3 tips to instantly improve your social media content

3 tips to instantly improve your social media content - askmvg.com

As a business using social media to connect with your customers, there are unwritten rules you must follow if you want your content to be successful. 

For marketing teams with limited resources, the reality may be frustrating, but it's fact. You cannot create content for other channels, then publish it on social media and expect users to engage with it.

There are specific approaches you must take in terms of copywriting, graphic design, and overall creative strategy when creating content for social media platforms.

Thankfully, it is often possible to take the content you've created for other channels and successfully adapt and edit it for social media.

Here are a couple of quick fixes you can make to your existing social media content to improve the odds that your posts will grab attention.

Think of it as design and copywriting for the social media age.

1. Keep YOUR COPY simple and concise.

If you want to be successful on social media, you must focus on making the text of your posts brief and to-the-point. A good rule of thumb is to keep your text to 1-2 lines, max. 

Too much text on social media will cause eyes to glaze over, the brain to go, "this looks like work," and thumbs to keep on scrolling.

Think about it: even in blog posts, you rarely see long paragraphs anymore. (My own are usually 1-2 sentences!) Our attention spans are shorter than ever before, and the way you write copy can influence whether someone decides to keep reading.

3 tips to instantly improve your social media content

This also means you need to kill the jargon. If your copy sounds overly technical, look for ways to trim and simplify. This advice applies even if your audience is highly educated and has the vocabulary to completely grasp what you're saying.

Just because they can, doesn't mean they'll bother to.

Ask yourself: 

  • Can I say this in fewer words? (The answer is almost always yes.)
  • Can I swap any 'fluffy' words for higher-impact ones?
  • Am I using any overly technical words or jargon?
  • Can I add more line breaks to make this less of a word wall?

Keeping it short and punchy will ensure more people stop scrolling on their phones long enough to actually see what you've got to say.

2. Pack a punch right away.

With social media feeds, you can't afford a long build-up. Get to the point right away, or include an emotional hook or surprise in the first few words or seconds.

Remember: you have 0.5-2 seconds to capture attention on social media, depending on the platform.

Most people pick up their phones in stolen moments while bored at work, commuting, or sitting around the house. They're scrolling at breakneck pace in search of entertainment or inspiration. What's going to make them stop scrolling and pay attention to your content?

This goes for all aspects of social media creative: text and headlines, images, and videos.

And it's one of the reasons why video created for other channels often doesn't perform well on social media. Professionally shot and edited video created for other corporate initiatives will often have 7 or 8 seconds of intro, usually in the form of an art card with the logo or title.

This will kill your engagement on social! Real talk: would you actually sit through those 7-8 seconds, or would you keep on scrolling? Don't let social media be an afterthought when you're creating new content - plan for it from the very beginning.

Ask yourself:

  • Does this capture my attention in the first few words or seconds?
  • Do I immediately understand what this is about, or at least why I might want to stop and watch?
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3. Increase the font size of text in your images.

One of the biggest (and easiest to fix) mistakes I still frequently see brands make is posting graphics with text that's too small to read on mobile devices. Most social media images are created using software on a desktop computer. But if you don't test it out on a mobile device, you could end up creating something you need binoculars to read.

Remember: social is mobile.

95.1% of Facebook users use their mobile devices to access the site.

Don't let mobile become an afterthought. How your images look and read on tiny screens should become the first thing you consider when designing new social media graphics.

Tip: Even if you're designing organic content, use a free ad mockup tool to see what your post will look like across multiple device types. My favorite is AdParlor's Ad Mockup Generator (free).

3 tips to instantly improve your social media content

Want more step-by-step guidance? You've got 2 good options:

1. Download my free social media strategy framework. I designed this framework and use it with all of my strategy clients. Now, you can get your own free copy to map out a strategy that will deliver true value and ROI from your social media marketing. Download your free copy here.

2. Hire me to help you 1-on-1. To learn a little more about how I can help your business and how I work with my clients, click here. Or you can get in touch with me to schedule an initial consult here.

 

 

How to decide which social media platforms to focus on for your business

How to decide which social media platforms to focus on askmvg

When my clients first begin working with me, one of the first questions they ask is which social media platforms they should be spending time and resources on.

Or, they're eager to jump on board with a new social media platform, but haven't fully mapped out how it fits into their overall digital ecosystem and strategy.

