Cracking content for your social media, what works, what doesn’t?

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Engaging content is the key to Social Media success — easy. But what kind of content will engage the audience is a baffling question for most digital marketers today.

Social media platforms, significantly, Instagram are growing content-heavy. From creators to brands, everyone is keen on trying new forms of content, but very few achieve a respectable level of engagement.

Here’s a thriving men’s clothing brand — Saturdays NYC that has managed to generate healthy followership for their Instagram page. But if you check out their post engagement, even a well-targeted, beautifully designed, and correctly strategized post hasn’t gotten ample engagement.

At this point, you may have several opinions about the post. But we can’t do away with withdrawing social media attention using content is a hard nut to crack. Harder if you’re a growing business, looking to leverage social media for the same.

So, what to do when your social game is not working, and your killer content ideas are bombing? A crisp and straightforward answer is to get back at the drawing board and get back to the basics. Today, most brands with millions of followers have done this repeatedly — fail and restart.

To make this trick work for you, the following are a few definite things you must remember as you try to crack content for your social media handles.

Build a Niche Circle

When we talk about “Target Audience”, we usually refer to the kind of users who relate to our brand or product the most. The target audience is often split into several niche categories that you can specifically leverage.

For instance, if you’re an automotive business, your ideal audience will have an affinity towards topics like “car repair hacks”, “car wheel health”, “How to pick the best second-hand car”, and so on.

Some of these topics will be closely related to what you do as a business, while others will be far-off. You can create, what I like to call, a niche circle that maps out all the niche categories and topics in terms of relativity to your business.

By identifying your primary niche, you’ll get a clear idea of the kind of content your audience would relate to. But that’s not the whole picture. There will be more hidden niche topics (secondary and tertiary niches) that you must explore to generate highly relevant content.

Let’s see this in action.

Let’s say you’re an automotive business that sells used cars. Your goal is to generate sales for your pool of cars and draw customer attention to the car models you already house.

Your niches can be described as below.


Primary Niche

Secondary Niche

Tertiary Niche

Used Car Reseller

Buy Used Cars

How to improve car engine health

How to pay road tax

You can keep adding more rows to the above table by carrying out detailed user research. This will help you test out content ideas and identify what kind of content your audience is most attracted to.

Social Media Listening

Social Media platforms are a great resource for marketers to carry out content research. It’s not limited to analyzing what other brands are doing or what content gets more engagement, but to understand the audience better.

You can figure out the pressing issues your audience usually faces to provide content that empathizes with the same.

In this Tweet, Uber can be seen empathizing with a user. It may not benefit Uber from a marketing perspective but it’s a healthy way to build a community.

Another relevant example by Walmart Family Mobile, wherein they’re addressing an active concern faced by their audiences in conjugation with one of their offerings.

Remember, that your users are also mentioning you out there and you must listen to what they have to say.

BuzzSumo and Crowdfire are both quite useful in achieving this. You can dive deep into your audience to “listen” them better using these tools. Crowdfire’s automatic content tailoring tool for Social Media channels deserves a special mention as it eases the process for digital marketers carrying out user research.

Create Target User Personas

A User Persona is a fictitious template that reflects the personality of your target audience(s). Consider it as an imaginary person that shares behaviors, social characteristics, buying patterns, or beliefs with the people you want to market to.

The better you know the User Persona, the easier it’ll be to cater to your audience. It’s the same as knowing your friend’s food taste — you wouldn’t take them to a Mexican restaurant if you know they like Chinese. Similarly, when you’re aware of your users, you can create effective content.

Here’s a sample user persona for a local groceries app;

Kate Shaw: Kate is a school teacher and mother of two. She shops for groceries from the local supermarket once a week which takes her 1–2 hours.Then, she drives 6 miles towards the supermarket. Mostly, she prefers cooking at home over eating out. She always checks for prices before purchasing groceries.

Here, Kate represents one of the many users that will form the userbase of the app in question. We can understand what Kate’s preferences and challenges are when it comes to groceries. Therefore, while tailoring content for this app’s social media posts, it’s important that these traits are kept in mind.

While creating user personas, you would want to consider the user’s behaviors, personalities, lifestyles, values, and social status. In addition, to make your content even more targeted, you can add more characteristics to your user personas such as mentioned below.

  • Age
  • Location
  • Hobbies
  • Job title
  • Influencers they follow
  • Hashtags they engage with
  • Active social media channels
  • Goals and motivations
  • Fears and pain points
  • Buying triggers

Patagonia’s Instagram page beautifully reflects smart user personas at play. It’s an outdoor clothing brand for people who like to explore the wilderness. Its content captures scenes from mountains, hiking camps, and outdoor photography that all relate to its target audiences.

Experiment Royally

Even when you’ve done your research and chalked out a brilliant social media strategy, you may not get results from the word go.

Truth is, most social media brands and pages go through a tumultuous journey of hits and trials before they start creating engaging content.

This is because initial research needs a lot of real-life implementation. You can dive deep into user analytics to understand engagement patterns and still come up with boring posts. It doesn’t mean you’re wrong, it only means that you need to experiment more.

When you sample out a number of ideas rapidly, you give yourself room to test your strategy properly. If you stick to the same type of content and it’s not bringing you engagement, you’ll soon tire yourself.

Quick tips to remember while experimenting on Social Media;

  • Try different post types such as Feed posts, stories, reels on Instagram. Some ideas are better received when you change the post type.
  • Record your learnings when you’re trying out various user segments. If you experiment randomly, you may lose out on value.
  • Run feedback surveys and polls apart from your social media team to gain a third-eye perspective.
  • Don’t be afraid to test out radical new ideas but don’t deviate too far from your brand’s voice.

Get Your Team To Collaborate

Social Media Marketing is mostly a team job. And when you’re handling multiple responsibilities, it needs to be highly strategized.

You need definite ROI goals, KPIs measuring success, and smart collaboration tools for enabling team productivity.

So far, we have learned multiple aspects about Social Media Content and it requires multiple brains to come together and deliver the final outcome. This is the hardest part — to get your team members to work in tandem.

I suggest using team communication tools such as ProofHub for bringing your entire team on a single platform for strategizing and execution. The tool is flexible enough to build a custom marketing workflow wherein teams can track pending tasks, this week’s planned items and ensure timely delivery.

You can also make a social media calendar for and assign corresponding tasks to designers, content writers, SMM executives all in one place. It’s quite helpful that you don’t have to jump multiple tools to make it happen.

Collaborative planning makes the other tasks mentioned in this article a lot easier to achieve. If your team has a strong collaborative understanding, they’ll be able to repeatedly experiment without frustration, explore new ideas quickly, and ultimately churn out content that speaks quality.

Therefore, while you invest devotedly in user demographic studies and content creation methods, ensure that your team can undertake projects without locking horns.


Try the key tips mentioned in this article to grow your social media channels using targeted content. Don’t stress too much about being right, but make sure you try new ideas for your audiences. The right ideas will automatically surface and will bring in the exploding engagement you’re aiming at. Once you understand what works for your page and what doesn’t, it’ll be easier to market to your customers and generate revenue with content — as widely promised.

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