Whenever you post something on social media you’re entering a battle for the attention of the user. Our timelines are full of content from friends, family and the brands we follow, so it has to be something special to stop us scrolling. What ‘special’ looks like will depend on who you are and what you do, but there are some universal truths that you need to bear in mind before hitting ‘Post’.

Here are five things all of your social media posts should include — regardless of which platform you’re posting on.

Image or a video

Every update you post — whether on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+ — should include an image or video. Every time. Without exception. This is for two reasons.

Firstly, as I’ve already mentioned, you’re battling friends and family, as well as other brands, for the attention of the user, and imagery is simply far more attention grabbing than text alone. What’s more, an image or a video makes your update significantly larger in the user’s feed. It captures more social real estate.

Secondly, the statistics are clear in terms of the effect media in social posts has on engagement. Tweets with images receive 150% more retweets than those without, while Facebook posts with images enjoy 2.3x more engagement.

That being said, photos on social media are all a bit ‘yesterday’s news’, aren’t they? In fact, a conflicting study to the one I linked to above even suggested that images shared on Facebook receive the least organic reach — even compared with status and link updates.

If that’s the case, it’s somewhat understandable. With blog posts like this having extolled the virtues of sharing visual content for years, most brands bombard their audience with images — it should be no surprise that they have started to decrease in effectiveness.

Today, it’s video content that is king of both organic reach and engagement. An auto-playing video within our Facebook feed is much more likely to catch our eye, while a study commissioned by Twitter in 2015 found that users love engaging with video on their platform.

Since January, you’ve even been able to respond to tweets with video. Simply hit reply followed by the image icon, and then ‘Video’, before recording your short video reply. Which one do you think people are more likely to respond positively to, a text or video reply?

Compelling copy...

Imagery might be the best way to grab the user’s attention, but without compelling copy to accompany it they won’t take the next step. Whether it’s a tweet, LinkedIn update, Facebook or Instagram post, make sure you clearly set out the benefit to the user of following the link, watching the video or simply paying attention.

My advice would be to never go with the first version of the copy. Write, rewrite and rewrite some more until it’s as sharp as it can be.

… but not too much of it

That rewriting of copy I mentioned should involve cutting out unnecessary words wherever possible. For example, don’t say:

“Our range of services will help your business to reach a larger audience and close more sales.”

When you can say:

“Reach a larger audience and close more sales with our help.”

People have limited attention spans online, particularly on social media, so they’re likely to lose interest if it looks like you’re going to take up too much of their time.

There is a caveat to this point though.

Long-form updates on Facebook and LinkedIn can prove successful as an alternative to providing a link through to an article. In fact, LinkedIn actively encourages it with their Publishing platform.

If you’re not sure whether longer form content would work for you, the best thing to do is test it. Share a short update with an image and a link through to an article, and then a week later share the same article in its entirety.

A clear intent

So many brands post on social media because they think they’re supposed to. Their competitors are, fellow local businesses are… everyone is!

I don’t subscribe to the view that ‘social media only works for certain industries’, but you need to be totally clear about what you want to achieve with every update. Do you want to drive traffic to your website; are you trying to encourage downloads of a gated content offer; are you simply trying to increase social engagement? Identify your goal first as this will dictate the strategy.

A posting schedule

Across all social platforms reach is on the decline. Facebook organic reach fell by 52% last year; the number of your Twitter followers that actually see your updates (without spend applied) is well below 10%.

However, this means you don’t need to feel shy about sharing content multiple times to boost the number of your fans/followers that get to see it. An example schedule might be:

1. You post the update
2. Post again the next day
3. Post one week after the original post
4. Post two weeks after the original post
5. Post monthly or bi-monthly from then on, depending on how much content you have to share

You can tweak the copy each time to freshen it up, while you, of course, shouldn’t follow this schedule for content that is time-sensitive. What other elements do you think should feature in every social post? Let me know in the comments section.

 

By John Rooney, digital marketing manager at Klood


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