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Social media recipe for engaging content: data, content + luck

May 14, 2021 3 min read

So what is engaging content? I think of engaging content as something that a company would consider too valuable to give up for free. My recipe for this type of content is data, content and a sprinkle of luck on social media. What’s your recipe?

I worked a lot with photographers and noticed that sometimes they like to set the stage in terms of recipes. An excellent example of this would be the Cocktail photography cookbook. It contains short “recipes” of different food photography setups: lights, background, positioning, etc. The result is a fully baked photo of a delicious-looking cocktail. 

But this gave me an idea about social media posts. There are very similar aspects to posting content to social media. My recipe for them is data, content, and a sprinkle of luck. It’s an easy recipe for a light Friday reading with a drink in hand. So let’s go through the ingredients. 

Data - the base stock

We’re already so used to measuring everything. When I say “data”, even in my mind, I think about reports and dashboards to track engagement rates, likes, shares and so on. And that is important. But for this recipe, we need to look at the data before posting. 

First, post timing. The most straightforward point of data to determine. The internet is full of valuable infographics about the best posting times, and I will leave you with resources to dig further. But the essential information is here: 

  1. Facebook. Worldwide the best days to post are Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. The best times are between 9 AM and 1 PM.
  2. Instagram. Worldwide the best day to post is Tuesday, between 11 AM and 2 PM. 
  3. Twitter. Worldwide the best day to post is Wednesday, between 9 AM and 9 PM. 
  4. Linkedin. Worldwide the best days to post are Tuesdays and Wednesdays, between 9 AM and 12 PM. 

The general consensus around the globe seems to be that people are all scrolling through their phones in the first half of the day on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Do you do that? I personally call it research to find stats like that. 

Besides post timings, you should also look at your target audience, naturally, and trending topics. This will allow you to pick the next ingredient in the recipe: content. 

Content - the meat (or veggies) 

In 2019, Venngage released an insanely helpful infographic about branding stats, including information about content and clients’ view on it. My takeaway from all that data is the following:

  1. Authentic content (91% of customers want that from a brand);
  2. Visual content (40 times more likely to be shared on social media);
  3. Engaging content from real people (8 times more likely to engage with content shared by employees). 

What does this mean for content creation? The easiest answer is to create engaging, visual content shared through social media by people rather than the brand page itself. That’s what everyone will tell the CMO to do during every performance meeting. 

So what is engaging content? I think of engaging content as something that a company would consider too valuable to give up for free, like this article, for instance. I spent a reasonable amount of time researching, picking out the essential information, structuring it into a coherent piece that can offer instant value. And it's not the biggest one I did.

Neil Patel also argues for this kind of content that requires a lot of resources to create, but by doing so, it offers more value than the competition. I’m glad I’m not alone on this. High-quality content comes to me naturally: I like digging and putting together something I myself would like to read. And I know that such content drives QUALITY leads instead of QUANTITY, which is why I consider such high-quality content an essential part of the social media post recipe. 

For the record, I would ask the design teammate to make visuals for this article, but he’s too busy making our website better. I didn’t want to intrude. But it would convert better, as we have learned on our LinkedIn channel

Luck - the surprise sauce

Now for the most elusive social media spirit: luck. By luck, I mean posting at the right time, on the right topic and get seen by the right people. Or sometimes get noticed by mistake. Since it’s so hard to describe what luck is, I have a couple of examples prepared. 

First comes from the elusive world of e-sports. A middle-aged English woman got accidentally tagged on Twitter because she used the same handle as is the name of a League of Legends superstar - Perkz. At first, she wanted nothing to do with the e-sport but took an interest in learning the game and gained millions of followers, which she then converted into donors for her school charity work—a social media popularity accident with a heart-warming happy ending.  

The second example is a social media success story so powerful and so accidental that it became a meme. Turkish chef Nusret Gökçe didn’t plan to become a star of Instagram, let alone other platforms. But his #Saltbae and the beautifully cut steak with a flair of salt inspired millions of other people to share his account. He’s currently sitting at comfy 34.9 million followers on Instagram without any initial planning or aspirations.  

Close it and stew it long-term

So here’s the recipe. Don’t forget that social media strategy is a long-term deal. If one flair of salt will not bring immediate results, perhaps a well-planned posting “diet” might help instead. Good luck! We all need a bit of it.

Indre
Written by Indre

Indre is a copywriter with an undulating passion for reading and finding gems of information. Indre writes according to a simple motto: a picture is worth a thousand words, but somebody had to write that phrase down for us to read it.

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