If you are a social media content manager, you understand the challenges of creating and producing quality content. You must know your audience intimately; you must communicate with that audience on its terms; you must entertain, educate and inspire; you must motivate followers to take action and to share.
It’s a tall order. But know this: you are up to this challenge, once you understand some very basic “rules” of social media content creation.
And here they are:
1. Build Trust
Don’t talk to your audience; talk with them. Be honest, transparent, and genuine both in what you say and in how you respond to comments, complaints, and issues.
Your job is to educate, entertain, and even inspire. It is also to give your audience voices of their own. Ask questions, solicit opinions, encourage discussions. When you do these things, audiences see you as genuine, as someone who can be trusted and who will listen.
2. Be Social
It’s called social media for a reason. You are not a teacher in a classroom; you are not a lecturer at a conference or workshop. If you can approach your audience as you would any personal friends that you have, and speak with them from this vantage point, you will keep them with you.
Professional writer and creator of Brainished blog James Daily suggests to use humor and create great visuals to engage readers. ”Treat them as friends; let them get to know you with great stories about yourself and your team and what is important to you. Again, trust and relationships are built on these things,” he emphasizes.
3. Differentiate by Channel
You may not “speak” the same language on LinkedIn as you will on Instagram. Wherever you go on social media, you need to adapt your content and your language to that channel.
Your message can be the same across all channels. Your presentation, though, will be different.
If you have talent in a specific style and tone but struggle with another, then you may want to contract some of that content out. You can work with the team at Peak Websites to create highly optimized, targeted content for your audience, or turn to individual freelancers on sites such as Upwork, Airtasker, and Freelancer.com.
The point is you want your content presentation to be the right “fit” for the users who hang out on those channels.
Sylvia Giltner, content marketer for ResumesCentre puts it this way: “Our social media marketing efforts were pretty standard. We had single messages and posted them on every channel we had. What we came to realize is that there are very different demographics who access these various platforms. We altered our message accordingly, and our conversion rate increased almost immediately.”
4. Visuals Work
So much of social media content is visual, it just cannot be ignored. Consider Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube as clear examples. Many studies show that, when visuals are used, people stay focused and they retain the content that is presented.
In a study conducted by Accenture Interactive, over 1,000 consumers were asked about their content consumption habits and preferences. Video is actually fast becoming the preferred method of finding information, although other visuals (photos, infographics, etc.) are also preferred to text.
Creating those visuals can be a challenge. If you struggle with this, get help. Either find the tools that will make visual creation easier for you, or get in touch with a service to do this.
You should note that the above-mentioned study states that by the end of this decade, video will account for 75-80% of marketing content on social media.
5. Content Curation Really Works Too
There’s an ocean of content out there. And you can find all of the content that relates to your niche. Some of it is really good. But can you make it even better? You can take an exciting topic about which someone else has created a piece of content, review it carefully, and figure out how you can do it better.
You can access tools like Feedly, Buzzsumo, and Flipboard to find content that is most popular in your niche. Review that content for topics and ideas that you may be able to present better or with a more unique perspective. When you find those topics and ideas, you can then turn them over to professionals and tailor them according to your audience and goals.
If you track the effectiveness of your social media posts, you will gain great insights into what is working and what you need to change. The types of things you want to measure are as follows:
- Numbers of followers, increase in numbers of followers;
- From what channels visitors have arrived at your website;
- Conversions from those who have arrived from each social channel
When you take the time and use the tools to measure effectiveness, you will know what you should continue to do and what you should remodel.
7. Nurture and Solve
A lot of customer service takes place on social media. Followers do comment on their experiences with brands on those brands’ social media pages. They often present their complaints and issues with the company.
It will be your job to monitor comments and feedback on your social media channels. Alyssa Holder, chief marketer at BestWritersCanada, speaks from experience: “We were not too concerned about the comments our followers were making. We looked at them perhaps once a week or so. But damage was done in that week’s time. Finally, we got a social monitoring tool that alerted us immediately, as soon as comments were posted. We could then respond immediately and publicly resolve issues that our customers presented publicly. This has been a huge improvement in our customer relations, and others know we are addressing issues immediately.”
In terms of nurturing, how often are you engaging your followers on your social media channels? How often are you asking them for feedback? Are you providing surveys for them to express their opinions? Followers do want to participate – give them as many opportunities to do that as possible.
Amanda Sparks, marketing specialist and author of TopDownWriter blog, puts it this way: “Once our company realized that we had to engage our followers more, we began to openly solicit their participation in our pages. The response was pretty amazing, actually. Our analytics showed that our current following increased its visits, and there were more shares. It’s definitely a win for us.”
One thing that social media marketing managers should consider is offering up incentives for visitors and followers to share their content with others. Nathan Chan, who founded Foundr Magazine, an online journal for entrepreneurs, is a master of this. He not only runs contests but provides free issues and subscriptions if followers re-post his Instagram posts to their tribes. This is a great way to spread your brand and gain new followers.
These eight rules will make a difference in your social media marketing – guaranteed. It really is all about the target audience, what it wants in the way of content, and how you can engage each of your audiences on their social media channels of preference. It’s work, but it’s also inexpensive and highly effective.
Author Bio: Jessica Fender is the Marketing Director for OnlineWritersRating. In that capacity, she is very active in social media marketing and has much to share from her experiences. When not at work, Jessica loves reading self-coaching books and aims to relate her professional experience to her readers.