Social media has changed the way we do marketing. It affords the opportunity for absolutely anyone to market themselves, whether it be the entrepreneur working on a startup or the stay-at-home parent selling their crafts. Our feeds are filled with calls to action to visit countless business websites and blogs. In essence, social media networks have created an ocean of content, some of which is good, and some of which only a grandmother would like.
Unfortunately, the key to building a strong social media presence doesn’t happen simply by creating good content, even though that is a central, significant component. Just think of how many social media posts you scroll past. That doesn’t mean they have bad content, but that they didn’t do enough to draw you in. You need to make yourself stand out in that ocean like a radiant beam of sunlight leading the way to buried treasure. Here are five tips for crafting shareable social media content.
Use Current Events
Image via Flickr by Frau Hölle
Why do you use social media? Do you use it to get a feel for what your friends think about the current political scene? Do you want to see how their world travels are going? Or do you simply keep scrubbing your thumb against the screen because there’s nothing better to do? The truth is, many people don’t use social media hoping to find a new product or service. You have to give them a reason to want to click through to your website and then share once they’re finished reading.
One way to convey the value of your content to users is to tie your expertise to current events. For example, a user who recently had a family member endure the weather disasters in Texas and Florida this year is more likely to share a link to your blog post that discusses disaster preparedness.
Also don’t be afraid to use pop culture references. They’ll make you relatable and further establish your voice and tone. By posting content pertinent to trends, you can also become a source your followers come to in order to stay up to date. Those followers will be more likely to share the new, relevant information you give them.
Interact With Your Audience
A strong, relevant post isn’t the only thing that makes your content more shareable. Don’t ignore the comments users make on your posts. Build relationships with them by engaging in conversation. Further the discussion by asking questions of your audience. Get to know them, and you’ll be able to better craft shareable content in the future. Comments and your responses to others’ comments also grab attention. Even if your original post didn’t urge a user to share, your comments and responses may cause them to think deeper about your content and decide to share.
Consider allowing your followers to ask questions of you. Once a week, invite users to email or message you a question that they would like you to address. This interaction allows users to get a personalized glimpse into your expertise. The post that constitutes your response is also likely to get shared because it’s unlikely that the initially inquisitive one is the only individual with the same question. When sifting through questions, look for trends and find a question you can use to show what you know.
Use Images and Video
Once again, think back to the social media posts that you scroll past and which ones you take time to look over. Are you more likely to give attention to posts with additional digital media, like a picture or video? If so, you’re certainly not alone. According to HubSpot, visual content was considered the most important form of content by almost 40 percent of marketers in 2017. Images and videos encourage engagement and interest where words fail to do so.
The perfect size for images on social media is 800 x 600 pixels, according to The Muse, and 80 to 85 percent of users will be viewing your posts on their phone, so ensure that your imagery and video content are mobile friendly and thus more shareable.
Know the Differences Between Platforms
While many of the same content development strategies function across all social media platforms, some require adjustment if you want maximize the shareability of your content. Twitter, for example, has a limit of 140 characters, so you’ll need to post differently there than on Facebook. Don’t cut words or punctuation just to fit what you want to say. Rework the content until it fits just right.
YouTube is unique as a social media outlet because it’s the only popular network completely devoted to video content. Give your videos a catchy title, since that’s what will ultimately draw users to click on it. And please, for the love of all that is good, do not make clickbait. Ensure your title actually reflects the content; otherwise, you’re likely to lose members of your audience. Underneath the video, add a description and use keywords to help users easily find the content. You can also use the description to link to your website and other social channels.
Provide Something Worth Sharing
This goes without saying, and it honestly could be the topic of a novel, but you need to be posting content that your audience finds valuable. That requires you, first of all, to know your audience and then tailor your content to them. Learn from how well previous posts have performed. Measure audience engagement through comments, shares, likes, and clicks, and then adjust your future content accordingly.
In addition to tailoring content to your audience, it never hurts to keep content positive. There is already plenty of negativity on the internet, and many users want share content that is positive, enlightening, and engaging. If anything, strive to provide content that will improve someone’s day.
Don’t let the social media beast scare you. Stare it down, plant your feet, and conquer it. Tame it. Use it to your brand’s advantage. Craft shareable content using these tips, and you’ll become the reason your audience members check their feeds.