One of the most common social media questions I get asked about by business owners is,“How can I make my social media content more interesting?”
Condensing my response to this question has been challenging for me. I can blab on all day explaining the fundamentals of social media content and giving my on-the-spot ideas for content. Every business is different, however the fundamentals are pretty much always the same.
In this post I summarise the main underlying concepts that apply to any size of business of any niche. It doesn’t matter whether you are marketing a diverse product such as fashion clothing or a more targeted service such as business accounting, the formula applies to both because, at the end of the day, every business’s customers are human beings.
Put yourself in the shoes of your target audience
Business owners understand the importance of identifying their target audience however few actually create an audience persona. An audience persona, (AKA customer profile) is literally a made-up person you create that represents your most ideal customer. By creating an audience persona you will know who the person is, what they value and how you should go about communicating to them. It helps you to put yourself into the shoes of your target audience enabling you to understand what problems or questions your business can help them to solve. If you don’t have an audience persona for your business, I recommend this is the first step you take to improving your social media content. Follow these simple steps from Red Guerilla Marketing to create your audience persona so you can visualise who you are talking to.
Don’t be over promotional
I can pretty much guarantee you’ve seen other businesses send out the same, flat ‘buy from me today’ type messages over and over again on Twitter and Facebook. Heck, you may even be guilty of that too, right?
Well, stop. You are wasting you time.
No one wants follow a social media account that just tells people to buy from the all the time. Talking about your product, offer or promotion is absolutely fine but think about the way you do it and how often you do it. Showcase your product in a creative way or/and explain how your product is the solution for a problem.
The traditional ‘golden rule’ for social media says only a third of your content should be self promotional. It’s a good guide to follow and makes sure you question the number of self promotional posts you are sending out. Keep reading to understand what other content types you should post in addition to your promotional messages.
Tell stories that inspire
You have awesome stories available right in front of you that you can uncover; the stories of your customers and why they chose to buy from you. Customers will buy a solution to their problem from you and telling the story of how you helped them will inspire your audience. Whether you’ve sold them a stain-resistant carpet because they have just bought a puppy, bookkeeping services because their business has grown two-fold since Christmas or they’ve chosen a silver necklace to give to their friend who has just turned 40,these are all stories you can tell through your content. Telling stories will engage your audience and help them to visualise your product or service and how it can help solve their problems. They may not have even realised they had a ‘problem’ but seeing your post about the necklace that was gifted to someone turning 40 has just reminded them their friend has an important birthday or life event coming up and they haven’t yet got them a present. All the while they have that necklace from your business on the front of their mind. You suddenly become a possible solution to their newly-discovered problem. Bingo!
Use images in your posts
Our brains process images 60,000 times faster than text. Wow. Considering the amount of noise your audience sees as they scroll through their Facebook or Twitter feed it’s a fact that they will process the images they see quicker than any of the post copy. Try it yourself; scroll through your feed and I bet you the images will catch your attention and make you stop scrolling rather than the posts with just text. Use images in your posts to grab the attention of the audience you want to attract. Make sure they relate to the post copy and it’s also important that images are clear and match your branding.
Infographic created by Lucky23 Creative Design
Share relevant content from other sources
Your social media shouldn’t be all ‘me, me, me’. Share relevant content from other sources that add value for your target audience. For example, if you are an accountant, you may share a news article from the government website about an update to business VAT or if you are a business mentor you may share an article on positive thinking from a reputable and inspirational industry leader. Sharing topical content also shows your audience that you know your stuff and that you keep up to date with news and events within your business niche. Write your own post copy to introduce the article then link to it so your audience can easily navigate to it. To get into the swing of things, get yourself a free Feedly account. It’s a blog aggregator which allows you to read all your favourite online blogs and magazines in one place. Use Feedly to find content to share with your audience or to inspire you to give your own opinion on the subject matter.
Give your opinion
It’s important to take note that when I say ‘your opinion’ I mean from a business perspective, not a personal one. Unless you are a critique, comedian or journalist, it’s best to keep your opinion of politics and world issues off your business social media channels.
Your audience will however, be open to hearing your opinion about the best book to read, tools to use, service to pay for etc. They will value your expert knowledge which which will help them to make an informed decision. Take this very blog post for example; I’m sharing my views on what makes social media content more interesting. As well as including facts, such as how fast the brain processes images, I’m also giving my personal recommendations and knowledge.
Let’s talk about you
Whether you are the sole proprietor or a business with many employees, giving an insight into the people behind your business helps your target audience to relate to you. After all, we are all human! People can identify with people and giving your audience an insight into your business will give your brand a personality. Back in the 90s people trusted celebrity endorsements, these days people trust bloggers, vloggers, people they meet at networking events and contacts they engage with on LinkedIn. ‘People Power’ is an amazing selling tool, so use it! Instead of just writing a social media post, you could try recording yourself telling the story or share a photo of you to help tell the story.
Research, research, research
Researching takes up an hour of my default diary every day. It’s crucial to monitor what’s going on within your niche, discover what your target audience is reading about and understand how your competitors are marketing themselves. Dedicate some time everyday to gather information and expand your knowledge. It’s even worthwhile checking out the social media channels of brands that are polar to yours as it will help you to understand the underlying fundamentals of content from a different point of view. I’m not a fan of fast food but I check the Burger King’s Twitter channel because it is so simple yet so effective and funny. I’m not bothered about sporting the latest trends but I watch successful fashion vloggers on YouTube to see how they present themselves on camera and to see how they edit their videos. I look at the social media accounts of local small businesses to learn what areas they find hard to master. The research you do will feed back to the very first point I made- getting into the shoes of your target audience and understanding what problems they have, so you can solve them.
Armed with this deeper understanding of content that works and your newly gained enthusiasm from reading the post (I hope it’s given you some!), start to experiment with different types of content and keep all my points in mind when choosing what to post. Social media is a long game so don’t be disheartened if your first few posts don’t get the results you imagined. Adopt a test and measure approach and keep refining your content themes based on the positive results you see.
Go on, you can do it!
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