Posted at Nov 16, 2012 8:34:54 AM by Nathan Mendenhall | Share
One of the most difficult aspects of social media is developing great content. If you follow my blogs, I am pretty much obsessed with rich social content. We all work tirelessly to come up with an engaging and witty post, however sometimes we fall short. Usually the concept behind the content is great; however the delivery of it is flat. Much like any other aspect of life, it’s not just what you say; it’s how you say it. Here are some tips on how to create an effective social media post.
1. Know Who You are Serving
An important aspect of creating engaging content for social media is knowing your audience. What do they like and dislike? What makes them comment? Do they respond to certain words? These are all great questions to ask yourself when creating content. By dialing in on what your community responds to, you will be more likely to consistently provide them with content that they love. Also, keep in mind that each social channel has a different culture. What works on Facebook probably won’t have the same impact on Twitter. I recommend customizing each content piece to fit the culture and structure of the social channel that it will be published to.
2) Use Exact Measurements
Research has shown that the length of a content piece does have an impact on its performance. Social media users have a very short attention span. They love quick and easy to digest content. Try to be as concise as possible and get your message across in a fun way. When tweeting, aim for the 120 character mark. This allows your followers to manually retweet your content and have room to add in their own thoughts. Considering the 140 character limit of Twitter, content length shouldn’t be a huge deal as long as you don’t go over the limit. Nobody likes having to click links to read the last 4 words of a tweet. For Facebook, try to keep your post between 100 and 250 characters. Studies have shown that posts that are less than 3 lines of text get more engagement. Similar to Twitter, Facebook users don’t have time to click “See More” to finish reading your content. Keep your content clear, concise and fun!
3) Add a Dash of Photos
Despite that recent research showing that text-only posts are performing better than photos on Facebook (due to the algorithm change), I still recommend that you use photos when possible. Think of how boring and bland your news feed would be if there were no photos?! Sometimes you can communicate and ideas better with a picture than words, so don’t be afraid to use them. While we can’t argue with research, I think it is a better overall user experience to liven up your content with photos. By all means, test the text only posts. However, don’t abandon photos all together!
4) Sprinkle in a Call to Action
So you have an amazing post that you think is sure to get a ton of engagement, but it doesn't. Did you include a clear call to action? If you want more comments, ask your community to leave a comment! If you want more retweets, ask for them! In social media, the simplest way to get what you want is to ask for it. Keep in mind that you will want to be creative with your calls to action so that it doesn't seem like you are begging for engagement.
5) Let it Simmer
Now that you have all of your ingredients for a successful social media post, publish it to your desired social channel and let it simmer. Sit back and observe how it performs and then compare it to other content that you have published. The most important part of letting your content simmer is giving it enough time to attract attention before posting again. Many times, marketers have this “more is better” mindset when it comes to publishing social content. Don’t make the mistake of posting too much and losing some of your fans or followers. Even if your content is great, too much of a good thing IS possible.