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How To Excel at Four Primary Types of Social Media Content

Let’s kick off with some sobering statistics. We all know that content is being churned out constantly, but have you ever considered how much of it there really is?

Every single minute, social media sees:

  • 2.4 million pieces of content shared on Facebook
  • 277,000 tweets sent on Twitter
  • 216,000 new photos posted on Instagram
  • 347,222 photos shared on WhatsApp

Right now the human race is producing more information than ever before — 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created every day. The broad appeal of social media has made us all into content creators.

So where do brands come in? How can marketers cut through all of the noise and make an impact with social media marketing? Is anyone still listening, or are we in an age when customers are only interested in their own and each other’s content?

There is a big challenge for companies and marketers to stay engaging and relevant. Traditional broadcast approaches won’t cut it in a socially savvy, customer-oriented digital world.

Forget forking out cash in exchange for the right to interrupt their experiences. You need to earn your right to be in their space. And the way to do that is to produce stellar content that they want to engage with.

How To Excel at Four Primary Types of Social Media Content

1. Written Content:
Keep it Short, Data-driven and Conversational

The major guiding principle should always be ‘less is more’. Social media is a casual medium, mainly accessed on the go via mobile devices. As such, you need to get to the point quickly. It also means the tone should always be friendly and social, rather than robotic or official.

Data should be another driving force. Use social listening to inform content strategy. What is the audience interested in? It’s not about pushing the product at every opportunity, but about stimulating engagement by creating content that taps into your followers’ interests, needs and desires.

Even in a situation where the major aim is to generate leads and sales, not every post you produce will need to feature a call to action. And when it does, the right social media marketing approach is to offer helpful, conversational encouragement, rather than overly harsh directives. Show them how your product will help them achieve their goals.

2. Visual Content:
Tap into Their Emotions for the W

Did you know visual content is 40 times more likely to be shared than non-visual content? The inexorable rise of image-led social media content has seen channels like Pinterest, the pinboard-style visual app and Instagram, the photo sharing and editing giant constantly increase their users.

So the use of relevant images is a hugely powerful asset to deploy. Images have the advantage of evoking emotions in an instant and visceral way, much more powerfully than words can. Pictures can be used to make people feel happy, angry, excited or curious. The marketer’s challenge is to identify and use the right images to convey what they want the user to feel.

3. Video Content:
Harness the Growing Juggernaut

The single most important thing in content marketing today is video. Whether it’s video on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or YouTube, the content you need to be thinking about is video. Period.”

Video content is experiencing an astronomical upward surge right now that doesn’t look set to slow down anytime soon. Marketers, both from the B2B and B2C sectors, rank it in the top three most effective social media tactics. And Facebook, the world’s biggest social network, has embraced it in a big way. In April 2015, there were already 4 million videos being viewed daily on the network. By November the same year, this had doubled to 8 million.

The secrets to video success lie in telling a compelling story, and being able to show the user what other forms of content can only describe. Interviews with key figures and influencers provide exclusive insights and display a brand’s human side. How-to guides provide useful and practical information as well as entertainment. Food and drink brands, for example, uses colourful video recipes to whet people’s appetites.

4. Offsite Content:
Reach More People on Other Relevant Platforms

In social media marketing, it’s not enough to simply publish content on your own channels. You need to build a profile of offsite content hosted on other relevant platforms. This helps to establish your brand as an industry leader, and lets you reach a wider audience of potential prospects. Guest blogging is the most well-known technique, but you could also arrange a video collaboration or even an Instagram takeover.

The key guiding principle here should be relevance. Don’t try to arrange offsite content on a platform just because they have a massive audience. If their subject matter is wildly different from yours, you won’t reap benefits because their audience simply won’t be interested in what you have to say. Be targeted, intelligent, and tenacious — this type of content requires a commitment to relationship building, negotiation and budget allocation:

There's no way around it: effective offsite content marketing these days takes time, a generous budget and true talent. - Relevance.com

Last but not least, mix it up ...

Variety is the spice of life, and this is no less true in social media marketing. Using different forms of content is essential in order to maintain a dynamic and exciting profile. The exact combination will depend on your audience’s preferences and the information you want to share.


  • The volume of social media content produced is astronomical, ramping up the pressure on brands to stand out
  • Written content should be brief, data-driven and not too salesy
  • Visual content is highly shareable and has the power to elicit emotions
  • Video is huge right now; all brands should be investing in video content
  • Offside content is an important way to reach new and relevant audiences on channels outside your own.

Unlock your full brand potential with this up-to-date handbook. Download The Guide to Social Media Marketing now. You'll learn how to align with your customers and followers and create a better perception of your brand.

The Guide to Social Media Marketing

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