The popularity of social media platforms is a driving force in the shift from static advertising to the digital marketplace. Creating attention-grabbing content is a must for any business owner to compete in the online world. The “glance-ability” factor is the crucial component when coming up with new material; on average, you have about 3 seconds to slow their scroll.
High-resolution images of products are essential, as zooming in on the details is one of the benefits of touch screen devices. Single items show best on a white background or in an action shot. If you are posting informational changes images are still be helpful as long as they are relevant to your subject matter.
Always tie your post message to your image. Tone, content, speech style, and intent should flow from your post to your image. For example, a post that says “New product line launches soon!” should be followed by an image of related products with a reiteration “Spring Line Drops in 2 Weeks” written across it. Both the post and image should contain the same link to the same page that includes information on the new line and not the home page of your site or other products.
If you’re not selling a specific product, sometimes finding images is difficult. Try to pick an image that has SOMETHING to do with your topic. A random image of a rubber duck, when you’re talking about life coaching will be a huge disconnect for your audience.
Use Active Voice
Readers react better to the use of active voice. Make sure your statements clearly state who the subject is and what they will be doing. Put the reader in the driver’s seat, focus on them and how your product or message is relevant to them. Passive voice takes away some of the ownership of actions.
- “This camera can be used to take high-res photos.” Passive.
- “You can take professional quality high-res photos with this camera.” Active.
Engage Your Audience
Your target audience should be a factor in what you post on each different platform. What works on one may not always on another. Some platforms are image-heavy and others more textual. Make sure you know which demographics you want your message to resonate with and where they are most likely to be active. For example, Pinterest users are 71% female so heavily masculine images may not perform well on this platform.
Even just the sight of hashtags in a post might slow the scroll…especially if the hashtags are well thought out and written in easily scrollable “Camel Case”. Now that hashtags are a functioning part of every major platform, it’s vital you understand what the heck a hashtag is and how to use them. Proper use of hashtags can also boost your visibility in searches on each platform, so if you’re using them well, ensure your image stands out in the hashtag feed, too!
Emojis in social media posts are very common, and encouraged as a way to slow the scroll, but you must use them appropriately. They are often used as fun bullet points, to point to a call-to-action or request, or to highlight an ask or a shoutout. Sometimes they are effectively used simply to dress up the text of a post. When your message is about a serious or sensitive topic, choose them carefully. And always, always, ALWAYS be sure you understand what the emoji actually is or you’ll be using the “Love Hotel” thinking it’s a regular hotel!
Write Like You Talk
When you begin creating your post, try to imagine you are sitting across from someone at a table and are trying to explain the concept or product you want to put out there. Try making a list of questions they might ask. My colleague Halina St. James would even tell you to “Talk it Out” and then write down what you said.
- Will it fix a problem?
- Will this product appeal to their sense of style?
- Does this statement reflect their personal beliefs or oppose them?
- Is this something they would want to share with friends and family or business associates? Those are two very different audiences for most people.
- Is it something new or unique that would make them part of a select group to acquire it?
The first line is the most important and should pave the way for the rest of the message to be more detailed. Think back to your first essay writing class and the focus on the necessary, but challenging to create, opening statement. Try not to dismiss any ideas at first. It’s easy to overlook something when it’s not in front of you, so try writing everything down and then refine from there.
If you don’t want to handle content creation yourself, hiring a copywriting service is also an option. Sites such as The Content Panel can be excellent resources to get new material out quickly and on schedule.
Social media platforms allow your images and captions to be viewed by an unlimited number of individuals. Compared to static ads on billboards or bench posters, social media *CAN* reach millions of users. They also provide real-time statistics from shares, likes, forwards, and comments. Be sure to keep track of posts that receive feedback or questions in the comment section. If you are trying to sell a product but do not respond to inquiries about it, you may be turning people away. Even providing a follow-up post with a link to further information can increase approval.
You also need to remember your audience is seeing hundreds, if not thousands of images a day in their newsfeed. Using high quality images, clear and concise writing with proper grammar, and an appropriate level of emoji and hashtags can help you slow the scroll so they stop on your post. What other tips do you have for getting your audience to stop and engage with your posts? I’d love to add your thoughts to this list.