What makes us engage with content on social media?
First think about why people in your target audience use social media. There are of course many reasons, but a big one is that they want to feel connected - that they can relate to something or someone. It is ‘social’ media, after all! They may be wondering what people in their network are doing. They’re filling a gap in time, checking what’s going on. They want to be informed or entertained. Perhaps they need a temporary shift in focus or a distraction.
The most important aspects of all successful social media content come down to whether it’s useful, interesting or inspiring.
The famous old BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) mission to ‘inform, educate and entertain’ is relevant here. Remember - advertising and marketing content doesn’t have to be pushy or intrusive. Content that is well-planned and targeted should engage the reader enough that they will buy your product or service now or in the future.
So can you create content that fulfils these key three requirements? Below each point is expanded to help with your planning.
Content that answers a question, solves a problem, educates or informs generates great engagement on social media. By using social media analysis tools or by searching on each platform you can find out the interests and hot topics of your target audience by searching for specific key words that define the target audience. What questions are they asking? What are the ‘hot’ (popular) topics? How can your business solve their problems, answer their questions or make their lives better in some way?
What counts as interesting is of course subjective, which is why considering your target audience and their lives and needs is so important. Once you’ve matched the topic to the target audience consider what would stand out as interesting content for them. Anything funny, entertaining, unusual, thought-provoking or unique can fulfil the human need to be distracted or entertained (and that’s often what we’re looking for when we use social media, right?).
Real stories and lifestyle-based images based on real people in locally relevant contexts (such as a well-known nearby beach) for your target audience will perform well as people are drawn to what they recognise on social media.
Content that evokes emotions is very powerful. The trick is choosing the right content to evoke an emotional response in a way that’s authentic and relatable.
Inspiring quotes overlaid onto images or coloured backgrounds to match your branding get great engagement on social media as they tick a lot of boxes; an eye-catching image and emotive information that changes the viewer’s mindset. When targeted well this type of content can go viral and keep snowballing with shares, comments and likes for weeks on end. If your audience can really relate to your content then it gets all the right neurons firing.
In sum, the target audience’s interests and behaviour should always be front of mind throughout all your content planning.