The most important thing to consider about creating content is context. It’s not enough to think about what the best message will be, you need to think about who will read it. You also need to think about what platform they will see it on. What device will they read it on? What time of day will they read it? How much interaction have they already had with you? You even need to consider what the level of interest they have in your business is.
Knowing your audience, their preferences, the devices they use and when they use them should have a profound impact on the type of content you produce. Beyond context, there also needs to be a purpose – you want your content to be read and shared – but why? Are you driving brand awareness, or are you trying to get conversions? What is the purpose of the content? Is it entertaining your audience, or educating them?
That’s a lot to consider, so let’s break it down.
Part 1 – Context
Social media comes in many different flavors. You have your B2B LinkedIn, your short form content Twitter, your multi-media Facebook posts and your image heavy platforms like Instagram. Beyond that, there are messaging apps like Snapchat, Whatsapp, and Facebook Messenger. Each of them has different challenges and appeals to a different audience. You need to choose the platform that is most likely to reach your audience.
Most people will choose Facebook because messenger apps are harder to advertise in, image-heavy apps like Instagram require a non-traditional creative approach to use successfully and Facebook has more than 2 billion active users. If you are creating an ad on Facebook, you need to be aware of the Facebook Audience Network.
When you advertise on Facebook, you don’t just advertise on Facebook, you can track your chosen audience across devices and across social media platforms. Your ad doesn’t just appear on the desktop, it also appears on the mobile feed, on other websites, in-app ads, and side banners. More than that, it can also appear in Facebook Messenger and Instagram.
When putting out content on a platform, it needs to appear native. If you are going multiplatform, that means you need to provide a strong visual component for Instagram, and a short to-the-point message for Messenger and in-app ads. You can select where your advert is seen, so you may want to create a small campaign, that has a native looking advert for the key platforms where your audiences attention is.
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In some countries like Argentina and Japan, 16-24-year-olds have gone past the tipping point – and go on the Internet more on mobile devices than on any other form of a device. This is a trend that is only going to continue. In fact, across all demographics, more people search and consume social media on multiple devices than just use desktops or mobile alone.
That means you have to make sure that the content you put out needs to read clearly on the small and the big screen. If your desktop content has a lot of amazing information, it’s not likely to do you much good if that copy is cut off after three lines on a mobile feed. An image that looks great on the desktop may also not be bold enough to be read on mobile. Not all people have a flagship modern phone, so a bold image that still works at low resolution is something to be considered – especially if you want people to pay attention and share.
What time should you post?
There are lots of sources on the Internet which will claim things like you should post at 3 pm on Facebook and Instagram – and Wednesday is the best day for engagement. That may be true for a large average of posts, but it won’t necessarily be true for your audience. Kids go back onto social media after finishing school in the 3 pm hour, and that may not represent your demographic.
The best thing to do is to test the times you put out content, at look at the results with a tool like Facebook Karma. You can also use this to test how many times you should post. The rule of thumb is that you shouldn’t post more than once a day on Facebook – and you can go as low as once a week, and still have an effective social presence.
Twitter tends to need higher engagement than Facebook, with people preaching between five and fifty daily tweets, depending on the nature of your business. The truth is, you need to find out what works for your brand and audience.
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How much interest do they have?
The answer to this should be – as much as possible. Having an audience that is already interested in your content means that they are much more likely to read and share it. That means you need to select your audience carefully. That means working out personas and demographics, but it also means using and HTML code Pixel to track people who are already interacting with your business.
With this, there are a variety of tools across social media platforms that will allow you to create custom audiences based on this data – and then use those custom audiences to create lookalike audiences that share the same demographic information as people who have already interacted with your business. Depending on your different web traffic, you can put different Pixels on different web pages so you can track people who are at different stages in their customer journey.
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How much interaction have they had?
It is important to put a sales funnel in place. Your message should change based on how much interaction the audience has already had with your business. Using the Pixel, you can track this directly. If you don’t have the Pixel, you can still track a customer journey. Initially, you don’t want to sell to people and turn them off – you want to attract and interest them. At the top of the funnel, you should focus on brand awareness as an objective, not conversion.
Once people have interacted with your top-level content – which can be gauged by things like the percentage of a video watched – you can then present them with a middle funnel piece of content – something to help them make a decision and to choose you. This should be something that shows off your unique selling points and also demonstrates your comparative advantage.
At the bottom of the funnel, you want to drive the customer into an action. Depending on your objective, this can be as simple as watching a video, going to a website, up to book an appointment for a consultation. You need a firm call to action, as well as an incentive. This can be a special offer, a ticking clock in terms of limited time (or spaces left) – or even just pointing out the disadvantages of not using your product or service.
At each point of the sales funnel, the message needs to be different so it will push people to the next stage of their customer journey. If they don’t yet know they can trust your company, you don’t want to hit them with the hard sell. If they are ready to take action, a top funnel piece of content helps to cement your brand’s reputation and values, but probably won’t convert a primed lead.
Related: Better Content Means Better Leads: Make the Most Out of Your Content
Part 2 – Purpose:
What is your objective?
It can be tempting to feel that you need to put out content so that you have a social media presence, rather than considering the quality of what you are putting out. It is better to put out one good post a week, than five bad posts a day. One way to have a clear focus is to ask what your objective for every individual piece of content is.
If you have a clear sales funnel, then your objective should be clearer – but you still need to work out what your end goal is. If you ultimately want to drive conversions, then your approach at all levels of the sales funnel is going to be different than if your objective is to drive web traffic.
There should be a through a line for the customer journey. Look at what your ultimate objective is and work backward. If you want to get conversions, what offer or incentive will really engage them – before that, what information will they need to make that decision and at the start, how can you attract their attention and interest in a way that still links to your final objective?
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What is the audience’s objective?
The purpose for people going online usually fits into one of the ‘Three Es’: entertainment, education, and engagement. People want to find something out – even if it’s somewhere good to eat locally – that’s education. Otherwise, people are looking for content that is going to entertain them, such as cat videos or social media posts.
Beyond that, they are looking for engagement – genuine connections with people. If a friend has lost their job and posts about it online, it can be classed as education – but it’s not entertainment. You interact with them because of your desire to engage with them, to celebrate and commiserate with them.
You may have a clear objective, but unless it matches with your audience’s objective to be entertained, educated or engaged – they will skip past your content. If you have carefully selected your audience, then you will probably be educating them about a product or service they are already interested in.
Entertainment, education, and engagement map well to the top, middle, and end of the sales funnel – which means unless you think about the audience’s objective, you may be meeting them at the wrong point of the funnel. Entertain them to get their attention and interest, educate them to help make them a decision and then engage with them directly to push an action.
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How you can get your content read and shared, now.
There may seem to be a lot of things to consider, but a lot of them are common sense. If you look back at posts or ads that haven’t been successful, you will probably be able to identify some of the things that you did wrong, so you can improve them next time. The nice thing about social media is that you can continually experiment and split test to find the best approach that works for an audience.
There are some things that will always work. If you make a genuine connection with your audience, then they will convert into customers. That can be by really entertaining them, telling them something that they really needed to know – or engaging with them where their attention already was, at the right time, on the right device, on the right platform and at the right point on their customer journey.
Zachary Jarvis is a Digital Marketer with one thing on his mind: Results.
Uninspired by the never-ending talk of ‘vanity metrics’ in the world of digital marketing, Magnate was founded – the ‘Social-First’ marketing agency. On the very rare occasion, he isn’t watching Step Brothers in his spare time – you’ll find Zachary in the thick of social platforms, learning what makes us tick.
This is driven by a fascination (perhaps a slight obsession…) with market trends and consumer behaviors
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