When developing a content marketing strategy, one of the most crucial aspects of the plan is often social media marketing. When content is created, it is usually produced with hopes of being shared across the Web, not only through internal marketing campaigns, but also organically on social media networks.

It isn’t always as easy as it may seem to create content that people want to share. Generating buzz is difficult when a content piece isn’t optimized for social media or wasn’t created with social-specific goals in mind. However, there are many steps you can take to assure the content you create is truly share-worthy. Check out these four ways to create successful social media content.

Attainable Social Media Content Goals1. Have Attainable Goals

If you’ve developed any sort of marketing plan before, you know that having goals is critical to effectively measure success. However, when you’re considering content marketing goals, are you sure what you want to achieve is even possible?

Of course, we all want our content to be tweeted, liked and shared hundreds of times, produce thousands of website visitors, tremendously increase leads and make a sizeable addition to our revenue stream. However, all these together are lofty goals for a series of content pieces, let alone a single piece. In order to create successful social media content, your goals must be reasonable and attainable.

Instead of working to achieve all of the above, set explicit goals for each content project. For example:

  • Have x number of social media mentions in a week
  • Increase Facebook likes by x
  • Have x number of people fill out our contact form in a month
  • Have x number of people download our content piece each week
  • A x increase in traffic from social media networks over 3 months

As long as x is reasonable (based on analytics data), these more specific goals will allow you to accurately measure the success of your content piece.

Learn What Social Media Content Your Audience Likes2. Learn What Is Important To Your Audience

People use social media networks to express who they are, build their personal brand and connect with others. Because of this, the content people share on social networks gives us a clue as to what is important to them.

Unfortunately, most people are not going to be passionate about the product you’re selling or the service you are offering. However, they may be passionate about the results of your product/service or about how your product/service affects or helps them.

If you can create content that illustrates what is actually important to your audience, you will find success.

To find these insights, practice social listening on your own or through the variety of tools (both free and paid) available. Monitor keywords on Twitter, hashtags on Facebook, conversations on Google+ and discussions on LinkedIn.

Really dig into what your audience is talking about and discover what type of content they share, where they share and how often they share. With this information you will be able to create a content piece that sincerely speaks to your audience.

Create Useful Social Media Content3. Create Useful Content

Once you know what kind of content your audience enjoys or is passionate about, take that information and create something useful. Chances are if one person finds it useful, others will as well. You can do this by developing something that educates, interests or entertains your audience.

For example, a staffing agency’s audience is management and director-level executives who make hiring decisions. One pain point many of these professionals face is retaining top talent. A staffing company could create an e-Book about employee retention and offer it to prospects as an educational content piece.

This content is useful because it teaches the audience about something important to them and could affect how they do their job. If the content proved to be useful, they may share with others in their company, industry connections and on their social networks.

Though educational content is often very successful, sometimes people want to consume content about something that interests them but won’t necessarily teach them something new.

For instance, a company in the travel and tourism industry could interview well-known travel bloggers and publish the interviews as blog posts. These interview pieces are interesting to the audience because it gives a sneak peek into the lives of their favorite bloggers. Though it isn’t educational, the content speaks to the common interest of the audience.

Another type of content that is often shared on social media is entertaining content. Everyone loves to laugh or smile every once in awhile! If you can make someone laugh (or cry), you’re tapping into your audience’s genuine emotions.

Humor is one of the easiest, most instinctive ways to trigger emotion, so creating humorous content is a way to garner a reaction from your audience. If you don’t think your industry is funny, think again. Though shaving isn’t an inherently funny activity, Dollar Shave Club made it funny by producing hilarious videos and imagery that spoke to their audience in a way their competitors were not.

Make Content Easy to Share4. Make It Easy To Share

You would be surprised how many times I have seen a great content piece I wanted to share but couldn’t find a social sharing toolbar, button… nothing. Of course I could just copy and paste the link, but depending on the network, I may have to come up a description of my own, and that takes work (more work than it should be).

Don’t make your audience work to share your content – make it as easy as possible.

To do this, be sure every piece of content you produce has social sharing buttons that are easy to find, most commonly at the top of the page or underneath the content. Additionally, be sure that the content’s meta data is correct.

When people share on Facebook, LinkedIn or other networks, often times the meta description provided serves as the preview text displayed along with the link. As a result, it’s imperative to write meta data that could interest others enough to click through.

Creating Social Media Content That Gets Shared

Generally, there are a variety of aspects to consider when creating content you hope will be popular on social media networks. You can’t make content go viral – it has to be so great that it goes viral naturally.

In order to create content that is worthy, start by developing attainable goals, learn what your audience likes, create content that is useful, and make it easy to share.

What other tips do you have for creating successful social media content?

(Images courtesy of Vertical Measures)

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Content Marketing | Content Marketing | Content Marketing Column | Social Media Marketing

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About The Author: is the president of Vertical Measures, a search, social & content marketing company helping their clients get more traffic, more leads, and more business. Arnie has held executive positions in the world of new technologies and marketing for more than 20 years. He is a frequent speaker and author of "Accelerate! Moving Your Business Forward Through the Convergence of Search, Social & Content Marketing" available on Amazon.



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  • http://www.appleoutsider.de/ AppleOutsider.de – Sebastian P

    I tried to share your link but because I care about ad-companies tracking my every move on the internet, Ghostery disabled all the neat “share” buttons you provided.

    Your article will remain forever unshared among computer savvy people.

    My condolences

  • http://www.ferreemoney.com/ Neil Ferree

    Simple 4 steps and useful @ the 30,000 foot view and its key to syndicate your content to your top socials with attention to detail on the “insight” you intro to your shared content as well as the imagery used and the CTA placement if approproiate

  • http://www.13thbeachdiywebassist.com.au/ Nigel Rawlins

    Hi Arnie,
    I agree with you on setting attainable goals. However for new sites it will take time to get noticed unless they have the time and means to do or pay for all the work to draw traffic.

    I think the issue is to see those goals in terms of a marketing campaign over a period of time across social media, their blog, press releases and off line marketing.

    Maybe a start up with a good product and marketing budget can spend towards such a goal. But for many micro businesses and small businesses this might be a long haul job.

  • Stefan Radu
  • http://www.brickmarketing.com/ Nick Stamoulis

    “most people are not going to be passionate about the product you’re selling or the service you are offering”

    That’s a bitter pill to swallow but you have to embrace it. People don’t care about how awesome your product is, they want their lives to be better/easier. Your job is to connect your brand to their needs and wants.

  • Arnie Kuenn

    Totally agree Nigel. In fact, I would say for every business of every size this is a long haul job. We tell our clients that this is at least a 6 month ramp up, but they don’t always want to hear that. We are too used to instant gratification via traditional ads or even PPC. But if you want to “own rather than rent” you need to build the content and your social media over the long haul.

  • Spook SEO

    Great post. If you want to ascertain what kind of topics your community wants to talk about, looking at forums can help do the job. You just have to look for “hot threads” (that’s related to your niche of course) and make a post about it. The fact that that thread is “hot” is an indication that people are interested to hear about it. I hope this helps

 

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