At Her Campus, we’re all about pushing the envelope with social content that sparks a reaction from our users and in turn builds their bond with our brand. But nothing is quite as awkward as posting social content that flops, or, worse, offends. You don’t want to be known as the brand that, in a desperate grab for clicks, threw together something thoughtless. It might seem like creating a meme or viral video shouldn’t take much effort—after all, it’s something people will glance at for 30 seconds if you’re lucky, right?
Not quite. No matter how simple or trivial it might seem, shareable content is a huge part of the game. It allows you to connect with your audience, to show that you’re listening, and to prove that you know what they’re looking for. Brand recognition and relationship-building all in one? Who doesn’t want that?
So how do you actually create social content that resonates with your audience and makes them want to share?
1. Pay attention to what content your audience is already sharing.
One of the easiest ways to create content that will stick is by paying attention to what your audience is already sharing. But instead of simply pulling in those memes or content, think of it from a broader perspective. Ask, what themes are consistently popping up? Then see how you can apply these themes to your brand to fulfill your own specific goals.
2. Design content around relevant pop culture icons and celebrities.
People are going to be attracted to your content for a few different reasons: one, they like the overall message; two, they like the caption; three, they already have a connection with the image. Someone who loves Beyoncé might already think your Twitter thread is hilarious, but they’re only going to like it more when they see her face in gif form there.
3. Don’t know who your audience likes? Ask!
One of the most effective strategies that we use to better understand our audience is being transparent and simply asking. Here, you don’t want to say, “Wait, who do you guys even like?” Instead, frame it in a way that makes sense in context, e.g. “What celeb closet would you kill to steal for a week?” or “If I could be a part of any celeb squad, it would be…”
A simple Twitter poll can be a great way to get a general feel for who your audience is most invested in, and by then creating content around these people, you’ll have a much easier time creating content that your audience finds #relevant. This means they’re more likely to share, and, ultimately, get more eyes on your content.
4. Tap into your staff.
If you want to create good memes, you have to live within the world of memes. And if you don’t someone does. Open the floor to ideas, and see what experiences your staff has had that naturally translate to shareable content. See what makes your team laugh, or makes their kids laugh, or makes their parents laugh. Test things out in real time, and you might be surprised by the reactions you get.
5. Sometimes, you have to throw memes at the wall and see what sticks—but strategically.
Now, you don’t want to give up completely and start flooding your social platforms with bizarre and off-brand content. What you can do, though, is test the water on platforms that are less risky.
For example, at Her Campus we test most of our memes on our Twitter before we put in the extra work it would take to create a gif video that we’d share on Facebook. This works for two reasons: first, the sky's the limit when it comes to how many Tweets you can share (to an extent, of course, but there’s more flexibility than on Instagram, or Facebook for example), so you’re not wasting valuable space.
Second, we have a smaller following on Twitter than on some of our other platforms, so we’re not likely to take a huge loss if we send out three memes instead of three articles, whereas on Facebook, we want more of a balance.
When it comes down to it, you can’t always anticipate which shareable content is going to go viral, so don’t be afraid to shake things up—just make sure you’re always keeping your voice, audience, message, and goal in mind.
Rachel Lewis is the Social Media Editor at Her Campus Media.