With social media engagement hovering below 0.1%, networks showing additional ads than ever, and organic social visibility in a continuous decline, social media doesn’t seem to be the profitable marketing channel it once was.
However, user bases are growing, customers are using social to act with brands, and most significantly, social is having an effect on purchasing decisions.
What does this tell us?
While social media reach could also be declining, your customers are still hoping on these platforms to help them find info and connect with brands.
It tells us we have to work out how to reach them in a landscape that’s operating against us. we have to make social work for us in a completely different way.
Part of this starts with the content itself.
How can we offer our audience one thing that interests them, that stands out, that captures their attention, all whereas adhering to character limits?
We add context.
As a user, one in all my biggest frustrations is clicking on a link solely to feel thwarted by the content itself. Because of that, I’m additional reluctant to click on links.
The great factor is that this may be done through imaging, dilated updates, videos, formatting, and more.
Let’s dive in.
1. Go Beyond the Headline
It’s easy – copy the post title and throw it into a social update. simple enough right?
The problem with this is it can be so boring! In most cases, it doesn’t sell the post and it certainly doesn’t encourage people to click.
Instead of simply sharing the headline, think about the following.
- Whether it’s a quote shared inside the piece or a sentence that captured your attention, use call outs in your update.
- Statistics are a great way to make a point and/or support an idea. On top of that, they tend to draw people’s attention.
- Have a stat within your content that is intriguing? Use that in your social updates.
Challenges / Solutions
- Is your content solving someone’s problem? Then lead with that.
- Tell your audience what the challenge is and the way your content helps to solve it.
One of my favorite content tactics, particularly in longer type content, is to include a key takeaway for your readers. It calls out details for the reader and ensures even the laziest readers can leave with something.
The same thing applies to social updates. Don’t hesitate to focus on the key takeaways.
Want more tips about writing the perfect social media update?
I’d recommend this piece from Post Planner which looks at everything from optimal length to passive voice and audience messaging.
2. Make better Use of images
This one might sound obvious. However, in my opinion, pictures are the key to success in social.
After all, we know users keep in mind pictures over words and colors will grab attention much better than black and white.
The problem I see, is we are typically lazy in our image selection. i know i’m certainly guilty of this. We grab a stock image or the featured blog image and call it daily. how useful is that really?
How can we use pictures to add context to our social updates? Here are some ideas.
Use Your Words:
Remember how I just said to use quotes stats in your updates? Take those and build them into images.
It’s an excellent way to catch people’s attention and provide some additional data to your update.
A few months ago I came upon a Cotapaxi Instagram ad that I fully loved. Of course, I can’t find the precise ad, but it looked very much like this:
Cotapaxi is selling coats and these coats are available in a variation of colors.
With a GIF!
GIFs are fun, they grab attention, and with technology, creating them has ne’er been easier.
Tools like Gifox, ezGif, and Giphy are free and easy to use.
Add a Voice:
Want to give your users a preview of what they’re planning to get?
Why not speak directly to them?
Brie Anderson, a Program Director of Digital marketing at WSU tech recently announce a conference recap…as a video:
What i like about this post is it excites me. It tells me regarding the conference and what takeaways I ought to know.
The reality is, this could be done for any sort of content and it can be done directly from your phone.
Just like GIFs, video doesn’t need to be hard and even subtitles can be done for free.
Tell a Story:
Images allow us to inform a story that we might not rather be able to tell. take for example these Facebook ads Chanel ran during Mother’s Day:
No words would be able to capture the sensation these ads bring. they’re cute. They tell a story. and we grasp exactly what they’re for.
Use your pictures to go beyond the traditional. Use them to tell the story you wish told.
Know Your meme:
The web moves fast and so do memes. From None of My Business Kermit to sad Keanu, you ne’er know what you may come across.
While silly, memes is a great way to add context to your social updates. but just like anything else, don’t get on a meme for the sake of jumping on it. ensure it works for your brand.
3. Use Your Whitespace
One thing I’ve noticed more lately is expanded social updates – updates that take up more space but don’t necessarily include more words.
Here’s an example:
What I love about these expanded updates is they allow you to give your followers more information about what you are sharing without overcrowding. They feel purposeful.
A few tips for creating expanded updates:
Emojis can help you make a point much easier than words. They also stand out.
Let’s say you are going to list 3 items. Use the emoji numerals instead of simply writing the numbers 1,2,3. It makes a similar point but grabs the attention a bit more.
Know the Network:
If you’re going to produce expanded updates, keep in mind that Facebook and LinkedIn will both cut off your update. place your most significant information at the beginning and be mindful of length.
End with Hashtags:
Regardless of which network you are posting to, if you’re going to create an expanded update, move your hashtags to the top.
While hashtags is useful to search and add context, they can make an update appear crowded.
Go Get Moving!
Social media is becoming more and more difficult but that doesn’t mean there isn’t value.
As you start coming up with your next round of updates, consider how you can use some of the ideas mentioned above to add additional context and drive engagement.
Remember, you don’t have to do everything on this list but try testing different elements to find which works best for your audience. You never know what you might discover.