Expert guidance to craft effective social media updates

Make sure your posts pop and resonate with your audience.

How to craft better social media updates

In today’s marketing landscape, mastering social media is a must for businesses big and small.

It’s a strategy that helps level the playing field, giving small and midsize organizations a chance to reach out and compete against the big players.

Of course, you can post on social media all day long. It takes strategy, effort and investment to yield positive, sustainable results.

Here’s how to craft killer social media updates that stand out:

1. Know your audience. In order to create content your audience will share, you first need to know who your audience is. CoSchedule recommends you ask yourself these questions:

    • What problems can my product or service solve for customers or clients? The answer tells you why your organization exists and why people need it.
    • What does my current client base look like? Consider demographics like age, gender, location, family structure, income and education level.
    • Who is my competition and what do its customers look like? You’re likely to have a similar audience base as your competition. If you can identify its customers, you’ll be off to a strong start in understanding your own.
    • What can my customers gain by choosing me instead of my competition? What is your niche? Determining the unique needs your business fulfills will help you narrow down who your audience is at the core.

2. Provide value to your audience. Content that helps readers out with a problem, offers them tips or gives them some sort of value will reach a wider audience than posting only self-promotional updates. Make the content relevant and helpful, and offer information readers can’t get elsewhere. When considering the content you post on social media, a good practice is using the 80/20 rule: When creating your updates, approximately 80 percent of the content should be useful, relevant or entertaining to your specific audience. The remaining 20 percent of your content can directly promote your brand, products, website or service.

3. Create a personality.Establishing a voice or personality for your brand is a great way to encourage your audience to share your content. By proving you’re a human rather than a robot behind the screen, you’ll be able to form more meaningful connections with your clients and customers. Creating content that is emotional and relevant to life experiences is a good way to do this.

4. Gauge responses. One simple way to find out what types of content resonate with your audience is through basic trial and error. By paying attention to feedback and gauging the responses of your followers, you’ll find out what types of posts get shared more and receive positive feedback. Facebook makes it easy by offering simple analytics to determine likes, comments, shares and views on each post.

Types of social media updates

As you start drafting your social media updates, consider the types of posts you want to use depending on the content you are going to share. Are you wondering what type of updates there are? Poynter breaks them down; here’s a quick list with a short description of each one:

  • Explain the news. Explain new and interesting information and news within your industry that your audience can use.
  • Provide a list. Readers like numbers and lists; a list is easy to read and lets your audience know what to expect.
  • Ask a question. Questions spur curiosity and engagement, but it’s best to avoid questions that sound like clickbait.
  • Use a quote. Offer a nugget of insight from the story that leaves the reader wanting more, which in turn makes for posts and tweets that get clicks
  • Create urgency. Convey urgency to engage with your content by sharing news that is timely or just breaking, or offering a limited-time coupon, discount or giveaway.
  • Produce an emotional reaction. Express a strong feeling or opinion; people react emotionally to content on social media. Aim for emotions like optimism, nostalgia or happiness to leave followers with a positive connection to your brand.
  • Demand an action. If there is a specific action you want your readers to take, don’t beat around the bush; be straightforward and ask them to act on your update.

No matter what type of updates you post, it’s important that you use strong, vivid words that paint a picture in the mind of your audience. Also, remember to use names, places and things that people will recognize. In general, users are hesitant about the unknown; relating your posts to items they are familiar with will make them more willing to engage with your posts.

The best social media marketers take the time to strategically plan and create their social media updates. Deciding what type of update to use, how to convey your message and which keywords will have the biggest impact to achieve your goals are all part of the process of writing killer social media updates.

A version of this post first appeared on the Three Girls Media blog.

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