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A word first. Whenever possible, your content for social media needs to be visual. The human brain processes and remembers visuals better and faster than it does text posts. The following list will tell you different types of social media content that provides the most value, but we encourage you to create visual posts as much as possible. I published the list of 11 tools for stunning visuals July 1.
Interactive content is useful for readers. It brings value in the form of knowledge and engagement. Quizzes and polls teach your audience something about themselves, or a particular topic. Games and contents spark a sense of challenge that makes readers share and like your posts. Check what interactive posts templates PromoRepublic teams of designers and content writers prepared for this month. With PromoRepublic you will discover the 1500+ holiday templates library and the complete social media planning tool. It’s awesome! And don’t forget about free trial.
Interactive social media posts create an experience for the reader, which, in most cases, is far more important than putting stuff in a news feed for them to read. Interactive content is not passive, but active. Users are involved, engaged, and in control of their experience. There’s a lot to be said for encouraging fans and followers to exercise free will. Users get so much out of interactive content because they put something into it. Therefore, they are invested. Plus, you can use interactive content to gain insights about your fans and followers, allowing you to hone your marketing plan and social media content to achieve more contextual marketing goals.
Some types of interactive content are:
Buzzfeed is a great example of a company that lives in the interactive content space. As far back as 2013, they started paving the way for brands to see how true engagement works.
With content like this, Buzzfeed took the social world by storm. And, as it turns out, people really want their friends and contacts to know how they take their coffee, what city they should live in, and what villain they’d be on Game of Thrones. Quizzes (and their results) are extremely shareable.
Edible Arrangements is another great example. Every Thursday, they post a contest.
Their Facebook page, which has over 800,000 likes, has very engaged users. This contest alone received 1,601 likes, 170 shares, and the comments were very positive. And numerous. People get to interact with the page, and that makes them feel like part of a community, and like their opinion matters.
Interactive posts are a great way to engage and retain customers. Your imagination is the only thing holding you back, but make sure you consult your ever-important buyer personas in planning social media content, especially posts you want people to interact with.
Also, don’t forget that you can create Facebook ads that can boost engagement from audiences outside your own group of fans and followers. A well-placed Facebook ad over a holiday, special week or world event can have a lot of reach. If your message and CTA are thought out, people could interact with that ad, resulting in conversions and sales. A tool like AdEspresso helps you create a custom audience, create variation on ads for A/B testing and allows you to save your preferences so that you can easily duplicate a successful campaign.
Social Media Content With Emotional Appeal
Sometimes, posts that have emotional appeal are about social care – helping the homeless, saving animals without homes, fighting racism, protecting the environment – these are all worthy causes that can bond people together for social change.
Emotion is the key reason why people click, share and buy. Psychology Today says that emotions, not information, dictate a person’s brand decisions. And, their response to an ad or post is more important in the buying process than the actual content in it. Regardless, emotional posts hit home, and people share because they want others to feel the way they do.
There is no value greater than a cause that makes the world a better place. If you can honestly and authentically post this type of content, do. If your brand is more technical, you can still choose to draw attention to things people really care about. More about that in “get to know your brand.”
To successfully create social media content that has an emotional appeal, marketers can employ the following tactics:
- Spotlight an individual – never underestimate the power of good storytelling. People connect to other people, so when you tell a story about a person who is representative of your brand, you create that connection.
- Create associations – make the reader relate to the post. This forms an emotional connection that can result in greater engagement.
- Appeal to a person’s self interests – let them know what’s in it for them when they like, share, or leave a comment
- Let them know how a product or service relates to their identity
Nike is widely known as a brand that uses an emotional appeal to win likes and followers (and customers). They take the notion of a hero, and imply that when you defeat your laziness, you become a hero.
Social marketing emotion researchers say that Nike is using the hero archetype to bring out emotions of aspiration (and a little guilt) in their fans and followers. They tell us that anybody can be a hero, even if we start with nothing. This is a powerful message that obviously hits home for a lot of people, since Nike is one of the best-known brands in the world. They streamline their style across channels, so they can take their television ad images and turn them around into social media content creation that is quick, effective, and powerful.
Brands that give back to the world have an easy time of creating emotional social media content. People are already interested in altruistic brands, so when a company like TOMS does a social media campaign, people take notice.
