With 62% of Canadians using social media today, it’s crucial to have an online presence. However, you have to be smart and tactful about it – you can’t just post anything. So what do you post?
Gary Vaynerchuk, New York Times bestselling author of Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World, says the key to social media success is to be an authentic storyteller. There is no set formula or blueprint, but “the perfect story is spun from your intimate knowledge of your history, your competition’s history, and increasingly, what you see going on in the world and what you discover your consumers want to talk about. Whatever story you tell, you must remain true to your brand.”
Here are 4 characteristics of compelling content from the book that will engage and attract followers that turn into clients.
1. Great content must fit in with the type of content people go to that social media site to see
Different social media platforms allow you to highlight different aspects of your brand identity, meaning what works on one site may not work well on another. While people go to different platforms for different reasons, the main reason people use social media is to connect and escape.
Social networking sites “light up people’s dopamine pathways and the pleasure centers of their brain. Your content must do the same.” Your content, whether it’s a quote, a picture, an idea, an article, a GIF, a video, or song lyrics, has to be so compelling that people want to share it. That means it should look and feel like something a real person would write. Don’t make it too corporate. You must be genuine, honest and transparent. What would you like to see from your company if you were a client?
2. Great content doesn’t interrupt – so it shouldn’t feel out of place
People are on social media for value – to get something out of it. The better you learn “the psychology and habits of your social media consumers”, the better you can tell the right story at the right time. A story is at its best when it’s “not intrusive, when it brings value to a platform’s consumers, and when it fits in as a natural step along the customer’s path to making a purchase.”
3. Great content doesn’t make demands – often
Influential advertising icon Leo Burnett (Tony the Tiger, the Marlboro Man) offered the following advice for making great content:
Make it simple
Make it memorable
Make it inviting to look at
Make it fun to read
Gary adds, “make it for your customer or your audience, not for yourself. Be generous. Be informative. Be funny. Be inspiring. Be all the characteristics we enjoy in other human beings. That’s what jabs are all about. Right hooks represent what is valuable to you – getting the sale, getting people in the door. Jabs are about what is valuable to the consumer.”
Jabs can be anything that helps set up your “commercial ask.” The point is to give so much value that when you finally ask for the sale, (your right hook), your clients will be “emotionally primed to say yes.” If all you post are ads or sales pitches, you’re actually detracting from your brand. People aren’t going on social media to be sold to, and they’ll learn to avoid your posts – and your company.
4. Great content leverages pop culture
Your content should let your clients know you understand the issues and news that matter to them. Look for opportunities where your brand can take advantage of “breaking news or the culture at large to prove its relevance or show it’s paying attention.” For example, if the government announces changes to health care, post about how it affects your clients. If a celebrity supports a charity you do or wins an Oscar for a popular movie, post about it; it will help humanize your brand – but be genuine!
What great social media marketing comes down to is the shorter your content and storytelling, the better. Remember, while people love to be entertained and informed, “they’ll take that from anyone. The real connection and loyalty happen when they believe that you care about them both as a customer and as an individual.”