The challenge of creating engagement on social media is that business owners tend to forget that social platforms are less engaging than people. According to Ascend2, most businesses find social media the most difficult channel to use and creating compelling content the most challenging of media tasks.
However, this need not be the case. You can easily revive your social media content and create more engagement by humanizing your brand with a visual content calendar.
But what do you put in your visual content calendar? Here are a few ideas to get you started even if you are working in a boring industry.
1. Celebrate holidays
At the end of the year, marketing tends to focus on holidays, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and so on.
Great brands celebrate occasions, not their products or services. Take a look at the examples below.
Shopify combines the excitement of a first sale with a subtle reminder to e-commerce store owners about upcoming holidays, using an engaging story.
Christmas isn’t too far away, Samaritan’s Purse “Operation Christmas Child” provides a great way to make a difference. The charity put together a great video to encourage kids to get involved.
Building a visual calendar around the holidays requires you to:
- Know your audience, so you know what is important to them. Facebook Audience Insights or Twitter Analytics can provide the information you need.
- A visual calendar, such as Co-Schedule or PromoRepublic, is a great option to help get you started.
2. Share from events you host or attend
To share is human. You know that people who attend conferences or events often have similar interests, likes, and dislikes. So sharing your experiences from these events is a great way to connect with like-minded people. After all, sharing is a way to engage in collective learning and social bonding.
To make the most of social media marketing for events you can:
- Pick the social media platform most suited to promote your event and then
- Add a status update with a link to a sign-up page
- Publish a post
- Send direct messages to people you want to invite
- Update your company page
- Create a group for people you want to invite
- Create a feeling of community with a unique event hashtag
- Build anticipation with pre-event content
- Capitalize on attendee enthusiasm to raise awareness during the event by sharing photos, quotes, testimonials, and video content
- Keep the conversations going with post-event discussions and content
Returning from SMMW 2018, Michal Sadowski shared a tweet about boosting the benefits of attending such conferences.
Red Mango, knowing that its audience probably binged on all things sweet over Halloween, encourages its followers to get healthy with one of its drinks.
To celebrate Mickey’s 90th birthday, Disney put out a video which has been viewed over half a million times.
And eBay shared this post about everyone’s favorite mouse:
3. Embrace trends
Trends can be based around a calendar event or one that appears seemingly out of nowhere. Whatever the reason, they serve as opportunities to connect with audiences. Audiences feel as if the brand is with them and part of a trend.
When fall begins, Charmin joins the conversation with this tweet.
Red Bull, perhaps best known for its promotion of extreme sports, has built quite a following. It should come as no surprise that the following video went viral as their fans shared them.
4. Ask simple, engaging questions that fans and followers can answer easily
People like to be heard, and asking questions on social media posts lets them chime in with their perspectives and opinions.
Dave Kerpen, the best-selling author of Likeable Social Media, compares social media to a conversation. And what do we do in conversations? Ask questions.
Questions create further engagement because responses show up on social media profiles. This is often how pieces go viral—interesting content and questions inspire people to post responses.
From a business perspective, inviting people to join the conversation makes them feel that your business cares about what they say. It also provides insights into your audience, which can inform your marketing decisions.
Loot Crate, for example, regularly seeks the opinions of its gamer- and geek-culture audience.
The Female Entrepreneur Association inspires female entrepreneurs by creating a helpful community to support their respective journeys. In the post below, the question not only helps to engage the audience but also brings together those who find themselves in a similar position.
5. Share behind the scenes visuals
Why should you share behind-the-scenes visual content? Because it gives a human face to your business. It shows you can have fun. It reveals your love for your team. You can make mistakes and still laugh at yourself. You are seeking to build trust.
People connect to people, not brands. To quote Mark McCormack:
All things being equal, people want to do business with their friends. And all things being NOT so equal, people STILL want to do business with their friends.
So, while behind-the-scenes visual content is crucial, the content doesn’t just have to be about you.
For example, Dropbox showcases a number of behind-the-scenes videos of how companies use Dropbox. The video below is one from Pinterest.
And eBay does a similar thing with this video –
6. Showcase customer experience photographs
According to recent research from Sprinklr and Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, 12% of enterprise managers and executives fully integrate social media with customer experience management, while 27% don’t integrate them at all. The report found that companies that do integrate social media and customer experience offer superior customer satisfaction than those that don’t, which translates into stronger growth and dominant positions in their markets.
LEGO does this very well with LEGO Ideas. The microsite encourages fans to submit their own concepts for LEGO sets. They’re then invited to promote their ideas on social media and gather as many supporters as they can.
Concepts that generate 10,000 supporters are sent to the LEGO Review Board, which selects designs for new LEGO products. This not only helps LEGO with new ideas but also builds an engaged community, connecting fans around the world.
7. Launch contests
Although contests aren’t a new tactic, used properly they can still work well.
Why do they work?
Contests help speed up your ability to build relationships by hacking into the rule of reciprocation. In other words, if you give customers something, they feel they should give something in return.
Boost online engagement: customers are looking for deeper connections and contests help to encourage them to interact with your brand.
Build your email list: social media contests are an effective form of lead generation when many other tactics are tired and not as effective. It can work especially well if you offer a reward in return for an email address.
Boosts the chances of virality: People love unique experiences, so if your contest is fun and exciting chances are that your audience will want to share it with their friends. This, in turn, increases the chance of the contest going viral.
Consider Air Asia’s give away a plane campaign. The lucky winner received a free round-trip to Kuala Lumpur for herself and a plane full of Facebook friends. The contest generated 12,500 entries, reached 2,291,483 people on Facebook and boosted Air Asia’s Facebook following by 30%.
For this to work you need to:
- Appeal to prospective customers
- Offer an incentive for social sharing
- Promote your contest with paid social ads
- Follow up with prize-related discounts in an email
Baskin Robbins launched a competition to get people to share their contest entries. This is a great strategy for photo contests because it lets you use user-generated content from your contest. Simply sharing these images on your social platforms and tagging the user who created the content will serve to deepen relationships with your brand.
8. Share humorous content
According to several studies, humour helps improve psychological and physical well-being. In fact, cognitive scientists have found that humour can transform any topic or conversation into something worth sharing.
Funny content, including images and videos, helps to make your brand relatable and less distant. Although the content does not have to result in laughs, a humorous take on a topic can help get the point across. Apart from funny videos, GIFs, and memes, you can also consider making your cover or timeline more interesting with funny images at appropriate times.
Check out some of the tweets from the National Library of Scotland, such as the one below, and you’ll understand why they have such a huge following.
Moosejaw also uses humour (see below)—almost as though you were hearing from a pal as opposed to a brand.
9. Taking a stand
Taking a stand doesn’t have to involve controversial issues. Brands can share opinions on things they believe in and want to give voice to.
You can also share causes that your brand supports, such as animal welfare, medical research, or human services.
While taking a stand may not directly boost your bottom line, it can help to shape the brand’s personality and provide opportunities to strike up conversations with your audience.
Put together your visual social media calendar
Although your content calendar spotlights your content endeavors, it is important to remember that social media platforms are primarily meant for social interactions. So humanizing your social media approach is key, and a visual social media calendar is a crucial part of the process.
On social media platforms, it is easier to piggyback on what is popular than to come up with something new. Make your content about what your audience cares about rather than your product or service.
So, what visual elements are working for your visual social media calendar?