How to Create Social Content that Outperforms Competitors

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How to Create Social Content that Outperforms Competitors

In 1996, Bill Gates wrote an essay entitled “Content is King” where he stated:

“Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting.” 

That maxim is as true, if not truer, today than it was in 1996. In the intervening 27 years, the internet has expanded dramatically, and we have seen the rapid growth of social media, ecommerce, and other content-focused ventures. In fact, there are now 5.1 billion internet users and over 1.8 billion website users can access. In the last decade, social media platforms and apps have rocketed in popularity across all groups in society. Smartphones have made it possible for the average person to access the web almost constantly.

Every business should be constantly looking for ways to improve their business processes and that includes capitalizing on your content creation. If you are an ecommerce business, while you may be focused on how to maintain and keep your ecommerce website up to date, you also need to consider your social media marketing efforts as an essential part of your content strategy.

So, if we accept Gates’s assertion that content drives revenue, how do we create content that not only grabs the viewer’s attention but which also outperforms our competitors’ content? 

Why Is Content So Important?

If you operate a small-scale business, you’ve already got a lot on your mind, from your latest sales forecast to the potential uses of a diversity recruitment platform. But don’t neglect your content! Social media is now the most important way you can connect with customers or potential customers, just for the sheer number of users and the potential for engagement.

What are the best platforms to be active on? The five main platforms utilized by businesses are:

  • Facebook – with over 2 billion active users, Facebook offers your online business the potential to reach a quarter of the world’s population. It’s still by far the market leader and most widely-used social media platform. The opportunities to market are far-reaching with their Groups, Pages, Marketplace, and even Video platforms.
  • Instagram – with more than 500 million daily users, Instagram is ideal for visually captivating content. As it’s owned by Facebook, there is a high level of connectivity between the two platforms. Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, has also recently announced that they will be focusing on video and entertainment moving forward. This gives video content creators even more opportunities to showcase their work.
  • Twitter – while not offering the same connection and variety as Facebook and Instagram, Twitter is great for making special announcements and for engaging with other brands. News travels far and fast on Twitter, so much so that they introduced fact-checking measures in 2020.  
  • YouTube – having a YouTube video channel offers lots of opportunities. Not only is it a great place for posting ‘How to’ videos and user guides, but it can also represent a useful way of including user-generated content in your marketing. As the second most popular website in the world, creating content for this platform is a must. 
  • LinkedIn – although LinkedIn is unlikely to be your primary focus, it nonetheless offers an excellent way of connecting with professionals including possible vendors, partners, and even influencers. It’s provided a great place for boosting organic reach, especially on long-form posts.

Branding 

Video still sourced from youtube.com

Brand awareness is everything. Strong branding and a fully-realized brand identity mean that your demographic targets instantly recognize your brand wherever it appears. It should make a memorable impression and it should also give them some idea of what to expect from your company and your products or services. Social media is the perfect channel to build on your brand identity. 

If you are just beginning to build or develop your brand, what should you do?

  • Choose your platforms – there is no need to launch a campaign across every platform. Think carefully and choose the platforms that suit your brand but, more importantly, that are used regularly by your target audience. Consider what forms of content fit best on each platform, and you can translate any piece of already-created content for it. 
  • Know your audience – before you create any sort of content, know who you are targeting. Create buyer personas so that you understand what they like and want. Also, be aware of where they are. You have to make sure that you know how to ensure your content translates well to different audiences. It’s worth taking the time as well to strategize marketing to a local vs. a global audience. CI (customer intelligence) can help here.
  • Stay consistent – for brand awareness to grow, customers need to recognize your content the instant they see it. This means having a strong logo and also using the same color schemes on every platform. Carefully consider building on content themes and brand voice across all your marketing channels.  
  • Use emotion – customers have to like your brand before they move to more active engagement or purchasing. That means you need to know those customers and seek to connect with them on an emotional level with your messaging. Keep in mind that on social media, you’re building a community on your accounts.
  • Regular posts – there is little point in establishing a connection then neglecting to post for significant periods. To maintain and build relationships, you need to post regularly. This not only works to keep you top of mind with your following but boosts your place in the ever-changing algorithms on the different platforms. Consistency and regularity in posting seem to be constantly positive when it comes to showing up on users’ feeds and discovery pages.
  • Schedule – there is no point in just posting at arbitrary times. Do some research as to the best times to post on different platforms and make a schedule to suit each platform. Following a content calendar can ensure you reach as many customers as possible and will make it so much easier for you to maximize the content you create. 

