The Six Rules of Outstanding Content for Social Media

In today’s digital-focused world its hard to find someone who isn’t on social media – whether it be your grandfather using Facebook to check in on the grandkids or your teenage niece posting every chance she gets. As of 2017, 81% of the population had at least one social media profile, so leveraging these channels is a must for every business’ marketing plan.

Social media is a fast communications channel that may be overwhelming to marketers trying to grab attention. Gary Vaynerchuck, author of the book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How To Tell Your Story In a Noisy Social World, argues that even if marketers are posting a constant stream of fresh content, they need to think that the social media equation requires both quantity and quality. Brands need to look relevant, engaged and authentic in order to attract their target audience and stand out from the crowd. Vaynerchuck cautions about boring content, noting that only outstanding content can break through the noise.

Vaynerchuck identifies 6 rules the make great content and compelling stories for social media:

1) It’s Native – Native content amps up your story’s power and seamlessly blends in any social media platform. Native content can range from sharing a quote, a picture, an idea, a song, a spoof, or something else – there’s not exact formula, but just have to be something that is relatable to your brand without looking like a straight up advertisement to sell. Native content is crafted to mimic everything that makes a platform attractive and valuable to a consumer, and also offers the same value as other content that people consume on the platform. This content has to engage the consumer at an emotional level. Native content has been compared to infomercials, but isn’t as cheesy when done correctly. Native content should hit the consumer’s emotional center and make them take that next step and share with other users, thus extending your reach.

2) It Doesn’t Interrupt – Ads and marketing are supposed to evoke emotion and make consumers act on that feeling. For content marketing in social media, it should positively effect, or augment, your consumer’s experience. People have no patience anymore, and social media content has to ensure it is providing value, as well as engagement. They might not buy anything today, but will far be likely to buy from a brand that understands them.

3) It Doesn’t Make Demands – Often – Companies need to be engaging and find shared interests with their audience so that their social media content doesn’t always come with a “sell” message. A makeup company can offer makeup and grooming tips so that its audience sees them as an industry resource and establishes trust. Then, when a sales message is pushed out it feels more like a recommendation from a friend than a sales call. Bottom line: Provide content that is not only relevant to your brand, but also interesting to your audience so that you keep their attention.

4) It Leverages Pop Culture – Take a minute and think about the brands that are constantly noted for excelling at social media. What do they have in common? Leveraging popular and timely events/news/music in a creative and fun way that still manages to tie back to their brand. Personify your brands by leveraging pop culture and showing your audience that you’re just like them. For example, Bud Light used a native post on Facebook with a bottle of Bud Light that says, “Summer is coming.” This was a clear nod to the popular HBO show, Game of Thrones, highlighting the fact that Bud Light understood that many  of their consumers were anticipating the show.

5) It’s Micro  – Social media content should be really considered “micro-content” – tiny unique nuggets of information, humor, commentary or inspiration that you reimagine everyday, as you respond to today’s conversations in real time.  Vaynerchuck uses the example of a blackout during the 2013 Super Bowl, where Oreo responded with a simple tweet “Power Out? No Problem” with a photo of a lone cookie in the dark that said, “you can still dunk in the dark.” This was a reminder that Oreo is a fun brand and a cookie for all occasions. Oreo wasn’t overtly selling, but responded in a timely manner with original micro content, which made the brand seem almost human. Social media is 24/7 and should be talking all the time.

6) It’s Consistent and Self Aware – Though your micro-content will vary every day, it must consistently answer the question, “Who are we?” Your core story must remain constant, as well as your personality and brand identity. When you know your message, it’s simple to keep it consistent in every setting. Creating micro-content is simply a way to adapt to the circumstances of your audience and is one of your brand’s best chances of being noticed.

These characteristics of great content should be used when building a social media strategy and will help ensure that you get noticed.


By Patrick Reilly