Imagine you are on a hilltop and your audience, current and potential, is scattered on a field below you, doing different things, but not paying attention to you. Consequently, you need to call out to them, through blaring loudspeakers, in order to attract their attention; and those blaring loudspeakers in our everyday life are usually the social media channels.
However, you need to ensure that your call isn’t unpleasant like the high-pitched screams of a banshee that turns them away from you; rather, it has to be luring and enticing so that it can attract and captivate your audience, away from the competition that is also yelling from the nearby hills.
Evoking emotions, creating awe, surprising people, spreading joy, and maybe using elements of anger, anxiety, fear and controversy can all help create viral content on social media. And these emotions can be best communicated using the following ideas:
10 Creative Ideas To Promote Your Content Using Social Media
No, we are not thinking about dusty classrooms with chalkboards and teachers in wire-rimmed spectacles and pursed lips. Instead, we are referring to tips, breaking news, opinion pieces, industry research, thoughtful and insightful debates and popular blog posts when we talk about educating our target audience.
You could use anything from myth busters, tutorials and industry predictions to FAQ answers, influencing conversations, educational articles, e-books, case studies, podcasts, and interviews to lure your audience. The list is nearly endless. The purpose of each is to impart tidbits of information to users that they may not know and present it in small, easily digestible, bite-sized pieces.
People usually like to know about new, interesting things, whether it is about 101 uses of rubber bands or volcano eruptions in Costa Rica. Thus, posting educational content on your social media can effectively attract, inform and entertain target audiences.
2. Attract visually
Photos on Facebook generate 53% more likes than an average post. Posting images on LinkedIn increases comments by 98%. Three of the “hottest” new social networks – Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat – are entirely image-based. So, it wouldn’t be wrong to claim that we have indeed moved towards a visual marketing world, where users prefer images over reading blocks of texts.
Being the presenter, it is essential that you leverage the visuals to maximize the promotion of your content. For this reason, you should not only create a branded “featured image” to share with your posts but also add separate visuals under the main pointers of your content.
For example, in Facebook, images and photos increase ‘likes’ and ‘comments’, which, in turn, increases EdgeRank – Facebook’s algorithm for visibility based on users’ interaction with content on its pages. Boosts in ‘likes’ of a certain post increase a page’s EdgeRank, and thus, it starts appearing more frequently in feeds.
Visual content can be anything from a trend/hashtag visualizations and infographics to something lighter such as fan photos, memes, comic strips and even cat photos. Seriously, don’t underestimate the power of a cute kitty photo with a funny caption. This is why I Can Has Cheezburger is so popular among social media users.
3. Generate lists and polls
The presence of lists and polls on social media also make a great deal of difference when you are trying to promote your page online. Lists could be of anything under the sun, for example, they could be on the benefits of doing yoga, reasons to drink 2.5 liters of water a day or what not to do during a job interview. It could also be a “must do” list explaining what one needs to do to succeed in your industry and niche.
Top 10 lists are always the most effective. But, it doesn’t always need to be top 10, it can be 7 or 20 or top 100 or whatever number suits your fancy or fits your needs. Your list can cover everything including trends, insights, tips, places to visit, food to eat, adventures to experience and exotic places to see.
The lists do not need to directly highlight the benefits of using your product or service as it can be difficult and time-consuming to write about your own business or practice. However, by writing about what you know, rather than what you do and who you are, you may end up spending less time writing and generating better content as well.
Facebook has built-in polls that can be used to generate them. However, running polls manually works better at times. For example, you could engage your audience with questions like “Which is your favorite Marvel movie character?” with the new Spider-Man and Thor movies release around the corner.
By asking your audience how they feel about a certain topic, you could start a conversation and continue with it in the comments’ section. Once the hubbub has died down, you can generate another post by writing about the results of the earlier debate.
4. Highlight (questions, quotes, statistics)
A good way to attract traffic and promote your content using social media networks efficiently is to highlight a thought-provoking question every day; you could also post a startling statistic about something intriguing, or a profound quote from someone famous.
Additionally, you could also go about answering questions that frequently bug your audience, along with links for detailed explanations or a quick comment. Bring your audience together by reaching out to specific fans that want to help. By helping build a community, you could make ties to your product even stronger by promoting their brand loyalty.
Questions could be something as simple as requests for suggestions for product improvements or what to include in upcoming events. You can add a spark to the conversation by replying to answers and thanking your followers for their comments and feedback.
Moreover, you could make powerful quotes even more eye-catching by using an easy-to-read typeface on an applicable background that catches your audiences’ eyes instantly,–just like the example below:
By sharing informative passages or statistics from a website, you can invoke your audience’s curiosity. However, instead of writing down data, you could make colorful and fun graphs showing statistical breakdowns. Remember to include your company logo and information on the infographic to encourage people to share across various social media channels.
5. Encourage audience prediction
Engage with your audience and get people talking (and hotly debating) by asking them to make a prediction about interesting topics such as who is going to win the Super Bowl this year? You could also make it like a poll and give them two options requesting them to state their preference and then asking them the reason behind it.
You could also make your own industry predictions. Be bold about what the future entails for your field and interact with those who respond, in order to increase engagement and keep the conversation going.
Even if it seems that you do not have enough knowledge to make predictions, you probably still know a lot more about what is likely to happen down the road than your clients. And by making predictions, you come across as an authority in the field.
Take some time out every month, or quarter, to summarize what has been happening in your industry and what you think the future holds.
