4 Steps to Creating Shareable Content for Social Media

YummyMummyClub.ca creator Erica Ehms explains how brands can engage with consumers online

Written by Robert Gold

Most businesses realize that engaging with consumers on social media is now a necessary part of brand management, but that doesn’t mean they’re doing it right. “I think most brands are blowing it,” says Erica Ehm, creator and publisher of YummyMummyClub.ca and YMCworks.com.

Ehm formerly hosted a TV show called Yummy Mummy which ran on Life Network and Discovery Channel outlets around the world. Once the show ended, she launched YummyMummyClub.ca as a way of continuing to engage with fellow mothers, and then set up the branded media company YMC to help connect brands with her audience. “In a way, I became a pioneer of what is now known as content marketing,” she says.

Earlier this year, YMC released a whitepaper titled “Creating Shareable Content for Mums: What Brands Need to Know.” Ehm says that while companies are likely spending a lot of time and dollars to connect with consumers on social media, they’re not necessarily getting results.  “I thought it was really interesting that 81% of moms said that they did not have a valuable, engaging moment with a brand online,” she says.

Here are four things Ehm says brands must do to create content that consumers will want to share on social media.

Be proactive

Many brands use social media platforms as listening tools, monitoring to see when they’re mentioned and then jumping into the conversation. Often, those engagements are about dealing with customer complaints or trying to defuse negative sentiments. “Listening is fantastic,” says Ehm. “To be there for your customers to answer their questions in the social space and then take it offline is definitely great customer service.”

But this reactive model means brands are only engaging with existing followers or customers. Ehm says companies should be using social media platforms to try and reach untapped audiences. “There’s a lot of brand management but not necessarily a lot of new engagement from brands,” she says.

Engage, don’t sell

The ultimate goal of marketing is, of course, sales. But pushing your product or service in your social media content only guarantees that most people will ignore what you have to say. “You don’t have to make it a hard sell,” says Ehm. “What you need to do is create content that your core base wants. They’ll be thankful, they’ll share it, and they’ll connect with you.”

Understand your audience

YMC’s whitepaper examines the preferences and habits of Canadian moms who use social media. Ehm says brands need to understand their audiences on a similarly granular level if they want to create shareable content. “It’s one thing to create it, but if nobody shares it, then you’re not really getting the full impact of what you’re initially setting out to do,” she notes. “So when you’re creating these programmes in the social space, think about your audience and the content they want to hear.”

Moms, for example, won’t share content that focuses on the brand itself. Rather, they pass on to their friends and followers content that resonates with them. “What they do want to share is content that they find really funny, that is about parenting, that reflects a mother’s life, that makes a mom really feel like their heart is coming out of their body,” says Ehm.

Make it personal

On Valentine’s Day this year, a social media specialist at Indigo sent Ehm a personalized valentine via Twitter direct message.  “That’s super smart, for a brand to take the time to follow key people and then make meaningful private connections with them,” says Ehm. “[Social media] is all about emotion.”

Too many brands use their social media presence to broadcast one-size-fits-all clichés and product-promoting hype. But Ehm says you should leave message pushing to broadcast ads and traditional media. “It’s social media where you have an amazing opportunity to engage with your clients one-on-one, create a relationship and make them fans for life,” she says.

For more of Ehm’s insights on creating shareable social media content, listen to this week’s BusinessCast by clicking the button above or download by clicking on the iTunes logo below:

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Originally appeared on PROFITguide.com