How To Create Engaging Social Media Content For Beginners
A how to guide on creating engaging social media content for your platforms!
Hey all! I’m very excited to share these How To Guides with you. I’ve wanted to do something like this for a while as I’m very passionate about digital marketing, especially social media content.
I’ve been using social media since the Bebo & Myspace days so my experiences date back to 2008. My education and work experience is also coming into its 5th year so I think I’m ready to share some knowledge with you all, in the hopes that it will help you to create engaging social media content even if you are a beginner!
Before We Start
At this point I should say that although this post is for beginners, you should have some sort of following on your platforms otherwise there’s no one there to check out your amazing content!
I’m not saying you need thousands and thousands of loyal fans but having some people as a starting point is important, even if it’s just 10 Facebook likes and 5 Twitter followers.
You must always be working on growing this fan base and this WILL grow with time, nailing the content now will increase the engagement and thus, the following.
Make sure to take notes to use later or bookmark this post 😊.
So, where do you start when creating social media content?
You know your niche/industry/business inside out.
You’ve got experience in it, you may have studied in it and you’ve probably been doing it for years. So why is it so damn hard to take all that information out of your head and turn it into an engaging piece of social media content?!
I feel you, I have been there and some days I still am.
You’ve got so much knowledge on it but for some reason you can’t get it out of your head and onto paper/screen, it’s very soul destroying sometimes.
We have to really start from the bottom here and create some order in your mind. You are juggling multiple idea balls and they are dropping everywhere into a sea of sadness that makes you just ending up posting anything and everything, not ideal.
What Tools Can We Use?
These really are great for getting everything out! Remember them from school? Teachers really did love to use these and now I see why.
Start a middle circle with a category, remember we are figuring out what we actually need to post about here so no days and times just yet.
Let’s use me as an example – to narrow it down I am a fashion blogger and freelance writer so that would be my middle circle.
I know that I need to write social media posts about my writing outside of my blog, so one of my outer circles is titled ‘my services.’
From there I have put down who I write for to make sure I post about all of them, so let’s take Fizzy Mag.
Let’s say that I know I’ve done an article this week for them and I need to write an engaging bit of content on all my social media to promote this using relevant hashtags/links/images.
Here is my rough example for you guys, I did try to do this online at first but it looked trash and then I remembered that nothing beats pen & paper my friends.
Make this map as extensive as you need it to be so you know what you need to post about in enough detail to move forward.
Having a good old fashioned list can make your ideas clear and concise so you know where to place them as they pop into your head!
They are great to use either instead of a mind map or after to allow space to add more ideas, let’s carry on with myself as an example.
Along the top of your page you can write the categories that came out of your inner circle and underneath you can list everything you will need to post about for that category.
Post It Notes
I did a post not to long ago on this called ‘How To Organize Your List.’ This involves an organisation technique that helps sort out a to-do list for your business but the same principle can be applied to this.
Give is a read and I promise it will clear your mind/list up in no time and help you to sort your ideas visually and physically.
These tools are so simple and in most cases so obvious.
But what you find is that a lot of the time you are too busy thinking of things, doing them as you go and repeating every week just to get them out of your head, you end up with that ‘tick, next job’ mentality.
Without basic planning initially your posts can end up not making any sense, look rushed because you just want it out the way and they end up being full of bland content that gives you nothing back.
You are getting out of your head and onto paper everything you need to write about with these tools, ensuring you cover as much as you can.
We will flesh it out later, for now you need to know what you actually want to post about that’s going to be relevant and useful to your blog/business.
Now we have our list and know the basic outline of your post, how are you going to bring this to life?
If you are already in the blogging/writers world then you are by default a good writer, beginner or not.
Doing this job would be impossible if you a) disliked writing and b) were terrible at it, so don’t think you can’t at any point because you totally can.
You have to apply the same energy to your social media content, treat it like your blog post/writing project.
