I know, I know.
There are thousands of blogs detailing the 'dos' and 'don'ts' of achieving social media success. And, with far over 1 billion active Facebook users per month, it's easy to mistakenly think that everyone's an expert.
And perhaps you're reading this thinking:
"Caroline, I am a Facebook expert. I know all there is to know about tagging, commenting and posting. In fact, just last Christmas I racked up 135 likes after posting a hilarious photograph of my dog dressed in an elf costume. What could you possibly have to tell me that I don't already know?"
But with social media platforms constantly updating and announcing fancy new features, it's easy to forget the basics. And even if you are personally 'Facebook famous' among your friends, there are a few key things to remember when creating content on behalf of a brand or organization in order to ensure their social media success.
1. Know your audience, down to their shoelaces
This is such an obvious one that I risk patronizing many of you just by writing it (I'm sorry). But alas, it's probably the most important thing to consider when writing anything - not just social content.
The thing about writing social media content is that, most of the time, you have access to raw data about exactly who your audience is (lucky you). If you know, for example, that 95% of your audience are women aged 25 to 45 whose interests are home ownership, children's activities, home decor, cooking and gardening, are you going to craft a detailed post about the top 5 best interstate fishing trips to do before you die? Probably not.
Utilize the analytics you have available to you and pay attention to the details of the data.
2. Watch your tone
When posting on behalf of a brand or an organization, the tone and language you use needs to be consistent and uniform.
Is the brand fun and cheeky, or formal and informative?
Does the audience want stats and numbers, or opinions and insight?
Are the majority of followers reading the posts via mobile phone?
Your tone needs to be the embodiment of your brand, tailored to each relevant context.
3. No picture? No post
You can write the most interesting post, filled with fascinating stats and figures, but without an accompanying image many people will skim past it.
There's a heap of free sources online with great, high-resolution images that don't look like generic stock photos.
A good place to start is Flickr, searching via the Creative Commons license. The images are usually free to use in any capacity, and many of them make a nice change from the standard stock photos often accompanying social content these days.
But that being said, this isn't always true. A great testimonial, a fascinating new research finding or some interesting facts or figures - content like this will often stand on its own without an accompanying image. If anything, given that our Facebook and Twitter feeds are filled with images these days, a good piece of content standing alone could have even more impact, if it's punchy enough.
4. Videos are the new black
Have you seen Nike's Facebook page lately? It's exclusively video posts.
You get the idea. Get on the bandwagon.
5. Perfect timing
Those of us with personal Facebook and Instagram accounts know that Sunday afternoon is the sweet spot. You want 50 plus likes from your mates? Sunday afternoon is a great time to post.
It's not too different when scheduling content for brands and organizations - but, again, you have access to raw data that can be used to locate the best times to post.
And equally as important as the timing of posts, is the frequency. For a new Page, you might be posting daily. For a more mature page, perhaps you're down to a couple of times a week. Beware of bombardment. There's really no faster way to lose followers than by clogging the news feeds of your followers with content they're not interested in.
6. Remember why you're here
This may sound obvious, but for the majority of brands and organizations, the end goal actually isn't to accumulate thousands of Facebook Likes and followers. The goal is to get your audience away from Facebook, and onto your website, into your cafe, purchasing your product, visiting your store.
While growing your Facebook audience should be a tactic in your overall business strategy, it's important to remember that for the majority of brands and organizations, Facebook is simply a tool in achieving your wider business goals.
Remember to include links back to the organisation's website and clear calls to action directing people back to your brand.
7. Reuse, reword, rephrase, recycle
So, you've written a fantastic Facebook post accompanied with a great image and a link back to your website. You got really high engagement - lots of comments and shares.
Job done, right? Wrong.
Always ask yourself if your content can be reused. Could it be turned into a blog post for your website? Can your media release be broken up into several great Facebook posts and tweets? Can your top performing Facebook posts for the recent month help you to draft compelling eDM content?
Your success on Facebook can be a useful measure in what a wider audience may be interested in. What about LinkedIn? Could some of your Facebook content be tweaked, padded out and posted on LinkedIn? Could your LinkedIn post be shortened and tweeted? Reuse, reword, rephrase, recycle across all your social media platforms.