While the social sphere of the internet is a powerful tool for connection, the rate at which content is created, shared and consumed can overwhelm even the savviest browser. This is evident on a personal level (like when your family or friends post cheesy eCards from 2004 on your Facebook wall), but businesses also engage in social media without a strategy in place. A silly post from a relative is endearing if not a little embarrassing, but a similar misstep from a business is a waste of resources at best and a detriment to brand perception at worst.
While every business requires its own unique plan, here are four golden rules to follow when creating social media content that are applicable in any social media marketing strategy:
Research and define your target audience
When marketing a brand or product, the content creator must keep their ideal audience in mind. Likes, shares, and retweets are fruitless if your content isn’t reaching your target audience. Who do you think is most likely to engage with your brand or purchase your product? Even better, who do you want to engage with your brand that isn’t already a participant?
Before writing, decide if there is a specific age, gender or education level demographic that you want to see your content. Once you understand your audience, consider which types are articles and posts your target audience typically interacts with. Should your images be clean and conservative or modern and bright? Does your audience like traditional news articles or short “snackable” blog posts, infographics and videos? Keep these questions in mind as you draft your social media marketing strategy.
Select your social media platforms
Once you’ve researched your target audience, consider which social media platforms your audience is most likely to be actively using. With the abundance of social networks available, your organization may be wasting time and resources creating and posting content on social media platforms that your audience is not engaged in. Instead, pick the top two to five social networks that your target audience is active on, and focus your efforts on creating stellar content for those platforms.
Different age groups, for instance, are attracted to different platforms. If you’re creating a marketing plan for a life insurance company that would likely sell to older age groups, a Twitter account is unlikely to garner new attention or clients. Facebook, on the other hand, is increasingly popular among all age groups. Therefore, your social media efforts would lead to higher engagement by creating an excellent series of Facebook posts about life insurance, rather than a mediocre series of Facebook posts and tweets that wouldn’t reach a broad audience.
Draft unique posts for each platform
The clearest giveaway of ineffective social media content generation is the cross-posting of identical posts across different platforms. Most often, this occurs through automatically linking posts to different websites. Though your artistic picture may dazzle your Instagram followers, your Twitter followers are significantly less likely to click the link to your Instagram and like or share the post. Likewise, posting the same status to Twitter and Facebook disengages your clients and discourages them from seeking your brand across multiple social platforms.
Once you’ve selected which social media platforms you’ll utilize for your social strategy, create unique content for each site. Think about what kind of language and post length is appropriate for each post, and get creative! Though your posts can contain similar ideas, unique presentation across multiple platforms will take your brand presence to the next level.
Proofread your content before posting
Before you send out your stunning social media content to the World Wide Web, make sure to proofread for any typos, grammatical errors, run-on sentences, or extra-verbal structures. Your language is how you communicate meaning and professionalism. Although a few inefficient sentences may seem fine to you, your audience is less likely to read through the entirety of your post if it’s riddled with errors or difficult to understand.
There are a few proofreading questions that are guaranteed to make your writing more precise and clean:
- “Are there any unnecessary words or phrases?”
- “Are these paragraphs too long? If so, how could I split them up?”
- “Does every sentences start with the same word?”
- “Do these words convey a tone that my audience would appreciate?”
- “Is my writing consistent?”
Scanning your writing with these questions in mind will keep your content clean and effective.
The next time you’re creating social media content to market your brand, remember these four golden rules about content generation. Keep your audience targeted and your writing precise, and you’ll avoid the classic faux pas of creating social media content.