Four Types of Social Media Content That Work


ADOTAS — An article in USA Today recently asserted that “… most small businesses feel like they are wasting their time on social media, according to a new survey.”  While no one can guarantee success of a brand’s social media campaigns, there are certain simple steps one can take to increase the likelihood of success. As a social media platform provider, we work with many brands, and here is our take on key components of making a social media campaign successful.

Content, content, content

The single most important factor for making social media campaigns successful is content.  Most social media campaigns fail because small brands typically use it as an “outbound campaign” tool without much thought about what customers are really looking for. Consequently, social media becomes a broadcast medium like TV, which defeats the key value proposition of the channel and ultimately leads to failure.

The rule of thumb for social media content is as following:

  • Interest (I): 60-70% should be content that interests users
  • Share (S): 20-25% should be content produced by others that you share
  • Promotion (P): 5-10% should be content about you, i.e., promotion

Recently, we did a quick “unscientific” survey of content from about 50 twitter handles, asking a few friends to categorize and rate the content. Remarkably, about 2/3 of the content was considered “irrelevant,” which is roughly the percentage of small business that called social media a failure. Perhaps there is direct cause and effect relationship here?

On the other hand, the survey also told us what worked:

  1. Visual: A picture is worth a thousand words, and in the social media world, where billions of words compete, visuals provide an undue advantage over text posts. For example, we found an adventure travel company which regularly posts interesting photos and asks followers to name the location or provide a caption.  Over a period of time, they have built a fiercely loyal follower base who regularly engage and share the content. This has been instrumental in building a strong “social” component of business for the company.
  2. Useful, authentic information: People crave authentic information, even on “boring topics” like life insurance. An online life insurer I follow has been remarkably efficient in repurposing its repository of articles on health and lifestyle that were available on their website. After about 4 months of sustained build-up, they have established themselves as an authentic source for health and lifestyle-related topics. The user base they have built-up, trusts them and is eventually converted into business.
  3. Humor: Like everything else in life, wittiness works remarkably well for social media;  and the best part about using humor as content? It is largely available for free, not likely to be copyrighted and, if it is good and succinct, likely to be re-tweeted more than other types of content. One word of caution, using humor  too often, or using off-color humor, can get out of control more quickly than other types of content.
  4. Contests and Promotions: People love free stuff. Social media is a great way to share a giveaway or promotion, and in exchange, the follower base can be asked to follow, provide information, take action (like watching a video) or engage in other activities (like filling out a form). Of all types of content, contests and promotions come the closest to “selling.”

How does your social media content line up against what we recommend? Feel free to chime in.



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