Like any other form of communication, creating content for social media requires planning. You need to identify your purpose for creating content, and the audience for whom it is intended.
Social media is often used as a news source by Australians, with 25% of us using it to read news stories. It can be a powerful tool for communicating your data, insights or any information you want to share. Sometimes the media inaccurately oversimplifies information for the general public. Be careful to adequately explain yourself so that if your post does go “viral”, the correct message is delivered. It is good practice to:
- be clear and concise.
- check your spelling and grammar.
- provide evidence to support your statements.
- use graphs, tables or figures to present your data in an easy-to-digest format, when appropriate.
- adhere to copyright if you include images, music, video, etc that are not your own. Always attribute the source. Find and use media has further information.
You should also consider the purpose of your social media posts. You need to identify your purpose for creating content, and the audience for whom it is intended. The platform will guide you through the creating processes.
Think about who you are creating your social media posts for. Consider:
- Who is your intended audience?
- Is the post professional or of general interest?
- Which are the best social media platforms to reach your targeting audience?
- What is the algorithm of those social media or any associated requirements or limitations?
Read more about the use of social media of different generations:
- How different generations use social media—and what this means for your business
- A look at Gen Z’s preferred social platforms
Improve the chances of your post being seen
As posts attract further interaction, they also become more visible to others and improve the chance of your content being prioritised by social media algorithms.
There are some general strategies you could use to improve reaching potential audiences.
Tagging and being tagged by other creators are some of the most efficient ways to expand your circle. Sharing content of similar interest not only shows your network to your audience but also increases your chances of getting shared.
You can tag your photos on social media by geographic location using sites such as Geolmgr or Geotag. Geotagging photos allows you to “pin” your photos to the locations where they were taken. Google Photos and Flickr are two photo sharing sites that allow you to geotag your photos.
There are ethical considerations when you are adding photographs to social media sites. You should not:
- post or tag a photo that belongs to someone else without their permission.
- post a photo or video that may invade someone’s privacy e.g. their address, car licence plate, workplace/school or their children.
The eProfessionalism module has information about the legal, ethical and organisational constraints to sharing images. The Office of the eSafety Commissioner has further information and tips about social media and privacy.
A hashtag is a phrase or keyword that is preceded by a # symbol and is used on some social media platforms (e.g. Twitter, Instagram, Weibo) to create a thread of conversations around a specific theme or topic.
Mindful hashtag construction
If you are using Twitter and want to create a hashtag based on your professional interests, make sure you choose the hashtag carefully. An example of an ambiguous hashtag is #nowthatchersdead. Twitter users interpreted this in a number of ways, and it resulted in a viral rumor spreading about Cher’s death. It can be interpreted as either:
- Now Thatcher’s Dead
- Now That Cher’s Dead
For accessibility, it is now recommended to capitalise each word in the hashtag to make it easier to read. This type of formatting is referred to as camelCase e.g. #BlackLivesMatter. It is also noteworthy that joining an existing hashtag may be more beneficial than creating a new one, unless you are aiming to create a completely new trend.
To learn more about hashtag strategies, visit:
- How to use hashtags in 2022: A guide for every network
- How to use hashtags effectively on social media
Several social media platforms, such as Facebook or Instagram, offer paid advertisements if you want to further promote your content. For example, Instagram allows you to pay to promote a specific post or your account in general over a period of time.
How is your content prioritised by social media?
All social media posts are prioritised for individual viewing according to algorithms used to optimise content being delivered. Behind the algorithms of social media explains what different social media algorithms are prioritising. In general, they promote posts that:
- encourage engagement – commenting, liking, sharing.
- are likely to be relevant based on your previous behaviour.
- are from users who post consistently.
- are paid content and ads. They are businesses and want to make a profit.
Read 10 tactics to boost your organic social media reach to learn more about promoting your content.
Self-branding is a term coined by Tom Peters in his 1997 article “The Brand Called You”. According to Peters, everyone has the power to be their own brand and it is each person’s responsibility to promote their brand. But if that is true, how do you successfully market yourself to others?
Social media is an excellent way to promote yourself for a variety of reasons, including content marketing or social selling. It provides you with a way to reach your target audience, influence people, and build your brand. Some social media users become influencers, who have established online credibility and have gained access to a large audience.
If you are planning to build your personal brand on social media, there are also some things you should do for the greatest exposure. Firstly, decide which platforms to concentrate on. It is tempting to try to use all social media platforms to promote your brand, but it is important to remember that not every social network is right for you. Check which social media platforms fit your content, knowledge or expertise and then direct your efforts to those platforms. For example, for an artist wanting to share and promote their work, Instagram or Flickr might be a good option. Your photos can be shared with other people who have an interest in arts and culture.
Build your personal brand on social media
It might be preferable to create an account specifically for professional use, rather than using your private social media accounts.
- Identify your goal. Do you want to showcase your talents, sell something, get a great job?
- Search for industry leaders or experts in your area to see what platforms they use.
- Use a tool to search for trends or top posts on your topic. Try Social Searcher (searches across a range of social media platforms) or Twitter advanced search help.
- Plan interesting or informative content to post.
- After you identify experts and popular or active users, write about them or topics they are interested in to attract their attention, or their followers’ attention, to your content.
Once you have your social media accounts organised, make sure you post regularly, but not excessively. Too many posts may annoy your audience; a good number would be around 3 or 4 posts each week. Ensure you make the posts engaging by writing posts that you would want to read if others had posted them.
Build a community by:
- being kind to others and positive in your posts. This way you will be creating and promoting a good self-image of yourself, and you will be more likely to appeal to followers.
- encouraging interactions, comments and authenticity.
- engaging with people who are interested in you and your work.
Creating a personal brand on social media requires a lot of time, commitment and planning to work well. It won’t happen overnight but, with patience and research, you will be able to build yourself a successful personal brand.