Social media is, at heart, a relationship-building tool. But it can also be used to promote content. It's all about finding the balance between self-promotion, sharing useful information, and entertaining your readers.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat are all mediums to create and/or share content. The key is modifying the content to fit each platform you decide to use.
This post is platform agnostic. These tips are meant to help you craft the best social media content regardless of which channel you intend to post it on. But be sure to familiarize yourself with the posting rules and guidelines for your chosen channel before you begin posting.
When you create great content you’re providing free and useful information. You attract potential customers to your website as well as retain existing customers through engagement with them.
This is the ultimate inbound marketing practice.
Content marketing brings in lots more leads than traditional marketing and costs a lot less. The consensus is that 60% of online purchases are the direct result of the customer reading a blog.
Content equals business growth, so get to work creating great social media content!
Here are 25 ideas to help get you started.
1. Use good news:
Research backs up the fact that positive news is more likely to go viral.
2. Looks do matter:
Nearly 80% of users read by scanning and only picking out words and phrases, so you can increase engagement by organizing content in a way that's easy to scan and has a clear eye path built in.
3. React fast:
Engage your audience with breaking news, experiences, or exchanges.
4. Check local happenings:
If there's a conference aligned with your brand/business, you can leverage the conference hashtag by incorporating it into relevant tweets or posts.
5. Be emotional:
Content is more likely to be shared if it creates a visceral response in the reader. Gut check yourself to see if you've managed to do that with your content. Did you LOL? Were you concerned you were going to cry then and there? If you didn't feel it, chances are others won't either.
6. Tell a story:
Use your buyer personas as characters so people will relate to them and care about what happens. Make it a continuing story and those emotionally engaged readers will be back. Keep plot and characters true to your brand's values and voice.
7. Google News search:
It's better than just a regular Google search in finding the relevant and current content. Search keywords relevant to your business and if your customers are local, search for content relevant to your locality as well.
8. Different titles bring different audiences:
Look at your past content with an eye for reworking headlines to target various target audience segments. Use A/B tests on fresh posts to see what resonates with your audience more.
9. Use historical events:
Find things that happened on a particular date in history that have relevance to your industry, and create a post series around them.
10. Major media and pop culture:
Extract a business lesson for your audience based on a current news story on a major media outlet or in a pop culture reference.
11. Answer questions posed by your audience:
Create evergreen content by addressing any question/comment that asks "What is" or "What do I do when."
12. Be timely:
Content that capitalizes on a trend brings lots of traffic in a concentrated amount of time.
13. Be in for the long term:
Evergreen content will bring more traffic over a longer time frame. You want the earn trust that will build slowly, which is what evergreen content brings.
14. Don't use content to sell:
You want and need credibility. You get it by providing value and positioning yourself as an expert in your niche.
15. Add value to users' lives:
A primary goal of your content is to solve your users' problems. You show them how to overcome the obstacle they've encountered, and you build brand loyalty. Genuinely helpful content will be shared readily and your audience will grow.
16. Be nostalgic:
Content that hearkens to old memories appeals because humans tend to view their past in a rosy glow that focuses on good times.
17. Be trendy:
Follow the latest industry news and stay current with any trending topics. Doing so helps you build that trust you seek and become known as the place to head for content that's timely and useful.
18. Fit the content format to the potential buyers' stage in their customer journey:
First, they become aware of a problem, and they research to better define and name their problem/opportunity. Use whitepapers, blog posts, checklists, tip sheets, infographics, eBooks, games, and quizzes.
Second, they consider ways to solve the problem or take advantage of the opportunity. Use podcasts, webinars, worksheets, comparison matrices, and templates.
Third, the solution strategy, method, or approach is set and they compile a list of vendors and products. They shorten the list with more research and make a purchase decision. Use demos, free trials, product guides, consultations, and coupons.
19. Do SEO research:
Be sure there's adequate search volume to determine if it's worth the investment of time and energy to create content around it.
If you feel stumped for ideas, try looking at recently read books, competitors' sites, related searches on SERPs, and/or industry studies.
21. Compel your audience:
Have the benefit of your content in the title. Use your persona's voice, euphemisms, and sense of humor. Stick with a single idea; don't confuse the reader with tangents. Match your vocabulary to that of your audience.
22. Headlines are important:
Research shows that only 60% of people who click into content will go beyond the headline. So spend some time configuring it to get clickers to be readers. A tool to try is Headline Analyzer by CoSchedule.
23. Visuals matter:
Everybody's favorite design tool is Canva. Use it to make your content beautiful, encouraging readers to continue and come back for more.
24. Trending tools:
To stay on top of what's trending and be as timely as possible with your content, try these tools.
- BuzzSumo's "Most Shared" and "Trending Now" functions;
- Content Explorer by Ahrefs for finding the best content in your niche and you can go to the time frame you want to use;
- Google Trends for surfacing the biggest daily headlines and stories on the rise;
- and Reddit, which may be the first destination you use to find out what people are buzzing about, because it reflects the things that people around the world find interesting in real time.
These 24 items are meant to include some ideas, best practices, and tools available to make your social media content as effective as possible. It is not meant to be a comprehensive list.
There is an art to creating content for social media. Given that the number of users across these platforms worldwide is approaching 3 billion, it's worth your time to produce great content.
And anyone who follows you on social media could be considered a warm lead. They already like you and are interested in what you have to say. So you have an audience that's ready to engage with your content.