Social media marketing. Three words that every marketer utters when backed into a corner for answers and results. But here’s the hard truth about social media marketing. Not all marketers see an ROI. In fact, even though 77% marketers claim to be using social media for marketing, only 48% of them seem to have any ROI whatsoever. Why? Not all marketers invest enough to create fresh and effective content.
Is your content boring and overdone? Let’s think realistically. It’s hard to put out fresh, intellectually stimulating, humorous and compelling content every single day. Or is it? Maybe you haven’t discovered a creative process that allows you to perform that way yet.
1. Tickle your tastebuds with flavors that make you want to sing
“Successful creators don’t just like knowledge, they thirst for it,” says Keith Sawyer, author of “Zig Zag: The Surprising Path to Greater Creativity”. Serial entrepreneur and tech revolutionary Elon Musk and IT veteran Bill Gates have both confessed to being avid readers. To be a successful creator, you have to develop a desire to consume a lot of content yourself. But what content should you ideally consume?
Every exceptional artist has a muse, just as every talented content creator has go-to sources for inspiration. What are yours? Here are a few ways to find inspiration.
- Inspiration can come from anywhere – books, movies or even conversations with interesting people. Any piece of information that’s new can break you out of old thinking patterns that are holding you back. Ensure that you have time for good books, movies and conversations every week.
- Long walks, rides or meditation can do a lot for your creative imagination. Sometimes, your mind is full of ideas, but you are not in the right mind space to access them. During such times, you could indulge in meditative or refreshing activities to clear your mind and let ideas flow.
- Today, there are tons of apps and platforms serving content. But not all content is good content. Instead of letting these apps take over your life, why not control your content consumption and make it actually beneficial?
- Additionally, you could also use a content curation app like DrumUp to curate fresh content for daily inspiration.
The idea is to build daily habits that enable your creative imagination, helping you generate ideas easily so you can keep your social media content fresh. If you’re still stuck, you could try one of the following:
- Watch TEDTalks. They usually have new ideas and great language – two great precursors for fresh content ideas.
- Begin curating an inspiration file with pieces of ideas, writing, design or stories that intrigue you. They’ll come to your rescue during tough times.
Watch interviews of your favorite personalities. You might find their lives and experiences inspiring.
- Listen to new music. If you are visually receptive, new sounds may prompt the flow of new ideas.
- Try remote association exercises. For instance, you can take the first line of one song and try to connect it to the last line of another song by writing the lines in between. You could also consider three completely random ideas and spin them into a story. Such activities generally get your creative juices flowing.
- Make a collage or build a lego house. You could also do something simpler if you lack resources. Arrange your desk or doodle random ideas in your head.
2. Diversify your social media content with videos, infographics, quotes, GIFs, memes and storytelling
Facebook mobile users spend no more than 1.7 seconds on each piece of content. That’s the time you have to grab their attention. Doing that by sharing the same kind of social media content repeatedly is impossible, because people who lose interest easily will switch to another page. However, you can keep audience attention by diversifying your social media content.
It’s the purple cow principle. Remember Seth Godin’s infamous TED Talk “How to get your ideas to spread”? People won’t stop for a cow, but show them a purple cow or a cow with golden locks and…
- It’s hard to keep surprising your social media audience when you have to post content everyday. But you can easily “keep it fresh” by using different content formats such as videos, infographics, GIFs, memes and quotes.
Each of these content formats can be easily designed even if you don’t have designing experience. There are tons of Saas (Software As a Service) tools that offer ready templates using which you can design these types of content. For instance, Venngage has several infographic templates that you can work with and Giphy makes GIF making easy.
- Use storytelling on every social media post. People are drawn to stories because they evoke strong emotions rooted in their earliest years of life. How do you use storytelling? Create characters, narrate scenes and take people through the experience that you want them to have.
- Work with all the special features on different social media platform. Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat Stories, Instagram Boomerang and Twitter Moments are all creative opportunities to change the way social media users perceive your brand. Not only do “Stories” appear prominently on top of social feeds, but they also disappear 24 hrs after publishing, giving you the freedom to share more freely.
- Save your posts and ideas in online content libraries such as the ones on DrumUp, so you can work with them just before publishing. You could also save great posts to inspire future posts or inspire the start of a series.
If you still don’t have enough to embellish your page with vibrant and original social media content, here are a few things that you can consider.
- Curate content from other brands, personalities who are in your space but don’t compete with you. DrumUp’s keyword based content curation will help you find articles written by journalists, whom you can also @mention when sharing posts through the tool.
- Share simple questions, quizzes or contests that can engage your social media audience.
3. Invest in empathy; understand customer intent and feelings
Every social media marketer reads hundreds of blog and social media posts for social media marketing inspiration. However, few of them can actually drive results for brands using social if marketers lose sight of the most important part of having a social media presence – being human. Companies who anchor their social media marketing strategy around this fact are more likely to have larger and more loyal social media followings and better sales.
The beauty of social media is that it allows for two way communication, wherein current and prospective customers can respond to brands and share opinions. Use that fact to build real connections with your social media fans.
