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:
- The content brings value to the person we are sharing it with.
- 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:
- Positive news is contagious! Try to focus your content on optimism and positivity! Share a positive announcement, an award won, or success story.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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!).
- Tell a story. People are more likely to remember stories because stories engage human emotion and make it more personable and humanized.
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:
- 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!
- 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.
- 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:
- Does your post bring value to my audience?
- 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.”