While most people think about blogs, infographics, and articles when it comes to content marketing, another very important aspect of it is social content. Not social content to promote your other website content, but social content for your social media marketing strategy. Keeping your social profiles up to date with great socially-optimized content will ensure that your profiles stay at the top of search results for your brand and keep your audience happy and engaged. In today’s post, we’re going to look at great social content for the top social media networks.
Facebook, of all social networks, probably offers the most content publishing options to choose from. Let’s explore those.
The most obvious way to publish content on your Facebook page is via status updates. When posting to your wall, you have four types of updates to choose. Popularity assessment made by Dan Zarella’s infographic on How to Get More Likes, Comments, and Shares.
- Text Only Updates – These updates tend to get the most comments. As of November 2011, you can have a little over 60,000 characters in your status updates, but the most likes are garnered on updates up to 100 characters and the most shares are garnered on updates around 450 characters. The best use for text only updates is asking questions – questions will elicit response from your audience, and the more response you get, the better your EdgeRank will be. And the better your EdgeRank, the more likely people will see your future updates.
- Updates with a Photo – These updates tend to get the most likes and shares. Since posts with links seem to get less impressions, people have started to use photo updates and add a link to their blog posts / website / products in the text going along with the photos with some success.
- Updates with a Video – These updates tend to get the second-highest shares. Video updates are nice because links directly to YouTube and some other video pages will allow people to view the video on your page without having to leave.
- Updates with a Link – If you paste a link into your status update box, it will automatically populate the title, description, and thumbnail for the page you are linking to. This type of update seems to be least popular in terms of likes, comments, and shares – possibly because it receives the least impressions. The upside of updates with a link is that it increases click-through to your website and any likes on the update will be added in the Like button count for that page. If you want this type of update to do well, you might want to consider using a Promoted Posts or Sponsored Stories campaign to help increase exposure.
There are two things you should always do when it comes to Facebook status updates. The first is to always post them directly on Facebook itself and bypass third-party applications. Facebook almost always tends to favor updates posted on their network vs. third-party apps in the newsfeed.
The second thing is to include a call to action to get your audience to interact with your updates. Ask questions with any type of status update – if you’re sharing a link to a blog post about the latest changes to Facebook, ask people what they think about the latest changes in the text above the link. Ask people to like your status if they think the video is useful. Ask people to make sure the word gets out about something by sharing your photo. Asking or even telling your audience to do something will get more likes, comments, and shares for your updates and thus help you get your updates in front of more of your fans.
Custom Content Tabs
While status updates are the main way to publish content to your Facebook page, they are not the only way. You also have the option of created custom content on your page (formerly referred to as Facebook tabs). One of my favorite examples of using custom content to represent your brand on Facebook is American Express.
When you click on each of these, you’ll find a custom page created for specific topics such as this one supporting small businesses.
This is one of the strong points when it comes to Facebook – it is one of the few social networks that allows you to have up to 10 custom content tabs / pages on your Facebook page. It’s a great way to share more with your social media audience beyond just status updates. Some great uses include the following.
- Restaurants can use custom content to share their menus.
- Musicians can use custom content to promote new albums or sell tickets to concerts.
- Retail stores can use custom content to share deals.
- Any business can use custom content to encourage opt-ins to a mailing list.
Custom content can be created using applications that use iframes to pull in content from your own website or by using applications. There are lots of application providers that can help you easily add custom content to your Facebook page including bringing in your blog’s RSS feed, contests, videos, photo albums, and much more. Well-known application providers include North Social, Involver, Woobox, Pagemodo, Inline Vision, and AgoraPulse. They range in price based on how many applications you want, number of pages you manage, and total number of fans.
The key to making sure your content on Facebook is right for your audience is in your page’s Insights. In the Overview section of your Insights, you can see data about individual posts on your page. In the Reach section, you can see how many views you have received to your custom content under Total Tab Views.
When you think of Twitter content, you probably do not think past 140 characters and maybe including a link. But Twitter offers a few more options than just that. Just take a look at the new profile design.
Here you can instead of just a customizable background and profile image, you now also have the option to add a header image for branding. And when it comes to status updates, if you link directly to images or upload images with your tweets, you’ll have your recent images displayed to the left of your main tweets.
Larger brands and advertisers also have the option to highlight different media in their latest tweets such as video. An example of this is GoToMeeting’s latest tweet that included a direct link to a YouTube video.
