In the ever-shifting landscape of social media marketing, content strategists and content creators are always striving to make effective content that will engage users. Any user of social media will have a different definition of what makes content engaging, but there will always be certain consistencies:
- It should catch the user’s attention
- It should be interesting to look at
- It should be easy to digest
But for anyone who has gone behind the curtain to create social media content knows, those stipulations don’t provide a lot of guidance when your boss or your client asks you, “So what are we going to post on social media today?”
Below, we go through the five characteristics that we use to craft social media content. Applicable to any brand or industry, these are the characteristics of effective social media content.
First things first, content needs to catch a user’s attention. It needs to stand out on busy and competitive online content platforms. Whether they leverage beautiful content, humor, vulnerability, beauty, great design, important information or something else, the brands that earn user attention online are, at minimum, entertaining their audiences.
It’s important to differentiate between Inspirational and Aspirational. Providing inspiration, creating the urge within your consumer to do something, is nice. But it’s also fleeting. Providing your audience with that initial inspiration as well as the long-term aspirations to back it up is how to grow an engaged community. Your brand’s content should inspire your consumers to aspire to a goal.
That goal will be different for different brands. Some brands should motivate their customers to have all the gear they need to be prepared for their next great adventure. Others should inspire their customers to become better stewards of the environment. Still others should push their customers to get outside to reconnect with themselves or loved ones away from the day’s distractions. Whatever aspiration your brand provides should align with your brand’s organizing principle.
When a consumer decides to follow along with a brand, via social media, newsletters, or catalogues, they are committing their time and attention. For that commitment to have real staying power, the brand needs to go beyond entertainment and aspirations. Providing actionable content is key. For most brands, this can simply be updates on new products, sales, maintenance recommendations, or curated accessory suggestions. But there are tactics beyond the basics, whether that means highlighting worthy causes they can support, producing educational content so they can get the most out of your products, or sharing curated information the brand has gleaned from being an authority in the space. A brand should provide consumers with everything they need to take action, to ensure they’ll keep coming back for more.
Brand loyalty in today’s world is based on people feeling like they are participating in a community rather than yelling into the void. Whether it’s through events and causes, or a shared mission, or simply a hashtag that consumers can identify with, creating a feeling of belonging and community is key.
5. Pay Off
Whether it’s promotions, giveaways, or freebies, consumers want an incentive above and beyond the prior points to let a brand occupy the real estate on their social feeds and in their inbox. It takes time and attention to follow a brand, even passively, and brands need to offer something in exchange for that.
One important thing to note is that not every post you publish to a social media channel will do every one of these things, and especially not in equal measure. Overall, your profile (and more specifically your communications strategy) needs to deliver all of these characteristics. Sometimes your content will be entertaining or actionable, sometimes it will focus on making your brand joinable, and other times it will be exclusively about the payoff. It’s the job of the skilled social media marketer to keep all of these attributes in mind when planning social media content to ensure your brand’s followers keep coming back for more.
If you’re looking for some support in your social media content strategy or content production, get in touch. We have a few social media marketing solutions that can help.