Creating content and getting that content seen are two very different struggles, and marketers know both all too well. Social media has only increased the complexity of these processes, by adding a series of essential channels, each with its own audiences and content types.
Standing out on social media and getting your content seen and shared takes effort and dedication. But with a few key ‘cheats’ and utilising best practices, social media success is within the reach of anyone.
Not every business has the time necessary to have an active social media strategy encompassing the mirriad stands of social media available today.
Cheat 1 – IFTTT (Automation)
One key ‘cheat’ is to utilise automation. Pick a social media channel that you are happiest to engage with and then set up automations to link to others. This will take a small ammount of time to set up, but once activated it will make your social media life much easier. My preffered platforms are Twitter and Tumblr but I also have a facebook page, Instagram, Pinterest and Medium Blog. I use IFTTT. It is free and brilliant! If I post a blog to my Tumblr it automatically posts a link on Twitter, Medium and Facebook. Any images I include are posted automatically to Instagram and Pinterest. One post hits all my social media platforms.
Cheat 2 – RSS Feeds (News)
If you provide a service or product there is probably news that is relevant to your customers. Setting up a targetted RSS feed with news related to your area can be a valuabel resource to your cistomers and keep them engaged with your social media platforms. After the ½ hour setup time it will tweet/post relevant news for ever without you having to lift a finger. Pair this with IFTTT and you can hit all your Social Media Platforms with relevant news without effort!
Best Practices For Content
A strong headline or message is key to grabbing people’s attention
Everyone knows the importance of the headline or social media message when it comes to getting clicks and shares. At the same time, people seem to forget that finding the right headline takes time. You need to strike a balance between being clear, and being emotionally evocative.
Make sure you take the time to brainstorm a few variations of the copy. Once you’ve established multiple good options, you can then test your messaging. Try pushing the same content with different messages and track what performs (Twitter & Google Analytics). Get to know what kinds of messaging work best with your audience, but never stop testing.
Images trigger certain reactions either emotional (visuals can inspire, motivate, surprise or shock) and mental (they can pose questions, provoke thoughts, ask for input, inform, trigger certain thoughts and of course capture the attention). Either way you engage with your audience and get their attention. Visuals tell a story. A video or an image is “snackable” form of content that not only is easier to digest but also has the ability to convey a story in a more direct and effective way. Visual storytelling is probably the secret to a successful social media marketing.
Visuals add credibility. We are more likely to believe what is being said when it is accompanied by a telling graphic or relevant picture.
Vary your content regularly
Many of us fall into a rhythm on social media. We find things that work well and they become second nature. As much as you might think this is a positive, everything could change in an instant. People get bored, or their interests change, and suddenly your followers become less engaged. It falls on you to keep up.
With that in mind, you should regularly be switching up your content. You can’t only post a blog post with one style of image and one style of messaging day-in and day-out. We all know visuals increase engagement, but try a gif or a video instead of a static image. Try asking people questions or pushing them to polls instead of your regular content updates. The important thing is that you’re monitoring your audience and general internet trends, and that you’re flexible enough to adjust as needed.
Don’t post too many updates at once
We’ve all experienced it before. You open up a social network and see a stream of five or six updates for one person or brand. Regardless of the content, this kind of ‘stream take-over’ is usually pretty annoying. If you think I’m going to click the sixth link in your stream of nine messages, you’re sadly mistaken.
Don’t post too many updates at once. Instead, make each message you send substantive and important in its own right. Usually, if you need 10 Tweets to get your message across, you’re probably doing it wrong.
Keep your social media publishing to a schedule. A social media management tool, such as tweetdeck, allows you to schedule messages in advance so you’re not a slave to your calendar. Doing so helps you ensure you’re posting at regular intervals rather than in bursts. Once people learn your schedule, they’ll start checking in when they can expect new content from you, building a certain degree of loyalty. This will in turn increase your click-through and engagement.
Keep self-promotional content at around one-third
While your audience follows you because they’re interested in your products and services, they don’t want to hear the sales spiel day after day after day. Focus instead on building rapport and loyalty instead of constantly pushing product. You’ll find this will pay dividends over the long haul.
If you’re unsure about how much salesly content to share, we try and follow what we call the social media rule of thirds, which dictates that a maximum of one-third of your social content directly works to promote your business, convert readers, and generate profit. The other two-thirds should focus on providing value and keeping people coming back.
Encourage friends, aquaitences, colleagues and affiliates to share your content
Finally, if you work at a business with colleagues who use social media personally, than don’t be afraid to ask them for support. Likewise with family and friends. Encouraging others to share your content is an effective way of magnifying brand messaging without spending too much time talking about yourself on corporate accounts.
It’s not always easy to convince your colleagues to share business content on personal accounts. You need to be courteous, show them how it benefits them and the business, and also make it easy for them to do, with a tool like Hootsuite Amplify to help.
End your post with a clear call-to-action
So your followers have seen your message, now what? None of us want our interactions to end there. Social media serves to support broader business goals, so your messages should ultimately be tied to a larger purpose beyond being seen or liked.
With that in mind, end your social posts with a strong call-to-action. Examples of good social media CTAs include:
- Offering up more information on the topic in a blog post or resource
- Encouraging them to sign up for a free trial of your product
- Asking them to use a special social media code for a discount in store
- Offering the potential of a prize for a specific action, like following and sharing
While there are many other elements to consider in regards to your content strategy, these best practices are a great starting point on your way to social media success.