It’s hard to be a person living in 2018 and not know what social media is but understanding and mastering social media is another story. Social media is kind of like parenting, just when you think you’ve figured it out, they change the rules of engagement (Katherine Keller). There is nothing worse than a 3-year-old testing their limits. Of course, my oldest is 4 so I don’t have much experience past that age, but when I had my first born, I was terrified of the “terrible twos”. I got through two, and thought, “Wow this isn’t as bad as I thought!” But then three came. It’s the terrible THREES you must watch out for. Social media can be like that challenging 3-year-old, because there are so many different platforms, each with their own rules and best practices, and just when you think you have them under control, they change and now you must find a new way to control them.
Social Media has changed a lot over the last 5 years. In the beginning, it was something that teenagers used to interact with other teenagers, but today it allows generations of families that live miles apart to “participate” in each other’s lives. They participate by liking pictures or watching videos, and they can know when their niece in Texas gets engaged, or when their son finally pops the question to his girlfriend of 6 years so they may finally be getting closer to becoming grandparents.
Interacting with family is only one aspect of social media. To use social media successfully for your business, you need to create captivating content that gives your target audience something to take away. But where do you start?
Content can come in a variety of forms such as images, videos, blogs, and events – just to name a few. Here are 7 ways that you can make your content captivating and get your audience to engage more.
1. Keep Your Audience in Mind
When it comes to marketing, the starting point is figuring out who you want to engage with. Is your business trying to target other businesses? Or is your business trying to target consumers? Are you working with small-to-medium size businesses, or are you going after enterprise level corporations? Whatever the answer may be, you first need to define your target audience, because to market to your audience successfully, you must think like your audience.
2. Make it Valuable
Social media content should either be educational or helpful. When you create educational content, it allows your audience to see you as the “expert” in that field. They may not be ready to buy at the time, but when they decide “I need a company to handle my ___________”, the business that has been educating them will come to mind. Also, if you can help them solve problems, it creates value and keeps them come back for more. Fun and entertaining posts, such as company culture, or employee outings are always good to share as well, because it makes your business more personable to them, and they can see you’re not just hiding behind stock photos.
3. Share Customer Testimonials and Reviews
There is no better way to attract new business than by sharing your success stories through your happy customers. Not only is your reputation getting a boost, but you become more credible to those that don’t know your business personally (yet). Also, according to the 2013 B2B Content Marketing Trends Report, “Customer testimonials and case studies are considered the most effective content marketing tactics, identified by 89% and 88%, respectively, or B2B marketers.” Besides “having the highest effectiveness rating for content marketing at 89%” (Social Fresh), “brands that inspire a higher emotional intensity receive 3x as much word-of-mouth as less emotionally-connected brands” (Journal of Marketing Research). Not to mention 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
4. Inspire Emotion
Just like customer testimonials can increase emotional intensity, content can be created to engage your audience emotionally as well. Emotions such as humor, can appeal to your audience. Wendy’s Twitter is great example with sarcastic and witty tweets that make their brand stand out more than their competitors.
5. Use #hashtags
Hashtags help people find relevant content and connect to others. For those slightly obsessed with their dog as much as I am, Instagram has made dog photos even more relevant with hashtags regarding all different breeds of dogs. In fact, people are so into their dogs, that they can even create their dogs their own accounts to share pictures and videos of their dogs being cute, silly, or just having a good time. Since I have a Cockalier (Cocker Spaniel and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel mix) I now follow the hashtag of #cockaliersofinstagram and can look at photos and videos relevant to the breed of dog I own myself. Although different audiences, that is exactly what hashtags can do for you. To be successful with your hashtags, keep it short and relatable to your post. Also, I’m a big fan of branding your content with custom hashtags, and if you don’t already have a hashtag for your brand (like #Jennasis) go create one right now and start using it! Finally, the new “trend” of hiding your hashtags by posting them in the first comment rather than in the post or making sure there are enough line breaks between the post and the tags to create a “read more” break, can keep your posts cleaner and clearer.
6. Visual Content/Livestreaming
If you don’t know already, visual content magnifies content engagement. In fact, “When people hear information, they're likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later,” (Brain Rules). Also, “by 2017, video content will represent 74% of all internet traffic” (KPCB). It goes back to that 3-year-old that likes to look at picture books – the human mind, even from birth, appeals to images and videos more than just text. So, if you are not already incorporating video into your social media strategy, start to consider it. There are easy ways to start getting comfortable like Facebook Live, or maybe you create some cartoon automated videos if you don’t like being in front of the camera, but it’s definitely something to have on your radar for your social media content.
7. Posting Tips
A question I often get is, how often should I post? Well really it comes down to what platform you are posting on. Twitter can be posted to about every 30 minutes, so it’s a great platform to try out new things, because if your post doesn’t do well, you can try again in half an hour, and really see what works well. Overall, most brands post to Facebook less than Twitter, so you need to be a little more strategic with what you post on Facebook and when. If you have a business page, look at your analytics for best time of the day and days of the week to post. For Instagram, it's OK to post a couple times a day as “there’s no drop off in engagement for posting more, provided you can keep up with that rate of posting” (Buffer). Posts to LinkedIn be limited to 20 times per month (more like weekdays instead of weekends). One thing to keep in mind with posting is to start small and then build. You don’t want to bite off more than you can chew, and you want to be consistent. Do what works best for you.
Just like parenting, the rules for social media are always going to be changing, so keep educating yourself and staying up with the latest best practices. If social media becomes too overwhelming for you, you can always outsource it to a marketing agency, so you can focus on running your business, rather than creating the perfect #hashtag.
If you aren’t already doing these 7 tips above, start implementing them! As you build your brand through content creation and brand awareness, BE CONSISTENT. That is the key to more successful social media accounts. Customize your content to your audience, make it valuable, educational, or emotional, and use images and videos in your content strategy. Use hashtags, customer testimonials and reviews and best practices for posting to give your content the power to captivate your audience.
Those are the best ways we at Jennasis have increased engagement with captivating content in the major social media platforms. What else have you tried when creating content in the social media world? We’d love to hear about them in the comments.
If you need assistance with your marketing including social media management, branding, digital and content marketing, creative design, or SEO, Jennasis is here to help. Contact us today: www.jennasisassociates.com.
Megan Augustine is a Cleveland, Ohio native who relocated to Charlotte, NC in 2018. She has over 4 years of marketing in the technology field, and a passion to learn and grow in the field. She enjoys traveling and scuba diving, and spending time with her 2 daughters.