledge on something that they’re already interested in.  Educate in a way that speaks to the wants and needs of your audience, and you’ll find success!

Entertainment is intrinsic to every social media platform. After all, people use social media to communicate, connect, learn, and to be entertained.  They are there to be social! Make your content entertaining to have a greater chance of being noticed and generating audience engagement. Entertaining content is more likely to be shared, and for most businesses, it will help to create a more positive brand impression.

People devour content that is emotional, educational, and entertaining. Give 'em what they want!Click To Tweet

KEY TAKEAWAY

Create social media content that educates, entertains, and touches your audience in an emotional way to see the biggest results from social marketing.

PRO TIPS

  1. Use Buzzsumo to find what content is popular so that you can see what’s working and create similar content.
  2. Go to your Facebook Page’s Insights tab and use the Pages to Watch feature to spy on what content is working for your competitors and colleagues.

4) Interactive Content Increases Audience Engagement

On social media, you don’t want to simply talk to your audience. You want to engage with your fans and have conversations with them to develop rapport and build relationships. Social media is one of the best ways to increase sales—by way of connections that lead to trust, ‘likeability,’ and brand loyalty.

Creating interactive content helps draw your audience into the conversation.

What is interactive content?

“Interactive” refers to content that involves the participant in active engagement, not just reading or watching but directly interacting with the content.

Social media is interactive by nature, with commenting, retweeting, private messages, and other forms of engagement that are inherent to the most popular platforms. But that’s not what I’m referring to here. I’m talking about creating opportunities for engagement with your branded content through the use of:

  • surveys
  • quizzes
  • games
  • apps
  • calculators
  • polls
  • contests
  • assessments.

Interactive content is more effective, especially since it often ticks all three of the boxes for being emotional, entertaining, and educational. According to Demand Metric (by way of Kissmetrics), interactive content “blows away passive content for educating the buyer.”

Creating social media content - Interactive content increases engagement.

Source: Kissmetrics

Interactive content cuts through the noise and appeals to our desire to learn by doing. And, as discussed above, interactivity feeds your audience’s visual preferences and keeps their attention.

Of course, requires additional time and money to create and manage. You may want to reserve it for special campaigns, launches, or events if you’re budget is small.

KEY TAKEAWAY

Interactive content is highly effective on social media for increasing engagement, education, reach, and visibility.

PRO TIPS

  1. Start with only one type of interactive content to test what works with your audience.
  2. Use tools to help create interactive content and keep your investment low.
Interactive content helps draw your audience into the conversation.Click To Tweet

5) Relevance Matters

When it comes to creating social media content, what is relevant to your audience matters. If your content isn’t relevant at some level, then it won’t succeed in helping your business. The tricky part is pinpointing what content your fans prefer to consume.

Before your social media content creation begins, research your competition to see what they’re publishing on social media. Obviously, you want to be different so that you don’t blend in with your competition, but it doesn’t hurt to see what others are doing and how consumers are reacting.

Creating social media content - Relevance matters. Let your goals and audience guide your strategy.

Consider this too: relevance has different meanings. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Is this content relevant to my audience? (aka is this something they care about?)
  • Does this content make sense for my brand?
  • Is this content relatable, interesting, and applicable in my industry/niche?
  • Am I contributing to the conversation?

To determine what content you’re going to create, you need figure out if anyone cares about it other than you. There is some trial and error in this process, especially if you’re starting from scratch. Let your fans guide your strategy and make adjustments as needed.

Allow time in your plan to account for creating an audience if you don’t already have one—or you don’t have the right one. Let your content be the beacon that leads your ideal avatar to your business.

Understanding the needs, desires, and interests of your target market means you’ll be able to tailor your social media content in a way that ensures that people will want to look at what you have to say. Creating desirable, noteworthy content has the added bonus of increasing your authority, influence and reach.

Is your social media content relevant to your audience, your brand, and your niche?Click To Tweet

KEY TAKEAWAY

Create social media content that is relevant and relatable so that you attract and maintain the interest of your ideal avatar.

PRO TIPS

  1. Nowadays, with organic reach at an all-time low, you may need to pay to show your content to your fans. Otherwise, you won’t know if you have a content problem or a visibility problem (due to algorithms).
  2. The more relevant social media content you create in your niche, the more it helps you in SEO too! Don’t overlook the benefits of social media when it comes to your SEO value.

6) Hashtags Increase Visibility

One way to ensure that your social media posts are reaching your intended audience is to make use of #hashtags. Thus, before embarking on social media content creation, investigate hashtags to see which make sense for your niche.

Once best used on Twitter and Instagram, hashtags are now acceptable on Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Facebook. You can research hashtags on the platforms themselves or use a tool such as hashtagify.me.

Hashtags are not only search engine friendly but also work with social media network algorithms to get your content in front of the right audience.

When used correctly, hashtags increase the visibility and reach of your social media content.Click To Tweet

In addition, hashtags require little effort to incorporate into your updates on networks like Twitter and Facebook. When trending hashtags are relevant to your brand and your message, you will have the potential to reach thousands of users from a single post.

You can even start your own hashtags that will become associated with your brand.

KEY TAKEAWAY

Incorporate hashtags into your strategy to get your content in front of more people, even some who don’t follow your social media accounts.

PRO TIPS

  1. Always research hashtags BEFORE using them to make sure you understand their context and intent. You don’t want to embarrass yourself or your brand by misusing a hashtag.
  2. Use popular and trending hashtags to extend the reach, visibility, and engagement of your social media content.
  3. Stick to a couple of hashtags for Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Facebook. For Instagram, feel free to use more (up to 30).

Creating Social Media Content is an Investment

The old days of social media marketing were much easier, there’s no question about it. Less competition and wider organic reach made social media a much easier endeavor for businesses. Even so, compared to other marketing channels, social media still remains a low-cost alternative.

When it comes to creating social media content, you must accept that you get out of it what you put into it. There’s always the misconception that social media marketing is free. Alas, whether you’re spending money or time, you’re making an investment.

Remember these two things: content marketing takes time to develop and to succeed, and sometimes hiring a professional is your best option!

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Meghan Monaghan
Meghan Monaghan
CEO/Co-founder at Smart Bird Social
Meghan is a digital marketer with expertise and certifications in visual content, social media, web design, email marketing, blogging/content marketing, landing pages, and sales funnels. She helps entrepreneurs and very small businesses get found in search and social via custom content and do-it-yourself marketing tactics, systems, and strategies that she teaches online.

In an effort to empower business owners with knowledge and confidence, she creates content that informs, educates, inspires, and entertains. She contributes to blogs, including Social Quant and AccessWP, and can be found wherever there are rescued greyhounds afoot.

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