Anybody who hasn't been living under a rock since the 1990s knows social media marketing is a must for businesses today. Social media marketing is essential for successfully reaching potential customers and clients and converting them into buyers. But for many entrepreneurs and business owners, social media is also an enigma—a frightening, confusing bundle of unwritten rules and overwhelming options. Where's the Social Media 101 guidebook, already?
We can tell you this about social media: while it can be confusing, it's simpler than you may think. These four pillars of quality social media content are the perfect starting point. Here's what you should do to up your social media game.
1. Create, Share, and Curate Useful Content
Halle Klingman shares on CoSchedule's blog how social media content should be, first and foremost, useful. Before you share an article or write a blog post, ask yourself these questions.
- What's in it for my audience? No matter what you're sharing, you should have your ideal audience in mind at all times. Is the post you're creating or sharing something useful, helpful, informational, or interesting for your audience?
- Would I click on this? Chances are, if you wouldn't click on something, neither will your audience. If you share blog posts and articles, make sure they're from reputable sources and don't stoop to using clickbait titles or misleading headers.
- Is this relevant to my business? Share and create content that positions you as an expert in your field and make sure to stay on topic. Your audience will be confused and annoyed if they think they signed up for business-related posts, for instance, and you're suddenly sharing your love of model airplanes every day.
These three questions will get you on the right track when you're looking for quality content. The right kind of content will show your company's culture, demonstrate your expertise and knowledge of your subject matter, and delight your audience.
2. Incorporate Quality Visuals
Want to stay front-of-mind? Studies show that visuals are the way to go. Visuals improve information retention and memory: people are likely to remember about 10% of what they read, but when a visual is paired with the content, the number jumps to 65%. Include a visual in every post you can and you'll see your engagement go up. Social media sites like Facebook prioritize posts with visuals and will show them to more users in the newsfeed.
That said, not everyone is a graphic designer. There are design elements you should know and understand before you try your hand at creating visuals. Free tools like Canva and paid software like Photoshop are only as good as the user's skills, and a low-quality, poorly-designed visual can be worse than none at all. Use the talents of people on your team, and if necessary, hire out your graphic design.
3. Publish and Share Scannable Articles
We read differently on a screen than we do on a physical page: most people scan articles online instead of reading them closely, spending an average of 10 seconds on each page. If you're writing blog content for your company, make sure it's web optimized and scannable—and make your value proposition easy to see right away. Scannable content has easy-to-read headers that clue the reader into what the article is about (hey, like this blog post!), uses visuals to make reading easier, and delivers substantive information on the topic the headline references. Highlight your most important content with headers, bold or italic formatting, and text boxes, so scanners will leave with the message you intended them to have.
4. Host Worthwhile Giveaways
Finally, consider hosting worthwhile giveaways and promotions occasionally through your social media channels. Giveaways and promos are a fantastic way to incentivize your social media audience to engage and interact—and they're also a good way to grow your following. Theoretically, anyone who's willing to enter a giveaway for a product or service related to your business is a potential customer. Here are some questions you should ask before you host a giveaway.
1. What's in it for my audience? Make sure the item you're giving away is worthwhile to your audience. Are you offering one of your services for free or giving away a product? Provide something your audience wants; bonus points if it's something that lets them test drive your company's services.
2. Can I collaborate? Many companies choose to collaborate for giveaways, building connections and making giveaways even more enticing. Collaboration not only allows you to create an exciting giveaway package, it also provides an opportunity to forge closer relationships with other business owners.
3. Is the value proposition worth what I'm asking for? Most giveaways ask for something valuable from a potential client or customer in exchange for the chance to win something. If you're asking for a social media follow, the item you're giving away may not need to be high value. If you're asking for an email address or other contact information, you may need to up the value of your giveaway item(s). Make sure whatever you're offering is worth what you're requesting.
Social media doesn't have to be confusing. If you're still feeling lost, we'd be happy to help.