Have you considered for a moment that the type of visual content you are creating may not be what your fans are craving?
In this post, I reveal the easiest way to check that you are sharing visual content your fans really want from you – and how to start using it in your posts.
Warning: It requires you to stop posting like a marketer and start doing something completely different!
Stop Posting like a Marketer
Let's all stop for a moment, take off our marketing hats, step into the shoes of our fans and take a step back.
Yes, that's right.
I want you to stop posting… like a marketer.
I want you to start posting… like a FAN.
Here is why.
- Content that is “native” to the platform catches the attention of fans in the right way – it entices them to check it out, take action and ultimately it build relationships with fans or users.
- Fans like to hang out where they like to hang out. Those places, where they spend their time are the places where you build trust. And as much as I am an advocate for housing your most important content on your blog or website, part of content marketing also involves sharing that content (or other content) out to social networks.
- Fans don't like to be “marketed” to. But they like to be entertained, helped and inspired. And if you think about it, this is the type of content they are usually posting themselves on most platforms – whether it is Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook or Google Plus.
Gary Vaynerchuk (Gary Vee) said this, and it pretty much sums up the idea of posting native content:
Gary highlights a number of key “elements” of great native content:
- it shouldn't interrupt the user experience
- it offers something of value to your audience or helps them rather than placing demands on them
- it shows people that you understand what matters to them most – from music to pop culture to news. It's about playing on their turf the way they want to play!
- It should be snackable, easily digested and unique to your brand in that you are consistently creating micro-stories and micro-pieces of content that entertain, help or inspire your fans
- it needs to be consistent and should reflect your brand identity
What does all this mean?
Again, post like a fan not like a marketer.
Even when posting something that reflects your brand identity you need to be
- considering the turf you are playing on (the social platform)
- considering the game the players are playing on that platform (is it Australian Rules or Grid Iron) and
- considering the rules (what are the written or unwritten “rules” for users – what's considered cool and not cool on that platform).
If you turn up for the wrong football game in the wrong gear on the wrong pitch or field playing a totally different game…well …we all know how that ends.
The best way to get it right is to step back and look at how your fans use a platform before jumping in!
And even if you have already jumped in, take a walk back into the stands and check out the playing field from another view!).
Let's take a look at some examples of what works on each platform:
Let's get something straight up front. Facebook fans don't come to Facebook to buy. They come to connect with their friends and family, and to be entertained.
So the biggest mistake you can make is to post like a marketer and forget about posting like a fan.
The first thing you should ask yourself is this – what do people share on their facebook profiles? What do you share on your personal profile? What do your friends and family share on their profiles?
Post more of THAT stuff. The majority of the time, you should be posting content that users love to share and to consume.
We're talking fun photos, inspiring quotes, funny photos/videos/memes, infographics and links to great articles.
The majority of your content should be inspiring or helpful posts, and posts that entertain, inspire or educate (but if educational, please do it in a fun, entertaining way!). Visual content rocks for this – videos, photos, memes, images are types of content that fans crave and gobble up.
They love snackable, entertaining, visual content.
Kim Garst does this well on her Facebook Page:
Kim provides relatable visual content that is either:
- inspiring and motivational ie quotes or mantras
- funny (ie memes, funny photos)
- sneak peeks (behind the scenes photos and sneak peeks into her life and business)
- how-to's and tips (Kim produces tips on social media, social selling and marketing)
Her content is consistently providing high engagement on her page (sometimes up to 1,000% engagement which is huge when the average can be as low as 2-5% for most businesses).
Kim posts many times per day, the majority of that content being made up of engaging, relatable posts (up to 80%) with the rest tips and promotional posts.
Canva is also an example of a brand who is not afraid to show sneak peeks and “behind the scenes” images on Facebook. Here is an example from their “Onesie” Day:
Your fans might not come to Facebook to find out about businesses or to buy, but that doesn't mean that don't LOVE to go behind the scenes.
It is one of the most engaging ways to talk about your business while not talking about your business!
Fans also love something unusual or different. For me, the engagement doesn't always come from social media news, tips, strategies or content – it comes from the echidna that lives in our back yard. Think about what would interest your fans. Your life and business (with the curtain pulled back) can catch the attention of fans – something that seems rather mundane to you might actually be of interest to your fans who wonder what goes on behind the scenes!
Another type of post that does really well is anything to do with Nostalgia. We love to reminisce.
Think about it… lots of Facebook posts by fans are about another time “back in the day”, reliving an event or remembering the past.
We talk about what it was like as kids. We love #ThrowbackThursday posts. Anything that involves us looking back, and even better, how far we've come, can be powerful!
That's why Intel shows yet again, with this post, that they are the masters of creating content that is platform-native:
Intel know how to speak in the language of fans (for a bunch of tech geeks, that's pretty impressive!). The game Space Invaders will bring back a lot of memories for their fans (at least those of us old enough to remember (wink).
