What makes us engage with content on social media? The first question is why do people use social media. There are many reasons. They want to feel connected – that they can relate to something or someone. They’re wondering what their network is doing. They’re filling a gap, checking what’s going on. They want to be informed or entertained. A temporary shift in focus or distraction. In my experience the defining features of all successful social media content can be boiled down to whether it’s useful, interesting or inspiring. 

The old BBC mission to ‘inform, educate and entertain’ is relevant here. Advertising and marketing content doesn’t have to be pushy or intrusive. If it’s well-planned and targeted, it should engage the reader enough that they might buy your product or service now or in the future.

So how do we as marketers and advertisers create content that fulfills these requirements? The tips below are a good checklist.

1. Useful

Content that answers a question, solves a problem, educates or informs. Social media is a goldmine of free market research. Using analysis tools, we can find out what your target audience’s interests are. What questions are they asking? What are the hot topics? What gets shared a lot? How can your business answer their questions or make their lives better in some way? Can your product or service solve their problems? For example, for a client selling baby products we search for relevant conversations and respond with examples of products that help solve specific issues such as teething or bath-time.

2. Interesting

What counts as interesting? It’s subjective of course, which is why targeting is so important. Once you’ve got that right anything funny, entertaining, unusual, thought-provoking or unique can fulfil the human need to be distracted or entertained. Relevancy is key here. We find stories and lifestyle-based images based on real people in locally relevant contexts perform well. One of our clients is a luxury car brand. Their target audience engages with aspirational images from local events which help fuel their ambition and lifestyle aims.

3. Inspiring

Content that evokes emotion is powerful. Every advertiser knows this. In that respect advertising hasn’t changed since the days of ‘Mad Men’. The trick is choosing the right content to evoke a response in a way that’s authentic and relatable. Inspiring quotes perform very well on social media as they tick a lot of boxes; an eye-catching image and emotive information that changes the mindset. When targeted well this type of content can go viral and keep snowballing with shares, comments and likes for weeks. If someone can relate to something it gets all the right neurons firing. Momentarily feeling understood, like they’re in the same boat. Going back to the baby product company, mothers can really relate to certain uniting experiences. Images and quotes about the joys and challenges of parenting really strike a chord when presented with the right tone.

What’s the over-arching factor to keep in mind when planning content? The target audience’s interests and behavior should always be front of mind. My background in social sciences spurs my fascination with how people behave online. Keeping up to date with research on how people behave online is a great way to inform social media content decisions.

If you need help creating quality social media content that resonates with your target audience, then get in touch. We’re a boutique agency offering custom media and advertising solutions.


Angie Smith

About Angie Smith

Angela started the company in 2007 after working in various media including radio, Yellow Pages as well as on the advertising agency side. She has a passion for media planning across channels, strategy, development and negotiation and really loves working with clients in growing their businesses and brands. She has worked with many brands large and small including local, national and multi-nationals. Angie’s pastimes include travel, food, entertaining.