What Makes a Good Social Media Post?

I was recently asked to present my criteria for what makes good social media content, and to include some examples of what not to do.

My social media philosophy is firmly grounded in classic marketing thought. If what you present hits a core emotion, a lead or customer will connect with your brand. Really, that is all that matters: connection. The “tips and tricks” mentality will have you wasting time building fake followers and will not creating a sustaining, trustworthy, respected brand. Don’t worry about the algorithm, the most successful brands don’t. Worry about whether you are delivering value.

For me, there are three basic checks to evaluate your content. These checks support your relationship with your followers and build trust, awareness, and growth.

Three Checks for Social Media

  1. Brand Alignment. Does your post match your style guide? (Do you have a style guide?) Making sure your fonts, graphics, colors, voice, tone and media style is consistent with your mission and brand style. It also makes sure that you are speaking to users at the level they are. Does your copy match their attitude, education, and intention when engaging with you? Does your photo or video represent the quality, interest, and emotions of your customers?

  2. Visual Appeal. Obviously, you want your stuff to look good. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to take every photo with a $2,000 camera lens in a studio. There are plenty of social brands that do well with videos shot on cell phones or just uses animation or graphics. So quality really comes down to what your followers value. Sometimes they want authenticity, sometimes they want to be awed and inspired, sometimes they just want you to get to the point. Is there a good focal point? Do the colors complement each other? Is it clear?

  3. User Engagement. A good way to know whether your post is successful is to look at Likes, Comments, Shares, and (most importantly) conversions. A conversion is a desired action for your brand, whether that is a sale, a sign up, a lead collection, or participation in a contest or hashtag campaign. Way to encourage engagement is to first ask for the desired behavior (Sign up, buy now, share this, enter the thing, etc.), and also making the conversion process clean, quick and easy. Do not link posts to your website’s homepage, for example, take them directly to the product page. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of the ask. Don’t assume users will just do what you want them to do. Without the ask, most of them will just keep scrolling.

Check out my slide deck below for examples.