“Why don’t I get more likes on my posts?”
“What do I need to do to create content that goes viral?”
“I’ve done everything correctly. People should engage more with my content!”
My answer to all of these statements is the same. Get off your high unicorn – erm horse – and start doing your homework. In other words: How well do you know your audience and its problems? Do you speak your customer’s language? Do you use colorful, high quality, context-related pictures?
Let’s craft engaging content!
Now as I have your attention, let’s start from the very beginning. My article will discuss seven steps you need to take for creating captivating, engaging content that your audience will love – this is at least the success formula that works for me.
Do the (annoying) research
Many of my fellow entrepreneurs skip this first important part and then complain that they “don’t know what to write about“. Put everything aside for one hour, do your research and enjoy the massive smirk on your face after doing the hard work…
The world wide web gives us access to great, free research tools like Answer the Public, WordTracker or Google Search Suggest that can tell us what people type into the search box of Google, Bing and Yahoo. Make the solution of these problems the foundation of your engaging content strategy.
Draft a great caption
Now as you know that people e.g. search for “why personal branding matters” (in my case), create a short, maximum 90 words long post that educates people on this problem – in your own, authentic style.
If possible, create a real story around it. Give examples that your audience can relate to. Use the language your readers speak and end your post with a question, which allows a short answer (do not pose too broad questions).
Select a powerful photo
You only have two seconds to grab your audience’s attention. Why? Observe your own behavior when you scroll through your mobile phone. On which posts does your thumb stop at? When do you continue flipping through your newsfeed?
Various studies have shown that posts with pictures are likelier to be clicked on. I have also observed that people on my social media channels have the tendency to click more often on very colorful pictures than darker or black and white pics. PS: Don’t violate copyright!
Post at the “right” time
Every social media platform provides you with free analytics tools that will show you when the majority of your followers are online. I, for example, used to post around 6,7am, as I wanted my followers to see my message as soon as they get out of bed. Nowadays, I post around 10am, as this is the time when the majority of them are online.
Also important: Yes, stay consistent. Yes, post regularly. But please do not post for the sake of posting. Rather publish less often but outstanding, engaging content than average stuff three times per day.
Use the “right” hashtags
Using at least one hashtag can lead to up to 12,6% more engagement (source: Hootsuite). Each social media platform has different rules for hashtags. On instagram you can use between 10 – 15 without looking desperate. On Twitter people recommend one or two.
How to find the “right” hashtags? All-hashtag.com is just one great solution for instagram. Using a balanced mix between your “standard hashtags” (hashtags that describe your products and services) and “specific hashtags” (hashtags that describe the respective piece of content) works best. PS: Post the hashtags in the comments underneath your pictures after publishing your post. That looks less cluttered.
Ask friends to engage with your content
I know. This is another very important step many individuals tend to forget or ignore. Identify three till five (well-connected) friends who always like and comment on your posts. You will do the same with their posts, of course. Why that is important? Because of two reasons:
Firstly, everything that your friends click and comment on automatically appears in the newsfeeds of their friends, which means that your content will be visible to a wider audience. If the friends of your friends are interested in what you have posted they might like your post and start following you. Secondly… just watch this TED talk by Derek Sivers. It brilliantly explains our flock mentality. Baa!
Reply to comments
At a certain stage answering all comments will not be manageable without hiring at least one full-time social media manager. But this is a luxury problem you will not face in the beginning.
When you have just started posting content on social media, take the time to answer all comments. Show your community that you care. See each follower as a potential customer and as a human being. If you can make him feel special and appreciated, he will very likely talk about you with his friends and family, which might bring you more genuine followers and likes. PS: Ignore the haters. Block them if they insult you and/or your community.
“Nobody said it as easy” – as Coldplay pointed out beautifully. But creating captivating, engaging content is not impossible. It simply takes time and practice – like almost everything on this planet.
My recommendation: Set up a content calendar for two weeks. How? Make it a weekly habit to sit down once per week for approximately 1,5 till two hours and draft content. Get yourself a big cup of coffee or tea, something semi-healthy to snack on, put on your creative socks (or superman t-shirt) and make – or allow – the process to be fun; not a burden.
If you’d like me to support you with your content and/or personal branding strategy, send me a short e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.