Clients often ask me how to create a social media post that will engage people, increase brand awareness, and drive sales.
First and foremost, social media should be a blend of education, entertainment and a little bit of sales. If a business constantly shoves sales down their clients’ throats, people will stop following their accounts. However, if a company shares content with helpful tips, fun photos and entertaining thoughts, and then mixes in news about products and services they offer, it is a magical combination that has people coming back to see what’s new.
Second, people have a short attention span and tend to mindlessly scroll through posts on social media. Even I find myself not reading past the first line or two of long caption. In short, follow the KISS rule … keep it simple stupid!
So what makes a good social media post? Here are 4 elements that every post should include to engage followers, increase brand awareness, and drive sales. • a good quality photo • a set location • a caption with meaningful content • and accounts tagged
1. A good quality photo Always start each post with a good quality photo. A picture is worth a thousand words, but the wrong picture is deadly. Here’s a good example, imagine Charlie’s Restaurant is trying to promote their new Kansas City Ribs. The owner takes a photo of a freshly prepared dish. The setting is beautiful, the dish is gorgeous, and the glazed ribs look mouthwatering.
But what happens if, just as the owner snaps the photo, a bug buzzes into the picture and lands on the plate. Imagine what happens if that photo gets posted to social media. You can bet at least one person will notice and comment, and then everyone will comment, and the next thing you know, Charlie’s Restaurant is out of business.
Here are some image killers to watch out for, bad lighting, low-resolution, inappropriate items in the photo, and poor framing. Nothing is worse than posting a photo with an unintentional head being cut off. When in doubt, hire a professional photographer! If you plan correctly, one photo session should allow you to get enough photos for months of great social media posts.
2. A set location On social media platforms, there is a place to list your location where a photo was captured. This element is important because when a location is added, this drives higher engagement on a post. In the case of the Charlie’s Restaurant, the restaurant definitely wants diners to know the address where they can find these delicious ribs. Setting a location allows more people to find your picture and like, comment, and share.
3. A caption with meaningful content Let’s continue with the restaurant analogy and assume the photographer has captured an awesome photo of a plate of barbecue ribs. The caption should paint a picture, while also being short and sweet. For example the owner could share something like, “New at Charlie’s Restaurant, Kansas City Ribs, glazed with @Kansas_City barbecue sauce, and so tender they will fall off the bone. For a limited time only, get a free appetizer when you order the ribs!” Now the restaurant has enticed prospective diners with a great photo, an appetizing description, and an attractive discount. Make sure every caption is personal and tells a short story to your audience.
Always ask these 5 questions when writing captions:
Is it informative?
Does it provide information about your product, a promotion, or your company?
Is it on brand?
Can a user tell that it follows your company’s tone of voice and overall style?
Is it encouraging followers engagement?
Is there a clear call to action telling users to do something?Is it clean?
Does the caption look aesthetically pleasing?
Is your text too long and overwhelming? How is your spacing and punctuation? Have you added emojis to make your content look and feel great!
Is it adding value?
Will followers receive new information, a chance to win, or a piece of inspiration?
4. Tagging Charlie’s Restaurant could simply post a beautiful photo and caption on their social media account and hope it captures attention. However, a better way to drive engagement is to tag other accounts in a post. What does tagging mean? In short, the restaurant owner, or marketing manager, selects profiles they want to receive the new post personally. Tagging is like adding an email address to the top of an email, so that the person receives your message directly and doesn’t have to go hunting for the new post. Now the new post will go directly to the people the restaurant wants to know about its new special ribs. Ideally, these folks will get excited and pass the message on to their friends and followers. Instagram captions with tags of another account, such “@Kansas City” will generate more audience engagement.