When you’re struggling to come up with new, exciting social content, it’s helpful to look back at your “North Star”—a past post that was really successful.
By understanding what went well and why, you can set guidelines that will help you consistently produce high-performing content.
We chatted with our social team about Hootsuite’s top-performing social posts, and they gave us some lessons on how to create awesome content every day.
7 lessons from our top-performing social media posts
1. Keep the copy short
Writing for social media is no different than any other form of copywriting—being concise is more difficult than it seems.
When dealing with complex topics, there’s a tendency to over-explain or oversell. And while that’s okay for a first draft, our social team spends a lot of time distilling concepts into a single sentence or idea.
Keeping headlines short is better for click-throughs and shares. For example, in our social apps post, the copy that accompanied the link was super short—only five words—but extremely effective. It got nearly 200 reactions and 74 shares.
2. Honor the content
We don’t reinvent the wheel every time we write social copy, especially when sharing content that has been optimized for clicks and shares. Instead, we try and honor the spirit of the existing title or opening paragraph if it’s a blog post—making a few small tweaks to better suit the channel.
We don’t rewrite copy for the sake of creating something new.
For example, when we shared a blog post on the do’s and don’ts of hashtags, we made a minor change by shortening the title. It performed extremely well, earning 1,625 link clicks.
3. Use numbers
List-style blog posts perform well. Our audience can quickly scan them to find the content that is most relevant to them and then move on.
If you’re sharing a listicle, always use the numeral in your social copy, like we did in our post on 8 writing resources to help you create content. It’s easier for your audience to scan and consume.
The post received 535 likes and 185 retweets.
— Hootsuite (@hootsuite) March 31, 2017
4. Tell the audience what’s in it for them
Whenever we write a post, we frame it in a way that shows a clear benefit to our audience. Whether it’s saving time, doing your job better, or looking like an expert in your field, we always provide an incentive to click.
For example, in this post on sharing tips for creating compelling social video, we wrote, “These days, you don’t need a film degree to make an excellent social media video.” Below that copy, we deliver on our promise to our readers—that they’ll get tons of skills without having to spend a lot of time or money—with the link we shared.
5. Experiment with new formats
When you’ve already got a process in place, starting something new can be anxiety-inducing. But in our experience, the payoff is well worth it.
Using new formats like Facebook Live and quick social videos has given us a chance to better understand what sort of content our audience enjoys most. For example, we created a popular social video on how to do an Instagram flat lay, which one of our team members pitched in a brainstorm. It received 45,000 views.
Testing these new formats has also allowed us to take existing content—such as blog posts, podcasts, and case studies—and repurpose them for social. So far we’ve seen a lot of success.
6. Don’t be afraid to show you’re human
As marketers, we’re often overwhelmed by the amount of acronyms in a meeting, seeing buzz words misused, or getting asked the same questions over and over. So why not relate to our audience whenever we can?
By sharing social posts on these topics, we feel that we’re connecting to our audience on a more human level. We all experience the pain points of our industry. That being said, we try to include an educational element so that we’re providing value for our followers.
— Hootsuite (@hootsuite) November 3, 2016
7. Give away stuff for free
People love free stuff. Since we try to incentivize people to engage with our content, doing small retweet to win contests is a quick and easy way for us to encourage engagement. It’s also a great way to get exposure for an event or campaign.
In this high-performing Twitter post we did an “RT to win” contest giving away Bluetooth speakers in preparation for an upcoming Facebook Live video event. It received 257 retweets and increased engagement for the event.
— Hootsuite (@hootsuite) March 30, 2017
Next time you’re struggling to come up with ideas for a social post, look back at your top-performing content. It will remind you what matters to your audience and how you can best engage them.
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