I’m one of the biggest proponents of social media advertising. This comes as no surprise to anyone who has visited my author page. However, ads are only one side of the social media coin. Incredible content is the other.
You can max out your ad budget and still fail to grab your audience’s attention if you don’t put careful consideration into the message you’re going to deliver them. With one part preparation and one part application, this is the recipe for creating killer social media content.
Find Your Voice
The quickest way to fade into the background noise of all the other boring brand pages is to not establish a unique tone of voice for your company. Developing a clear and consistent brand voice is a crucial first step in communicating with your audience. It has much wider implications than building engagement on social media. This should be used in all company communications. It may take a bit of time, but it will transform your boring business into a well-established brand.
What Do You Value?
The first thing you need to do is define your company values. What does your business stand for? What does it believe in? This could be anything from making the most out of our short time on Earth to promoting environmental awareness and sustainability.
Just be sure it makes sense in the context of what you’re selling. Think about your product and then brainstorm the ways it benefits your customers. Expand that even further, and distill it all into short list of values.
The Sincerest Form of Flattery
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Looking to how your customers speak is one of the greatest examples of how you should speak to them. Conceptualize your ideal customer, and find where they congregate online. Analyze the language used, and find certain words or phrases that continuously crop up. Find their style of language, and let it influence your own.
Write It Down
I can’t stress this enough. Create a comprehensive brand voice guide, and stick to it in all your communications. This guide should include a broad picture summary followed by the specifics. These should include formality vs. casualness, colloquialisms, humor and even whether or not your brand uses swear words.
Stand Out in a Crowd
Now that you’ve found your voice, you need to make sure you’re heard over the noise from the competition. The more crowded the market, the louder you need to be. Creating a unique selling proposition is like a bullhorn for your business. It tells your customers why they should choose your business by highlighting what makes it different from the others.
Take companies like Warby Parker and Toms, for example. The former sells fashionable eyeglasses and sunglasses, and the latter comfortable, bohemian shoes. Their brand voices couldn’t be any different, but their unique selling propositions are very similar. For each product purchased, they will donate one to people in need. Their customer not only feels good about getting a new pair of glasses or shoes, but also because their purchase positively impacts those in need.
You just need to find what makes your business special. The steps to figuring this out are:
- Find your ideal customer – Create a template for your ideal target customer. How old are they? What do they look like? What are their hobbies? The beauty is in the details.
- Get inside their head – Time to dig deep. Determine how this customer thinks. What occupies their mind or keeps them up at night? Most importantly, find what drives their purchasing decisions.
- Create a problem, then solve it – Now your ideal customer should be more than a concept. They should be a unique person. Detail how your product will not only make their life easier, but how it can solve their problems and simplify their life.
Categories That Kill
Your customer might be unique, but there are categories of content that consistently drive engagement no matter the audience. Marketo’s ebook, Contagious Content: What People Share on Facebook and Why They Share It, outlines seven functions of highly shared posts:
- Give – People love free stuff. Utilize promotions, offers, giveaway or contests.
- Advise – These are tips and tricks that will help make your audience’s lives easier.
- Warn – Scare tactics work. Use them.
- Amuse – Be funny. Laughing disarms people and makes them more receptive.
- Inspire – We’ve all seen those inspirational quotes in our feeds. Just avoid being cheesy.
- Amaze – Show or tell them something unbelievable. Just make sure it’s actually real.
- Unite – Bring your audience together. Give them a flag to wave.
Just be sure to keep your brand voice and unique selling proposition in mind. The danger of categories is that they’re universal. You still need to find a way to make your content unique.
In Strategies for Effective Wall Posts: A Timeline Analysis, Salesforce states that customers need to be told what to do. Posts with a clear call to action can more than triple the rate of engagement compared to those that don’t.
While the mere presence of a call to action will increase the likelihood of that action being taken, there are ways to push this success even further.
Be Commanding – Use clear, strong commands as early as possible, e.g., sign up, buy, shop, download, call, etc.
Elicit Emotions – Speak to your audience’s dreams and desires. It may seem like hyperbole but it works.
Get Creative – As with all of your messaging, utilize your brand voice document and unique selling proposition to punch up your call to action.