How to Create Perfect Content

Video still sourced from youtube.com

So, you’ve identified your preferred platforms, you have your ideal buyer personas, you have your logo and brand identity, and you have an idea of how you will schedule your social media posts. Next: how do you make content that will match or better that of your competitors? 

  1. Study the competition – if you want to outperform your competitors, then you need to know what they are doing. In particular, look at what strategies they are using on social media, the type of content they post, whether they provide good customer support on social media, and why people are buying from them. 
  1. Positioning – have a clear idea of what your position is. If you are a small boutique shoemaker, there’s no point identifying a giant like Nike as your competitor. Know who your closest competitors are, both in terms of market share and in terms of geographic location if you operate from a physical store. Take the time to learn about how different platforms choose to promote posts, and what your accounts need to do in order for your content to be seen by a wider audience.
  1. Know your audience – yes, we mentioned this before but it really is a crucial factor in building your social media content plan. The thing to remember is that your customers’ tastes may change over time, so be prepared to customize both your buyer personas and your content. Keep in mind who you want your future audience to be, and create content that is useful to them.
  1. Make different plans – “one size fits all” plans will not usually work. Have a different strategy for each social media platform you post on. What you post may only differ slightly in format, but it is still something you should consider. The form of content most well-received by audiences and the algorithms on each platform differ wildly and you need to cater to both. 
  1. Content, content, content – of course, the actual content you post is what can win you, customers. What suits your target groups? Some of the best ideas include:
  • Images – images are a fantastic way of showing off a product. Try to make all your images both high quality and professional looking. Images are a great way to get people to engage. 
  • Videos – videos are excellent at capturing users’ attention as they can be both informative and entertaining. User-generated videos are an ideal way to build trust and awareness of your brand. Videos can also be a good way to share information – walk users through the main features of your Windows remote desktop app in just a couple of minutes and bypass long written explanations. 
  • Blogs – blogs or other long-form pieces are solid choices for communicating more information than a simple post. You can link to your blog on your social media platforms by providing a linked teaser sentence, image, or video. 
  • Special offers – posting special offers on social media is the perfect way to drive traffic to your website or store and to make a purchase. 
  • Live streaming – although not content in a traditional sense, live streaming an event such as a product launch is a good way to get customers involved. For more technical aspects of products, you could even host webinars. 
  • Infographics – people love to learn! So combining engaging visuals with relevant information is something that will encourage users to connect with you. 
  • Reviews – Reviews and recommendations are a major driver of new customers and revenue. Include as many as you can in any content and if it includes User Generated Content (UGC) images and/or videos, even better!
  • Announcements – won an award? Let your social media followers know about it. Have a new product? Do the same. Announcements can help focus on positives or build a buzz for a product launch. 
  • Competitions – everyone likes the idea of taking home a prize. One of the most common tactics with social media contests is that people have to like and share the post, therefore extending your reach. 
  • Seasonal specials – themed campaigns are a great way to engage people. Pair it with your email hosting provider to create special offers around seasonal holidays.

These don’t always have to be uniquely ideated pieces of content. There are many ways to repurpose something you have created in order to maximize the time and effort put into something.

The Takeaway 

Video still sourced from youtube.com

Social media or email marketing and content need multiple approaches and organized workflows. It may be that your team works remotely so you are using an enterprise-wide collaboration tool to ensure they are working together to create content that outshines the competition. These are the foundations of a social media strategy, but the complete picture remains up to you. The only way to sustain growth in this area is to make sure you have all the bases covered when it comes to your brand’s identity and consistently put out content for your audience to engage with. 

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About the Author

Grace Lau
Grace Lau is the Director of Growth Content at Dialpad, an AI-powered cloud communication platform with call recording solutions for better and easier team collaboration. She has over 10 years of experience in content writing and strategy. Currently, she is responsible for leading branded and editorial content strategies, partnering with SEO and Ops teams to build and nurture content. Here is her LinkedIn.