And, there are a bunch of ways for any advertiser to get the job done on a minimal budget.
How do you stand out? How do you prove you’re different?
Be the individual you are. Tend your fire so we can see it.
Take advantage of the following methods to make your social media content sizzle.
1. Make it a game
We play games with each other throughout our lives.
But let’s talk business gamification. The Executive Editor for IGN, Scott Lowe, identifies two key components of gamification for business:
- Unification: “Merging the action with the reward, instead of burying it under UI layers or even within a separate application”
- Careful Consideration: Understanding the user’s motivation for playing the game – “The user needs to feel personally invested in successfully completing the action that results in the gamified reward”
A network like Facebook is an excellent platform for gamification.
A famous example is A&E’s Parking Wars game.
The end result of this effort to market the show Parking Wars was a total of 1.5 million users.
The experience was unified because the user didn’t have to leave Facebook to access the game.
In terms of consideration, why are “users” on Facebook to begin with?
Parking Wars was so successful because users could play with friends. There’s nothing quite like social motivation.
2. Make viral tweets
Going viral is the Holy Grail of social motivation. And Twitter is a good place to seek the Grail because it’s so easy for users to retweet what your content.
As with everything in the social media world, there are no absolute predictors of what will go viral. Humans are an unpredictable bunch. But we do a lot of research, and there are tools.
One of these tools was developed by researchers at Cornell University. They developed an algorithm to predict what will be retweeted, and a program to determine which wording is more likely to garner retweets.
The key takeaways are:
- Don’t be shy: Ask for a retweet
- Know your audience: Speak in their language
- Write newsy headlines: Create buzz
- Words matter: Express emotion
- Name names: Rep your crowd
3. Get visual
Words are important, but if no one can see you, your words won’t mean as much. On any social media platform, getting visual is a must.
The photo-sharing app Instagram is the fastest growing major social network, with 26% of U.S. adults among its users.
On Twitter, tweets with images get 150% more retweets.
For brand pages on Facebook, posts in the top 10% include photos. These posts account for 87% of total interactions.
Compile a big list. Then use a tool like the Post Planner Viral Photos feature (disclaimer: it costs $7) to filter out the images that have gone viral.
Naturally, you’ll adapt. You’ll learn from the stuff that has gone viral.
And then you can get down to the business of creating and curating your own visual content.
4. Create memes
Researchers at Indiana University Bloomington found you can predict the virality of a meme by analyzing the structure of its retweet network.
Early on, if the meme is retweeted by a more diverse community of users, it’s more likely to go viral.
The researchers were able to use this analysis to predict which memes will go viral with over 60% accuracy.
When you create memes and infographics for your business, think diversity. Create images someone would want to look at even if they know anything about your business and niche.
The main intent should be to entertain and educate – not advertise. Advertising is the result of just how damn good your content is.
Google “free meme maker”.
Imgflip is just one of the many options. For our purposes it should do fine.
Choose to upload your own image. Or choose from the list of images directly below the button.
After you’ve uploaded the image, add text at the top and bottom. You can even choose to add a scumbag hat. (Author confession: this is a meme of me with a scumbag hat.)
Check the “Private” box if you don’t want it floating around online (probably a good idea so you can control dissemination). Play around. Then hit “Generate Meme”.
5. Create infographics
Canva and Venngage both have great infographic apps.
This template’s called “Sweet Blue”. You can access a template easily after hitting “Create Infographic” once you’ve logged in to Venngage. Or you can start from scratch.
When you’re in template mode, single out a section by clicking on it.
Then click delete up top. Next, drag over the Title Text box from the left.
Then insert yours.
Just like with memes, play around. Add interesting info and images.
Again, the most important thing to remember about infographics is that you are competing with loads of informative and entertaining content.
Attempts at blatant advertising should be shunned. Attempts at slighting the competition should be equally shunned.
6. Create videos
Facebook now places videos at the top of News Feeds, prioritizing this type of content over any other. They play instantly when you scroll down the screen.
In a recent development, Snapchat plays video ads too.
This is one more way, out of hundreds, to differentiate yourself on social media.
But how? Loads of advertisers use videos. You’ve got to learn from the best.
Joshua Hardwick, Managing Director for video production company ShortyMedia, has 4 Rules for a Video to Go Viral:
- Evoke emotion: Stoke the fire
- Portray your brand without overly promoting: Be clear about who you are
- Have a marketing plan: Lead the viewer to a possible point of sale
- Have concurrent branding/marketing efforts: Don’t make a video in a vacuum
These rules could apply to any type of content marketing.
There really aren’t scientific formulas for this. Where we’re going there are no roads – just great social media content.
So let’s all sit down and watch a favorite, excellent example again. And again. And again.