It's the biggest question out there. You know you have to make great content, everyone keeps telling you that's the key to social, but how exactly do you do that?
The answer is multi-faceted, as with anything in content marketing, but here are some handy tips to get you started:
1 Know Your Audience 🤔
Really know your audience. Don't just know demographics like age or location. You need to know what food they eat for breakfast, what music they listen to on the way to work, and what pictures they like on Instagram. You need to eat, sleep, and breathe the content that they do, and then you need to take notes on what's working. There's no point using social media to promote yourself or your business if your content doesn't to match your audience -- the engagement just won't be there. A huge pitfall of many emerging companies is creating content the staff like more than their audiences. It's not always about you! Your customer might have weird tastes, but you need to follow them and appreciate the format they take.
2 Find influencers 💁
In any crowd or group there are always those who follow and those who lead. The leaders of your target audience can tell you a lot about what content works best for them, but they can also be a gateway to exposure and networks. Influencers on social tend to be quite open to partnering up to do reviews, posts, and maybe even working with small businesses or individuals. Bottom line: if you don't ask you'll never know.
I like to use buzssumo to find influencers. It's incredibly intuitive and the alerts you set up can tell you what your competitors are doing.
3 Monitor Trends 👀📈
Social platforms are pretty upfront when it comes to telling you what performs best on their networks, and even when they aren't it's as easy as a quick experiment with a few different formats of posts in order to find out what content works best where. As of early 2017, square videos seem to be out-performing most content on Facebook.
Live videos on Facebook are also a quick hack way of notifying all of your followers of a) what you're doing but also b) that you still exist. Visibility is key on social. On Facebook in particular monitoring what content is pushed to the most people has always been important, since less than 16 % of people who like a Facebook page will ever see a post, but it's also becoming more and more important elsewhere too. Twitter is changing as it shifts itself to become better at earning revenue, and create a better user experience, and as it does this the format your posts take will become more and more important.
4 Storytelling 📖
Social is all about narrative. Like traditional media, the things that work best are posts with a human element to them. While your content may need to vary depending on whether you're an individual or a large organisation, staying true to telling stories does not need to shift. This is a great way to build communities of influencers who will talk about your content and spread the good word -- all you need do is involve people from the very beginning. Sometimes crowd sourced content works well, be this a 'takeover' for a day of your account or stories submitted privately by your audience. What can work just as well is long format narratives that into the heart of a story. Buffer have some especially great tips on how to do this if you want to give this a shot.
5. Ask for help
There's no shame in asking for help online and offline when it comes to content generation. Highlight it to those around you that you're searching for content, and in the process encourage them to become content creators themselves (as well as brand champions). Emphasize the need for content at every catch-up meeting with your team, or just yourself, and explain clearly what you're looking for staying true to your mission, vision, and values. Online there's a wealth of expertise at your fingertips. From the Buffer blog, a great starting point for beginners but also fantastic for social savvy marketers, to Sprout Social insights on the latest trends, there's a plethora of information out there ready to be digested. If you ever need a hand digesting trends, or understanding what exactly the newest social network means for your marketing, you can always ask me too. As an expert science communication, I specialise in taking the complex and translating it into practical and easy to digest explanations, and I am always just an emoji away... 😉