Guest post by Shane Barker.
Long gone are the days when marketers had to make a business case for using social media. Today, 84% of C-level and VP-level buyers say they are influenced by social media when purchasing, and 83% of B2B marketers are using it.
And though LinkedIn and Twitter remain the top platforms, as Articulate Marketing notes, “Instagram is on the rise. Two out of three marketers saying they plan to boost their organic usage in the next year (although) it remains stronger for B2C (72%) than B2B (57%).”
For brands, social media marketing is clearly critical. But, on the off chance you need more evidence…
Buffer surveyed 1700 marketers from varied niches. 90% of respondents said that social media marketing is “very important” to “somewhat important” to their overall marketing plans.
Companies do social media marketing for a number of purposes: to expand brand awareness, engage with customers and prospects, and to build relationships with influencers. But conversion is almost always one key goal.
Brands want to post content that engages and converts their target audience effectively. Whether it’s research-backed whitepapers or product reviews, all content is designed to push people down the sales funnel.
Are you satisfied with the performance of your social content? Does it add to your brand authority, online presence, and revenue? Does it get you noticed by prospects, investors, influencers, and market leaders?
Or are you wasting time and effort creating content that gets ignored?
Don’t worry! This post explains four types of content that can get you visibility on saturated social platforms. Over time, by posting such content you can earn new followers, leads, and possibly customers.
What Kind of Social Media Content Should Brands Post?
Each social platform has a different dynamic. What works on Instagram may not get engagement on LinkedIn. Still, there are common qualities that resonate in successful content on all platforms.
To achieve success with social media marketing, here are four content types that are loved and shared almost universally.
1. Interactive Content
Do you know The New York Times’ most-shared post was a dialect quiz, not a news article? It created a tailored dialect profile for all those who took the quiz.
Getting evaluated by a mainstream publisher can be a kicker for most people. It’s no wonder that the post got numerous shares even after it was published on their website.
Social media-pros swear by interactive content like quizzes, surveys, polls, and Q&As.
Why? Because interactive content encourages two-way communication and provides you with insights about your target audience. It prompts people to engage with the content instead of scrolling past it, especially if the questions are simple yet interesting.
To make your posts even more enticing, you can include prizes for winners. Emotion plays a key role when people have to decide whether to click the “Share” button or not. If a post evokes the right emotional response, it becomes shareworthy.
Red Lobster nails this tactic in their Facebook quizzes. One of their quizzes was titled “What Type of Red Lobster Endless Shrimp Are You?” The title itself is mouth-watering for anyone who loves seafood or Red Lobster, or both.
As if that’s not enough, they generated interesting responses for whoever took the quiz.
That’s the impact interactive social media content has on your audience.
Pro tip: include relevant hashtags in your content to get added visibility. Use tools to identify the right hashtags for your content, brand, and audience demographics, which can help you earn new followers and prospects.
Check out how ASOS uses an intuitive hashtag to launch their spring collection.
2. Visual Content
With attention spans of social media users dwindling, you have just a few seconds to grab eyeballs. That’s where visuals can help you.
Well-crafted visuals stand out in overcrowded feeds and invite more clicks than plain-text posts. They are more readable, interesting, and easy-to-retain.
That’s why you need to post visual-rich content that may be original or curated.
Yes, posting curated content is fine, as long as you accredit the original creators unambiguously. If you don’t have the time or skills to create custom visuals for each target platform, you can curate high-performing visuals and post them on your page.
The best part is you don’t have to spend hours manually searching trending and relevant content to post. There are tools for social media management that can do the task for you. Just remember to tag the right people in the captions.
Volkswagen has mastered this trick. Their visual content is legendary, but most of it is generated by independent photographers or customers. The posts show clear picture credits, which adds to the brand’s credibility.
Get creative and start crafting stunning images, memes, GIFs, infographics, and videos.
The possibilities are endless. Have a research-backed whitepaper with many useful insights? Put together the key takeaways and create an infographic. A company event coming up? Create teaser videos to generate buzz. After the event, share the highlights in a video story.
Another inspiring example: when Samsung wanted to introduce their Galaxy S8, they created videos showing how their phone is different from the rest. They built a powerful narrative that struck a chord with social media users.
Soon, S8 customers started sharing their unboxing videos on the brand’s Facebook page.
The hashtag went viral almost instantly.
Going a step further, Samsung created a contest to reward the best video creators. They got tons of engagement, but it all started with a powerful video.
3. Informative Content
Everybody is looking for useful information. In fact, for many people, social media is a daily source of news. So, if you write authoritative content on current topics, you’re sure to get a lot of shares and comments.
However, make sure that you don’t regurgitate old content. Social media users have low tolerance levels. Write with a fresh perspective. Back your writing with data and add proprietary information. That will make you look credible and honest.
For example, remote work is big these days. InvoiceBerry wrote an ebook to help small companies adapt to the remote work culture. They promoted it on LinkedIn since that’s the preferred platform for professionals and entrepreneurs.
Since the topic is current, the information is well-presented, and the targeting is optimal, the ebook got a lot of traction.
The catch is that to write in-depth content, you need a certain level of proficiency in language as well as subject matter, which not all of us possess.
If that’s the case with you, don’t hesitate to get help from professional writers. But before you do so, evaluate the writers you plan to hire. You can read reviews at agencies like BestWritersOnline. Such agencies have large databases of verified writers, along with their writing samples and credentials.
Extra effort at this point can save you a lot of time and money in the long term.
Plus, don’t forget, poorly-written content can negatively impact your brand’s image and drive away your customers, maybe to your competitors.
4. Positive Content
Wit and humor go a long way on social media. So do inspirational posts. That’s why mega-brands like Taco Bell infuse their feeds with sunny thoughts that their customers share gleefully.
It’s hard to resist liking this post? That cute kid carrying the Taco Bell cooler and the accompanying caption can make anyone’s day.
Not only does positive content show you as a fun brand, but it also wins in online interactions.
Backing this up, Dan Zarrella, the ace data analyst, did research on “Five Scientifically Proven Ways to Get More Followers.” #5 on his list of ways is “be positive.”
He found that posting positive posts is a sure-fire way to increase your follower count on social media.
Put your best face forward and build a positive vibe with your social content. Don’t be afraid to show your human side. Your social audience will thank you for it.
The right kind of social content can help your brand cut through the noise and reach the right eyes and ears. The content types covered in this post are enough to kickstart an impactful social media journey. Even if you’re already a social media pro, you can take your game a notch higher by leveraging these insights.
Need help with other aspects of social media? Leave your requests in the comments below.
Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant for 15 years with an emphasis on influencer marketing in the last five years. He is specialized in sales funnels, targeted traffic and website conversions. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, Influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities. You can find him on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.