The anatomy of an engaging social media post
Do you feel like you’re doing all of the right things on social media but you’re not seeing the results you’re hoping for? I’ve taken my 3+ years of creating, auditing, and analysing social media content for clients and created some guidelines to help you. In this post I break down exactly what goes into an engaging social media post including some examples of great posts from my lovely clients.
The best bit? You can apply these same rules across all of your favourite social media platforms and content types. Whether you’re a big fan of Instagram or you’d rather use TikTok, these guidelines will work for you. Let’s dive in…
How to create an engaging social media post
make it attention-grabbing
It’s no secret our attention spans are really short. Long form content (blogs, IGTV, wordy captions) have been taken over by short form content (carousels, lists, reels). We want instant gratification. We want a resolution immediately. We want the tip, the punchline, and the satisfying solution right away.
The truth is, you only have a few seconds to make a good impression on social media. Your post has to be interesting enough to make someone stop and read/watch, otherwise, they’ll swipe away to find something better.
Here’s how to make your post attention-grabbing:
- Choose a catchy caption starter – these are the first and only words people will see without clicking to read more. Make them count! Think: Useful, Urgent, Unique, Ultra-Specific.
- Graphics – pick interesting words (see above) and make sure the text is easy to read on small phone screens.
- Use carousels – these are a great way to hold the attention of your audience for longer.
use their language
Have you ever seen content and been like…‘that’s so me!’ or ‘how did she read my mind?!’
Well, that probably didn’t happen by accident. It means that whoever’s content you were looking at is doing their marketing really well!
It’s one thing to know your audience and understand their pain points, but when you pair that with using their own language, you start attracting customers kinda effortlessly.
How to find your customer’s exact language:
- Use Google – Type in relevant key words for your niche and scroll down to the bottom of the page to see what the common search terms are – this gives you an idea of what people are looking for help with!
- Try Pinterest – For the same reason as above, Pinterest is a search engine and can tell you what people are looking for.
- Look at Facebook groups – Head to the search bar and type in words like ‘struggle’ ‘help’ or ‘stuck with’ and you’ll bring up posts with the exact language you can use.
- Check your DMs – If people are often asking for your help, copy and paste their messages into a separate document which you can refer back to when crafting your own content later.
Make it about them
I encourage all of my clients to share personal content. Sharing stories, behind the scenes, and even your weekend plans gives context and colour to the person behind the business.
With that being said, we are all inherently a little self-absorbed (I hate to be the one to break it to you!) Most of the time, we’re only interested in how things relate to us.
To create an engaging social media post, you want it to be a conversation. Think: how can you include and invite your audience to share with you too?
A great way to do this is to ask them for their opinion, feedback or a response on their experience.
- instead of: ‘I love ice cream on a hot day.’
- try: ‘I love ice cream on a hot day. I’m a cookies & cream gal through and through. Which flavour is your favourite?’
Remember: whenever someone is looking at your content they are thinking, “what’s in this for me?”
Keep it simple
Again, we’ve got short attention spans. This is especially true on social media, where people generally go to relax and escape. If any content feels like too much work, people will swipe on past it!
Tips to simplify your posts:
- Use less words – edit your captions to get the point across in as few words as possible.
- Less text on your graphics – edit out unnecessary or repeated words and use more imagery.
- Break it up – make your text more readable by using different fonts, bullet points and emojis.
Give an easy way to engage
Listen up, this tip will be a game-changer for your social media content! Write your call to action BEFORE you create the rest of your post. This way, you’ll be thinking of the goal of your post right from the start. Are you trying to encourage engagement, increase website traffic, or continue conversations in the DMs?
A simple prompt is often all it takes to get your audience engaging. Try: asking a question, getting them to send you a message or directing them to your blog post.
TIP: only give ONE call to action for each post. More options are more confusing for your audience and make it less likely that they’ll take action at all!
examples of great social media posts
Why it’s great:
- the caption starter is intriguing and makes you want to read more
- it’s a carousel post with super practical steps on each slide
- the caption is easy to read because it’s broken up with bullet points and emojis
- it includes a simple way to engage
Why it’s great:
- the caption starter is interesting
- it’s fantastic storytelling that uses the audience’s language
- the call to action is inclusive and makes the post about them
Why it’s great:
- the title grabs your attention right away
- the three main points are simple and clear
- the tips pop up one by one which makes it more interesting to watch
Want some help to make your content more engaging?
Part of the work I do with my clients is providing feedback on their content BEFORE it’s even posted to ensure it’s the best it can be. We’re all about creating and sharing high-value content for your audience every time. If you’d like some help implementing a strategic plan for your content, take a look at my custom content calendars.