My first website went online in 2001 and I joined the world of social media in 2003 when I joined LinkedIn (and have joined several others since).
Scroll stopping social media creates an increase in dwell time and can help your content go more viral as it indicates that it is of interest to the reader.
One of the most important components of your social media post is your imagery.
1. Quality imagery – ideally with one or more faces as we are ‘tuned in’ to recognizing a face as soon as we see one
2. Colourful imagery – black and white photos are used on gravestones in China…so I definitely do not recommend black and white faces!
3. Storyful imagery – can your image tell the story on its own? Does it give a sense of location, activity, and result?
4. Symmetrical imagery – does your image align with the Fibonacci Sequence or ‘the rule of thirds’?
5. Unique imagery – are you using all-too-familiar stock imagery or something a little different with some of your own colours and branding too?
6. Emotional imagery – do your images create an emotion to take action, feel compassion or engage in some way?
7. Brand-aligned imagery – do you have style guidelines for the imagery you use – and have the images been approved for use (with written waivers)?
8. Risk-aware imagery – whilst going viral is cool, being part of a meme sequence because of an unfortunate image component is NOT. Only include ‘catches that you want.’
9. Authentic imagery – whilst being authentic is all the rage, being out of focus, tokenistic or completely au naturel may not be. Convey a message, not a mess.
10. Manageable imagery – if you are going to be posting regularly, a few shots from a mobile phone won’t last – so you will need to know how to manage your photo library and you may need to include stock photos in your catalog.
Next up is your text – and it needs to be compelling to the reader it can’t be about you, it needs to be about the reader.
I quite like putting ‘topics’ at the beginning of my posts in capital letters. If someone is scrolling by, it will alert them to the content and if the topic is relevant, you can be sure they will stop.
- Immediate value – in the very first line, whether that be your topic in capitals or your attractive teaser that might use the word ‘Today’.
- Mostly short sentences and white space. This makes it so much easier to skim read but don’t fall into the trap of bro-etry.
- Enough content to make the post itself valuable without having to click on an external link or even watch a video (brand recall is valuable too).
- Some social media features – @mentions, #hashtags, emojis (but not too many and only those relevant to the brand).
- Ongoing engagement – if someone comments, make sure you respond, in as many words as possible.
- Re-engagement – follow up a few days later with a lengthy and valuable comment and pin it to the top – the post can gain a second life.
- Include a call to action (not just information) – if a person needs to stop and do something, they have stopped scrolling! Make sure your instructions are clear and any links do actually work.
- Try and keep readers on the platform – rather than sending them off the platform to another website. Make use of in-platform options – like Polls and document uploads on LinkedIn.
- Avoid sharing from another platform – be aware that sharing from TikTok will include a TikTok watermark.
- Be respectful – no spam tagging (tagging to reach someone who would not be interested but has a large audience) or negativity – if in doubt, don’t use it.
Social media is designed to be social – so if I see your content and feel like I am being sold to on every occasion, it won’t take me long to scroll right past or even remove you from my newsfeed.
However, if you continually show up with quality content that is visually appealing and gives me a dopamine fix on the spot, there is a pretty good chance I will stop scrolling and check it out! After all, I am only human!
About the author
Sue Ellson BBus MPC CDAA ASA WV SPN – Independent LinkedIn Specialist, Author, Trainer, Educator, Career Development Practitioner, Founder, Gigster, Speaker, Consultant, Poet who likes writing poetry, walking and dancing after hours. Since completing her university studies in 2001, Sue has been attending up to four events per week to keep herself up to date.