The importance of compelling content in social media success
Be honest, did you click on this article due to its title, or because of the picture of someone reading a burning newspaper?
While we hope you’ve got some interest in what we have to say, we understand if your answer is the latter. This image is compelling – it grabs our attention and leaves us wanting to know more: who is this person, why is their newspaper on fire, and shouldn’t they be doing more about it?
Does this article have anything to do with the dangers of burning newspapers? No. Has the image helped to entice you in reading this far? Yes.
…and now for the segue.
The content your business posts on social needs to be equally captivating. It has to stop thumbs in order to garner interest. Compelling content key is to success on social media.
Want to know why? Well, you’ll have to stick with us a little further.
What does success on social media look like?
Before we can jump into examining how compelling content can unlock social media success, we need to establish one thing.
‘Success’ on social media isn’t a uniform phenomenon. Every social media strategy needs to have predefined goals at its core, and meeting these objectives is how you should measure success.
Some of the most common objectives include:
- Connecting with your target audience.
- Driving traffic to your website.
- Increasing brand awareness.
- Providing customer service.
Taking each of these in turn, let’s have a look at where compelling content fits into the equation.
1. Connecting with your target audience
Using your channels to engage with people is a popular starting point in most social strategies.
The real power of social media is the ability to organically grow online communities. As the majority of platforms offer opportunities for users to share posts, the ‘right’ content can quickly snowball and collect more interest.
The million dollar question, however, is what is the ‘right’ content? In defining this, it’s key not to lose sight of the individual.
People need to feel that you understand who they are, what makes them tick, and any challenges they might be facing. If your content does this you’ll be well on your way to forming a meaningful connection with the people whose opinions matter most to the success of your business.
Pro tip: Create user personas early in your digital strategy. These vital documents will ensure all of the content you post on social is addressing the right people, and speaking a language that resonates with them.
2. Driving traffic to your website
Social can be a great conduit for increasing website traffic where, hopefully, you’ll be able to convert these leads into paying customers.
It’s no secret that the digital age has vastly increased the number of research channels open to customers. Being able to compare purchasing options at the click of a mouse, rather than traipsing around town or making multiple phone calls, means consumers have a real grasp of the options out there.
This is making them more difficult to persuade, and forcing businesses to work harder to stay relevant, according to The Deloitte Consumer Review.
Well researched, engaging, and thought-leading content has a huge role to play in this. While posts about deals and new products, unsurprisingly, top the list of what consumers want to see on social, content that either educates, entertains or inspires occupies the following three positions, says research from a Sprout Social survey.
Your target audience wants to see that you really know your stuff before they invest in your product or service, so make sure your content offers real value.
Pro tip: Social listening is a great way to find out more about consumers’ concerns, and in turn inform the direction your content takes. Tools such as Sprout Social, Buzzsumo and Brandwatch are easy ways to track the brand mentions and industry keywords you need to be hearing.
3. Increasing brand awareness
Growing brand recognition is the biggest goal for social marketers, according to the Sprout Social survey.
This should come as no surprise: more than one-third of consumers named ‘trust in brand’ as among the top three factors that influence their decision to shop with a particular retailer, according to PwC’s Global Consumer Insights Survey 2018.
Content can help bolster your brand’s image as an industry thought leader, but the emphasis here is on quality, rather than quantity.
Today, social media users are bombarded with more content than ever. This means they have increasingly little time for poor quality, boring or repetitive posts. At best their thumbs will just skate on by, at worst they’ll become annoyed and choose to remove you from their feeds – an opportunity lost.
Here are a few ways to avoid appearing spammy:
- Don’t auto follow people who engage with your content – Users want to feel like they’re interacting with a personable brand, not a robot. This bot-like tactic can come across creepy and invasive.
- Watch your hashtags – The number of appropriate hashtags depends on the platform. On Instagram posts using 11+ hashtags could see you getting a 79.5 per cent engagement bump, according to Buffer. However, when it comes to Twitter and Facebook, you want to limit yourself to one or two – anything more risks putting you into the realms of spamdom.
- Watch what you post (and share!) – Hopefully by now you’re getting the message that your content needs to be high quality. The same golden rule applies to sharing posts from other user.
Sharing in the fake news era: We get it, no digital marketer has heaps of time to spare. However, in the era of fake news, you need to look beyond beguiling headlines that appear to support your brand message and explore what lies beneath before hitting ‘Share’. As you would when creating your own articles, videos, infographics etc., ensure everything in a post you’re considering sharing is thoroughly researched, and facts and figures backed by authoritative sources.
When it comes to your brand and social media, it’s definitely not a case of ‘there’s no such thing as bad publicity’. To be successful in increasing brand awareness on social media, you must choose your content wisely.
4. Delivering customer service
Social is now a mainstream method of delivering customer service. In fact, one in three social media users now favour these platforms over traditional service channels such as telephone or email, according to the Yellow Social Media Report 2018.
What’s more, you’ve got to be on the ball. Of those using social to connect with businesses in this way, 42 per cent anticipate a response within an hour, and 32 per cent within 30 minutes.
This emphasis on speedy resolution means that you should be leveraging all your resources to provide consumers with the answers they need – and this includes content.
Be proactive in offering help
A blog post covering FAQs or an instructional but engaging how-to video can save customers time that might otherwise be spent waiting on hold, or scouring the web for answers.
Be careful, however. This content must have practical takeaways for the enquirer.
In the same way that an unhelpful contact centre agent will further aggravate a potentially frustrated consumer, content that doesn’t hit the mark can create a perception of incompetency on your part.
This may seem harsh, but, ultimately, you should already have a good idea of your customers pain points, and so be able to create content that meets their requirements. Again, social listening gives you a real head start here.
Pro tip(s): Don’t wait for your target audience to come to you before creating this kind of content. While you should adapt your posts to mirror changing customer demands, be proactive in providing value to your target audience.
‘Customer service’ in this instance doesn’t have to pertain to queries and feedback on your own products or services. By monitoring industry-wide keywords, you can jump in to provide expert knowledge to more generalised questions. Some brands even swoop in to pick up the pieces when a customer complains about a rival online. Be wary with this, however – remember you’re there to be helpful, not vindictive.
What have we learnt?
If your business is on social media (and, by the way, it definitely should be!) you need to think long and hard about what content you post. Prioritise quality over quantity, and consider your user personas at all times.
With these tips up your sleeve, you should be well on your way to social media success, whatever your goals may be. Now, go forth and set the world of social media on fire (but watch out for any newspapers).