With so many brands investing more in their social media presence, it becomes more and more difficult to stand out.
You always have to experiment with new tricks and formats, and always surprise your current followers to acquire new ones.
With that in mind (and in preparation for the upcoming New Year), I’ve put together a list of the most creative tools and tricks to help you make your social media content stand out!
Of course, different social media platforms require different tricks, but this collection of ideas offers almost universal tips and examples:
1. Up your animated GIF game
It’s scientifically proven that images improve social media engagement and animated images perform even better. Hence, it is only natural to improve your visual marketing game first.
From creative feature films to humorous movie memes, animated GIFs made a sure comeback into our lives a few years ago and are still powerful social media content today.
You can certainly find great animated GIFs online (or even download them from Twitter), but your best choice, as always, is to create your own original content. The good news is that you don’t have to hire designers or buy expensive software to do it.
Pixaloop, a creative app from Lightricks, is one of my newest (and most popular) discoveries. With Pixaloop you can “bring your photos to life”. Essentially, the app lets you animate any part of your photo:
- Use arrows to set the direction of movement
- Place anchors to hold parts of the image in place
- Freeze portions of photos to keep them calm.
In addition, you can get a variety of video effects, overlay objects (stars, butterflies, candle flickers, coffee steam, etc.), camera effects and movement. It’s a powerful toolset for creating awesome updates suitable for almost any social media feed regardless of platform.
The app has a free option that I upgraded to unlimited access for around $ 4 a month (I think).
2. Use ASCII Art
Text art (also known as ASCII art) is another older trend that made a comeback thanks to Twitter.
There are a lot of people out there who don’t appreciate ASCII art. We call these people “idiots”.
Somewhere between the widely used shrug emoticon and the character bunny memes, turning your keyboard icons into fun cartoons is again a thing!
Some brands become famous because of the creative (and well-branded) ASCII art. @MoonPie is the perfect example of how to put your products in fun and shareable context using basic ASCII graphics:
When you’re ready to explore this trick, here are some resources and tools you can use to create social media-friendly ASCII art:
3. Create long content
Long-form content is a general trend that influences many marketing tactics. More and more brands are creating huge lists and tutorials that take hours to read. They were found to rank better (longer content gets 77.2% more backlinks than short articles) and they seem to do well on social media.
However, long-form content is not only suitable for your on-site content, but also for social media updates. More and more thought leaders are putting together long Twitter threads that read like articles. When Anita Campbell, founder of Small Biz Trends, talks about Quora on Twitter, she shares personal stats, results, and tips to help you achieve more about Quora.
Obviously, Twitter isn’t the only social media platform that is trying out long-form content. Other networks also seem to use longer content formats. Fohr published a research study claiming that the average length of captions on Instagram has more than doubled since 2016.
[There’s a good reason to believe, the caption length will grow even more in 2021]
Sharing stories on Instagram is quickly becoming a thing! Followers love to look at pictures, but it’s the text caption that gets them to comment, answer questions, and share their opinions.
When creating long content, don’t forget that it is still your official account and brand. Make sure your voice is consistent and professional:
- Before ever planning long-form posts for social media channels, you should proofread everything. It’s a good idea to use a grammar checker tool.
- Use the text optimizer to generate more ideas. It will suggest more angles and help you create a more optimized context for your long-form content:
Bonus: keep track of your results
No serious marketing strategy can exist without careful and consistent measurement of results. Social media is no exception. There’s no shortage of social media analytics tools to help you monitor your content’s performance and identify the top performing updates.
Agorapulse is an example. You are in full control of your social media schedule and can track the performance of your cross-channel content.
It’s always a good idea to customize your analytics dashboard to see immediately how your social media traffic is interacting with your website. There are some powerful solutions for this that can be incorporated into your website as well, but the simplest (yet most elaborate) is probably Finteza: a service that lets you break down and dice your data based on traffic sources, demographics, and location Engagement:
Creating great social media updates is art. There is no single way to do that. It takes weeks and months to experiment and measure the results. It involves a lot of brainstorming and creativity. And that’s what makes the process so exciting!
Hope the above ideas help you come up with original social media content that will generate new followers and brand advocates. Good luck!