You can play this video on GoToMeeting’s Twitter profile. Keeping people on the tweet itself may encourage more retweets, favorites, and replies.
For those not able to invest in big-brand advertising, it still doesn’t hurt to include links to relevant media (images and videos) to mix in with your usual tweeting schedule. Other tips for your 140 character Twitter content include the following.
- Not many people want to read tweets from an account that are solely about themselves. Follow the 80 / 20 rule – 80% of your tweets should be about topics that interest the audience you are targeting, leaving 20% for self-promotion.
- Asking questions makes for great engagement. You can even pose survey questions and post the answers on your blog, thus creating even more content. Just make sure that the answers you expect can also fit within 140 characters. If not, it might be better to ask on another network like Facebook and then tweet the link directly to that post on your Facebook wall to your Twitter audience.
- Watch the length of your Twitter content, especially if you hope to get retweeted a lot. Leave enough room for people who are retweeting the old-fashioned way (with a RT @yourusername) be able to include the RT and the @yourusername along with the entire content of your tweet.
- Need more than 140 characters for a tweet? Try TwitLonger. It allows you to create a tweet as long as you would like and when you post it, it will include a portion of your tweet plus a link to the complete version on their website.
- Don’t forget your keywords – if someone searches for keyword phrases you are targeting in Twitter search, you will want your tweets to come up.
- Always include a call to action of when possible. If you want someone to click on your link, retweet, or respond, be sure to say so. You shouldn’t do it for every tweet, but definitely the most important ones.
The key to making sure your Twitter content is right for your audience is by looking at Twitter analytics provided by third-party platforms until Twitter releases their own. Applications like Buffer allow you to see stats (retweets, favorites, and replies) on any tweets sent through their system. HootSuite also offers customized analytics which can be powerful, but you have to have a certain allotment of points to be able to create it. You can also use tools like Tweet Reach to analyze your latest 50 tweets for free or upgrade to a full report for $20USD.
When it comes to Google+ content, you have similar options for status updates as you do on Facebook, minus the pesky EdgeRank system almost forcing you to have to buy advertising. These include text-only updates, updates with photos, updates with videos, and updates with links.
While no particular type of update seems to be favored more than another, updates with more interaction will likely pop up higher in your connection’s news feed. Hence it is good to encourage people to comment, +1, or share the updates you really want seen by more of your connections by using some of the tactics mentioned to encourage interaction with Facebook updates.
If you want to take advantage of the most unique content creation feature on Google, then look into Google+ hangouts? You can have regular Q&A hangouts, invite experts to discuss hot topics in your industry, host live “parties” or have a chat among your colleagues.
Not only will you have live content to draw people to your Google+ page, but you can also record them for your YouTube channel. Hence you’d be creating content on Google+ and video content as well.
Another nice feature about Google+ is that you can also create a nice piece of content on your profile’s About page in the Introduction section.
Since Google+ moved the links to your profiles, sites you contribute to, and recommended websites down to the bottom, you can use the Introduction to write more about your brand and link to key areas on your website you want them to click-through.
Unfortunately with Google+, there isn’t much in the way of analytics with exception of seeing how much referral traffic you receive back to your website using Google Analytics. You can gauge popularity of topics on Google+ using the Tospy Google+ Search Beta and looking up keywords related to your industry. There you will see posts that are commenting on and shared the most on Google+.
Other Social Networks
Of course, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ are not the only networks out there that you can create content for. Keep in mind the following social media outlets and the different types of content you can create for each.
- LinkedIn – LinkedIn offers several areas to create content including status updates for your personal profile, status updates for your company page, posts within groups, and solutions in LinkedIn Answers. All of these can help drive professional social networking users to learn more about your business.
- Pinterest – Pinterest is all about images and now video as well. If your business has great content in either of these departments, be sure to share it on your Pinterest profile and encourage others to boost their content by sharing it on theirs as well.
- Flickr – Want to combine great image content with link building opportunities? Post images that you have created (such as infographics) under the Creative Commons licensing structure and include in the image’s description that people can use it with attribution back to your website.
- YouTube – If video marketing is on your to do list, capitalize on YouTube’s millions of visitors per month by creating tutorials, commercials, Google+ hangout recordings, and other content.
Do you focus on creating great content for social media networks? What other tips would you suggest? Please share in the comments!
Photo Credit: Bruno Cordioli – Social Media Week on Flickr