Over the last few years, the organic reach of your organisation's posts on Facebook and other social media networks has declined significantly, as the networks tailor users' feeds to show content that they believe is most relevant and engaging for them. It's bit of a chicken and egg scenario - surely people need to see your content in order for it to achieve engagement?!
Research from Social@Ogilvy revealed that even back in 2014, organic reach on Facebook pages with more than 500,000 Likes was only 2%. Combine this with the vast volume of content that is posted each minute to social networks (350,000 tweets per minute) the competition for engagement and capturing the audience’s attention is intense. The answer from the social networks to unlock more reach and engagement… paid advertising. In 2016, social media advertising spend rose to £1.73 billion and is expected to continue to rise in 2017.
But what happens if you don’t have access to big social media advertising bucks? How can marketing and social media teams with lean budgets capture the attention of their audience in a fiercely competitive environment?
There are a number of ways that you can create engaging content organically. The first factor to take into account is your audience, developing a clear understanding of their needs; motivations and influences will help you to shape your message.
Key question: What problem are you solving for them?
Secondly, consider the message. We’ve all seen social media posts with pretty pictures talking about the weather, but in a business environment we need to consider how this is helping to achieve our objectives. As social media managers we need to ensure that each post is effective and delivering a purpose.
Key question: What are we trying to say?
Thirdly, think about the delivery. The execution of your social media content will play a vital role in its success in generating engagement. Gone are the days when a text post of 140 characters was enough to deliver your message with impact. The power of video continues to escalate, with a survey revealing that 34% of B2C marketers say that pre-produced video content will be critical to content marketing success in 2017. The beauty of social media is that you can test and refine your delivery approach with your audience to unlock the right formula.
Key question: How are you going to deliver the message?
Fundamentally, your content needs to be likeable, shareable and relevant. Here's our five simple and proven tips to engaging social media posts (without having to put an advertising budget behind it!):
1. Make it visual
If a picture speaks a thousand words, a video speaks 1.8 billion! Our attention span is now just a tiny 8 seconds long, meaning that we can digest information at a much quicker rate before we move on (a goldfish’s memory is a lengthy 9 seconds!) With video expected to represent 74% of all Internet traffic in 2017, it’s a format that you cannot afford to ignore.
2. Inform and educate
People like to feel like that they are receiving value, so offer them something for free. Templates, infographics, whitepapers and downloads are a great way to provide your audience with information and make them feel like they are being rewarded for their engagement.
3. Spark an emotion
If you want to inspire action, you will need to appeal to the emotional side of the brain. Creating emotional connections such as happiness, empathy or even anger will encourage your audience to engage with your social media content (the humour of memes is paramount to their success in them going viral). Many brands are capitalising on the power of familiarity and in particular nostalgia, consider last year’s revival of Pokemon and the success it had among the millennial market.
4. Include influencers
Social media is built on power of word of mouth and the ability to build trust with your audience. Using credible influencers are a great way to share your message in an authentic and honest way. A survey by MuseFind revealed that 92% of consumers trust an influencer more than an advertisement or celebrity endorsement. So if you are looking for cost effective ways to spread your message, building a network of influencers is must in your social media strategy for this year.
5. Report on current trends
People following trends are one of the founding principles that inspired the creation of Twitter. It’s human nature to ‘keep up with the Joneses’ and access the latest information on what’s ‘hot’ and the latest craze. From the announcement of the latest #RoyalBaby to political scenarios, brands have long been leveraging the opportunities of reporting on current trends. The opportunities can be glorious, but do consider the risks, as there are many examples of where this has and can go wrong (Cinnabon’s tribute to the late Carrie Fisher comes to mind!)