How to create great, shareable social media content

A common question I often get when doing marketing consulting is, “how do I create great social media content?” You have a great business, a great service, or a great product, so how do you use social media to share your story, gain a following, increase engagement, and raise brand awareness?

The key is creating great, shareable content.

But first, let’s take a step back. First of all, what is social media?

Social media is websites and applications that enable users to create and share input, ideas, videos, photos, conversations, etc. Now, the emphasis is on sharing. Think about it, what do you do when you are on social media? You probably see what people are up to, share what you are up to, or send articles/memes/images/etc. to your friends.

So…then what makes great, shareable content?

Well, first ask yourself, what types of posts do you engage with or share? What makes you like something? Why do you share a post with others?

The reasons you come up with are probably 99.9% similar to the reasons why other people share content too. You want to share a positive quote to inspire someone, or share a how-to video to help educate someone on a particular skill/topic, or share a funny/cute video about something you found amusing or you thought your friend would find amusing. Sharing content is tied to our relationship with others, and it follows these two principles:

  1. The content brings value to the person we are sharing it with.
  2. The content is genuine.

So how does this translate to the content you will make for your business? When creating content keep these guidelines in mind:

  1. Positive news is contagious! Try to focus your content on optimism and positivity! Share a positive announcement, an award won, or success story.

    Jake_BJJ Tournament
    This post I made for GET SAFE Krav Maga celebrates head trainer, Jake Schwartz’s (2nd from the right) bronze medal win in at the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation Pan Championship. Followers have the opportunity to congratulate their instructor and share the news with other followers/members of the gym.
  2. Feature people. Make it personable, people love engaging with content that showcases people vs. objects. Even better, share photos/videos of people your followers know. 
    GET SAFE Fam Bam
    This cover photo I posted for GET SAFE USA features staff, volunteers, friends, and family. The caption, “GET SAFE Fam,” creates a sense of community and team which was reflected and mimicked in the shared post below.

    GET SAFE Fam Bam_Example of a share

  3. Be authentic. Try to stay away from “sale-sy” language. Focus on trust and credibility. Is your post genuine? Is the message coming from the heart and align with your company values/brand?
    9Round_Bad Example.png
    Here is an example of a BAD post! I took over the 9Round social media accounts in 2018. This is a post from August 15, 2017. The caption is very “sale-sy” and doesn’t bring much value to the follower. This is reflected in the low interaction numbers (only 3 likes – all from other 9Round studios which is NOT our target audience). In comparison to the post below.
    Bomel Construction_1.png
    This is an example of a GOOD post. In this post, I featured three 9Round members from Bomel Construction (I tagged one of them who had an Instagram account), and then slid the “sale-sy” language at the end of the caption (sharing information about our corporate discounts and encouraging members to ask a trainer about it). The “sale” is more subtle and fit appropriately with the photo. Even better, @honey_beelicious featured the same photo on her Instagram page (see below).

    Bomel Construction_2.png

  4. Make it part of something bigger. Try to tie your content to something bigger like a cause or value (if it truly fits your company values/brand – see point #3 again!).
    Mental Health Awareness Month
    For Mental Health Awareness Month, I used the appropriate hashtags and caption to share a blog article I wrote about a Behavioral Response Training GET SAFE provided to the Travis Air Force Base. The article highlights mental health awareness and the work the GET SAFE does with veterans. The post was regrammed by one of our followers (see below).
    Mental Health Awareness Month_ReGram
    One of our followers regrammed our photo and wrote a caption that accurately portrayed our company values and brand.

     

  5. Tell a story. People are more likely to remember stories because stories engage human emotion and make it more personable and humanized.

    Denim Day Story
    This photo was taken at a community event in Orange County in recognition of Denim Day. I took this opportunity to tell the story of how Denim Day came to be and how wearing denim on April 25 is symbolic of protesting erroneous and destructive attitudes about sexual assault. This post incorporates guidelines 2-5! The more guidelines you incorporate in a post, the more “shareable” it will be (and it was shared 4 times!).

 

The above 5 points are key guidelines to keep in mind when creating content. Here are some quick, neat tricks to help get your content noticed and picked up:

  1. Use hashtags and tag others. If your post is about an event, awareness month, or holiday, use hashtags to help your content get noticed. Tag appropriate collaborators/partners as well – this increases the likelihood they will also share your post!
    SAAM_Hashtags.png
    For Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Denim Day, I utilized the appropriate hashtags (#SAAM, #SAAM2018, #DenimDay) and tagged Orange County’s Rape Crisis Center, @Waymakers SAVS & Prevention) who then shared our post on their social media platform (see below).

    SAAM_Hashtags_Repost.png
    Wayfinders SAVS & Prevention picked up our post and shared it for Denim Day and Sexual Assault Awareness Month because we tagged them in our photo.
  2. Utilize your social media champions. A social media champion is someone who follows your account and engages quite frequently. Ask them to share your content, or give them videos/photos/content for them to share on their social media accounts. The content/message will seem more genuine and credible if it is coming from a person versus coming from a company. For example, think of a customer telling you a restaurant has great food versus the restaurant telling you it has great food.
    Women's Self Defense Class
    When promoting a Women’s Safety & Self-Defense Workshop on the GET SAFE Krav Maga Facebook page, we asked our members to help us promote it and one of our Champions, Carlyn, shared her own announcement about the workshop and invited her friends to join her (see her post below).

    Women's Self Defense Class_Carlyn.png
    GET SAFE Krav Maga social media follower and Champion, Carlyn, helped us promote our event on her own Facebook page and invited her friends to join her. Her post gives credibility to the service/workshop GET SAFE Krav Maga provides because she is vouching for the business
  3. Test, analyze, revise, test, repeat. Test your content out! Whether it is a type/style of photo, a feature of a person, short captions, long captions, use of hashtags, the time and day you post, etc. test, analyze, revise, test, repeat!This is part of what I love about social media, it’s always a puzzle to figure out and there are so many factors to consider as to how to reach and engage your audience. Look for patterns and use data to back it up.

Creating shareable content doesn’t necessarily mean using a fancy camera or shooting expensive videos or throwing hundreds of dollars into ads. If you can answer “yes” to these two questions:

  1. Does your post bring value to my audience?
  2. Is your post genuine?

You will win. Every. Single. Time.

Always remember, “Don’t use social media to impress people, use it to impact people.”

Good luck!