By Mary Liebowitz

November 16th, 2017

Knowing how to create content for your audience and identifying the factors that determine its success can make your work a smoother process. With these seven tips to improve your social media-driven content campaigns, we get down to brass tacks and talk about some pared-down approaches to overcome challenges and optimize your efforts.

1. Find your key drivers
There was a statistical economics analysis in the 20th century called the Pareto Principle. It was an observation that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the people — but this 80/20 formula can also be applied to a range of situations, like human resources, productivity, and even content.

Imagine that 20% of your content drives 80% of the traffic to your site. Which pieces are your highest performers, and what information are they supplying? Intel’s Head of Publishing, Luke Kintigh, also applies a similar formula to their digital magazine, iQ. Kintigh notes that 10% of iQ’s content initiates 90% of their results, including traffic, conversions, and engagement — he calls it their 10 > 90 Rule.

Performance should be uniquely tuned to your own objectives and metrics; website traffic versus social engagement will give different content performance results. Give that 20% or 10% a boost by focusing your budget on the pieces that drive your numbers.

social media engagement
One of the most fixable content marketing challenges we at Falcon.io hear from new clients is a lack of insights to base strategy or tactics on.

Social media analytics, including social media listening, are necessary tools to establish what has worked for you and what hasn’t.

This is a vital step in planning your next social content campaigns. It also allows you to save time and resources – the lack of which are another most commonly-cited challenges – by giving you the option to reuse best performers. A simple tactic is to develop a formula for new posts based on what’s worked for you in the past.

Get more out of your existing content by tweaking the approach, A/B testing your social content, and re-formatting content into infographics, listicles, and shorter pieces directed at specific segments of your audience. This will also help you get to the essence of how content performs, and what approaches are most intriguing to your audience.

social media engagement

Once you have a handle on what clicks with your audience, you can also save a lot of time by repurposing existing content that resonates with them.

2. Know your audience
The best way to support content distribution is by aligning content to your target audience. Developing accurate personas and creating content that engages your readers will lift your content reach as your audience reads and shares your work.

Personas should include data like age, gender, location, education, job title, buying power, challenges that you can address, and goals. Use analytics and listening to help build out each persona, and listen in on your sales team’s calls to hear about potential customers’ pain points and which features of your product resonate with them the most.

A key thing is to create as full a picture as possible: just as every social channel is different in tone and style, so is our behavior on each.

When you know your audience and offer content that addresses their challenges, it will streamline your content and make it as effective as possible.

social media engagement

Who is your customer? Centralizing your customer profile, including their social activity, is a must in 2018 and beyond.

3. Curate great content
Be an expert in your field by creating valuable content as well as offering a curated collection of well-written content that is important to your industry. Your taste in curated content is a part of your brand, and should intelligently align with your own messaging.

Some marketers still balk at the thought of using other people’s content – but rest assured, it’s a valid tactic that 82% of marketers say they have done according to IMN.

Added to which is the fact that more than 50% percent of marketers doing so say that it has increased “brand visibility, thought leadership, SEO, web traffic and buyer engagement.”

In addition, 41% say it has also increased the number of sales-ready leads.

In time, your audience will look to you to share the content that they should be reading, which boosts your reputation and your position as an industry expert.

Consistently follow a percentage rule of how much of your own content you share, and how much-curated content you share. For example, the ratio that works best for you may be 50% of your own content, 30% curated content, and 20% engagement. A consistent feed will let your audience know what to expect and makes it simpler for them to share your posts and engage.

50% of marketers curating content say it has increased their brand visibility, thought leadership, SEO and web traffic.

Source: Curata

4. Follow the red thread
In Scandinavia, a running theme, or a line that connects things together is called “the red thread.” You follow the red thread through a forest of information to find the connection.

In English, we call this the “common thread” — but I think the red thread is a much more visual concept and has more of an impact.

When you promote content, keep a red thread running through your content and your social channels. At Falcon.io, we’ve found that our landing pages don’t perform as well if the ad images and headlines don’t clearly match the landing page. The journey that you take your audience on should be clearly marked to keep their attention and reinforce messaging, especially if you take them from social channel to blog to the landing page, and so forth.

Make sure your images and headlines match throughout your content to keep your conversions rolling and your audience connected.

5. Leverage each channel
Use the strengths of each social media channel to your advantage when distributing content.

Tailor your content to the format and use of each channel, focusing on the image for Instagram, the storytelling for Facebook, the opportunity to engage and re-share on Twitter. Content carries better when it’s delivered in context, and feels more personalized when it speaks to the experience of how it’s consumed.

social media engagement

Achieving the right channel mix is one of content marketing’s biggest challenges. Performance tracking is key here.

Here are some basic rules of thumb with the top four networks: 

Facebook – This platform centers around friends and family, so people typically share photos, videos, and discussions related to their daily lives and personal adventures so those close to them can share in the experience. That, in addition to a tidal wave of cat videos, recipe GIFs, news, and political conversations.

Twitter – Twitter is all about what is happening in the moment. Its limited character count also makes it ideal for quick thoughts, rather than longer conversations. For that reason, people lean towards breaking news, live events such as sports or concerts, and in-the-moment pop culture updates.

LinkedIn – LinkedIn is where people go to create and develop their professional image by listing their skills and accomplishments, forging new connections, or participating in industry-related discussions.

Instagram – As a visual-first platform, Instagram has done its best to make everyone’s photos look beautiful and engaging. You’ll definitely see a different side to a person when you check their Instagram profile. Instagram Stories has escalated in popularity as format during 2017, and looks set to continue that trajectory in 2018.

And it definitely doesn’t hurt to know the best times to post to each channel.

6. Encourage a dialogue
Forget push marketing when it comes to social content campaigns. Engage with your audience as much as you can. Opening a conversation around your content allows for questions and an exchange of ideas, and lets you get to know your audience on a more personal level. Earning your audience’s trust fosters an invaluable relationship.

Call out your influencers on relevant content in social to tap into their networks, and use listening to identify engagement opportunities. Capture user-generated content wherever possible, and ask to share. Audiences love to be recognized by the brands they support, and UGC builds trust with potential new customers, who see it as a stamp of approval by their peers.

7. Save yourself a headache – use a content calendar
Aside from sparing you from the efficiency black hole of email chains and excel sheets, a good content calendar will go a long way in improving your content quality and impact.

Look at it as a door to achieving all the points above. A content calendar allows you to take your planning to the next level, while the more advanced software versions allow tracking and performance monitoring. 

social media engagement

*Boom* all your magnificent content plotted out in living color.

Good content doesn’t exist in a vacuum. By viewing all your initiatives in one place you can see the gaps in your strategy and align otherwise disparate teams and markets. A shared content pool or library is where you can store star assets for repurposing, and collaborate on the editing process.

For more on how to skyrocket your content quality using a content calendar see 10 Steps to Building an Awesome Social Media Content Calendar.

How are you boosting your social content campaigns this winter? Tweet us your ideas @FalconIO.

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