5 Steps to Create Quality Social Media Content

Post submitted by Aprel Downey.

Maintaining an active presence on social media is, in most cases, vital to the success of your business.

Proof?

People ages 35-49 (dubbed Generation X) spend almost 7 hours per week on social media.

Millennials, who come in second, spend just over 6 hours per week on social media.

Dig these stats? There's plenty more where that came from.

5 Steps to Create Quality Social Media Content

The simple fact is your target customers have their attention placed squarely on social media and other online platforms for a large percentage of the time they're awake.

They're looking for opinions, guidance, and expert knowledge when seeking solutions to their problems.

Social media presents an opportunity for your business to be that guide and expert, openly and transparently.

As you share information with your audience on social media, they begin to trust you and, if you're approaching the medium sensibly, you'll build genuine relationships with past, present, and future customers.

That trust works its way into future sales down the road.

For these reasons, you have to do more than just show up on social media, post something, and walk away thinking you're ahead of the game.

That's a losing strategy.

What you post, how and when you post it, how personable your presence is, and how dedicated you are to having conversations with your customers all play an essential role in your social media game.

Below are five steps that will ensure you're creating social media content that adds value, instead of turning people away.

1. Brevity Breeds Engagement: Be Short and Sweet

People don't actively participate in social media activities for an extended period of time.

They typically scroll through their news feed looking for the latest headline news topics, updates on their favorite sports teams, or seeing how their family and friends are doing.

That means you literally have a split second to catch their attention and draw them away from other topics of interest on their news feed.

Your best chance at making this happen is to be short and sweet.

In fact, one study found that Facebook posts with less than 80 characters receive 66% more engagement than posts with more than 80 characters.

Brevity breeds engagement.

So…

  • Avoid posting lengthy descriptions or unnecessarily-complex information on your social media platforms, unless your audience specifically looks for that type of content.
  • Share a few highlights of a particular topic of interest, and then direct their attention to your blog for a more in-depth look about the topic.
  • Post a short video clip on a topic to capture their attention and end the video with a call to action to find more information on your website.

Let your audience decide if and when they want to learn more, instead of force-feeding it to them.

2. Make a Direct Point and Stick to Your Message

This ties closely into the previous point.

Time is a valuable asset to you and your social media audience.

Arguably, it's the most important asset any person has.

Your content needs to make a point that adds value to their experience or provides solutions to a problem they're facing, and it needs to make that point immediately.

If you ramble on without having a central point in place, your audience will tap out.

They'll be bored with your presence and potentially with your brand overall.

And, barring a few business models, being boring is the absolute worst method of attracting customers.

So, pick 4 – 6 central topics of great interest to your audience and stick to them.

You can call these areas "content buckets", and for the most part, all of your social media posts should fit within these buckets.

As you build your presence, you can dig into analytics and start determining which of these buckets truly do perform well, and which ones may need to be altered.

The point is, you should be posting with clear intent of delivering value — whatever form that takes — to your audience without wasting their time.

3. Create Visually Appealing Social Media Content

Eye-catching images and videos work to capture the attention of your audience in a way that words can't accomplish.

According to Brain Rules:

When people hear information, they're likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retain 65% of the information three days later.

And think about the most popular social platforms today — Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat (sorry, Twitter, but ya know).

They're all visual-based.

A picture is worth a thousand words.

It's a cliche for a reason, people!

You can easily take parts of your business and turn those into captivating images or videos to share with your social media audience.

  • Snap a picture of what your desk looks like in the middle of a new project.
  • Go live on Facebook or Instagram during a project meeting.
  • Capture your latest product in various stages of development or your staff members as they work on a new design.
  • Arrange to have customers give video testimonials.

The list goes on and on.

Visual content posts work to give your audience a sneak peek into life behind closed doors.

It proves that your business isn't some monolithic entity — your business is an organization of real, live human beings with unique personalities, quirks, expressions working together to solve problems for customers.

People don't buy from businesses.

They buy from people.

4. Establish a Consistent Social Media Brand Tone of Voice

Your business gains a voice through the words you use in your social media content.

This is often referred to as brand tone.

When people read your posts on social media, what voice do they hear in their head?

Generally, you want to establish a voice that is friendly, warm, and welcoming.

This depends on your brand positioning and industry, of course.

In many cases, your brand's voice on social may need to be assertive, full of bravado and confidence, eloquent, or clever.

It depends on what you're trying to convey to your audience and how you want people to view your brand.

One helpful exercise is to simply ask yourself:

If our brand was a living, breathing human being, what adjectives would we use to describe them? What kinds of words would they use? How would they speak?

You can also look at other brands to form categories like, "Our brand should sound similar to XYZ brand." or "We should make sure we don't sound like XYZ brand."

It's these kinds of thought exercises that really provide a framework for determining how your brand sounds to your followers on social media.

Lastly, another helpful tip is to post in the first person.

Use "I" or "We" when talking about something that your company is doing.

This gives your audience reassurance that they're interacting with a real person behind the screen, as opposed to a faceless organization or social scheduling tool.

5. Focus On Attention-Grabbing Headlines and Copy

In the world of social media, headlines and strong intro copy are everything.

Think about how you read through a newspaper or magazine.

Or even how you personally use social media.

Do you sit there and read every single word that comes across the page/screen?

Of course not.

As you scroll through your news feed or flip the pages, you skim quickly, looking for keywords in headlines that pique your interest, make you pause, think, or leave you guessing.

Your audience is the same way.

They're only going to click on or engage with something that grabs their attention, either because it generates an emotional response or it focuses on a real problem they're trying to solve.

When writing headlines or intro copy for your social media posts:

  • Start by picking the central point of each content post you create.
  • Then brainstorm some ideas that come to mind upon reading that focal point.
  • Find one or two ideas from that list that stick out, add a few target keywords and your new headline should be good to go.

In the end, you're looking for the headline and copy that makes your audience feel as if they're missing out on something by not clicking on your post.

As an aside, be careful with how far you take this.

You don't want to end up in clickbait territory.

Clickbait — intentional exaggeration or plainly misleading people with a headline — is generally found to be annoying by users, and many social algorithms are now taking note of misleading or fake posts.

Using clickbait phrases and headlines might work at the start, but in the long-run, you're sabotaging your presence and killing the trust people have in the content you're posting.

Final Thoughts

Creating content for your social media posts can be intimidating at first.

But using these five tips will help streamline your social media content and take the guess-work out of what to post each time.

Be consistent in sharing valuable content with your audience and your social media game will be stronger than the competition in no time.

____________

About the Author

Aprel Phelps Downey is a marketing strategist at Aprel Phelps Downey Business Marketing Services,where she helps small businesses stand out in the competitive crowd with the help of coffee and chocolate.

Connect with Aprel on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and join her mailing list here today.

My Social Game Plan, Social Media for Small Business Owners
Feeling overwhelmed by social media?
Join today and I'll send you three free, practical lessons for implementing a winning social media strategy into your business.


SHARE THIS
Previous Post
Next Post