I have a simple framework I've used with all of my clients that will help you get true clarity about your social media platforms. We'll get crystal clear on which ones you should focus on, which ones you can ignore for now, and how you should approach each in different ways based on your overall digital marketing and social media goals.

Let’s dive in.

Step 1

Get a piece of paper or start a spreadsheet. At the top, list each of the social media platforms your brand is currently using.

If you’re just getting started, list each of the platforms you’re considering or think you need to be on.

Step 2

Underneath that, write down how you think your audience will (or would) differ for each platform. Take into account the demographics of each platform, and then anything else you know about your existing audiences.

For example, you might know that you have a certain audience following you on Twitter, but not so much on Facebook or Instagram.

Tip: If you already have a following, there are many tools you can use to analyze your audiences . For Twitter, check out Followerwonk and Discovery by Affinio. For Facebook Pages, you can get general demographic data under the Insights tab of your Page, then click on People.

Every brand is different. Get specific here, and dive in and do the research if you're not sure, as this will impact your message and creative.

 
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Step 3

If you've already done the work to identify and articulate specific goals for your social media, the next step will be much easier. For each social media platform in your spreadsheet or piece of paper, ask yourself:

  1. What are the unique benefits of using this as a communication and marketing channel?
     
  2. In the context of our overall goals, what is the purpose of using this platform?

Write down whatever comes to mind.

Bonus points, though, if you can distill this into a 1-2 sentence vision statement for each platform! It'll help you socialize your strategy with leaders and colleagues later.

Before, we move on, let's take a quick step back. 

Now that you've gone through steps 1-3, take a close look at the platforms on your list.

  • Do all of them still make sense for your overall goals?
  • Are the audiences you most need to reach actually spending time there?
  • Do you truly have the resources in place to regularly create fresh, new content for each channel, and monitor and manage each one? Or would it make more sense - for now! -  to abandon one or two and redouble our efforts on the social media platforms we know will drive results?

STEP 4

Now we're going to bring this to life. Brainstorm some ideas for how you might approach each social media channel differently from a strategic and tactical perspective. Things like:

  • Content and themes - what you'll post about on each platform
  • Frequency - how often you'll post
  • Audience targeting - who you'd ideally like to reach
  • Organic vs. paid - do you anticipate using ads on this platform?

STEP 5

Now consider the different messages your business needs to communicate in order to accomplish your social media goals. 

You don't need to actually write them all out in the brainstorming phase - categories will do just fine. How would those messages differ for each social media channel, when filtered through the lens of the audience, unique benefits, purpose, and approach you'd take to each?

Consider your brand 'voice' and personality. While there are definitely aspects of your brand that should remain consistent across all channels and messages, it is possible (and recommended!) that you pay attention to nuances and shift the dial up or down a bit for various situations and contexts.

For example, the way Taco Bell speaks to its audience on Twitter is a bit different from the copy they use on their website. The essence of the brand is still the same, but their tone is even more casual on Twitter.

STEP 6

Now we get to add some color to our social media channel strategy! Based on what we know about each channel, and the filter we've created with our strategy so far, let's consider how we might adapt our visual creative approach and style for each social media platform.

As with message and tone, there are some aspects of your brand that won't change - but at the very least, you might bring out more of a certain color on one platform, or use one of your brand fonts more than the other, for instance.

Different social media platforms could require different parts of your brand personality to surface a little more than others, and this will likely be reflected not just with your message and tone, but also with your look and feel.

  • How might you shift the visual look and feel to match the different tone you're taking on different platforms?
  • Would you use different types of content - focusing more on video for one than the other, for instance?
  • How much of your content will your repurpose across all channels?

And you're done!

I hope you found this exercise helpful for getting clarity on the social media platforms that make the most sense for your business.

Still need more help? You've got 2 good options:

1. Download my free social media strategy framework. I designed this framework and use it with all of my strategy clients. Now, you can get your own free copy to map out a strategy that will deliver true value and ROI from your social media marketing. Download your free copy here.

2. Hire me to help you 1-on-1. To learn a little more about how I can help your business and how I work with my clients, click here. Or you can get in touch with me to schedule an initial consult here.

How to create a social media strategy your CEO will approve of

How to create a social media strategy your CEO will approve of - askmvg.com

 

Stop me if this sounds familiar:

A social media marketer (perhaps it's a freelancer, a manager on your team, or even an agency partner) presents a report to you filled with social media data.

The report contains so many disparate data points and metrics that you just sort of nod along for a few slides trying to make sense of it.... until it hits you, and you stop the meeting.