- The first mistake that many brands make on social media is that they overdo professionalism and end up being boring. People don’t want more “corporate talk”. They want to know who you are. So, be as genuine and authentic as you can on social media. Give you brand a personality that people can relate to.
- One of the biggest mistakes that brands make on social media is focusing too much on their brand, products and services. In marketing expert Guy Alvarez’s words, “Social Media is Not a Bullhorn”, and you should stop writing about why your products are amazing. People today can’t be bothered by what you have to sell. They’re interested in how you can change their lives. Show them that by sharing more customer-oriented content.
- Make people smile. Want to stay on top of customers’ minds? Tell them something that will make them smile. Create content that will come back to them when they’re driving or shopping or being bored on the internet.
- Give more than you get. Think about this. Would you rather spend time with a friend who’s there for you or someone who’s always asking you for money? Limit your social media sales pitches. Instead, try and befriend your social media audience.
The easiest way to build a rapport with your audience is by understanding how they feel. Here are a few ways to do that.
- Look carefully at support queries. What emotions have customers expressed towards your products and services? That can tell you a lot about how to approach them. For instance, if customers have displayed signs of uncertainty and anxiousness, you should invest in understanding what their concerns about your products are.
- Talk to customers face to face or on the phone when you can and ask for feedback related to your products and content. Pay attention to their tone of voice and emotions instead of focusing only on what they say.
4. Work hard on that sense of humor, every single day
Being humorous is a great way to catch the attention of your social media audience. By appealing to them emotionally, you stand a better chance than others at generating curiosity about who you are and what you sell. It also stands that humor is great for brand awareness and brand recall, two things that can help you stay etched in your target audience’s memory longer.
However, writing jokes is hard. The activity requires a rare combination of creative intelligence and an understanding of customer psychology. Here’s a list of tips that can help.
- According to Dr. Peter McGraw and Dr. Caleb Warren, researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder, humor occurs when two events coincide –
i) Someone threatens a person’s worldview (his or her) sense of how the world should be, and ii) The threat is amiable but potent. Try and satisfy these criteria with the jokes that you write for social media.
- Practise writing humor everyday, because only 10% of what you write maybe usable material. Just as any other skill, writing humor takes practise and you’ll get better at it over time.
- Follow a bunch of comedians and novelists you consider raconteurs, so you can breakdown their work and study their style of writing. When breaking down their writing, try and pay attention to the details – the words they use, the tone they use, the visuals that they try to paint with words. Some good examples of novelists to study are PG Wodehouse and Caitlin Moran.
- Curate humorous content for your social media fans. There are tons of great social media pages already posting funny content. You could simply repost some of that content (with tags and proper credit) for your audience’s benefit. The admins of the pages you help promote will definitely thank you for it.
If you’re still unable to find enough inspiration to add humor to your social media content, you could try one of the following.
- Wit is underrated. Use witty quips (crediting them to the author) or create your own. Try and give new endings to old sayings or come-up with new “terms” that have funny definitions.
- Poke fun at your brand. That’s a great way to endear your social media fans. Ellen DeGeneres tells a lot of jokes targeted at herself (click here for link to video below).
5. Strike the pinata at its heart by vanquishing customers’ pet peeves
When people don’t convert, it’s usually because they have a very specific issue stopping them from doing so. When customers leave, they usually have very specific problems that haven’t be addressed. Strategic content can bridge these gaps and boost both your conversion rates and customer retention rates. That’s why you should focus on creating social media content that relates to customer and prospect issues.
Here’s what you need to know when creating content to solve issues that customers and prospects face.
- Before you begin solving issues, it’s important to know if they actually exist and what they are. Many social media managers make the mistake of assuming likes, dislikes and concerns of target groups, leading to the incorrect investment of time and money on creating content that’s not really relevant.
- Once you’re sure of what concerns customers and prospects have, it’s time to understand exactly how to address them. The content format and script that you use matter to a great extent. You conversion and retention depend on how well you address issues using content.
- Use simple resolutions in content that your target groups can follow easily. Avoid using terms that can confuse people and don’t unnecessarily complicate your content.
- Invest in content formats that you know your target groups consume. For instance, if your target groups include people who read a lot, you can focus on blog posts. Else, it’s important to complement blog posts with videos, infographics, GIFs and memes. The videos you create should ideally be short and easy to consume – 60s or less if you plan to share them on social media platforms.
- You could use success stories, case-studies and testimonials to illustrate to your target groups how you can solve important issues. In fact, doing so will add social proof and credibility to the equation and make your brand appear more trustworthy.
Here are a few extra tips to ensure that you aim right and successfully eliminate the issues that your target groups have using social media content.
- Google keyword planner (and other keyword research tools) are excellent ways to understand customer intent. If you create blog posts using data drawn from such tools, you can attract attention on social media and drive SEO traffic to your website.
- You can also use a tool such as FAQFox to search for queries on forums such as Quora, so you can identify important questions that your audience is asking.
Social media marketing is an important part of every marketer’s $0 marketing plan, but few of these marketers ever see the results that they desire. Why? They’re using the wrong content or targeting the wrong channels. This post suggests the only way you can take boring social media content and turn it interesting.