With the role of social media shifting faster than we ever thought possible, no marketer can be an expert 100 percent of the time. Learning and adapting — whether that’s to a changing audience, platform update or new functionality (hello, Facebook Live!) — are huge parts of the job, and any marketer is happy to tell you that great social media content creation is now more important than ever. Here are just a few insider tips on creating a standout social media feed.
If content is king — and for all intents and purposes, it is — new, original content really is emperor. New and unique content spurs more engagement, shares and consistent visits to your feeds, and we all know that these things translate to conversions. This is true for both social media and your website.
And though most digital marketers are considered experts in platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, not all of them have high-end photographic equipment, production studios or creative teams behind them. And besides that, we can’t all have the photographic talent of Dorothea Lange, production skills of Shonda Rhimes or the magnetizing wit of, say, Gary Vaynerchuk. Or Cher.
Despite that, though, social media skills are crucial for building and maintaining a brand. In 2005, Pew Research Center tells us that just 5 percent of US adults used at least one social media profile. When you jump to 2016, that number skyrockets to 69 percent (or 86%, if we’re talking 18–29 year olds).
It’s undeniable: Your audience lives online, and they’re craving your content. So when you’re working on social media content creation, there are still a few bases you should always have covered. Keep these in a checklist, and you’ll soon have an envy-inducing social feed to stick in your portfolio.
Winning Tips for Social Media Content Creation
Create a post schedule
You hopefully treat others the way you’d want to be treated. And in the world of social media, this means that you shouldn’t ghost your followers. It’s common courtesy. Even if it was from behind a screen, you’ve worked so hard to create beautiful posts and gain a devoted crowd.
If you’re feeling tired and uninspired, try to post at least once a week on a given day. Why not jump on the #MondayMotivation bandwagon or post a brand-specific pick-me-up every Wednesday? Your followers will have something to expect and look forward to, and you’ll still remain an active account.
Adopt an aesthetic
Besides keeping your posting consistent, try to create a theme. When it comes to social media, the designers on your team are 100% correct: People see professionalism in a beautiful, curated aesthetic.
On social media, the easiest (and perhaps most popular) way to do this is with color, and social-media-savvy brands often create and share content that follows a specific color theme.
No, your content doesn’t all need to match Pantone’s Millennial pink or Florida keys. Just choose one or two basic colors and center your posts around them. And every once in awhile, you can choose slightly different hues and play around with new color schemes. Just make sure that everything aligns with your chosen theme, even if it’s slight.
Although she represents a personal brand, designer and photographer Sam Ushiro is an expert at this. She’s obviously a big fan of the color pink, but isn’t afraid to stray toward other bright colors or pastels. The result is a feed that’s not just unified, but undoubtedly pleasing to look at — even if you prefer muted tones.
Keeping it consistent with other design elements — including fonts — is also an option. Babyation creates innovative products for parents, but they also have a lovely Instagram feed featuring inspiring quotes, adorable babies and snapshots of happy families. All of the text on their feed is the same sans-serif font, fostering unity.
If you want to emulate this, just keep a list of design guidelines handy when you’re creating content for social media. Stick to your guide, but don’t be afraid to switch things up every once in awhile.
Don’t be afraid to post visual quotes along with your usual photos and videos. More adventurous companies can even try things like an Instagram grid. If your policy permits, go ahead and branch out!
Remember that variety truly is the spice of life, and that’s especially true on social media. We’re drawn to folks that stand out. If you’re not sure what kind of aesthetic would work to your brand’s advantage, just drop us an email at email@example.com. We’d love to help you with that soul-searching. Be sure to also check out this in-depth advice from Dana at the Wonder Forest. She’s an authority on crafting a gorgeous Instagram feed if we do say so ourselves!
Share user-generated content
People turn to social media to share details about their life, from the mundane (sandwiches, sharing a great song or keeping up with a faraway aunt and uncle) to the extraordinary (wedding proposals, graduations and career achievements).
They also use it to talk about the brands they’re loving at the moment, including yours. We know that folks trust their peers more than companies trying to sell to them, which is why reading Amazon reviews before ordering is a must for digital natives, and why and using micro-influencers is an incredible way to get conversions.
If someone takes the time out of their day to tweet a compliment to you or write a review, you should be paying attention to them and sharing that content. We’re talking about social media content creation here, though, and this is pre-existing content. So what gives?
You can actually download, creatively repurpose and share user-generated photos and videos posted by your customers. That also means that there’s no need to go out and create new content if you’re on a time crunch. And since folks find UGC more trustworthy and authentic than something brand-produced, you’ll be on the path to success. You’re rewarding these individual customers when you reshare their posts, too, making them more likely to be brand-loyal in the future.
For a little inspiration, just take the shot below from Buffer‘s Instagram feed, which often shares relatable UGC from its community members. There was no location scouting or content creation involved in this at all, but it works to Buffer’s advantage even more than a brand-produced photo would.
Clothing brand Nasty Gal uses the same strategy, but shares fashion creations from customers.
— NASTY GAL (@NastyGal) July 26, 2017
Getting UGC isn’t as simple as downloading the photo and reposting it on your own social media feeds, though. The best practice for this kind of content marketing is getting each creator to sign a license.
To get all of your bases covered, use Scopio to discover and license beautiful and brand-relevant content. Forget the endless searching on social media and negotiating with photographers. We’ll do that work for you so you can put your focus back on growing your brand.
Stay far, far away from stock
Put barricades up if you have to! Because it’s so easy to distinguish between stock photography and original content, stock really has no place on your social media feed. End of story.
This is against social media at its core. People want to interact with original content made specifically by (or for) your brand. So whether you’re creating it yourself or scoping out pre-existing UGC, keep it original. You also don’t want to run the risk of posting the same stock photo your competitor has used, which is more common than you might believe.
Bllush’s Tomer Dean has done a very intriguing test on the effectiveness of user-generated images versus brand photography. And though this work is geared more towards e-commerce brands, the message is relevant to all marketers: Using authentic social media photos in place of brand-created pieces is likely to boost your online conversions.
You can increase this even more by figuring out the type of images your audience responds to. It’s all about A/B testing and finding what works for your brand.
After that, move forward with your winning social media content creation strategy. You’ve earned it.
Want more watertight advice on social media content creation? It’s as simple as chatting with the marketing experts at Scopio. If you need to switch up your marketing material for something more authentic, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or sign up for a 10-day free trial. Scopio will help you crafting a winning strategy. Featured photo by Kassala Holdsclaw.