What is social content? Most social media professionals will say that social content is the conversation that happens within Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. Yes, that is true. But what about the articles, whitepapers and technical documents that are typically attached to that social conversation? Is that content really social content or is it just content that you have posted on a social media community or network? Posting flat content on social media channels does not make it socially centric nor does it really do its part to compliment the conversation. (How come? Because it's one-sided and doesn't prompt engagement.)
If you think about the purpose of social media, most will say that it's about reaching a social circle and developing a meaningful conversation. The key is to engage; engagement with the purpose or goal of sharing or creating a response or reaction. Well, if this is true, then does your "all purpose content" reach that goal or does it need a social voice around it to make it truly social centric?
Social content is not just repurposed content used in social media, but it should be content that:
- Speaks in the first person
- Speaks to a specific persona/job title/demographic
- Is meant to be helpful
- Shares ideas
- Shares expertise
- Shares experience
- Builds a common ground
- Contains social references
- Contains social links
- Is actionable (what do you want the reader to do next?)
- Avoids those long nouns that make you sound smart (we offer server configuration and management) – and uses verbs instead (we set up and manage servers)
The best example of social content is the conversation that happens on videos posted on social media. This video example is from Rackspace Cloud Zen Master Joseph Palumbo. In this video, he gives a smooth and easy talking conversation about a very technical topic. He does this in a way that makes it easy to digest, but entices the viewer to comment or respond. So imagine taking that exact tone, voice and direct conversation and putting that into your content.
Here are some tips for creating social content:
- Write in a conversational tone
- Imagine that you are talking to someone directly
- Within the paper, ask them for their opinion or feedback just as you would in a conversation
- Give relevant and timely references
- Use a story reference or personal reference to build commonalities
- Be bold, honest and unapologetic about what you are writing about
- Always be truthful, accurate and transparent about who you are (as an author) and who you represent (if you are speaking on behalf of Rackspace)
Remember that great social content is not about having a unique catch or being so creative that it goes viral. The goal of great social content is writing something that engages your audience and sparks a reaction or response. If there was only one piece of advice to follow, find a way to relate to your reader through the content, just as if you were sitting with them and discussing the topic.