How to write brilliant social media content
So you have set up a business Facebook page that you diligently monitor and update once a day with snippets, pictures and videos, which may or may not feature a cat playing a piano.
You may have ventured out further and have been tweeting your thoughts on the latest reality TV show.
If so, you are probably congratulating yourself on taming the social media beast. And so you should.
What happens though if you start to notice that people are not engaging in your posts or updates? What happens when hardly anyone is liking/sharing/commenting/re-tweeting or clicking on your updates? More importantly how do you fix it?
By far the most important component of any marketing activity is content. Content marketing is more than a buzz word, it is the foundation of all marketing activities.
The same rule applies to social media marketing. Your social media content must be relevant and valuable to your target market.
Without this, your social media marketing efforts will be largely wasted.
Here are some tips on developing brilliant social media content.
It is terribly tempting to blast your followers with promotional copy, promos, offers and sales.
While there is a place in social media for promotional opportunities, especially if they are well managed, by far the majority of your posts should be non-promotional.
Remember when most people are using social media, they are using it in a “social” sense. They are not in the headspace for hard-selling.
A 80/20 rule of thumb can be used as a guideline for posts. That is, for every self-serving promotional post, you should have at least four relevant and interesting content posts. These should be a mix of your own content and re-posts of relevant content written by others.
Posts can be purely entertaining (such as cats playing piano), or personal (such as personal images or anecdotes), but will be most effective if they connect with someone and elicit an emotion, whether that is laughter, empathy or gratitude. It should also have some connection to your business and its products or services. For example, a boutique may post a photo of the owner in their daggiest prom dress.
You should like or follow similarly minded pages that feature content that will be relevant to your target audience.
Here are some tips to help you identify content relevant to your target audience.
+ Think about your audience as people or “personas” rather than demographic profiles
+ Tailor your content and approach – ensure your content is tailored to your personas and packaged and delivered in a format, style, frequency and timeframe most relevant to them.
+ Focus on giving away lots of value – some call this giving away the secret sauce. Don’t always ask for something in return. Why give away the secret sauce? Remember you are in the business of solving problems. Your potential customer has a problem and your content may help solve it, at no cost to them. When they need more help hopefully they will come to you and share the information or experience with everyone they know.
+ Stockpile content – squirrel away content ideas and trends as you come across them. You never know when something may come in handy, especially if it is not time critical. You may come up with ideas anywhere from on the bus, in the shower or driving. It may be something as simple as a road sign, an anecdote a friend has told you or a news feature. Have a pen and paper on hand, or use voice memo on your phone (handy when in the car), or type notes into your phone. Tear out pages from newspapers or magazines as you see something that interests you. Compile your ideas in a hard copy or electronic folder. You may even like to input them into a spreadsheet with specific columns so you can search by particular fields
+ Ask your audience – ask your followers what kind of content they would like to see. This doesn’t make you sound stupid, it demonstrates you really want to engage with your customers.
Finally, be concise – as with any writing keep your content to the point, especially with Twitter where you have limited characters. If you are posting links, take advantage of free url shorteners that create a super-short link for you. Google’s and bitly’s url shorteners are probably the most common.
Regardless of your overarching social media goal, one of your objectives is likely to be to get people to click it/view/like/share/re-post/comment in some way, shape or form. This would be in the hope it would lead to further awareness, increased traffic and hopefully sales. It also has the added benefit of increasing the likelihood of someone seeing your post (since the more people who comment or share it, the higher up it moves in a feed) and improve search engine optimisation (SEO).
Getting people click it/view/like/share/re-post/comment is a good basis for engaging your audience, and if it isn’t, it is time to review your objectives.
To achieve the above objective there needs to be a clear and persuasive call-to-action.
Keep in mind people share or comment on content based on how they want to perceived by others. So they want to look good/funny/intelligent/caring by liking or sharing something. Certainly high quality and valuable content will go a long way in achieving this. So you may simply go with adding a simple “like this post” or event a question at the end of your post with the hope people will engage with it.
This is a great starting point, but what else can you do to improve engagement? Momentus Media conducted a study of 20,000 Facebook profiles which found that asking a stand alone “question” will result in 23% less engagement that no question at all.
This does not mean questions should be avoided – it means you have to craft your questions more carefully. In fact you need to demand an answer. Sounds pushy right – well it works.
Here is an example:
Question only: “Coffee or Tea. Which is better?
Question with a demand: “Coffee or Tea. Which is better? Tell us in comments”
You may not believe this but research has shown that people are more likely to go to the effort of doing something, if they are told to do it.
Blogger Ryan ‘Haight’ Mail explains further:
“Look at any of the top 100 YouTube channels. They all end with:
“What do you think about turtle racing? Tell us in the comments! And remember to hit subscribe!”
They do this because it doesn’t matter how funny you are, the majority of people will finish your video and go, “Ha! That was funny– omg a cat playing piano. *click*”
And then they’re gone.”
By adding their call-to-action and couching it in a demand, they may have just got some more engagement, possibly even a lead for their email distribution list and SEO.
Let’s explore this concept a little further by using conditionals, such as ‘comment/like IF [condition]’. Eg. Comment if you think tea is better than coffee, or ‘Like’ if you think tea is better than coffee.
Have you noticed again how we are ‘telling’ rather than ‘asking’.
Now time for a little reality check, from Haight Mail who explains why aiming for a ‘Like’ is also a great option.
“People are Lazy. Comments are great on Facebook. They usually include words — sometimes they’re spelled correctly,” he says.
“But ultimately they’re a lot of work. So even with a call to action, people are less likely to interact the more work they have to do. So use this to your advantage and make it easy. You are 216% more likely to get people to click ‘Like’ than you are to have them actually write a sentence.” [Momentus Media]
So in summary, have a call-to-action, and let it demand or tell the audience what to do.
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