It's clear that none of this has any obvious connection to the kind of results your business leaders (whether that's you, or your boss) actually care about.

This scenario plays out every day in businesses of every stripe and color. And this is exactly the reason why many business leaders - even marketing leaders - still don't have confidence in the true impact social media can have on their goals.

And I don't really blame them! It's 2018, and almost every business and nonprofit is using social media to some degree - but not many are using it effectively.

This is why a strategist who understands the whole of your business - not just their own little social media piece - is critical to the success of any social media marketing program. 

Here's the honest truth, and it's the same for everybody:

Before we can know how to use social media effectively for your business, we need a strategy that maps social media goals and KPIs to real business objectives. 

 
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That means taking a step back and asking a set of important questions:

1. What are we trying to achieve at the end of the day?

Not just in terms of social media, but our overall business goals? Sales goals? Revenue goals? Marketing goals?

Having specific target numbers for these goals can be really helpful when you're coming up with KPI targets later on - so make a note of those.

But for this stage of the process, let's keep things high-level and plain language.

Think, "Drive more sales," or "Bring in more revenue from X line of business." You could write "Get more new customers," "Retain more of our existing customers," or "Generate more new leads for X product."

Though a happy balance sheet is the common denominator for successful businesses of all kinds, I've found that it helps to be flexible in how you word things here. Using the company vernacular, as well as structuring your goals according to the emphasis used on certain initiatives, will help make sure you build a strategy that actually gets used. (And that's the whole point!)

2. What role could social media play in helping us achieve those goals?

Time to brainstorm. Again, don't get caught up in industry lingo here - keep thinking big-picture and layman's terms. The goal with this exercise is to get a little more clear about the different roles of social media for your company.

Write down every possible way that social media could positively impact your business.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Sales. Social media can drive sales and revenue at all stages of the funnel. Under this umbrella category you could later build more specific goals for each of those phases of the customer journey - from awareness (I know who you are and what you sell) to consideration (I'm thinking about buying from you) to conversion (I'm a customer). If you're a nonprofit, you could sub 'Fundraising' for this.

Line of business support. This one is still about driving and supporting sales, but it might help to break it out this way for a company with multiple lines of business or verticals, because each will have their own customer acquisition funnel. Therefore, each vertical might need support from social media in different ways.

Membership support. Every business is driven by its bottom line, but some are also driven by a higher calling of sorts: supporting and caring for those who choose to be its members. Any organization that requires a membership in order to partake in its services and products (everything from a private membership club to AAA and Costco!) counts here.

The fact is, you won't have sales if you don't have happy members, so it's still part of supporting that bottom line - but sometimes these initiatives are worth calling out separately.

Reputation management. If your organization has found itself mired in any kind of controversy or negative public opinion, this probably warrants its own role for social media. But it's not just about brand protection and reactive response to negative sentiment - it's also about proactively and strategically using social media to change opinions over time (without being a quasi-governmental Russian social media content farm and ad-buying operation, either). Seriously. This is PR in the social media age!

Legislative advocacy. If one of your organization's goals is to drive legislative action - changing laws in some way, perhaps to advocate on behalf of your members - this would be a role of social media to consider adding to your strategy framework. This would especially be the case if your overall strategy depends on your constituents being vocal with their lawmakers about the need for change. 

Disaster response. This one's pretty specific to disaster aid and relief nonprofits, but it might help you think more about the functional use of social media for your own organization. It's not all marketing, sales and PR! Nonprofits like The Salvation Army and Red Cross often rely on social media to communicate with people who need help in the immediate aftermath of a natural disaster. When the electricity is out and landlines are down, Twitter is often still there to tell you the nearest intersection of a food and water canteen or first aid crew.

Once you have these roles articulated and documented, you've got the foundational piece of a solid social media strategy. 

We still need to identify specific social media goals, strategies, and KPIs - but now we know that when we do, they'll clearly map to objectives we can all get behind.

Want more step-by-step guidance? You've got 2 good options:

1. Join the waitlist for my new free guide, “The 7 essentials of a killer social media strategy.” Currently in the works and set to release in September 2018, this guide is designed for marketing and business leaders who want to create a social media marketing program that actually delivers ROI. Sign up here.

2. Hire me to help you 1-on-1. To learn a little more about how I can help your business and how I work with my clients, click here. Or you can get in touch with me to schedule an initial consult here.