Content and social go together like fish and chips, like Wallace and Gromit, like supporting English sports teams and abject disappointment.

We want to explore this connection in more detail, and highlight exactly why it is so successful. More than that, we’re going to offer three pieces of practical advice that you can follow to make the most of this close, and effective, relationship.

1) How to best promote content on social media.
2) How to write content specifically aimed at social media (this is the lighter, shareable stuff like list articles)
3) How to publish on social channels directly (LinkedIn, Medium and Facebook Notes).

If you look at the sales funnel below, social predominantly falls into the awareness category. It is all about catching people’s eyes and (ideally) sending them to your website or forcing them into action in some way. This is our step 1…

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1. How to promote existing content

Your approach will be different depending on the social network on which you choose to share.

Twitter needs short, punchy headlines that will make the users can’t help but click. You should aim for around 71-100 characters per tweet so that there is plenty of room for retweets, tweet quotes and commentary.

Don’t just share your content once on Twitter. Depending on when people log onto their account, they might miss your tweet in their timeline. To optimise the best chances of your message being seen, tweet it multiple times throughout the day/week.

It is important to note – if you are tweeting the same link throughout the day it is best to change up the message of the tweet so that you are not tagged as spam. You can post the exact same tweet on your timeline, but you should wait at least 24 hours before doing so.

Facebook and LinkedIn posts can be longer in length. When it comes to Facebook, asking a question in your headline and using a relevant image will go a long way towards getting you optimal engagement.

Facebook is more informal and friendly in tone and should be seen more as a conversation starter, whereas LinkedIn is more formal and is a great place to mark yourself out as an expert within your field. With LinkedIn, headlines that contain stats and questions tend to attract plenty of interaction as they are both eye-catching and thought-provoking.

For example, with this article the Facebook post would be something like:
How shareable is your content? 3 things you need to know about content marketing for social media

And the LinkedIn post would be:
Did you know that ‘listicles’ account for nearly 12% of all online posts with more than 1000 shares? 3 things you need to know about content marketing for social media

And one of the many tweets for this post would be:
Everything you need to know about content marketing for social media #contentmarketing

65% of people are visual learners. Posts with images tend to get more likes, shares and engagement, and on the likes of Twitter, if your tweet has an image embedded it will stand out from the text-heavy crowd of tweets that surround it. Twitter’s analytics show that tweets with pics are 35% more likely to get retweeted than those without. Why would you not?

Facebook and LinkedIn auto-share photos from posts when a link is posted, but with Twitter, unless the website the link is from is primed in the right way or set up with Twitter cards, you need to add photos yourself.

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Photos are key: Tweets with pics are more likely to be retweeted

Right, remember that funnel? Let’s refer back. Social very much occupies the Awareness stage, but blogs generally fall a level down, loitering around the Interest zone. People have seen your tweets or pins and thought ‘yeah, I’d like to know more’. They click through, they read. They’re interested. While we do recommend a good content mix – long feature posts, interviews, case studies – you can hone your content to make it as social-friendly as possible. Step 2….

2. How to write content specifically aimed at social media.

What gets shared? Clickbait! Catchy headlines. Think hashtags, which can be picked up by those searching for trending topics. Create content around trending topics – just make sure it’s relevant.

The headline of your post will determine whether your post gets read and your link gets clicked. Think about the emotional value (EMV) of your headline. Buffer undertook a study of posts with a high-volume of shares, and found that those with a higher EMV score (a score of 30 or more) were shared more than those with a lower score. You can analyse your headlines for EMV value with a free tool from the Advanced Marketing Institute.

An example of an EMV enhanced headline would be:

Existing Headline: How to run your business from your tablet (EMV 12.50%)
Higher EMV Score: How to be awesome at business with only your tablet (EMV 40%)

Hashtags are a great way of getting your content seen by people who are outside of your network. By being smart in choosing hashtags that are clicked on by your target audience and creating content around them, you will open up your audience tenfold. You can also look at what is trending and “hashjack” a hashtag and use it for your purposes, as long as the content you are creating is relevant. Hashtagify.me is a great free tool that lets you research hashtags.

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Use relevant hashtags: Hashtags can make your content a lot more shareable

List-based articles are extremely shareable. The mystery and intrigue and the promise of quick answers that the headlines attached to them suggest, make them supremely clickable. Buffer found that list posts accounted for nearly 12% of all posts with more than 1,000 or even 100 shares.

Social channels are constantly evolving, and a big push for many of them is the opportunity to publish directly to their platforms. LinkedIn has made a huge success of Pulse; Medium is massive; Facebook Notes is trying a similar thing. So let’s look at step 3….

3. How to publish on social channels directly

Your blog content can be repurposed and shared via LinkedIn, Medium and Facebook Notes. Repurposing your content has its pros and cons, especially since Google updated their algorithms to penalise sites posting “excessive duplicate content.” If you want to repost verbatim you should wait at least seven days after you have published on your site before verbatim posting anywhere else, as this will give Google a chance to index the original post

You should also not verbatim post all of your posts: just one every now and then so that you don’t get tagged as a spammer (aim for at most one in every five posts).

To avoid duplicate content, repurpose your existing content into other formats like lists, slides or e-books. You could even take existing listicles and turn them into a series of more in-depth posts. To find out more about repurposing content read our handy guide ‘Reposting content on Medium and LinkedIn: 7 things you need to know‘.

Social is so important to the lifecycle of your content that it’s almost pointless writing stuff if you don’t have a social media plan.
For further advice or if you just want to talk about this topic further, please contact us.

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Susie is a writer, reader, gamer and really big nerd. When she is not squeezing in late night zombie kills via her PS3, she can be found writing for various sites such as metro.co.uk and nerdlikeyou.com.