You find this happens a lot especially when you are starting out, you focus so much of yourself into writing your blog/project and making that perfect that you end using 5 minutes ‘here or there’ to actually post on your social channels.
All this does is make for boring content that will attract no one and that’s the last thing you want your audience to think.
This is my first Tweet a mere 7 weeks ago. Now it’s not bad for a first go, there’s relevant hashtags, there’s an emoji and it’s a little bit less dull to read than some.
I do have a slight advantage in that I have done a lot of social media marketing not only for myself but for other companies too, so I am more comfortable with writing the content.
However, this didn’t have any structure, no planning and didn’t really achieve much for me – it got one like and that was from my boyfriend.
If I saw this Tweet on my feed I would be like “oh, good for you honey” and 100% scroll past it.
Well, what does it do for me? The important thing to remember with making content is it has to be engaging (like I haven’t said that enough already) but you need to figure out WHY your audience would want to engage with it.
There’s a fine line with promoting your blog post and getting engagements and just promoting your blog post.
We have to word content in such a way that makes your audience want to go, “hell yeah, one like from me” or “wow, I absolutely have something to say to that, take my comment!”
And the best option for maximum exposure, “I TOTALLY agree with that, time for a retweet!”
So how do we do that?
Passion, research & coffee/wine/something on ice
You have to give a shit about your social media post, how can you expect anyone else too if you don’t?
Let’s pick a topic from my list to use as an example – my latest article for Fizzy Mag is live and I want people to read it, duh.
So I ask myself:
- What platform is this going on? Just one or all of them? Different platforms have a different tone of voice, we will get to that.
- What do I want to achieve with this post? More views on my articles? Comments on the post?
- How do I want it to sound? Friendly? Exciting? Intriguing?
- What calls to action will I have? Do I need any? (answer is most likely yes)
- What hashtags are important? Does it need them?
- What imagery/gif will I use? Will I need any?
I know it seems like a lot to consider for what can sometimes be just a 240 character Tweet and if you’ve got to this point and thought ‘f*** this shizz, I’m out’ I would understand.
Sometimes I struggle with the motivation too but once you’ve done this once, you’ve done it a 1000 times and I promise you, content for future posts will just come to you because you will be a fountain of knowledge!
Grab a glass, have 5 and come back to me.
Building Your Post.
It’s time to answer the above questions to build my example post.
It is going to go on all of the platforms which means we will need to word it slightly differently to each other.
What I want to achieve is more exposure to the work I can do outside of my blogging and that not only do I have article writing experience but I can also cover a range of topics.
This kind of post is important to me for potential clients, to showcase my skill set whilst also promoting brand who has given me the opportunity to write for them. When I write this post I will be tagging them in it so we have to bare that in mind also.
I want it to sound fun & intriguing, why should my audience read this? Will they learn a new fact? Will they get to check out a newly dropped clothing collab? Will it just give them something entertaining to read on their coffee break?
All these things need to be considered and can help you flesh out your content.
The call to action for this one will differ depending on the platform, ‘click the link below to find out!’ or ‘check out the link in my bio for the latest drop’ etc.
Hashtags for this are important as well, they will be for pretty much everything you post but some are more vital than others.
The link should provide me with an image and if not I will find one online (free to use of course!) on somewhere like Pexels that matches the articles content.
Finally, the fun part!
For some people the actual writing will now come naturally but for others it still might be tough to think of something and that’s okay! This is where research comes in, we all need some inspo from time to time.
Have a look at what your competitors/fellow bloggers are doing, look at their socials, look at what is getting engagement.
Look at what’s trending, can it tie in? Look at their hashtags, are they popular? What are they posting on Facebook compared to Instagram?
Write out a few versions of your post too, don’t limit yourself as you want this to be just right.
Down to their emoji’s and tone of voice, look at what is successful for them and apply it to your situation but it goes without saying not to copy.
