An actual log of my LinkedIn feed:
- Link to 10 impactful books I need to read this year
- Long paragraph of just text
- Intriguing quote placed on top of a cool photo
- Picture of someone I barely know getting an award
- Flashback picture from a business that isn’t relevant to me
- Link to a blog with no picture
- “Hey network!...”
When scrolling through your social media feeds, which of these kinds of posts do you generally click on? What gets you to actually “like” something? What is a “turnoff”? What compels you to comment on something?
Recently, I have found going through certain social media platforms to be frustrating and/or boring. Why? Because a majority of the content does not add value to me or my organization. Often, the posts are either self-promoting or thrown together just because the person knows they should be posting something.
If you are posting content personally, the rules are different. But if you are sharing content to promote your business or position yourself as a thought leader, here are three guidelines to follow when evaluating what to post.
1. Ask yourself: Am I adding value to others or simply promoting myself?
Think about what your audience would want to see and what they will connect with. What are their felt needs? Then create content to address those problems. Rather than just posting a selfie with every client you have worked with, write a short post on the three actions someone with the same problem as your client can take to find a solution. This will not only add value to your followers, but it will also increase your credibility.
2. If you don’t find the content interesting, don’t post it!
I can almost guarantee that if you don’t think the content is helpful or appealing, no one else will either. You should be proud of every piece of content you post since it reflects directly back on you or your organization. That being said, sometimes people need help realizing that something could be valuable to them. A few ways to make your content easier to consume are to:
- Add headings or numbers to break up text (to help the skimmers find value quickly)
- Always use an image where appropriate (to catch the attention of the scrollers)
- Start your post by saying who it is for if you have a mixed audience: “FOR BUSINESS LEADERS: …”
3. Build trust before you make a call to action.
In his book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, Gary Vaynerchuk compares marketing to boxing. He says that in marketing, you have to spend time jabbing at your consumer by providing lightweight content that benefits them before you can land your right hook – content that benefits your business. Once you have earned trust and credibility by providing valuable content, your call to action will have more power.
Some experts suggest following the 10:4:1 content rule laid out in Kipp Bodnar and Jeffrey Cohen’s The B2B Social Media Book – for every 15 updates, 10 are other people’s content, 4 are your own content, and 1 is your call to action. Others say you should follow a 50/50 rule of 50% other’s content, 50% yours. Whatever method you choose to follow, make sure your posts aren’t all self-promoting or you may end up losing followers.
In short, the best way to engage your social media followers and not drive them crazy is to create posts that add value.
Tiehl McRoberts graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations from Taylor University and has experience as a writing intern for a community foundation. As The Center’s Director of Communications, she manages the database, website, social media, marketing and special projects.