The A – Z of Ways to Create Engaging Social Media Content

By Debbie Hemley

Are you looking to create content that engages?

Does your content connect with people and encourage them to engage?

In this article I'll show you 26 ways to make content that engages people, in an A-Z guide of tips.

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#1: Authors Matter

Written content doesn't exist without authors, whether constructing 140-character posts or 1000-word articles.  Not only do you want people who can write well (e.g., clear points, proper spelling and grammar, active voice), you need writers and team members who can think strategically about the content that will resonate most with your audience.

Creating good content is important for social media engagement.

We'll talk about more specifics as we go down the list. For now, think strategy.

#2: Blog as a Spoke in the Wheel

A blog provides an opportunity to discuss a topic in-depth. It's a place where you canoffer explanations and suggestions, demonstrate how-to's, show thought leadership and generously offer useful content for readers.

Kristi Hines offers these helpful tips for blog content:

  • Analyze your competitors (topics, frequency of posts, who writes them, how they are shared) to see what works and what doesn't.
  • Make your content valuable and unique.
  • Subscribe to top industry blogs using RSS to keep track of the latest hot topics.
  • Search for people asking questions about your keyword or phrase on Twitter.
  • Ask your sales and support team what questions are asked most frequently by potential or current customers.

Is your blog's content meeting your customers' needs and expectations?

#3: Curate Selected Content

In the past couple of years, content curation has become more mainstream as businesses of all sizes and industries have started to adopt the practice.

Content curation is defined as "the process of finding, organizing and sharing online content."

As Beth Kanter writes, "Content curation is not about collecting links or being an information packrat, it is more about putting them into a context with organization, annotation and presentation.  Content curators provide a customized, vetted selection of the best and most relevant resources on a very specific topic or theme."

Brian Carter offered his social media posting rule at Social Media Marketing World (SMMW13): Post curated content 50%, original content 30% and promotional material 20% of the time.

#4: Data Provides Direction

Social data can tell us a lot about industries, customers and prospects; what we should be doing more of and what we should do less of. Jayson DeMers says social data can provide five insights for businesses:

  • Real-time market mood
  • Relevant issues and content
  • User interests
  • Internal operational metrics
  • Competitive research

How are you using social data? Where can you improve your processes?

2012 social media marketing industry report

Source: Social Media Marketing Industry Report.

#5: Email and Social Media Work Hand in Hand

Do you think of email and social media as separate entities?  Do you favor one more than the other?  The fact is, email and social media complement each other quite well.  They leverage one another. Help the other to be seen by an audience that may not have otherwise come across the message.

DJ Waldow offers these valuable tips for integrating email and social media:

  • Include social icons in emails
  • Ask email subscribers to share and connect
  • Send a dedicated email campaign
  • Provide incentive-for example, ask email subscribers to invite friends on Facebook to receive a discount
  • Promote email sign-up via social networks
  • Include "retweet this snippet" in email
  • Build an email opt-in form on Facebook
  • Don't forget SMS-text your email address
  • Promote email marketing on your blog

#6: Facebook Pages Don't Guarantee Engagement but are Good Candidates for the Job

The act of setting up a Facebook Page and publishing it for the world to see doesn't automatically send people running to engage with your business. Engagement strategies should be tried and tested over a period of time.

Mari Smith offers these five factors that help contribute to exceptional engagement and measurable results:

  • Launch creative incentives
  • Post highly shareable content
  • Build a tight community
  • Have a quirky brand-for example, add humor and entertainment
  • Give your fans plenty of excellent content on a regular basis
mari smith facebook
Mari Smith's "peeps" won't hesitate to share content they like.

#7: Google+ Provides a Unique Blend of Features and Benefits

Whether you're a fan of Google+ or not, you should know that it's a force to be reckoned with. GlobalWebIndex recently reported that Google+ remains the number 2 social network in the world with 359 million monthly active users (Facebook at number 1 with 903 million accounts).

Sarah Bauer suggests that Google+ is rapidly becoming "the most important content publication platform for businesses with an eye on higher search rankings. The data in a piece of content posted on Google+ is immediately indexed for Google search. On Twitter or Facebook, Google has restricted access to the data and indexing can take a few days. AuthorRank, the digital signature for Google+ users, is also set to affect the ranking order for search results."

Mike Stenger offers these tips for engaging with readers on Google+:

  • Follow active people relevant to your business
  • Take time to comment
  • Participate in hangouts
  • Publish high-quality content

There's more… read the remaining 19 tips of "The A – Z of Ways to Create Engaging Social Media Content" on Social Media Examiner

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Hospitality News Headlines: 3rd June, 2013