A social media presence remains indispensable for businesses of all sizes, across niches and industries. Not only does having a strong presence help in generating leads and new customers, but it even helps in instilling trust and projecting authority.
In order to build and retain an audience, however, businesses have to focus on crafting quality, attention-grabbing content that is relevant to their target audiences.
Just like a honey bee that is attracted to contrasting colors when searching for nectar, an average social media user longs for visually stunning content that compels them to stop scrolling.
This, however, is increasingly difficult, especially off-late given the level of competition that persists across all niches, making it hard for businesses to stand out at leading social media platforms.
Creating compelling social media content on a consistent basis has always been difficult, and it isn’t about to get easier anytime soon.
Fortunately, we have a wealth of information from social media power users that can provide us with the much-needed tips, tricks, and best practices to captivate our target audiences on social media platforms without having a massive budget, or burning out in the process.
1. Understand Your Audiences
The first step in any content marketing or social media marketing endeavor is an understanding of your target audience or buyer persona. You cannot come up with an effective content creation strategy without at least a brief overview of the person on the other side, consuming your content.
At its core, your target audiences include individuals who are most likely to be consumers of your products and services.
The concept of target audiences or buyer personas has long been a part of marketing and advertising, with extensive research and literature pertaining to them, yet it still remains largely imperfect and is mostly aimed at guiding marketing strategies.
Before you plan your content strategy, however, trying to understand your audiences, their traits, personalities, and desires is crucial to guide you through the planning process. Without this, you are essentially approaching your content development blindly, with nothing to guide you, or differentiate between possible alternatives.
2. Build a Brand
A social media strategy that perseveres in the face of intense competition and consistently generates leads, shares, and engagement requires extensive differentiation.
In other words, you need to build a brand, something that helps followers recognize your content in their feeds while standing out from the millions of other businesses and their posts.
Building a brand doesn’t start and end with a logo, it involves a broad range of other elements, including color schemes, writing styles, fonts, visuals, and more.
It includes anything and everything that audiences can identify with your brand, and cannot easily be replicated. With the right branding efforts, your posts will start to see better engagement than run-of-the-mill content with no differentiation.
Branding essentially works in conjunction with your social media posting activity and is something you build over a period of time. However, even before getting started with your content creation and posting activity, it is essential to define the attributes that you would like associated with your brand and all of its future posts and shares.
Most professional brands on social media create a brand style guide, particularly for each social media platform. This includes color schemes, types of content to post, tone of voice, engagement, fonts, and more. You might think such an approach is out of reach for a small business, but there are tools that can make this possible. With solutions such as Quicktools by Picsart font generator you can even create a unique font to be identified with your social media presence in just a few clicks.
3. Focus On Images & Videos Over Text
A common trait among social media users across niches and platforms is their impatience, and aversion to content that requires effort to consume.
As a result, your best bet when it comes to social media content is to focus on conveying data, information, or updates as effortlessly as possible, with high-quality images, infographics, illustrations, and videos taking the cake in this regard.
Not only do these formats result in more engagement, but they also result in increased viral reach, with users being more inclined to share them with their own friends and followers, all the while providing the right signals to social media platform algorithms to increase their organic reach.
Here again, it is essential to ensure that your images and video content match with your broader branding and style guides, along with the traits and persona of your target audience.
This can be done with the creation of standardized templates with the use of tools such as Canva, Crello, and Biteable, among others. While templates and standardization do add value, don’t be afraid to test the boundaries, try new color schemes, or bold new ideas, you never know if something radical might just click with your audience.
4. Encourage Engagement
Engagement among followers, subscribers, and fans is the lifeblood of any social media presence. The likes, shares, and comments by your existing audiences not only help in taking content viral, but better position your brand, website, and profile with regards to social media algorithm, substantially enhancing your organic reach.
The tips and best practices mentioned above do achieve a great deal when it comes to gradually building engagement, but in order to take it up a notch, you need to make a concerted effort that involves outright asking for shares and comments, along with actively engaging in the comments section yourself.
A few social media pages go even further by organizing contests, announcing rewards, and more, all aimed at building traction within their particular platforms, and tipping the scales in their favor when it comes to their platform’s native algorithms.
There are in fact, a number of different tools and services particularly aimed at organizing giveaways, contests, and sweepstakes on platforms like Facebook. SweepWidget, Agorapulse, and RaffleCopter are a few popular options, with extensive features aimed at the same.
5. Use User Generated Content
There are few other things that generate more engagement and community involvement than actively asking your followers to contribute to your social media page.
Even if the content doesn’t match your broad branding and style guidelines, this fundamentally alters your equation with followers, clearly implying that they are part of or even part owners of the community.
Apart from this, it is also a great way to get free relevant content delivered to you, instead of spending time and money to churn out content all by yourself. Keep in mind that this cannot be in lieu of creating your own branded social media posts, but only a way of complimenting your efforts.
This, again, can be encouraged with the use of contests and rewards, asking for submissions from all, before selecting and showcasing the top results. Most of the time, however, all you’ll have to do is provide credits for the content by tagging the user who created it.
6. Test, Track & Optimize
No matter how many case studies, guides, and tutorials you go through, performance on social media ultimately boils down to how well you can track the results you are getting, generate insights, and optimize your content to better align with objectives.
Once you have a community up and running, with a base set of audiences that you either acquire by leveraging existing sources of owned traffic or via advertising, it is time to start testing and experimenting with different types of content on a regular basis, to see how your audience reacts to each of them.
Within a few weeks, you should have sufficient data on your hands to make the necessary changes to your style guides, content policies, and broader strategies. Facebook provides its own Page Insights tool to aid with this, along with the Meta Business Suite, but for more sophisticated data you can check out premium tools such as Hootsuite.
No matter how you plan to do this, the key is experimenting with a wide variety of content, offers, and strategies. The first few tips discussed in this guide make it seem like being conservative is the best option for social media content and marketing, but you won’t realize anything about your audiences or have sufficient data to build your brand materials unless you learn to push the boundaries.
Despite ever-increasing competition and growing restrictions by native algorithms, social media platforms represent a massive opportunity for small and large businesses alike. With the right planning and approach, businesses can still build a large community on sites such as Facebook and Twitter, while actively using them to spread their message, grow their brand, and generate leads.
While there is no shortage of tips, tricks, and guides on crafting perfect social media content, in the end, the key to success is going above and beyond when it comes to delivering value to your audiences. Keep your ear to the ground, and try your best to understand your audiences, and what appeals to them, before aligning your content development and marketing efforts in line with the same.