Ways to Optimize Your Content for Successful Social Media Engagement

Great content is the key to most branding today — increasing traffic, cementing your reputation as an expert, and spreading brand awareness. But great content is only as great as its distribution methods. It won’t do much, after all, if it just hangs out on your website looking pretty. According to the content writers from PaperHelp, It needs to be read, shared, and deeply engaged with — and social media is exactly the right place to generate all three of those activities.

It needn’t be a difficult feat, either. If you look to the left-hand side of this very post, you’ll see my contributor archive, which makes it easy for you to read more of my posts if you like my voice/the depth of my content/my beautiful smile (thanks, middle school orthodontist!). There’s also a social count on all of my posts, which serves as a form of social proofing (i.e. all of these other people liked my posts, so you might, too).

So, in what other ways can you optimize your brand’s content for social engagement? Let’s take a look.

Integrate Social Share Buttons on Your Visual Content

Concert Hotels is a travel service that connects leisure-seeking event travelers with hotels and other services near the concert, show, or another event they plan on attending. The brand is particularly popular among concertgoers, and so Concert Hotels has done an excellent job of targeting music lovers with highly visual interactive pieces, hosted on its Sound Board. The pieces on their own are just asking to be shared; they’re fun, interesting, and require users to actively engage to navigate through them. Still, the brand leaves nothing up to chance, providing social share buttons throughout the content so that sharing is only ever a click away.

See how easy the social share buttons are to spot in the top left corner of this piece, which visualizes the capacity of an iPod in vinyl?

Again, there is also a social media count to encourage even more social interaction. The higher the count, the more likely other people will be to share its kind of a social media snowball effect.

The left-hand social sharing bar is sticky, so you can still see it at the very bottom of the post, where the same set of social buttons is also spread horizontally to cover all the places where people might be looking at this point.

All of the major social sites are included, and it’s easy to embed the piece directly into your site.

Insert a Text Tweet Link into Your Copy for Easy Sharing

As effective as social sharing buttons can be, sometimes you’ll want to generate user engagement right when you’ve piqued a reader’s interest, like, say, after a particularly insightful line about an issue that matters to your audience. A text tweet link is great for moments like these, as they allow you to generate engagement mid-read without losing their attention. As you can see below, these are really like shareable pull quotes:

They’re fully embedded into the post itself and you can tweet it right from the page, so it doesn’t disrupt the reading experience. A text tweet like this does double duty since it generates engagement while also visually breaking up the page, just like a bolded header or image. This opens up a perfect new opportunity to promote social sharing within the text itself.

Embed Social Media Streams Inside Content

If there ever was a content-rich resource center, let’s take any hub. Here you’ll find everything from tips on car and tire maintenance to stories about the company’s newest products and its environmental initiatives. With so much content to play with, there’s a lot to say — which is why it makes sense that the company has embedded its Twitter and Facebook feeds right at the bottom of the resource center page.

With the feeds right there, the reader is automatically encouraged to join in on the discussion. And because they don’t have to go anywhere to do it, bounce rates won’t increase. Not only does this promote engagement with the brand, but it also creates a social media content ecosystem right on the brand’s page, giving Bridgestone a lot more control over the experience it creates for its customers.

The only caveat here is that sometimes embedding feeds like these can be overwhelming. That’s why it’s generally better to place them at the bottom of the page, rather than in the sidebar, and not to include more than two feeds. You, however, should be the ultimate judge about whether or not embedded feeds to make your page look too cluttered and distracting.

Improve Social Media Writing

You might think it’s easier to write for social media; it’s only a few words, and followers will forget about it a few hours later. If you run your social media feeds with this attitude, your company isn’t reaping the benefits of social media they could be.

Yes, tweets and posts are less static and have a shorter shelf life than blogs and web copy, but that doesn’t make quality less important. A poorly written feed makes you less likely to build a loyal following or have your content and brand be remembered. If you want your social messaging to be on par with the rest of your content, start following these five tips.

Don’t Mince Words

When it comes to writing, less is more. This is especially true on social media. Even on sites where you have more than 140 characters, there’s no time for chitchat, so keep posts short and sweet. If you’re sharing a link, for example, avoid summarizing and write a killer headline instead. Regular updates don’t have to be a specific length but aim for brevity. Also, don’t be cryptic – followers won’t stick around if they have to try too hard to figure out what you’re talking about.

Encourage Interaction

While writing content, don’t forget about the social part of social media. You want people to engage with you, so create content that encourages a response from followers. Think about what kind of content motivates you to reach out. Do you like to answer questions? Do you enjoy jumping into a heated debate? Maybe you like to enter contests or contribute content of your own. Write similar posts on your feed and grow audience participation.

Keep a Consistent Voice

Your social media feeds give people an idea of your brand’s personality. They won’t have any idea, though, if your posts go from serious to flippant and back again. Before you even begin a social media strategy, decide what kind of image you want to convey. It can be straightforward or sassy, casual or professional, whatever fits your business. Once you’ve picked a tone of voice, stick with it in every headline, status update, and comment.

Check Your Work

The best writers in the world all have one thing in common: their work has been edited, proofread, and edited some more. Your content might be shorter, but that’s no reason to ignore this important step. A writer whose content contains poor grammar and spelling looks unprofessional, careless, and, frankly, kind of stupid. You don’t want that reputation, so take the time to check your writing before hitting the Post button.

Post What Matters

There’s a lot of information on the web, but your audiences are probably ignoring most of it because they don’t care about it. If you want to write quality content, consider what you would be interested in reading about. A good example to follow is one of the makers of therapy pools. The company’s Facebook page contains blog posts, interactive campaigns, and news from around their customer communities to cover topics that are relevant to their followers. Social media posts come and go, but the impression they make lasts a lot longer. If you want to run a top-rate social media feed, learn to be a better social media writer.

The Takeaway

The purpose of great content is to generate deep customer engagement and heavy social sharing. That starts with producing great content in the first place (bad content won’t be shared, no matter how easy you make the process). But just as important is making sharing as easy as possible from there. One click max is ideal, right from the site itself. In essence, you want the content you post to be a part of a wider conversation — one you generate and promote in every way possible, directly from your site. There’s no better way to engage customers and spread your brand.

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Social media, business, and Tech. writer. I use my skills, relationships and passion to create the content that helps.

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