What once was a fun way for college students to send messages and share pictures has evolved into a major component in the marketing plans of companies and organizations around the world. Social media can be a powerful tool if you can utilize it to its full potential.
“Content for the sake of content is pointless.”
–Gary Vaynerchuk (2013). Jab Jab Jab Right Hook
This quote is especially true when it comes to social media. Knowing your audience and what drives them to share online can help you craft content that gets noticed and speaks to them. To achieve this, you need to understand why people share content on social media in the first place.
Why do people tend to share content on social?
Research conducted in partnership with The New York Times points to five distinct reasons why people share content.
- To provide value or entertainment
- This includes sharing videos, pictures, and memes.
- To define themselves to friends or peers
- Some refer to this as “branding oneself”
- To grow and strengthen relationships
- Staying connected to family friends
- To achieve self-fulfillment / to be involved
- Connecting with like-minded individuals
- To support causes they care about
- This can include sharing content from organizations they care about or topics important to them.
If you want to really engage with your followers, you need to ask yourself which of these areas your content falls under and how your followers are motivated to engage. Remember that your followers need to trust you before they’ll engage with your content, and content engagement is about them – not you.
Crafting Engaging Content
Great content is easy to recognize but can be a challenge to pull off. According to Social Media Communication: Concepts, Practices, Data, Law, and Ethics (2018), outstanding social media content:
- Is native to the platform
It’s exclusive to the social network it appears
- Does not interrupt the social media flow
The content doesn’t feel forced and fits organically into the conversation
- Rarely makes demands
There’s not always a call-to-action
- Leverages pop culture
The content incorporates familiar cultural references
- Contains micro-nuggets of “information, humor, commentary, or inspiration”
A little goes a long way!
- Stays consistent and self-aware
A consistent voice equates to a consistent brand
The content you share should serve a purpose and give more than it takes. Above all else, your audience should find it useful. Ideally, you want to have the content spread out and appealing to different needs and interests – so it’s not all the same thing all the time.
With these points in mind, crafting great content can often feel like a juggling act – it takes some practice, but it’s a beautiful thing when everything syncs up.
Tips for a Solid Social Strategy
Create content buckets
This means dividing up your content into categories. For example, you may have content that would go into the “Inspiration” bucket or the “Conversation” bucket. Once you define your buckets, devote 3-4 days of the week to them. How many buckets would you have? Note that this is ideally the beginning of a larger strategy, but if you’re not sure where to start or you’re very limited on time, it’s one way of getting the momentum going and ensuring there’s content across most days of the week.
Develop a social media and branding style guide
When you want a uniform approach to messaging, design, tone, voice, and even company hashtags, you need a social media style guide. These are helpful whether there are multiple people managing different parts of a brand’s social media presence, or even when key employees want to know how to better represent the organization on LinkedIn. Make sure to include brand colors, any social media graphics templates, how the organization’s name should be used, any branded hashtags, and the desired tone of voice and personality for each network. For social media managers, also include the mission statement and purpose for each network.
Utilizing services such as Hootsuite, Agorapulse, HubSpot, etc. can literally put hours back into your week. While some of these have free versions, to get the most out of them, you’ll probably have to part with at least a few hundred dollars per year. The time savings and analytics are often worth the investment.
Use hashtags to increase reach (and to find other relevant conversations). If creating a unique hashtag for an event or campaign, search for the hashtag you’re considering before using it to make sure it’s not being used for anything else (especially something you don’t want to be associated with!)
Develop content according to mission statements for each network
Write a mission statement for each network where you have a presence. This will help define the who/what/how/why and will help determine what you share on each platform. Doing this will help you understand the different purposes of each network. You shouldn’t post the same thing to every network. As mentioned above, adapt your content to fit the purpose.
Leverage your employees
Did you know that 30 percent of content shares on LinkedIn come from staff? Some of your brand’s best cheerleaders are already on your team! Your most loyal employees are likely to share some of the company content with their friends and colleagues with little to no encouragement. Just make sure they know the company’s social channels. Share the links in your e-newsletter or include them in your email signature.
Integrate social media with your larger marketing plan and objectives
The images and content that appear in your traditional marketing pieces should also make an occasional appearance in your social content. Conversely, references to your social channels should also appear on your marketing materials to encourage customers to seek out your content for the latest updates and opportunities. By combining your social plan with your marketing plan, you can develop a social media marketing plan.
Don’t share content just to share content. Take the time to understand your audience and what they want to see, not necessarily what you want them to see. When you develop content with your audience in mind, you will start to evolve your social strategy to a point where it becomes a back-and-forth communication experience between you and potential customers – a mutually beneficial experience and the true intent of social media. If you need assistance creating meaningful content that will resonate with your audience, please contact us.
Comments are closed.