So as Gary Vaynerchuk says, “be their entertainment”. Provide nostalgic, funny or helpful content in a visual format, so that people can snack on it….and share it with their friends.
If you are providing tips/how-to/educational information on Facebook, then be sure to do it in a visually fun way that not only catches fans' attention but encourages them to take action on that content – to click in some way – like, comment, or even better share or click through to your site.
You can then choose to build on that engagement by giving calls to action to visit your website, or run fan-only ads to check out your new webinar….if you have already built up a relationship of affinity with those fans.
If you consistently provide them with value – even if it is entertainment value – they are more likely to buy from you.
Tourism Australia has the biggest following on Facebook of any country in the world. They built their massive following of over 6 million by turning their page over to their fans in 2011 – asking fans to provide visual content and images they could share about our wonderful country.
Their team tell, in this SlideShare presentation how they team launched their Google+ platform with great success, growing quickly to 30,000 followers to Google+, but then took a step back to see how they could give fans the visual content they crave.
The results of what they saw inspired them to experiment and so added more “facts” about Australia to their Google+ posts.
The shift was incredible – their following skyrocketed from 30,000 followers to 730,000 followers in just 3 months. All because they looked at what resonated with their fans.
If you look at their +Australia account now, you can see that it continues to cater for their fans craving “facts and figures” about Australia:
Google+ users love images, humour and wit, but they also love long posts, with lots of links and references to resources. They especially like how-to information, tutorials and infographics.
The post itself on Google+ will perform well if it utilises hashtags, and links back to your blog or another article for more information and resources.
This encourages engagement but also leads people to click through for more content. Rebekah Radice does this well when sharing her blog posts in the following example:
Of course images are showcased really well on Google+ so you should consider using images and photos as much as possible – and behind the scenes photos, GIFs and Memes are loved by Google+ users. General Electric tap into these types of visual content such as this blast from the past, displayed in a GIF:
Companies like General Electric speak the language of Google+ – not only using images, gifs, expanded descriptions but they use hashtags effectively (a big part of the Google+ community). They also take advantage of tools within the platform like Hangouts to build affinity with fans.
They post like users, not like marketers!
Instagram is a unique platform in that it is literally about moments in time. It's about taking us with you as you go about your day – be it your business, your life, behind the scenes, the beauty of Instagram is in its mobile nature.
Instagram is about the celebration of the artisty of the moment – Apu Gupta, Curalate
It's true. Instagram started out as just that – mobile photography – snaps taken with your mobile phone. It has progressed to include big DSLR cameras with fancy editing in the case of some photographers, but at its essence it is still about capturing life's moments with your smart phone.
Instagram can be great for business if you think like a fan, not like a marketer.
Here are some brands doing it well on Instagram:
Maggie Beer, an Australian cook with a high profile food/deli company.
She could easily post images on Instagram of her delicious icecreams, condiments and products all day (side note: her chocolate salted caramel icecream is very hard to resist!).
Maggie could post images of her cookbooks all over Instagram.
But instead her team mixes it up and often posts natively. They do post cookbooks and products, but it is more about the behind the scenes of those products rather than the products themselves.
They also post images around the Barossa Valley wine region that could sit proudly next to the images of top Instagram photographers:
Landscapes, Sunsets, Sunrises and leading lines are hugely popular on Instagram. There is no reason why brands can't tap into some of these popular image types when posting content – posting like fans!
Maggie's team post colourful behind-the-scenes images of seasonal fruit. Or the behind-the-scenes preparation for a function they are doing… and sometimes a promotional post, but they mix it up with fan-friendly content.
There's no doubting that sunsets and sunrise is popular on Instagram – but you can be a B2B company and still rock a sunrise as shown by GE in this example… posting like a fan:
Hashtags are the language of Instagram and GE do this well, choosing hashtags appropriate to their target market.
When a fan posts that General Electric has one of their favourite instagram feeds (check the comments in the image above), you have to think GE are doing something right!
And as with Facebook (and most social platforms) a little behind the scenes action goes a long way, like this post from Marketo:
Or, how about a little behind the scenes using Hyperlapse? Monique and James from Ground Organics often post images that showcase their staff, their behind-the-scenes, sneak peeks and recipe development at their highly popular organic/raw cafe.
Experimenting with Hyperlapse or timelapse video for Instagram is a great way to show your business, your team or to take us on a tour!
I could go on and on with examples but you get the picture.
Take some time this week to look at the platforms you are on with your marketing and ask yourself this – what is the content that our fans love to post?
Then take a look at your content, see what is “fan content” vs “marketer content” – check what is resonating with fans, then…
Do more of that!
Over to you – if you had to choose one business/company/brand that you follow for their native content, who would it be?
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