By Wendy Marx | November 13, 2020
Content and social media seem like the ultimate pair — you create content, social media helps you amplify it. Engagement on social media boosts brand awareness, brand authority, and even website traffic.
But what if you pour all your time and energy into your content creation, but don’t see the results that you want on social media? Does this mean that your content failed in some way? Not necessarily.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have a magic formula that ensured your content’s success?
Well, sadly, there isn’t any magic formula. But a new study just might shine some light on what’s going on with your social media strategy and help you to improve it.
This study is from BuzzSumo and will help you understand content engagement across the most popular social networks, providing powerful insight into the fundamentals of successful content strategies.
The study used machine learning to analyze 400,000 articles to determine what social networks created the most engagement and what factors generated the most engaging content. Let’s take a look at what they found.
Content and Social Media: The Key Takeaways for You
Results Will Vary
One takeaway that became very clear in the study was that a high-quality piece of content isn’t likely to perform the same across your social media networks.
A blog post might get thousands of likes and shares on Facebook and bomb on Twitter with little to no engagement.
Why is this?
Well, there are a couple of potential reasons…
It could be a simple matter of different audiences… It’s possible that Twitter audiences aren’t interested in the same content as their Facebook counterparts.
Then again, it could be a number of other factors that are simply out of your control. For instance, an influencer with a large audience might happen upon your blog post, like it, and decide to amplify it. This doesn’t mean that that post was better written or more engaging than another post. Sometimes it simply comes down to chance.
Taking these elements into consideration, make time to analyze your social networks. Do hemes and subjects resonate with audiences on one social network versus another? If you find a correlation — perhaps for example content with top-notch visuals performs well on Facebook — use that information when you create more content for that network.
One Network Stands Above the Rest
In the BuzzSumo study, through the 400,000 articles that they analyzed, one network came back with more engagement than any other.
That’s right. Facebook outpaced every other network when it came to likes, shares, and comments. As an example, when it came to shares, Facebook had 91% of total shares, while Twitter had only 9%.
The study found a correlation between “likes” and other forms of engagement on Facebook. This means that if you can create content that motivates your audience to push that “like” button, then your content is also more likely to be commented on and shared.
Twitter Strategies Do Well, But Need Some Amplification
Another top network in BuzzSumo’s study was Twitter. Admittedly, Twitter’s user base is smaller than Facebook’s, but it is still a powerful tool — and has some assets that Facebook lacks.
One is a strong base of influencers — those who have a large social following and who are looked to as authorities or trendsetters. Twitter also has great search capabilities, so you can always see what’s trending and what people are talking about at that moment.
But to get the most out of this platform, you need to know how to use these features.
Look at ways to incorporate influencers in your Twitter strategy to amplify your content. Do your research to see who would be a good fit for your brand and reach out to them.
Use Twitter’s search feature to find out what is trending in your industry. Then create and share content that fits that trend.
Just because Twitter is smaller than Facebook does not mean that you should count it out. On the contrary, it is a powerful network. You just need to use it correctly for the best results.
Choose Your Platform Carefully
All of that being said, there is no one network that is a cure-all for every brand. You need to find what works best for your brand.
In the past, we’ve talked a lot about ways to improve the quality of your content. For sure, it’s always going to be important to create the best content. But if you’ve tweaked your content and it’s still not performing well, then the issue might not be the content — It might simply be the wrong platform for your content.
Try another social media platform. Do your research. See If a different network might house a more engaged audience for your particular brand. The key to high engagement might just be a network that you never thought of before, such as Instagram or Pinterest.
Ways to Improve Your Content
BuzzSumo’s study also touched on how to improve your content itself to get more engagement on social media.
The study examined a number of factors in content creation, including readability, subject matter, content length, and use of images.
The biggest takeaway was that these factors did not have a huge impact on content engagement. The most impact a factor had was to increase engagement by 6%. This is far from being a “magic formula for success,” but it does teach us not to sweat the small stuff.
Even so, it’s important to boost your content in whatever way you can, even in small ways. So let’s look at some of the factors that impacted content engagement, both positively and negatively:
- Readability Score: This score ranks posts based on length of words and sentences — the longer these are, the higher the score. The study found that low readability scores tend to damage engagement, so content creators should aim for higher readability scores.
- Images: Content with more images performs better than content with no images.
- People-centric content: Content that focuses on people rather than things performs better. Look for ways to put a human spin on your content.
- Hyperbole: Using phrases like “the best” and “the most” don’t help content engagement. Instead of hyping your content with an overly exaggerated headline, focus on boosting your content quality.
Here is a more comprehensive chart from BuzzSumo:
Boiling It Down…
Many factors can move the dial of your content and social media strategy. Just in this study, we’ve learned…
- Results vary from brand to brand and from one social media platform to another.
- Facebook leads the way when it comes to content engagement.
- Twitter has powerful tools and a large influencer pool that brands should use in their strategy.
- Brands need to consider their options when it comes to what platform they use to share content.
- Variations in content, while not playing as huge a role as we originally thought, are still important to consider in your strategy.
The BuzzSumo study pinpoints how engagement on social media works. I hope this information helps you to adapt your content and social media strategy to get the most engagement from your content.