6. Share snippets
A snippet can be a small piece of information or a brief extract. Below is an example of statistics of SEMrush that they have used as snippet in their tweet:
One billion queries per day are sent to #Google and 450 million of them are unique @PatMarcello http://t.co/rLc2XRvAyv #SEO
— SEMrush (@semrush) 12 martie 2014
Any piece of content can produce more than 20 snippets that you can share on social media. Snippets can be variations of the title, short statements or quotes from the content, or statistics from the source material.
The best way to go about it is by choosing an interesting piece of content and pulling out at least 20 snippets from it that can be shared over social media over the next several weeks or even months. If the content is well-received, then continue using the snippets.
7. Make presentations using SlideShare
You can always turn your top posts into a SlideShare. Using your website’s analytical tools, find your most popular post (list posts work best for this but it does not necessarily have to just list posts), turn it into a PowerPoint presentation and post it to SlideShare.
You can also use video content to create slideshows for SlideShare, which can then very well be used for webinars and blog posts. When using SlideShare, optimize the title and description. Since SlideShare also transcribes the deck for you, all the content posted on it can be crawled by search engines like Bing and Google.
It is estimated that tens of millions of visitors use SlideShare every month. With one of the biggest audiences on the web, it is one of the top 150 sites in the world according to Alexa. Like YouTube videos, SlideShare presentations also often rank high in search results, so there is a higher likelihood of your content being found easily on the internet.
By repurposing your original piece into another format, you can target the audience towards your content that it may not have viewed initially. Upload your slideshow to different slideshow sites and communities online, not only SlideShare but also others like Photosnack. Make sure you include a link back to your site and original content.
8. Work around themes
You could have daily or weekly themes; choosing a theme actually makes it easier to come up with content for your social media accounts. Recurring themes give your audience something to look forward to every day and also creates consistency for your brand. Social Media Examiner proposes the following themes and combinations for every day of the week:
- Monday: Music Monday, Motivation Monday
- Tuesday: Trivia Tuesday, Tuesday Treat, Tuesday Tip
- Wednesday: Wednesday Wisdom, Wacky Wednesday
- Thursday: Thursday Thoughts, Thankful Thursday, Throwback Thursday
- Friday: TGIF, Friday Fun, Follow Friday
Source: Social Media Examiner
Saturday: Saturday Swag, Selfie Saturday, Social Saturday
Source: Social Media Examiner
Sunday: Sunday Selfies, Sunday Funday
All these themes are popular hashtags, so always include the hashtag when posting on social media channels.
9. Play “Fill in the blank” and “Caption”
Another creative way to interact with your customers and engage your audience is to have a “Caption This” photo competition. You could also give a small prize or a goodie bag to the person with the best caption.
Or, you could turn the tables and ask fans to post photos on topics of your choice and reward the person who posts the best or the most creative photo. A random photo contest for some fun engagement could be “post the first eight photos that appear in your camera roll along with a short caption”. You would probably get an eclectic mix of photos that would be interesting and entertaining.
Fill in the blanks can also be an interesting way to strike conversations on your social channels. To play it, post a fill in the blank post such as “My favorite restaurant for Chinese food is _______” or “My dream place to visit is ___________”.
An example is the online dating site eHarmony, which has fill in the blank posts that are related to their industry, such as in the image below. Fans respond with qualities they are looking for in their ideal partners.
Source: Social Media Examiner
10. Don’t ignore behind the scenes
Ever seen a Jackie Chan movie? It always has a reel of bloopers at the end. Many movies do that too and there are usually YouTube videos with bloopers, such as ones for Game of Thrones in which Cersei is giggling like a school girl.
Behind the scenes makes organizations real and human. People adore seeing those who are behind the curtain of a business, who have interests, passions and struggles. Whether your business is in the factory, the boardroom or the kitchen snaps capturing diverse moments can be fascinating for audiences.
You can use Snapchat to show “Where the magic happens” or “How it came to be that …”. Celebrities and musicians have been doing it to garner a large fan base and show an off-the-screen side for ages; now, organizations and companies are jumping on that bandwagon too.
A perfect example of it is Blue Bumble Creative that profiles new employees and celebrates work anniversaries on their Facebook page, as shown in the photo below:
Source: Social Media Examiner
There are many ways to come across as funny, interesting and caring to your target audience. You could share client testimonials, provide links to your newsletter or simply thumb your nose at something that appears crazy but has captured the attention of your audience, the way Reebok did.
Source: ABC news
The $425 fake muddy pair of jeans by Nordstrom has gone viral. They are for the rich who want to pretend that they are “not afraid to get down and dirty”. The famous sports brand Reebok trolled the jeans with a fake $425 sweaty T-shirt, shown in the photo above. This helped show Reebok’s sense of humor while allowing it to jump on the bandwagon of products that garner overnight fame on social media.
These 10 ideas hold a host of mini-ideas and tips that can make your brand really popular on social media. However, keep in mind that a successful media campaign is not only engaging, it is also relevant to their platform and makes use of its unique features. For example, LinkedIn is mostly used by professionals for connections that further their careers.
It’s also a great idea to remember posting media content does not have to be overwhelming or time-consuming. You can use a social media manager for businesses to schedule content in advance (check out our review of the best social media management tools). As long as your content is engaging, is adapted to the social platforms you are using, and is posted in a timely manner, your social media campaign can soar and increase your audience and fan base alike.
See also: How To Use Hashtags to Boost Your Social Media Posts