Creating content that engages your reader is probably one, if not the most difficult part of social media marketing. Small businesses, especially those new to the game, struggle with knowing what, when, and how to post.

While they can be savvy business owners, many don't know where to start when it comes to posting content to social media sites. Often they question themselves or think that what they have to say is not of value to the reader. They forget that their opinion is important.

For those of you wondering where to start, here are the top ten rules for creating content that is sure to engage, enlighten, and / or entertain your readers.

Give your visitors a reason to engage. 

Your content should be educational and informative. Let’s face it. People go to social media sites to escape, gather news and learn something new. Remember that when you’re writing your content. How do you know if your copy is engaging? Readers will like, comment, tweet and share it.

Make It Useful. 

People will read and share your content if it has purpose and meaning; if it’s something that helps them do their jobs, makes them better understand a complicated subject or lets them see something in a new, refreshing way.

Remember to KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid). 

Long posts on social media usually don’t generate much engagement. It’s a fact that Facebook posts with only 40 characters generate a colossal 86% more engagement than their longer counterparts. Following are the ideal lengths for each type of social media post: Twitter, 71-100 characters; LinkedIn, 20-25 words; Google+, 60 characters; YouTube, 3 minutes; and Blogs, 1,600 words.

Have a Conversation. 

Keep your content genuine by approaching it like a conversation. Start out with a question. Instead of saying, “Remodeling Ideas for Your Home,” go with “Would you try any of these remodeling ideas in your home?” Real conversations will add immeasurable value to your social media efforts.

Is It Shareable? 

Ask yourself, “Would I share this post if I saw it in my newsfeed?” Creating “shareable” content begins with knowing your audience. With that in mind, every post should add some type of value to the conversation, whether by entertaining, informing or promoting your brand or business.

Show readers how to do something. 

“How to Get More Twitter Followers.” While your post may not go viral, giving your readers that extra value will prompt them to share your content.

Use Visuals. 

When it comes to growing your business visuals are extremely important to engage with your reader. Typically, social media posts that include pictures or videos are more successful. Having one image in your post leads to double the shares on Facebook and Twitter. Tweets with images receive 150% more retweets. Articles with pertinent images receive 94% more views and adding images to your content can boost your credibility by 75%.

Tell a Story. 

As a business owner, when it comes to social media marketing your superpower is storytelling. Use your content to celebrate your business. Tell your visitors how you got started, what drives you. Sharing your passion will engage your followers and gain their trust.

Write Like You Speak. 

No one wants to read content that sounds like a research paper. The key is to write like you’re talking directly to your visitor. Use second person like “you” and “we.” Don’t be afraid of contractions. You wouldn’t say, “I cannot go with you.” More likely you’d say, “I can’t go with you.”

Vary Your Content. 

Content is more than text. If images are worth a thousand words than video is worth a great deal more. Don’t be afraid to spice things up with infographics, images, video and shareable links to transmit your message across cyber space.

Bonus tip: Go through your Facebook and Twitter feeds. 

What’s the buzz? What’s trending on Twitter? Anything you can spin, revise, borrow or use as a kick start? As I’m writing this, #Thanksgiving is a promoted Tweet. Why not write, “My favorite Thanksgiving memory?”

Remember: creating content strengthens your position as a recognized expert. Take these tips and get your message out there!


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