Social Media Content: 5 Most Important Types
Social media runs on content. This is the major driving force that’s fueling content marketing growth.
The challenge for marketers: Does your social media content stand out from the pack?
Social Media Content: 5 Most Important Types
Marketers use a mix of 5 types of social media content, according to 2014 Social Media Marketing Industry Report.
Top on marketers’ list is original content that answers their target audience’s information needs. It’s used by 94% of marketers.
73% of marketers supplement original content with curated content on social media platforms. This reliance makes sense in light of the voracious need for content across social media platforms as well as the challenge to be non-promotional on social media.
Video and audio content present the greatest opportunities for marketers to set themselves apart from the pack of other content.
1. Original written content (aka text)
This is information created by your organization including your employees, agencies or freelancers, and/or your customers. Its power comes from providing value to your target audience.
3 Major forms of written content.
- Articles. These are short pieces that provide information in 500+ words. They can be used on your blog, website or a third party site. Each piece should focus on one keyword phrase.
- Presentations. Include slide decks to convey and share information. They may be a by-product of a live talk or event, or they can be created specifically to share on social media. For live audiences, use attention-grabbing images and minimal text; for an online, asynchronous audience use more text and context.
- Ebooks. Written, digital assets consumed on a computer, e-reader, tablet or smartphone. It’s used to enhance product value with additional information. This format is used more by B2B marketers than B2C marketers as an incentive to capture leads.
2. Original visual content
Visual content is been hot because people are visual beings. We take in visual information 60,000 times faster than text.
3 Major forms of visual content images.
- Photographs. Use as-is, or modified to enhance other content, emphasize your message, and/or make people look better. With widely available, easy-to-use cameras on mobile devices, anyone can create, edit and share great photographs.
- Infographics Are graphics that present complex information through a combination of images and text to simplify core concepts. Data graphics, a sub-category of infographics, illustrate a single data point. Incorporate relevant facts and data throughout your infographic.
- Non-photographic images. Includes all visual content that’s not photos or infographics. They improve information consumption by using graphic elements and/or designs such as charts, graphics, illustrations, diagrams and/or animated GIFs. Create them with computer tools to present information in a concise way.
3. Original video content
The growth opportunity for video makes sense since, at its core, video is visual content on steroids. While professionally created video content is expensive relative to text and visual content, it’s cheaper than glossy, agency produced television ads.
YouTube is the 800 pound gorilla of social media video content and the second largest search engine after Google. Considering it only as a video platform overlooks its social media potential for content distribution, sharing and commenting. It produced video stars with massive followings like make-up consultant Michelle Phan who now has her own cosmetics line.
Anyone with a smartphone or tablet is a video producer. Social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram have introduced video options.
3 Distinct video creation options.
- High quality, professional videos.
- Amateur low budget footage via mobile device or computer.
- Enhanced slideshows or webinars augmented with audio.
4. Curation of other people’s content.
Content curation is becoming an increasingly important element of every marketer’s content toolbox. In part this is attributable to the lower relative cost compared to the original information creation.
A steady stream of robot selected content, however, is insufficient to fill your target audience’s information needs. You, the marketer, must select the key information, provide relevant commentary based on the content and your audience’s specific needs, and incorporate contextually relevant branding.
For social media content distribution, curated content is a necessity because shouting: Me! Me! Me! is unacceptable behavior. Followers will stop listening to you. To this end, you should share 9 pieces of other people’s content for each piece of your organization’s content.
5. Original audio content.
Only 6% of marketers currently podcast, yet 21% of marketers plan to increase podcasting activities and 28% of marketers want to learn more about it, according to Social Media Examiner’s research. Audio is a big marketing opportunity to stand out by talking directly on a one-to-one basis with their audiences.
Audio content requires different production and editing resources than video. Although in a simplified sense, it’s video content without images.
Expand audio distribution via iTunes and other channels.
While staking out your turf on another media platform may not be high on your content marketing list, if it works for Derek Halpern and Pat Flynn, it’s worth consideration.
Derek Halpern [of Social Triggers] heard Pat [Flynn of Smart Passive Income] say: “~20% of my readers said they first found me on iTunes.”
Halpern’s podcast came out in early January… By January 27th, Social Triggers had already grown over December’s full month of traffic by 43%…”
Media companies and other trailblazers are building their audio audiences. In fact, Social Media Examiner’s Mike Stelzner is a huge proponent of audio content; he podcasts every Friday.
5 Actionable social media content tips
To make your social media content more effective, follow these 5 tips.
- Know your target audience. Start by creating a marketing persona to better appreciate, their information needs related to your offering.
- Tell a story. Stories make your information memorable by adding an emotional connection that your company, brand or product may not evoke. Use a basic plot and archetypes including a hero with which your audience identifies. The more specific your details are, the more universal your story becomes.
- Incorporate your brand in recognizable and consistent way, regardless of where it appears. Your content’s focus should be in line with your brand including your references to your products, employees, customers or mascot. Be consistent in your use of color, borders and other finishing details.
- Tailor your content for each specific social media platform. One size doesn’t fit all. Adjust the amount of information presented and the format used for each social media platform. Consider size, color and proportions to meet the social media entity’s guidelines.
- Distribute your content across social media platforms. Maximize your content reach with a mix of social media platforms. Be where your target audience spends their time. Support social media content distribution with paid promotion. Expand content delivery with owned media, social sharing and influencer marketing.
Use a mix of social media content to maximize your reach. Distribute your branded content where your audience spends their time.
Take advantage of the social media content formats where there are significant opportunities, namely video and audio. Build these audiences while they are still in the high growth phase.
What has your experience been with social media content?
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