I was lucky enough to be invited to three great events recently where I picked up some useful tips on creating engaging content for social media channels. The first was a session with the Guardian Public Leaders Network. The second was a marketing and campaigning event hosted by Facebook. The third was a masterclass with LinkedIn. Here are some of the most useful things I heard:
There are three key ingredients for the best content. It needs to be useful, relevant and inspiring. Interesting isn’t always enough. If you’re posting for a professional audience include information that will make people more knowledgable and help them make better decisions, for example latest trends.
Case studies work well on traditional media but on social media people don’t just want to hear what someone did, they want to hear how. Rather than just telling an interesting story, turn your content into a list of useful tips that people in the same situation can use.
People remember how things made them feel, they don’t remember details. If you want your message to stick, your content needs to evoke an emotional response. Emotional headlines also work well on social media.
Recycling content that’s been successful in the past can work better than creating new content, and saves you time.
For LinkedIn in particular, the most popular content is: original insights, thought leadership, sharing expertise, exclusive data and ‘The future of…’ posts.
Use photos, video and graphics to get your content noticed. You’re competing for people’s attention with all the other content on their timelines so make yours stand out with something visual. People understand images much faster than they understand text so make sure your images are relevant to your posts.
Mix it up a bit – having recognisable branding can backfire. If it’s too familiar people will ignore it.
To help you understand your audience better, think of a particular person who’s representative of the people you’re trying to reach. Write you’re content as if you’re writing it for that person. Always put your audience first by taking about what they’re interested in, not just what you want to tell them.
92% of audiences trust earned media (content endorsed by a third party) over traditional media (Nielsen). This includes word of mouth from friends and family. Social media is idea for spreading word of mouth. An influencer is someone with an interest or passion, with a network of people who want to share it. Find your influencers and use them to spread your message.
The great thing about digital is you can see straight away who’s reading your content and what works. Take time to analyse the analytics.
The best way to generate engagement is to find a topic people are really interested in. If you work in government, like me, you’re lucky because we have subjects lots of people are passionate about.
Make sure your ask is simple and not too personal. For example, if you want people to share successes they might not want to talk about themselves. Ask them about their team’s success and they may be more forthcoming.