How to Make Smarter Social Content
What has 1000 words but only 140 characters?
Hint: It’s not a very complex, very brief Broadway play. (But I would be interested in seeing that script.)
I’m talking about social images. Visual content is an essential element of any brand’s social presence. It’s been over three years since Facebook and Twitter introduced a more visual user experience and visual-centric platforms like Instagram and Pinterest really took off.
Back then, we hailed the rise of visual marketing. Talk today is all about the next evolution of social marketing: video.
Whether you are sharing static images, GIFs, or video—the fast-paced, highly visual nature of social media has presented new challenges for marketers and creatives.
First things first, before beginning a frenzied effort to find or create new visual content, you need to assess (or establish) your content marketing framework.
When you’ve done that legwork and identified new creative needs, keep the following ideas in mind.
Make it Ownable
Don’t succumb to the pressure to create more, more, more visual content and abandon the brand guidelines that make you unique. Think about creating templates that use your existing fonts, color palettes, and photography styles so that you can quickly create on-brand social content.
Spotify does this really, really well. They use a mixture of photography, graphic data visualization, and stylized Tweet spotlights that are all highly recognizable. They also include their brand mark on social images. This is really smart—as content gets shared socially, they maintain ownership and build awareness with their great content whether they get mentioned or not.
Assemble Your Dream Team
Who owns visual social content? Your creative team? Your community manager? Your content strategist? At Spredfast, we’ve found that the answer is all of the above.
Our designer brings the brand expertise and creative chops. Our community manager brings context to help us understand what types of content are resonating with our audience. And our content strategist makes sure we are telling the right stories for our brand.
We use biweekly check-ins to look at our editorial calendar and make sure we are on top of upcoming content. Creating structure around our social creative process has opened up bandwidth for more fun visual campaigns.
Think about the whole package
SXSW is coming up, so I’ve been thinking about some of my favorite sessions from last year. Leila Brillson (then at Refinery29, now at NYLON) focused on the art of the Facebook callout. In her quick session, she spoke about using every element of a post—the copy, the link preview image, headline, and text—to draw your audience in.
Look how this recent post used post tagging and quick, compelling copy to great effect:
Native video is the next big thing to wrap your head around. I’m not going to spend too much time on this, because it could be many posts in and of itself. In their last earnings call, Facebook reported that over 50 percent of people in the U.S. who come to Facebook daily watch at least one video per day.
Some things to keep in mind:
- Native video autoplays in the News Feed—the first few seconds are crucial to draw users in
- But autoplay is silent—the visual elements need to speak for themselves.
- We’re just getting started—Twitter’s native video is new and relatively feature light. Expect to see more emphasis on native across channels.
Who does it really well? Barack Obama.
Make it Simple
Every social network has it’s own unique user experience. Great for users. Tricky for marketers. Optimizing visual content for each channel means keeping track of a laundry list of specifications.
We did some digging to create a brand new social size guide with the latest specs for images and videos. Bookmark the page or Pin the image as a quick reference for creating smart social content.