It is also important that when doing your research you look at what hashtags are relevant in your niche and which ones get engagement.
Each post will need different hashtags, If you re-use this guide until you’ve got it nailed you will know them off by heart!
My Latest Post Has Just DROPPED!!
Just kidding, but my latest example content is here and ready for you to take a look at! So I answered all my questions and here is what I came up with.
Take note of the differences in all three – I’ve left Instagram out because the text box is too small for an example post.
These casually get more formal as you shy away from Twitter and head into LinkedIn territory.
Casual relaxed tone, slang, Twitter & content relevant tags, plenty of emoji’s, tag the brand.
Still relatively casual but my audience there is a little different, so I make it a bit more formal with less hashtags (I use 2 or 3 max).
Business focused – I’m not saying you have to be a complete nun but potential employers look at your profile and your professional presence here, a post like that one for Twitter will do me no favours.
Two hashtags for me is still a bit much here but we’re going with it for now and I’m still tagging the brand as they are an online publication with a LinkedIn profile, it also gives potential clients something to link back too.
Notice how my aim on LinkedIn is the same which is to get people to read the article but my approach is totally different because of my audience.
Posts like this get me engagement on LinkedIn, I am discussing this from a professional growth perspective and not just trying to get my audience (who probably won’t care much for the latest Nike drop like my Twitter followers) to view the article.
I want them to understand why it’s important for me from a business point of view to share it there. Understanding your audience on different platforms is so important for your content to work in your favour.
Time For A Quick Recap
Organising your content – A list of everything you need to post about that’s relevant to your business/blog e.g sharing fashion news or promoting your latest blog post.
Asking yourself key questions – Flesh out your content by asking important questions and using the answers as a guide. Note, these questions can vary depending on your goals but the general rules apply.
Answer the questions with your content – Give your audience what they want whilst also making sure you meet your goals for this post.
Would you like/comment/share it?
The answer better be yes!
Now time for some bad but not really so bad news…
Until you are seasoned with your insights, your schedule and who likes what, you are going to go through the motions with your content and that’s not a bad thing.
Once you have a better understanding of what gets your audience engaged you can then start to tailor your content around that data. I, like many others, have spent a lot of time posting content that gets me nothing.
Then one magical day a variation of a regular tweet I posted managed to get more engagement than others…why? It had a GIF.
And boy does Twitter loves GIFS. If you didn’t know there is whole threads dedicated to your favourite ones, it’s bloody great.
So now for this particular themed tweet every week, I make sure it has a relevant GIF and it keeps getting engagement!
This is obviously an easy difference to spot and sometimes it isn’t that obvious to see what works and what doesn’t, it really can just come down to something as simple as timing.
Where Do I Store All My Sexy New Content?
I would strongly advise that you store this information digitally once you’ve got it all figured out through your mind map/list. There are multiple ways to keep this all in one place:
- Word Document – a classic and simple approach that will have all your text in one place.
- Excel Spreadsheet – used a lot by companies as opposed to individuals to be able to quickly upload CSV files to bulk schedulers. I’ve seen this in its final form and it’s not pretty or fun – two things I give many shits about, but it is practical and makes bulk uploads easy.
- Google Sheets – now we’re talking, like Excel’s fashionable younger sister, Google Sheets is what I use to keep all my content in one place.
- Straight into the scheduler – for those with little time on their hands, this means putting content straight in to get posted on a day and time of your choice. Keeping it here means it won’t post until you arrange it to, allowing you to come back for edits. It also previews it for you, I also use this method but not for all of my social platforms.
And that’s it folks! A guide on how to create engaging social media content for beginners, but why should we stop here? I wouldn’t do such a thing!
Watch out early next week, I will be posting the second in my Social Media Content For Beginners series and showing you How To Understand & Utilize Your Insights & Analytics.
Do leave any comments below, is there anything that helped you? Should I have covered something else? Do you have any top tips? Ciao darlings!