Every single thing your brand posts on social media is a direct reflection of your company’s values, creativity and perception of its followers. If your social shares are sloppy, uninformed, lackluster, or unengaging, your followers view your business in the same light — if they think of you at all.
Social media posts that don’t contain elements that catch a viewer’s attention and drive them to share or take a desired action are effectively undermining your efforts and causing your brand to fail in driving the awareness it deserves.
“Successful companies in social media function more like entertainment companies, publishers, or party planners than as traditional advertisers.” : Eric Qualman, motivational keynote speaker on the topics of digital leadership, reputation and trends
In order to gain the type of exposure and engagement needed for a smashing social media presence, there are several posting elements that are an absolute necessity. If you are on the prowl for ways to jazz up your social shares, here are five components to an artfully crafted social post.
Be Active, Not Passive
Passive language fails to engage readers. Using this type of verbiage and sentence structure often comes off as boring and mundane.
Active language feels more exciting and spirited. Aim to use the strongest language possible when developing your social copy. PlainLanguage.gov also points out the importance of implementing an active voice in writing by stating:
“Readers prefer active voice sentences, and we should try to use the active voice in most of our business writing to communicate our message most effectively. Active voice clearly identifies the action and who is performing that action.”
If you are unsure if your writing is active or passive, The University of Wisconsin – Madison provides a clear definition:
“In a sentence written in the active voice, the subject of sentence performs the action. In a sentence written in the passive voice the subject receives the action.”
If you still find yourself confused over the matter, the Hemingway App can help you identify such phrases and eliminate them from your social copy.
Share Content Others Want to Share
To share content that will compel and engage followers, you must first understand why people share the types of content they do.
Overall, there are five major reasons for the spread of content by individuals on social media:
To Deliver Value: People like to share information that they, and others, find valuable. This can be anything that is helpful, resourceful, or beneficial to people’s lives in some way.
To Express Themselves: Mark Zuckerberg once said, “Think about what people are doing on Facebook today. They’re keeping up with their friends and family, but they’re also building an image and identity for themselves.” Share content that supports your audience’s beliefs and they are likely to spread the word.
To Connect: Social media is all about relationships and conversations. People often share content as a way to get others talking about a certain topic. Support this by sharing posts that inspire tagging and sharing.
To Feel Valued: People often share materials they know will get lots of likes and comments. Try writing a few social posts giving thanks to your followers and see how many reciprocate the appreciation.
To Show Support: Noble causes spread across social like wildfire. It is fine for your brand to create posts that stand in solidarity with a certain group. It doesn’t have to be controversial, but sometimes controversy can be a good thing.
Images and Cross-Promotion
Most are aware that images are a necessity for social sharing. For major brands, 60 percent of their posts include images; this accounts for roughly 80 percent of their engagement.
By now, most understand the power of images, making it necessary for brands to take things a step further. Color plays a major psychological role in how people perceive an image. In fact, one study on how color impacts marketing uncovered that roughly 90 percent of individuals make judgments about a product based on colors alone. This means that introducing the tenants of color theory into your repertoire could have profound impacts on your social presence.
Moreover, principals such as the rule of thirds will help you find or create much more eye-catching images to pair with your social shares. If you feel compelled to go even deeper, you can even implement the golden rule, which is a more complex variation on the rule of thirds.
Now that you have stellar images to share, post them on Facebook via Instagram. A Buzzsumo study of more than one billion Facebook posts revealed that images shared on Facebook via Instagram receive more engagement than when merely posted on Facebook.
Hashtags Aren’t the Only Game in Town
Here’s an interesting one for you: Stop hashtagging on Facebook. The aforementioned Buzzsumo research also found that Facebook posts that include hashtags receive less engagement than those that don’t. Alternatively, according to the Pamorama marketing blog, “Emoticons receive 33 percent more comments, are shared 33 percent more often, and are liked 57 percent more than Facebook posts without emoticons.” While hashtags are a great discovery tool on other social networks, they are actually harming your Facebook presence.
Clickbait often goes viral because it sparks curiosity. I am not saying to start creating clickbait, but that curiosity is a powerful force.
George Loewenstein, Professor of Economics and Psychology, is a leading expert in the field of curiosity. His studies have found that curiosity is triggered when something:
Defies expectation and challenges common assumptions;
Reveals an informational breach in knowledge;
Is not overdone (curiosity does wane).
That said, share content that opposes accepted viewpoints, ask questions that tease at something that most may not be aware of, and engage in discussions with your audience around these topics.
Social posting is as much an art as it is a science. But try not to get too wrapped up in the science portion of it. When you are having fun creating content and provoking discussions on social media, it shows. And that is the type of energy that will make others want to join in on the fun.
What are your favorite ways to provoke curiosity?