(No) thanks to mobile devices, our attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. This is partially due to the proliferation of mediocre content being shared on the internet. The upside is that we can’t not look at our phones every other minute, so if you have something compelling to share you might break through the cynicism to the other side.
The reason it’s really difficult to stay off our phones is obvious. Aside from social media and games, there’s more than enough distraction in these handheld devices to keep you occupied the entire day.
As social media managers and creators, this is just one of the many obstacles you need to overcome for people to pay attention to your content. In order to get their attention, you must feature your content in an interesting and eye-catching way before you even get a chance to make the case of why they should make it further than reading just the headline and intro paragraph.
If you want to learn how to make your social media irresistible for your followers and target audience, below are actionable steps you must follow:
Make a good first impression
Make a good first impression with a compelling headline. When writing headlines, you need to strike the balance between being clickbaity but deliver on the promise of whatever solution you are going to provide. While controversial clickbait headlines receive the most clicks, they also lead to high bounce rates and leave a bad taste in people’s mouths especially if the content did not deliver.
You might shy away from clickbait headlines but even reputable organizations like CNN do it. Essentially you tell them you have something they are interested in without giving away the nut in the headline. Consider this headline:
Here’s why a vaccine will not stop the Covid-19 pandemic right away
Another way to do this is by making the headline a question and answering the question in the article. Like so,
Holy Grail’s final resting place: Poland?
To reach this balance with your headlines, you need to mitigate the different factors involved in a headline. And a tool to help you manage those is the IsItWP Headline Analyzer.
This headline tool helps you find the perfect balance of uncommon, common, emotional, and power words. The higher the score, the more balanced and effective the headline is. As a result, the higher chances it’ll get clicks.
Take a strong position
Whether people agree with you or not, taking a strong opinion is more likely to lead to engagement, people who agree with you will want to reconfirm that their opinion is correct, and those who disagree with you are going to want to pick holes in your article and leave a strongly worded comment which also helps engage other readers to comment or share.
Taking a strong opinion gives your article personality. Consistent readership is all about having a distinct voice that people can recognize amidst the sea of online voices. A part of that voice can be humor, but it also has to do with being inspiring, having empathy, and other positive qualities.
Measure your impact
Benchmarking how much engagement you get every time means you can see how you are trending over time. Social media content is usually short and inherently digestible. Most of the time, it links to a blog post or video with a short description attached to it. All of these things are trackable with the right tools.
For this purpose, consider using a tool like Hootsuite to help you schedule your posts in advance and monitor how your followers respond to them. The greater the impressions on a certain content type, the more reason you should try and integrate it more in your publishing strategy.
However, just because twitter is the most common channel for social sharing, it doesn’t mean you should use that as your primary channel to syndicate your content. Change up your content sharing strategy until you find something that works well.
Content format is another lever to pull to see what works best. Try out different long- and short-form content and see which ones perform the best. Regarding long-form content, you may need to structure it like a blog post complete with formatting. An example of long-form social media posts could be a blog post or engaging Twitter users to get a thread going.
There could be instances where people feel more attached to your long-form content as opposed to the usual short-form. The results will depend on the niche and audience you have. So it’s best to test and analyze the data to determine the best course of action.
Screen recording engages better than stock images
Text and stock images lay flat on a screen and are the default elements that make up most blog posts. Create videos and screen recordings using tools like screen recording software like CloudApp to showcase walkthroughs and how-to content on social media in dynamic ways.
The keyword here is “dynamic.” That implies movement. People are bombarded with content left and right, so you must find a way to stand out from the pack. Using other visual content like infographics and slideshows should help you diversify the kinds of posts published on your social media.
Find niche channels
Everyone is doing Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, and Pinterest. These are just some of the more popular social media channels where most of your audience reside. There’s definitely a reason organizations focus on growing these channels to boost business, but there are probably additional channels specific to your niche. Going niche is a great way to get in front of a smaller, more engaged audience. You also signal that you are “in the know” about your subject matter by seeking out the audience where they live instead of hoping that they come to you.
For example, if you want a more effective way to gather your audience outside of Facebook Groups, you may want to try out setting up a Telegram or Whatsapp group. Better yet, you can create a Mighty Network account to mobilize your followers there. Finding a relevant subreddit on Reddit or getting involved in forums and Quora to answer questions also can be effective.
The idea here is to find where the conversations about your subject matter are happening and provide value. You can strike up a much better relationship online with your audience if you provide value before promoting your content or going into a sales pitch. Maybe all it takes to get their attention is to take them out from these oversaturated platforms and create your own.
Of course, you can’t rush blindly to new platforms and set up shop there. Do your research and ask trusted sources that have already made headway what they do that works.