We all do it. The mindless scrolling through our social feeds. Everyone and their mother is online, so getting your posts to stand out in the feed and stop the scroll is becoming more difficult, but it doesn’t have to be intimidating. You just have to get intentional, and we’re here to help.
Maybe you don’t know what else to post, so you just post about your products or services. Maybe you don’t even give a second thought to your posts, but just usually post spur-of-the-moment when you have time to think or you when realize you haven’t posted in a few days. I think we can all agree that this isn’t an ideal scenario. So, if you’re in a rut, you’ve come to the right place.
The problem with posting the same thing all the time is, well, it eventually becomes very easy to tune out. Your feed can easily become white noise, an easy “scroll past” account and then before you know it, you’ve got your followers rethinking the follow. (Or using that ever elusive Mute button. Didn’t know about the mute button? You’ll thank me later.)
This one may hurt a bit, so brace yourself. Ready? Okay… let’s do this. Only about 20% of your stream should be about your products or a service promotion. Only 20%. That means for the other 80% of posts, instead of talking, posting, reposting, and posting again about how awesome your product or service is, you should be engaging in conversation and sharing other types of content and information with your audience. It’s so important to bring the personal along with the professional. Your followers don’t want to be sold to 24/7. Share your story. Hey, you could even have a little fun! The only thing you need to remember is to keep all of your posts in line with your brand message.
Diversifying the content that you post will really help to stand out, engage your current followers, and hopefully bring in new ones.
But how do you diversify?
Content pillars are a great way to organize your content strategy on social media. A content pillar is a key theme that categorizes the type of posts you will share on your social media. Just like the name suggests, your pillars are a foundation for building your content.
Content pillars shouldn’t be too specific. They should be wide, like the trunk of a tree, with the ability to create different branches and limbs within each pillar. It’s up to you how many content pillars you choose.
Not sure how to determine what your content pillars should be? It’s important that all of your pillars are in line with your brand message, and they should also address the needs and values of your target consumer.
But First… Who, What, and Where?
Speaking of your target customer, before we jump into the different types of content you can utilize, there are some important questions you need to ask first that will determine exactly what kind of content you should post. A really good rule of thumb is, before you speak, you should know who you’re speaking to. You wouldn’t speak the same way to a CEO that you do your bestie. You’d say things to your kids that you wouldn’t say to your work colleagues. What are the demographics and behaviors of your target audience? Second, you need to find their outlets. Meet your audience where they are. Don’t spend all your time on Instagram if your target consumer is really on Facebook. And lastly, determine your message. What does your audience need to know about your brand?
1. Who’s your audience? How old is your target customer? How old is your social media audience? What does your customer like? What else are they doing and buying?
2. What platforms do you need to be on based on your audience? If you’re demo is 18-24, Facebook is out and Instagram is in. And vice versa, the 55 and older crowd isn’t really on Instagram, so if that’s your audience, you’ll want to utilize Facebook.
3. What message do you want to communicate through your social media? Some good examples of messages you want to include are ideas like services, about your team, your process, what sets you apart from your competition.
What are Your Content Pillars?
Now that you’ve determined your audience, let’s get started on different types of content pillars.
Products & Services – As I mentioned earlier, promotions should only account for a small percentage of your feed, but they should definitely be there. But because they’ll be so few and far between, make them count! Include an offer that will stop people while scrolling and get them to click.
Educational – These are posts like tips, how-tos, blogs, interviews, and more can add value to your followers, and they’ll usually be really appreciative of your time and expertise. This is something followers stay for. And maybe once they trust your expertise, they’ll become loyal to what you’re offering them!
Humanizing – This includes posts like Behind the Scenes, Team Activities, Emotional Stories, Meet the Team, and more. This should most likely be the bread and butter of your content. Your followers want to know you. And as much as you hate getting your picture taken (we all do!), ya gotta give the people what they want… and in this case, that’s your beautiful face.
Shout Outs – This type of post is a great way to engage with your following. The only thing people want to see more than your pretty face is, well, theirs! Things like Follower of the Week, Partner Spotlights, Follower Submissions, Follower Reposts, Giveaways, and more will make your followers feel appreciated and seen. And they’ll love you for it!
Once you’ve decided on a brand message and figured out which content pillars and platforms are best for your business, it’s time to cultivate the perfect post.
Elements of the Perfect Post
Videos, pictures, clever captions, oh my! Every platform will have its own perks and its own hurdles. But we believe in you! Here are two great tips to stand out in your followers’ feed. Be highly visual. And be very interactive.
Photography should be personal to you, and very eye catching. You have seconds to capture someone’s attention as they scroll through their timeline. You can write the most clever caption there ever was, but if you don’t stop your users’ scroll with a great visual, they’ll never stop and see what you have to share. It’s okay if you don’t have a fancy camera. There are plenty of tutorials online for how to get the most out of that high-tech phone camera! Portrait mode, anyone? We love it. It’s a #godsend.
Videos have been an ever-increasingly huge part of social media in 2018. And the good news is you can utilize videos on every social media platform. Some great ways to interact with your audience on Instagram are via Instagram Stories. These are way more lighthearted and personal than a post. You can also do fun things via stories like ask your followers specific questions (hello, free case study!), and polls are a great way to gauge the temperature of what your followers are thinking.
Captions are intimidating. But they don’t have to be! Just be you. Sitting down and actually taking time to be intentional about your captions instead of writing something on a whim will automatically make them exponentially better.
A Plan is Key
Now that you know your who, what, and where and have some strong content pillars to build your social media content, I’d like to briefly touch on mapping and planning. Mapping with a content calendar helps you to be intentional about which pillars you’re sharing throughout each month, that way you don’t have three posts of the topic in a row. A schedule helps make sure you’re giving even representation to all of your pillars. An ideal month would have a few posts from each pillar, evenly spread out throughout the month.
If you want a more in depth look at how to create and manage a content calendar, here’s a great article!
Alright, so, the good news and the bad news is that online, it’s not all about you. The social media world is all about your followers, so find a way to revolve your world around them. That’s right. For some of us that’s a huge weight off of our selfie-hating shoulders. But for some, it may mean you need to carve out more time to be intentional about what content you’re posting.
You don’t have to start as an expert. Just start somewhere! Ask yourself, what are 3 pillars my business needs (as a bare minimum)? And go from there.
For example, if you’re a retail shop selling handbags, an important pillar might be Follower Reposts. You want your followers to see real fashionable women carrying your bag, so they’ll want to carry your bag as well! But for a handbag company, Behind the Scenes of your process is a pillar that might not make sense for you, because you most likely don’t make your product by hand. Now, for a clay potter or hand-made jewelry maker, that’s a different story. People would probably love to see your process.
So get to work! What makes you you? And what pillars make sense for your business?