In the ever-shifting, ever-evolving landscape of social media marketing, it can often be difficult to keep up with the newest trends. Even skilled social media marketers can feel as though they are always just behind or below the mark, forever chasing that new, fresh, and yet untouched content for their brands. It can be discouraging and downright unhealthy to look at each individual piece of content as a race or contest against your competition. Instead, consider these five ways to elevate your overall approach to social media content that will result in ever-evolving content to harmoniously suit the ever-evolving habitat in which they live.
Always seeking inspiration from the world around you is a guaranteed way to light a fire under your content and elevate it to the next level. Such inspiration can come from almost anywhere you go, but it certainly starts with other social media content (be it from brand or personal accounts). Spending a few extra minutes or an hour a day scouring your feed, not necessarily for funny memes, but for bits and pieces of innovative content that inspire you can prove highly beneficial for your own content. The search for inspiration does not and should not end with social media; instead, look to a wide range of creative resources both online and offline. The website ThisIsColossal.com is a particular favorite here, featuring emerging artists working across a vast range of mediums. Not everything is applicable to, or even possible on, social, but some is, and it’s very cool. Just always be looking around you, keep your head on a swivel, and you never know what you might find that will help you bring new life to your social content.
EMPLOY NEW FUNCTIONALITY
With the ever-changing landscape of many of today’s most prominent social platforms, you’ve likely already realized that the content formats of yesterday may not hold water today. Keeping a close eye on any new functionality rolled out by these major platforms is the first step in implementing content that makes use of them, because you simply can’t jump on a train you didn’t know existed. In just the last few months, we’ve seen the advent of the Facebook canvas ad as well as the Instagram album, both of which open up huge possibilities for your social media content. Now, just because Facebook and Instagram have unveiled these new functionalities does mean that you have to use them. In fact, jumping on a bandwagon blindly will surely not elevate your content (much, anyway). However, if you wait until you’ve found a unique, inspired vision for how to implement these new functionalities, then you stand to produce truly elevated, even transcendent, social content.
HARNESS NEW TOOLS
Wherever you begin your journey through social media marketing, and specifically content development, you will invariably fall somewhere along the spectrum of novice to expert, and that’s perfectly normal and okay. Don’t be discouraged by how much you have to learn, but instead consider how exciting the possibilities are. When you’re just getting started, you might still be using a crude photo editing software like Pixlr (or even seeking refuge in the familiar, yet not entirely applicable comfort of PowerPoint). Here, you may be able to perform the few actions you’re comfortable taking, for now, but you will inevitably outgrow it, and you should! That’s the most exciting and essential part of being a social media content producer who is bent on creating ever better content. Once you enter the world of Photoshop (or move on from PS to InDesign, Illustrator, etc.) you’ll begin to see just how vast the sea of possibilities is, and, contrarily, just how constricting the tiny pond of PowerPoint was to your early content efforts. Always be looking to harness new tools, and to better understand just how to implement those tools. (And don’t be discouraged or intimidated by these tools, because we all have to start somewhere, and there are plenty of great online resources and tutorials that can get you started out on the right foot).
EXPLORE DIFFERENT MEDIA
Exploring different types of media in your content is a sure way to begin to elevate and expand your content’s impact on your intended audience. Much like the evolution you will go through in the tools that you use to create your social media content (from rudimentary to advanced), so too will you experience an urge to grow beyond the confines of a simple still image. Exploring different types of media in your content is a sure way to begin to elevate and expand your content’s impact on your intended audience. Your audience is inundated and saturated with still frames and video playing at a conventional 24 fps. Seeking media formats outside of and beyond these conventions will help you catch your audience off guard and make your content rise above the rest. Take the still frame and introduce a tripod to the mix and, voila, you’ve just entered the realm of stop-motion GIFs. A short video clip taken, duplicated, reversed, and reintroduced brings you into the world of metronome GIFs (more commonly executed via the Instagram app Boomerang). Still yearning for more? One word: cinemagraph. Just be careful, as creating them can be addicting!
COMPARE & CRITIQUE
Finally, the benefit of the outward investigation for inspiration doesn’t simply end with awesome approaches to content that you’d love to try. You should be (perhaps even more) mindful of the content that strikes you as flawed, lacking, or even plain bad. Knowing what you want to avoid doing is just as important to your overall content strategy and execution as knowing what you want to do. While you’re going about your daily content perusals, don’t just keep an eye out for the glistening gems, but also keep watch for the lumps of coal. And, beyond just recognizing that they’re bad, challenge yourself to identify what it is, specifically, about these pieces that isn’t quite up to snuff. The immediate result of this will be you avoiding the specific mistakes made by others. The more overarching (and valuable) benefit, however, will be the honing of your craft as a social media content developer, and, in turn, the elevation of the content you’re producing.
So, in the never-ending quest to elevate your social media content, consider the aforementioned tactics: seek inspiration, employ new functionality, harness new tools, explore different media, and always compare and critique. These are just suggestions, as there’s no one golden path to perfect social media content, but we strongly believe that these will put you on the right track for creating social-first content that will amaze and engage your audience.