Social media has changed the way we communicate with brands and individuals and impacted how we digest information. Because social media networks are free and accessible worldwide, it’s easy for anyone to post content – good or bad. Individuals are flooded with articles, images, updates, white papers and infographics from various people and organizations every single day.
Consuming everything your connections post is impossible. Though an average user logs several hours per day across different channels, he or she might only skim their feed. Quickly catching someone’s attention is of utmost importance for brands with goals like driving traffic and generating revenue. The quality of the information is priority, but there are several criteria that outline best practices for how to present the content. This post outlines:
- How to quickly grab the reader’s attention
- How to write effective, engaging copy that your audience wants to read
1. Keep the Copy Succinct
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the average attention span of a human being is just eight seconds. We typically skim paragraphs and seek out the main points in order to consume information quickly while we multitask. When writing, try to use the fewest amount of words possible. Delete anything that doesn’t add value or make a clear point. If more information might be valuable, link the post to a website or blog post.
2. Use multimedia
Posts with a photo, video or infographic do better than just text. Go a step further in following this rule and fully consider what the image/graphic communicates. Think about how it relates to the people in your audience. It should give the reader valuable information that they can apply to their own lives. Don’t know where to start? Check out Canva, a free tool to create the right size image for different social networks. Also, my company, Sprout Social, has an always up-to-date guide for image sizes for specific networks that is a great for your quick reference.
3. Ask Relevant Questions
Carefully think about your audience and how they use your product or service. Do they depend on it daily? Do they use your product in a unique way? By asking a lot of questions, it can help you truly understand your audience. Take that honest feedback and put it to good use – cater posts that will be relevant to them and test posting to specific audiences to see if it’s better received among certain groups.
4. Start with the Most Valuable Information
Like any good reporter would suggest, don’t bury the lead. Put the most interesting, valuable info at the beginning of the post. Engage the reader with a captivating detail or piece of information and follow up with relatable tactics or supporting info that can empower the audience to implement this info into their own lives. A good rule of thumb is to concentrate your content on educating, entertaining or inspiring.
5. Don’t be afraid to push the envelope
Be edgy. Try something new and do things your competitors aren’t. Look for inspiration everywhere (even very different industries) and incorporate your own perspective. Take a different stance than what is popular if it’s something you or your organization truly believes. This piece of advice comes with the caveat of tracking performance; which transitions nicely into the final tip…
6. Keep Track of Post Performance
The numbers never lie. While it’s not solely about the number of likes and shares, it doesn’t negate the insight from these stats. If your community consistently loves a certain item on your menu or feature of your product, talk about it! Don’t shy away from what does well. Repurposing the same topic or info is great if you can achieve the same kind of traction consistently.
I think it’s always worth it to test new angles. Once you get comfortable with your audience, go out on a limb and test different topics to see if they relate. Always keep the copy positive and don’t offend in hopes of receiving likes or engagement. Post and analyze often.
Which of these tips are you already executing? What kind of posts have garnered the most engagement? Check out some of my favorite brands already executing these tactics and get inspired: BarkBox, Vogue, Modcloth, Riot Fest