It Has Never Been Easier to Produce Social Content

July 21, 2019

Managing social content a nightmare?

Here's why it doesn't have to be.

First, a question.

What can you use to create the most effective type of social content?

Let me give you a hint. You never leave home without it. You bring it to bed. And Elon Musk is secretly planning to connect your brain to it.

That's right, your mobile device. I don't know if you are aware, but you madame/sir are equipped with one of the most powerful cameras in the history of photography.

And in probably 60 seconds flat you can create content, write some copy, and push it to social media. So why does it feel like it takes forever? Whether you work in an agency, in-house at a brand, or are a solopreneur, the following approach to content will help you make the most of your precious time and energy. And I'll show you why you will see a significant performance boost (can easily be up to 15x, even 30x) when you implement this strategy.

Let's talk specs baby.

To make the most of the content you will capture with your phone, you need the right format. As you may already know there are lots of comprehensive spec references out there, so we won't get into the details of each spec. But I would advise you to become familiar with looking up official specs published by the social platform or channel you plan to utilize. For example, Facebook has a really great set of spec pages for both Facebook and Instagram.

[Facebook and Instagram Specs]

Now, back to the format. For image based content, the most common aspect ratios for daily posts is going to be 4:5 on FB and 1:1 on IG. But a common issue you will come across is 'dead space'. These are black borders or whatever filler color you may feel forced to create to compensate for pre-cropping your content.

[Diagram showing dead pixel space trying to compensate for pre-cropping]

This minor catastrophe happens when images are captured without enough background space. Notice how tight the margin is between the tree and the edge of the photo. If we try to crop the 4:5 any smaller, we will start to cut into the left and right side of the image, and for the 1:1 we will cut into the top and bottom.

So how do we avoid this? Easy! Provide enough ample space around the subject when you take your photos or record videos. This will let you safely crop to various proportions. No more dead space! 

Ok, but what do I post?

Ok so you know how to capture and crop content properly. You understand format, but what type of content..

Of all the viral social content you see, how much of it looks like this?

[Stereotypical production level ad]

Exactly 0. First of all, if you are any brand that is tight on a budget, to get a decent designer to produce a production-level ad, it will be very costly. And the quality will not be as good as the ad above. I'm not a fan of this Eclipse Cross ad, so there's a chance the one you get will be even worse. It also take a long time. The creative team you employ will have to go through iteration after iteration and by the end of it, 6 weeks have passed, you are $4,000 in and you only have a few pieces of content left to your name.

Which you will burn through in about 3 days. You will burn through your name because the performance will be terrible, and your expert designers will request more time needed to make the promised quality production-level content more quality production level. And you will be sad forever and die alone.

On the other hand. How much of the good (performing) social content that you see, looks like this?

[Not a particularly flattering screenshot of a Rick Lax content piece]

Look at that sweet sweet engagement on the Rick Lax post. And he produces content every single day. So he's getting those numbers daily. He's connected with his audience 60 times before you get your one crappy Eclipse Cross ad up and running.

Now you might be thinking, well Rick Lax is a media publisher and while this type of content works for media companies, it won't work for businesses. You might say that businesses need to promote the benefits of their products. And while this is true, traditionally, (and even today by modern marketing standards still partly true), on social media you have to produce content that communicates the values of your business. Because that is the most social form of content.

[Diagram of the value pyramid]

Of course if you are a brand with a good budget, you can create content that is both social and production-quality. Like this recent Nike Ad:

[Nike production quality ad that is social]

Here is an example from one of the clients I advise. Besides excellent engagement, this picture has generated 19x ROAS on each dollar spent promoting it. And took a net 15 minutes to photograph, crop, publish, and promote.

Rapid content means constant audience engagement, messaging optimization, and a pool of marketing and business intelligence for your brand.

So what's the point. It's about using even your mobile device to push content daily. Just like Rick Lax, just like Baked Bouquet, and all my clients.

Think about it. Waiting for production level content takes so long. What if the message flops? What if the creative doesn't resonate? Maybe that clever one-liner doesn't translate well on a post. And the slippery slope of "well we didn't really give that idea its full potential".

Again, think of all the content that you have seen go viral. Most of it seems so low effort. It's not an accident. First of all 'low effort' content takes much less time to produce. So by its very nature you see more of it. Posting more frequently increases your chances of landing winning posts. And if you have a good analytics infrastructure, you can monitor performance and build a foundation of marketing intelligence to continue to increase your rate of success. The benefits are of a compounding nature.

And guess what, as you generate more winning posts, you increase your pool of 'promotable' content. Content that you can spend ad dollars on targeting specific audiences on social channels. After some time, promoted ads will experience ad fatigue (as a general rule of thumb to keep this simple). But even when that happens, you can wait some time and re-promote that ad. The reason, you can do this, is because you have a big pool of content because you are posting every day, tweaking and optimizing your messaging, and engaging with your audience. Meanwhile, some unfortunate soul is dumping all their marketing budget into some design agency waiting 7 weeks for a video that is likely to flop to finish, so that he can spend his tiny remainder margin on 'boosting' that post, and then praying for success.

Never forget, that the image that you post - as you find winning combinations of images and messaging - can eventually become that production level video. Using Baked Bouquet again as an example, here is a video that went viral, which generated over 50 million impressions and an ROAS too ridiculous to quanitfy.

[Link to the viral video.]

But it would have been too premature to attempt to produce this video without upgrading content incrementally. The images that work, turn them into carousel stories. Carousel stories can become GIFs. GIFs can become videos. And so on..

Content should be fun.

And finally, to conclude this quick guide to rapid social content, I like to ask "If your brand was a reality TV show, what would that look like?"

Stop thinking about the Kardashians. What would your reality TV show look like. Social content has to be human, engaging, and personal. And while everyone understands human and engaging, let me clarify personal because that gets a little bit of resistance. Some understand "personal" as to be what 'influencers' do, showing off a lavish lifestyle, impeccable physique, and cool friends. And that works, and it's one way to be personal.

Another way to be personal without feeling like you are selling your soul, is to connect with your target audience about issues they care about. The key is to connect. Connecting is an inherently personal process. Seek to understand the problems and issues your potential customers are facing, and show how you and your brand care about those issues. Show how you are working to increase their livelihood through your content.

And most importantly, have fun putting that all together! Taking photos, recording videos, that's the stuff of childhood legends. Embrace your inner kid and go for it. It will only get easier when you start doing it. 15 minutes can save you 3000% or more on your BUSINESS.

Ok, enough said.

Now, you know the format, I've given you examples of content, and you have the right tactics to push content out fast, frequently, and meaningfully.

Carpe diem.

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