Social media for business has one ultimate goal: to transform your target audience into paying customers. But how do you get them on board in the first place?
By creating and sharing great content.
As a business looking to grow your customer base you should have a content marketing plan in place, or be working to create one. This content marketing plan could take many forms from blogging and distributing infographics to publishing helpful eBooks and shooting branded videos. But, sharing these forms of content on social media should always be part of your overall activity.
A compelling 95% of 18-35 year-olds follow brands on social media, so it follows that this is where your business content is most likely to be seen and engaged with. But, it's not just about creating content quickly when you get a spare moment. Each piece of content you and your business puts out into the world should have a clear goal in mind, a purpose for existing.
There are four main purposes for social media content and they are:
Perhaps the first and most obvious purpose of social media content is to entertain the reader. When it comes to Facebook in particular, which recently exceeded 2 billion users worldwide, entertaining content is what we’re all most accustomed to seeing as we scroll through our feeds. Entertaining content allows you to connect with your audience on an emotional level, and is usually the first point of contact you make with people who haven’t yet heard of your brand.
This emotional connection first serves to make your audience aware of your brand, and then leaves a positive, memorable impression that will keep them coming back for more. A good piece of entertaining social media content is one that isn’t overtly sales-driven, and many of the most successful campaigns don’t even mention the product or service at all.
Examples of Entertaining Social Media Content: Online quizzes, storytelling or thought-provoking videos, free online games and competitions are all consistently effective forms of entertainment-based content. Heineken’s ‘Worlds Apart’ campaign – a social experiment that went viral in 2017 – is a great example of how a brand can entertain and address important social issues without directly selling a product.
Inspirational social media content is often most effective when aimed at members of your audience that are one step further down the sales funnel. In other words, people who have perhaps encountered pieces of your entertainment content, remembered your brand and returned for something new.
Like entertaining content, your inspirational content should resonate with your audience on an emotional level and (unsurprisingly) inspire them in some way. The inspiration could be something as subtle as a home decoration tip or an idyllic lifestyle choice, or something as direct as providing inspiration on ways to use your service or product.
Examples of Inspirational Social Media Content: Photo guides, customer reviews, celebrity endorsements, calculators and other online widgets are classic examples of effective inspirational content that can be shared and published on your social media channels. This online tool for planning your dream garden from Better Homes & Gardens magazine was shared over 20,000 times and is a fantastic example of content that can inspire.
From the emotional to the practical. Educational content should be created to help your audience solve specific problems. Whether you need to create educational content very much depends on the products and services you offer, as well as the needs of your audience in general, but when relevant it can directly affect your sales growth.
Content that explains to potential customers why they should care about particular issues or how particular products can solve their problems can often provide the catalyst for making a purchase or engaging with your brand, making it one of the most directly successful content forms for improving revenue and customer trust.
Examples of Educational Social Media Content: You can provide educational content through infographics, white papers, reports, press releases, animations, product demo videos and eBooks, to name just a few. And educational content doesn’t just have to be sales-driven; it can be purely to pique interest and intrigue and raise the authority of your brand. Remember this amazing animation from Tech Insider that demonstrates how deep the ocean is?
The purpose of convincing content is to give your customers that final push they need to make a purchase, and should usually be aimed at customers towards end of the sales funnel. If your customers have made it this far they will be looking for rational reasons to part with their money or commit to engaging with your brand; the time for inspiration and entertainment is past. Your customers need facts, figures and reassurance that they are making the right decision, and a well-placed piece of content can provide exactly that.
Examples of Convincing Social Media Content: You can share compelling pieces of content on your social media feeds in the form of written or video-based case studies, easy to follow price guides and measurement guides, for example. This type of content can help demonstrate to your potential customers that your product or service will have the effect they want it to, making it incredibly powerful. The perfect examples of this type of convincing content can be found on the Facebook page of The Body Coach – a highly popular advocate of exercise and healthy eating – which regularly shares compelling client success stories.
The next time you're thinking about shooting a video, writing a blog post or even going live at an event try to remember WHY you're creating that piece of content and what purpose it has for your audience.