How to Write Social Media Content that Gets Results
Presented by Arik Hanson, ACH Communications, Inc.
Session Recording and Slide Deck
Social media is important to every digital strategy – and content that will drive results is important to getting your brand recognized.
In Arik’s discussion, he outlines how you can improve your content by addressing three main issues and working to better understand their solutions.
1.) Social media content is engineered using a formula.
2.) Does good writing even matter anymore?
3.) ‘We need to get something up on social media!’
Issue #1: Social media content is engineered using a formula.
This is a fallacy. To the question, “Can you create the perfect social media post?” Arik argues no. Instead, you can keep critical questions in mind to write better content, starting with:
What do the numbers tell you? Are you digging into the numbers on a monthly basis? Are you really taking a close look at what’s driving engagement, traffic and leads? (2:00) In this example, Arik uses Dairy Queen. Dairy Queen celebrated their 81st birthday and their post had the most shares and comments than other content they produced over the past several days. Interestingly, the engagement on this post came mostly from employees. This allowed Arik to discover that inspiring employee pride got him what he wanted: his content to spread across the internet. Why is this a big deal? Arik shares it’s because he wanted the morality and the spread.
To determine employee pride posts were successful, Arik used a content scoring system, and suggests other social media marketers do the same. The system he uses is a very simple points system: a like = 1 point, a comment = 3 points, and a share = 5 points. Scoring and evaluating posts shows what content is best performing.
Which platforms are you writing for? User behavior is different on different channels and it’s important that you tailor content based on these needs and behaviors.
A lot of people use Facebook because they want to share photos and posts, connect with family, search for news, and look for entertainment.
This audience wants to search and apply for jobs (40 million people look for jobs here weekly), get up to speed on industry info, and learn tips and best practices. What generally resonates with LinkedIn audiences? Industry trends/ news, tips/ best practices, and leadership/ inspiration.
What does your audience actually want? Do you know your audience? A good example of a business that knows what their customers want is ‘Calm.’ Check out their website and social.
What’s happening on the internet? Keep up with the trends. Listen to Arik’s example of this at 10:23 and hear his advice on how to discover what’s trending at 11:31.
To summarize, Arik suggests:
- Keep tabs on TikTok (#1)
- Check out Reddit once a day
- Peruse “what’s happening” on Twitter
- Check out “LinkedIn News”
- Google Trends
Issue #2 Does good writing even matter anymore on social media?
Arik does not think so. A study by Tidio found that despite 94% of people saying they’re attentive to grammar, when shown sentences that have grammatical errors, only 2.8% of people say they noticed. If grammar is pivotal to your brand, you can improve your writing by using tools like ‘Grammarly’ (which can catch spelling and other grammar mistakes.) ‘Hemingway Editor’ is another great tool because it gives you a readability score. One key take- away here: write at an 8th grade level. Arik shares writing at an MBA level isn’t always good, and that you need to bring your content down, and make it more digestable for your audiences.
To help with your creative process, Arik suggests ‘Timeboxing.’ This is when you set aside a good chunk of time (about two hours) just to write. Tools that can help your brainstorming process are ‘Answerthepublic’ – you can search by keyword and it will show you word clouds that pop up, as well as what content people are searching for. ‘CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer’ helps you analyze your writing using “emotional words, power words, uncommon words, length, etc.” to help with headline writing. Lastly ‘Feedly’ will help categorize things you should want to read so you can keep your finger on the pulse. Arik notes, “you have to read to be a good writer.”
Issue #3 We need to get something up on social media!
We are all posting too much. We also rush to produce content in the process. Instead, slow down and focus on best practices. The phrase “learn more” simply isn’t good enough – try to be better at teasing content and always write in the language of the platform. Don’t have your copy repeat the visual, instead, let it complement it – this is especially true in the metadata.
Keep two things in mind: a simple question can go a long way and when in doubt be useful; try to create useful content for your audiences.
Arik is an independent social media marketing consultant for mid and large sized companies. He’s been navigating the world of social media professionally for 12 years, and has worked for big brands like Walmart and General Mills. Arik is an adjunct Professor at the University of St. Thomas and the University of Minnesota. He has a blog with over 1,500 posts, and he has a podcast with over 150 episodes.