August 24, 2021

3 Steps to Creating Effective Social Media Content

Likeable Team

The information and tips in this article come from one of Likeable’s Smarter Social™ modules. Learn more about Smarter Social™, our solution for in-house digital teams, here.

Maybe your brand has never posted on social media before and you’re ready to take the first step. Maybe your brand posts on social media but mostly repurposes web or print assets, and you’re ready to put resources into social-specific creative. Maybe you already do create assets specifically for social, but you know they could be better.

No matter which of those categories you fall into, let’s start from square one.

Know What You’re Up Against

First, it’s important to know what you’re competing with on social media. Fewer Americans are using desktops and laptops to access the internet. In fact, 53 percent of social network users are mobile-only. So, when creating social media content, you should be thinking and designing mobile-first. Here’s what you’re up against.

Short Attention Spans

It takes us 1.7 seconds to consume mobile content on Facebook (vs. 2.5 seconds on desktop). When you’re designing mobile-first, you’re designing for a smaller screen—which means you’ll need to be choosier about what you actually put on that screen. But at the same time, whatever you choose has to be compelling enough that people will stop to notice it.


But wait, there’s more! One in three Americans can’t get through an entire meal without being on their phone, and 64 percent of Americans regularly “second screen,” or use another digital device while they are watching TV.

The Rest of the Feed

Here’s what your customer’s feed probably looks like: an adorable puppy, a gorgeous city skyline, a famous influencer or celebrity, your brand’s ad, their college roommate’s baby. When you think about all of the other things that they’re being shown on their social feeds, it’s not exactly easy to stand out.

Ask “Why?”

The next step is determining why you are creating a social media post in the first place. And if you don’t know the answers to these questions, you probably aren’t ready to do so:

  • Who is my target audience for this post?
  • Which social networking sites do my ideal customers use regularly?
  • What is the message I am trying to spread with this social media content?
  • What emotion do I want to invoke from the audience?
  • What action do I want the audience to take after seeing this post?

Determine Your Tactics

Now, we’re finally getting to the concepting phase! The next step is to learn the specific tactics that will make you stand out in the feed, grab your audience’s attention, and hold their attention long enough that they internalize your message. When you’re coming up with a concept for a social post, keep all of this in mind.

There are two things you must do within one second.

Attract Attention

In other words, stop the scroll. Here are some ways to do that.

1. Feel Native

Obviously, you want your content to stand out in the feed, but it does need to feel native and natural to the platform as well. If it looks too much like an ad, folks will just keep scrolling.

2. Be Beautiful

Gorgeous imagery stops the scroll—enough said.

3. Open With Action or Shock Factor

When you begin a video with a compelling action or even something shocking, users are more likely to be invested in what happens next.


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A post shared by Machine Washable Rugs (@ruggable)

Leave a Lasting Impression

Brand early, often, and consistently. Here’s how.

1. Convey Essential Brand Elements

This is usually a logo or brand colors. The more that people see your logo and branding, the more subconsciously familiar they’ll become with your brand—just make sure it’s done tastefully.

2. Show Off Your Product or Service

After all, that’s what you want people to buy, right? Show them exactly what they’re getting.

3. Use a Bold, Consistent Visual Language

People are visual creatures—so having a visual language that’s unique to your brand will always have a greater impact on them.

And there are two more things you need to do within three seconds.

Deliver Value

Make your intention clear by doing one of these three things.

1. Educate

The top reason millennials follow brands on social media is because they post informative content. What’s a common question customers have and are searching for? Answer it with things like how-tos, fun facts, or customer testimonials.

2. Entertain

Show that you “get” your customer! Share content that caters to their interests and attitudes, like relatable life moments, humor, or emotional storytelling.

3. Inspire

Offer customers ideas for how they can make their lives richer, more interesting, and more fulfilling. Examples could be life hacks, quotes, or even unique products.

Prompt an Action

Now that you’ve educated, entertained, or inspired, ask your customer to do one thing. Not two or three—just one. Whether it’s liking the post, commenting, clicking the link to learn more, or something else, they are far more likely to take the action when it’s the only thing asked of them. Use clear calls to action like “Watch,” “Tell Us,” “Enter to Win,” “Learn More,” or “Shop Now.”

When you’re starting to think about marketing on social media, all of this information is a great place to start—but it’s just the tip of the iceberg! There are dozens of creative styles, content types, and objectives for paid placements on social, all of which it’s crucial to have an understanding of before you embark on your social media journey.

Want to schedule a Smarter Social™ session with our team to learn more? Get in touch.

Tags: Best Practices, Big Brands, Creative, Social Media, Strategy

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