In my last post, I discussed the need to stop ignoring the most important question in social media. The question I mention that should be asked before you hit send or schedule on any post is, “Can I make this more interesting?” The point being that if your answer is “yes”, your audience’s answer will be “yes” as well – leaving you with sub-par engagement and a consistent loss of meaningful followers.
You’ll notice I wrote “meaningful followers.” These are the people / companies you’re actually trying to reach with your posts. If you’re just after “followers”, you don’t need to worry about being interesting; just take the easy step this “very interesting” account owner below took and your goal will be achieved.
For those of you who are actually serious about being more interesting to gain more engagement, read on.
Four Ways to Write More Engaging Social Media Posts
1. Share the story, not the headline
With all the social media scheduling and automation tools available today, it’s easy just to “set it and forget it” by grabbing some headlines, adding some hashtags, setting your post times, and calling it a day. Guess what? Social Media channels are already flooded with that – why not be different?
Related: How to Be Known on Social Media
When sharing content, make sure to take time to read (or at least scan) the post and look for that interesting quote, that surprising statistic, that shocking statement. Start your tweet with that and then recommend readers to click through. This does two things: 1) It adds much more interest to your post and 2) it shows anyone seeing your post that you actually looked at the article, instead of just blindly sharing it (as so many already do). Compare these two examples:
“Ten ways to enhance your engagement metrics on Twitter:”
“‘Hashtags and photos are not enough to gain engagement anymore – but these 10 tactics will really help you stand out’ – this article is spot on:”
Which of these is more interesting? Exactly. You’ve also chosen the one that is most likely to be clicked / shared.
2. Pick a lane and stay in it
In The Art of Social Media, Guy Kawasaki mentions how good information comes in four forms – the trick is not crossing the streams. The reason being that when you blur the lines, your message loses its clarity, thus making it less interesting to the reader.
Determine which of these four lanes your posts falls in, and keep the content in that lane.
Information deals with what happened? It’s the high-level view of the news story. “Amazon has some surprising entries in its top 20 candidates for HQ2 – take a look” is a good example of an interesting “information” post. I’m not promoting insights, interpretation, or analysis – just the info.
Analysis deals with what does it mean? This is the why behind the what. “Why talent availability and infrastructure limitations make only six of Amazon’s HQ2 top 20 real contenders for the tech giant.” Here, I’m clearly promoting research I’ve done into why some cities are more likely to be candidates than others. I’m not announcing the news of the top 20, but my analysis of something to do with the announcement.
Assistance deals with, how can I do that? If you follow anyone in the digital marketing realm, you’ve seen the “five ways to…”, “15 tools you need to…”, “How you can grow engagement with…” etc. With these posts, you’re offering assistance on how to do something or providing assistance with something.
Entertainment deals with, what else? You’re consistently sharing content in the realm you want to be known for, but entertainment is your chance to simply, well, entertain. The motivational quote, a video of a cool new gadget, that trending sloth video, something about a popular hashtag, etc.
As you’re creating your next post, determine which lane fits, and stay in it.
BTW, this is an especially helpful reminder if you see a lot of posts on a certain topic that are all in one lane. That opens the door for you to differentiate by taking a new angle.
3. Share honest and authentic content
Some unfiltered honesty here: If you’re putting out posts about how someone can “master a digital marketing strategy in five easy steps”, you’re part of the problem.
Stop sharing it. Stop writing it.
It’s not honest, it’s not original (sadly), and once someone clicks through and tries out the doomed-to-failure advice, you mark yourself as someone who shares clickbait material that seems interesting, but is really garbage.
Bottom line – You don’t have to overstate or mislead to be interesting. Be honest and authentic. So, instead of five easy steps… (which is untrue), maybe focus on one key step that is essential along with some practical advice and tools to bring that step to life.
I won’t write too much about this, as we are all aware of the multitudes of misleading articles that promise the impossible in 500 words or less. If you’re truly looking to share interesting content that engages the audience you’re seeking, don’t insult them by sharing that fluff.
Be helpful. Be useful. Be original. Be authentic.
4. Find better content
As you know, content is king. And while the first three tips above are helpful, at the end of the day, you actually need content. And not just any content. Interesting content.
Fortunately, there is no shortage of good ways to get high-quality content that is interesting and worth sharing. Over the years, I’ve utilized several sites that serve up quality material. Some of my favorites include DrumUp, AllTop, Feedly, and Buzzsumo.
The great thing about content curation sites like these is that over time, you’ll begin to discover the 4-5 news news sources that provide the best info to keep your feed full of great and interesting content. You can then bookmark these sources for a self-made curation tool.
Give these four tips a try and see how they work for you. Are there others that have worked for you in the past? Share them in the comments below.