Social media is one of the most powerful venues for brand exposure. It's transformed marketing into something consumers readily welcome, unlike the gut reaction that commonly leads people to fast-forward through commercials or delete spam emails.
It's a fast-changing world, though—just consider the rise of TikTok in recent years. To keep up, brands must understand how to create effective social media content to cultivate a larger following and get more exposure.
Building content for your brand’s social media should be a key part of your marketing strategy. It’s important to produce deliberate, quality content that connects with your audience. Here are some essential steps on how to create great content for social media.
1. Do Your Research
Before creating your content, you need to determine your target audience. Who's viewing your content? This information is vital in deciding how to create a content plan for social media. Website analytic software can help define your audience, tell you how they’re finding your site, and indicate what kind of content they prefer.
Google Analytics and Yahoo Web Analytics offer free services for compounding data about your website. Other hosting services, such as Squarespace, offer reports on your web traffic, providing data that outlines what visitors are seeking and how they’re interacting with the site.
Using this information, you can determine the main demographic interested in your brand. From there, tailor your content to suit that demographic’s needs.
2. Create a Content Calendar
Planning out a content calendar in advance is an important part of your social media marketing strategy. Keeping a calendar is a useful organizational tool for business owners figuring out how to manage social media content. There are a number of elements to consider:
- When will your key demographic view the content? At what time of day are they accessing social media and seeing your page?
- What's going on in the world? A post will have more bang if it ties in with a current event, like a holiday, news story, or pop culture event like a movie release.
- What does your company have planned for the coming months? A contest or incentive leading up to a big company event will capture interest and gain exposure before it takes place.
3. Find Your Aesthetic
Presenting a clear aesthetic is imperative in conveying your brand’s style. Before you begin, create a brand style guide you can refer to for a consistent look and tone. Take, for example, Tiffany & Co.
Known for their blue gift boxes, Tiffany’s infuses their Instagram with visual content full of their signature “Tiffany blue.” The robin’s egg blue has become so associated with the brand that seeing it instantly brings Tiffany’s to mind. That’s successful branding.
Browsing through your favorite brands might give you some aesthetic inspiration on how to create some original content for social media that is unmistakably yours.
4. Consider Presentation
Social content is more than words. Use a variety of formats to present your content and engage a more diverse audience. When deciding how to organize social media content, consider these options:
- Slideshows and infographic tools, like Canva, are visual and easily digestible ways to convey important information.
- Videos can convey more personality and energy than just a picture or tweet. Wideo is a great tool for creating professional videos that are easy to share on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or your blog.
- Quizzes will encourage followers to interact with your page. Quizworks, Qzzr, and 4Screens allow you to create quizzes and post them straight to your social media page.
5. Establish a Consistent Brand Voice
Brands that nail down a consistent brand voice often accrue a huge following. If you're unsure how to create good content for social media, check out Wendy's and SparkNotes as terrific examples.
Wendy’s recently inexplicably adopted a snarky and competitive tone on social media. As a result, their Twitter page has amassed 3.6 million followers who watch to see which of its competitors Wendy’s will roast next.
— Wendy's (@Wendys) February 28, 2020
The Twitter account of the online study guide SparkNotes has also mastered brand voice. It re-envisions popular meme formats with references to classic literature, producing extremely shareable content for teachers and students.
Jane Austen protagonists trying to avoid marrying terrible suitors pic.twitter.com/RSlUAvh3vT
— SparkNotes (@SparkNotes) March 20, 2020
6. Trigger Emotion
Shareable content triggers strong emotions. A study by Revive Social has shown that people are more likely to share something that warms the heart or creates feelings of amusement.
Nostalgia is another key element. Childhood memories shape us, and people love to share what defines them.
7. Go Viral
This is less of a step and more of a lofty goal. If you're wondering how to come up with social media content that will go viral, there unfortunately isn't exactly a science to it. There’s really no telling what people will latch onto, but there are some components many viral posts share.
- They’re controversial. Viral content is divisive. If people love something, they’ll share it. And if they hate it? They’ll share it.
- They’re positive. People are more likely to share positive stories.
- They’re funny.
- They exploit trends.
- They make people feel good about themselves. People want to feel smart. Internet trends like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge or TOMS’ #WithoutShoes campaign gave individuals an outlet to show that they were a part of something bigger.
8. Measure Your Results
Just as you used analytics to define your audience, you also want to determine how successful your content is. You can then use that information to establish how to create a content strategy for social media.
Review your data to see how many people saw your content and interacted with it. Use this data to determine what content is working best for your brand. Some sites, like Twitter, automatically provide this info for all users. Facebook provides it for business pages.
Get Your Social Media Content Going
Remember that the purpose of social media is to connect. It’s more than a means for spreading information—it’s a way to get personal and build a relationship with customers.
The content you create should welcome conversation among followers and with your company. Look through the social media of brands you feel connected to, and see what they’re doing. In what ways do they engage with you? How do these techniques make you feel? Keep it all in mind when creating your content strategy, and you'll figure out how to create engaging content for social media that makes your followers take notice.
This article was written by Compose.ly writer Kristen Mulrooney.