TOMS donates one pair of shoes for every pair sold to children in poorer countries who can’t afford shoes. Starting in 2011. TOMS’ founder urged everyone to go barefoot for a day. Using the hashtag #withoutshoes, people could post pictures of their bare feet and TOMS would donate a pair of shoes – no purchase required. In May 2016, the movement resulted in 27,435 children in 10 countries receiving shoes based on TOMS’ social media campaign. They appeal to people’s emotions (who wouldn’t want to do something to help a poor child with no shoes?) and then reward participants, who in turn feel altruistic. It’s a feel-good campaign and shows no sign of stopping.
So, all this sounds good. But you will probably ask me where to find this very emotional appealing content. The answer is – in your calendar. Keep calm, I do not mean the editorial one:) Why do we call holidays, holidays? One dictionary entry calls it “a day of festivity or recreation when no work is done.” Maybe that’s why we create holidays on days other than the nationally or internationally accepted days off. Things like National Donut Day or Best Friends Day give us that feeling of something special. Even though we have to work. Psychologically, these types of days signal the brain that things aren’t so bad, that there is cause for celebration. That’s why it’s important to use these “extra” holidays in your content marketing plan. Holiday Marketing is what I’m keen on – come and see my latest article about the value of holiday posts.
“Get To Know Your Brand” Posts
Among all the different types of social media content, this can either be super valuable, or a big flop. If the brand you’re promoting has something special about it – its offices are in an historic building, its people network with companies or individuals important to the industry – you may have the opportunity for truly unique and valuable social media content. There are some rules to follow:
- Make sure the photos you post are appropriate and social-media friendly
- Make sure the photos are showcasing your brand or your corporate culture
- Try to post photos that people want to share
- Don’t be afraid to show the softer side of your organization
If a big team from a company went out to build a Habitat for Humanity house, post about it. If your CEO is sitting next to Tina Turner on a plane, post about it. If your CEO is hanging out at the Playboy Bunny house…maybe don’t post about that.
Facebook recently did a cool thing.
A Q&A with a celebrity cameo? Great job, Facebook.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, after doing several Town Hall meetings in different locations, posted a live video on Facebook’s, well, Facebook page. He addressed lots of questions from users, and at the end just grabbed Jerry Seinfeld for a quick cameo.
You can see Facebook workers in the background, you get a glimpse of Zuckerberg’s office, and it really drives home the idea that Facebook is committed to communicating with their users.
Starbucks recently posted some photos of a volunteer event.
Starbucks goes public with their philanthropic deeds
And when we say “event,” we mean an EVENT. It was called Starbucks Global Month of Service. 275,000 volunteers worked on 8,000 community service projects. That’s great for fans of the brand to know, and might even win them some new fans and followers as well. When you’re talking about content for social media, consider showing some of the good you do for the community.
Infographics, still today, are the number one most shared form of social media content. They are engaging, they provide tons of information, and they’re visual, so the human brain processes them better than plain text posts. Plus, the visuals trick the brain into reading the words in the infographic. That’s pretty neat. Keep in mind, infographics are not traditional “visual posts.” They’re a way to pack complex data into a digestible package so your readers understand the information you’re trying to communicate. You can use infographics to:
- Promote something your brand created, like a blog post or a white paper
- Recycle older content – if the ideas are still good, infographics are a fresh way to present them
- Educate your fans and followers in a way that is easily digestible and fun to look at
- Make sure you choose something that your audience is interested in
- Choose your colors, fonts and graphics carefully
Some companies are using infographics in really interesting ways. ResumUp is a resume service that can create an infographic resume using your information. To illustrate the fact that they are thought leaders in the employment industry, they created an infographic about the 7 best cities to find a job.
The colors are attractive, the information is presented clearly, and the information is something everyone who is seeking a job in the U.S. wants to know.
Infographics can be great content for social media.
These are examples of post types that have a lot of value, but remember that everything you share via a social channel should have value. Social media content creation is an art, and while understanding the types of content shared on social media is important, your main goal needs to be to provide value all the time.
Always keep your reader in mind. Ask yourself if you were in their shoes, would you enjoy the types of social media content you are creating. If the answer is no, you have work to do.