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Tips for writing on the web, round two! As promised, here are a few starting pointers for creating original, engaging content on social networking platforms that will promote your business while driving followers to your company.

Starting Out

As we explained in our last post about blog writing, identifying your target audience is a crucial first step. Figuring out who you are trying to reach will help shape your language and style. If you own a pet-grooming salon, maybe your tweets will adopt a lighthearted, bubbly tone. If you’re starting a Facebook for your mortuary school, perhaps a more dignified, somber approach is appropriate. As with any product, you should create with a customer in mind – who are you trying to connect with, and what sort of content will they find interesting?

Also, it pays off to familiarize yourself with different social networking sites. You should experiment with the major platforms (think Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram) and get comfortable with managing and posting to your site – but more on that later.

Images and Media

One area that distinctly separates social media from blogs is the usage of images and media content. The emphasis in blogs will be on the quality of your written content, while your social strategy should rely heavily on implementing eye-catching graphics.

Platforms like Facebook and Instagram are image driven. Their scrolling news feed style means that users are more drawn to attention-grabbing visual stimuli. The more interesting your pictures and graphics are, the more users will engage with your content. Garnering likes and shares is how you increase your brand awareness beyond your network, which drives more customers to your website or store.

When choosing pictures or designing graphics, you need to create content that is arresting but relevant. It’s great that that picture of your puppy sitting like a human is getting hundreds of likes, but unless you are reinforcing the image with a tie-in to your store, you’re losing out on all of the web traffic you generate. Posting a picture of your dog staring hungrily at your restaurant’s fried green beans is a better way to capitalize on your dog’s popularity while pushing your product – delicious food.

Interactivity

Social posts let you interact with your targeted audience more directly than blogs. The interactivity of these platforms is a great way to grow and cultivate your core customers. This goes beyond posting witty content to actually directly communicating with your followers – liking their comments, sharing reviews, and otherwise proving that you care about their interests and what they have to say. This fosters a sense of community, which will help create deeper bonds between you and your customers.

A few great ways to cultivate growth and communication with your clients is to post interactive content. Online polls, posts with call-to-actions (“comment your favorite below”), and asking  your followers to share pictures using your product are just a few ways to communicate directly with your customers. Find a few that seem to interest your followers, and use those strategies to boost their engagement with your site.

Consistency

The best way to cultivate a dedicated following is to create content regularly. Maintaining a regular presence online will generate continual interest in your company, while posting sporadically will show your followers that you either don’t take social media (and thus interacting with them) seriously, or that you don’t pay attention to the little details – neither of which are good ways to promote positive relationships with your customers.

Posting twice a week will help your followers see that you are active and attentive. Posting content that is connected to the community will further demonstrate your interest in your clients’ interests, which will generate good will for your company. Try to maintain a consistent presence online that stays true to your company’s values, and you will attract and retain a dedicated group of followers.

Post, Measure, Repeat

A powerful aspect of social media platforms is their ability to report the reach and engagement of your posts. You should be using Facebook Insights, for example, on a regular basis to see time of day is most effective to reach your audience, and what kinds of posts they respond best to. In the end, the results your metrics show you are the best guide to what works in social media – for your unique audience and your unique company.

Take Away

Social networking is a great opportunity for you to grow your customer base. It is an incredibly popular platform that millions of people use every day.

When you are creating your content, remember that social networking is primarily a tool to boost brand awareness. There is no one single strategy that works for every company. Using social media will help put your company in the public eye. The more people know about you and your company, the more business you will generate.

Again, there is no secret formula for cracking the social media code; just try to stay true to your company’s principles, consistently post interesting and engaging content, and interact with your customers. Maintaining your identity will help promote your brand, which will attract and promote more business for your company.