Secrets of writing content for social media

Keep your eye on the prize – conversions. But don’t keep the eyes of your social media followers on that prize. Their eyes need to be on enjoying and engaging with what you are posting, so that they become loyal followers and share your content to others who can become loyal followers too. How do you get that loyal and growing following? Here’s 6 secret ingredients:

Engage Within the first Two Seconds

In two seconds, readers can absorb your title and read your first sentence. They are either hooked or not. If they are hooked, then they want to be able to scan down the rest of the post. So, here is your checklist:

  • Does the title appeal to emotion, sense of humor, or a problem to be solved?
  • Have you started with a shocking fact, a short simple sentence that piques interest? If not that, how about a short anecdote? Everyone loves a story.
  • Is the most important thing you have to say first in the post?
  • Have you put in sub-headings and bullet points so your followers can scan the post?

Use as Much Media as Possible

If you can say it with a video, a picture, an infographic or a podcast, do it. Nothing is worse than long paragraphs of prose in paragraph form.

Use the KISS Principle

Here’s what the research says. The majority of people read at about the 8th grade level. Your sentences must be simple; your vocabulary must be simple. Certainly, you have heard people complain about reading materials being too difficult. You have probably never heard someone complaining because reading material was too simple.

Watch the Grammar and Usage

While the average reading audience may read at an 8th grade level, this does not mean that you can throw good grammar out the window. Sentences must be complete; punctuation must be correct; things like the uses of “your” and “you’re” are important. Don’t be lazy.

Purpose Determines Length

There is a growing trend to make posts much longer than the 500-600 words they have been traditionally. This is true in certain circumstances. Remember, you have three purposes – to educate, to entertain, or to inspire, and each purpose may have a different length:

  1. To Entertain: The point of this post is to provide some genuinely great humor that will draw amusement and the desire to share. These posts can be shorter.
  2. To Inspire: These posts usually involve a story. Suppose you and your team participated in a charitable event recently. Tell the story with words and photos. You want followers to see your business as socially responsible and you may want them to participate. At the end of your story, offer to make a specific donation for each purchase made.
  3. To Educate: You are the expert in your niche. Your followers have questions; they have problems they want solved. So if you provide a “how to” or a “list” post, these should be longer, filled with great information and suggestions. Some say 1,000 words is a minimum here.

Use Analytics to Track Follower Engagement

Google Analytics is free, and it can tell you how many unique visitors you have, when they accessed your post, how long they stayed to read, and what devices they are using. This information should be used to continually asses what you are doing and to make changes accordingly:

  1. Are there posts that have been really popular? Take that content and re-purpose it in another way – an infographic, a podcast, or a video perhaps.
  2. If most of your followers are using mobile devices, is your social media all mobile friendly? If not, you have to make it so!
  3. If customers are “bouncing” too early and not sharing a post, re-visit it. How could it have been more compelling and engaging? Could you have asked questions of the readers that would have stimulated sharing, comments and feedback? Re-purpose this post later on in a totally different fashion.

There you have it – 6 ingredients of posts that really rock. Use this as a handy checklist for your content writing from now on.