How to create rich social media content

June 28, 2021
Kyra Goodman

There’s a lot we can learn from media richness theory about how to craft rich social media posts. Here's how you can create social media posts that turn your followers into customers at scale.

Brands (like yours) aren’t posting content to social media for the heck of it. But, if you’re not leveraging visual content or designing posts that are valuable to your audience, it’ll be difficult to generate meaningful results from your efforts.Luckily, there’s a lot we can learn from media richness theory about how to craft rich social media posts. By designing content that effectively communicates new ideas and information, you can create social media posts that turn your followers into customers at scale.To help you do just that, we’ve put together your ultimate guide for how to create rich social media content that your audience won’t be able to forget. Ready? Let’s dive in.

What is social media richness?

As we covered in our ultimate guide to visual marketing, social media richness is all about how effective content is at communicating information.The foundational idea stems from ‘Information Richness Theory’, which was proposed by Richard L. Daft and Robert H. Lengel way back in 1984. In short, this theory explains that different types of media have different capacities for communicating information.To measure this, the theory uses four key criteria:

  1. Capacity for personal focus
  2. Immediacy of feedback
  3. Conveyance of multiple cues
  4. Variety of language carried

Let’s dive a little deeper into what each of these key criteria is all about.

Capacity for personal focus

How connected do you feel to someone after sending a quick email or text? How about after meeting face-to-face or after finishing a lengthy phone call? The way we communicate with others has a big impact on how we feel and how well we absorb new information.In a more dynamic format (such as speaking face-to-face) we have greater opportunity to build a personal connection with someone. That might be sharing anecdotes or bonding over similar personal interests.In a more static format (such as an email or text message), our contact is transactional with less capacity to build a personal connection. So, rich content uses mediums that allow us to build a personal, emotional connection with others.

Immediacy of feedback

Asking questions and seeking clarification are key to ensuring we absorb the correct information. And offering opportunities for two-way conversations is a helpful way to do just that.When we talk about immediacy of feedback, it’s all about giving others that chance to be heard.From asking questions to sharing constructive feedback, dialogue and discussions is what will help users to fully absorb and engage with new ideas in a meaningful way.In the context of social media, this involves using platform features (such as comments, DMs and retweets) to give users a chance to ask questions and start a dialogue with brands.

Conveyance of multiple cues

When you look at a billboard, you’re not just looking at the image or the text. Instead, you’re reading both mediums together to understand the meaning of the ad.Skillfully blending text and imagery to communicate a single message is another key way to communicate information in effective ways.On social media, it’s all about finding ways to allow your copy and visuals to work hand-in-hand to share a single idea. That could mean crafting eye-catching graphics that use both text and images or even adding text overlays and captions to video content.

Variety of language carried

In some cases, using facts and figures is the most effective way of communicating a new idea. Other times, using natural, conversational language will help get the message across.That’s what this final element is all about: using various forms of language and symbols to share new information.By skillfully using a blend of both numbers and emotive language, you’ll deepen your connection with users and ensure they walk away with your key messages every time. When crafting content for social media, this means using a mix of text, numbers, images and even emojis to capture interest and communicate your brand’s message effectively.With these key criteria in mind, this theory helps us to rank media formats from most to least ‘rich’. At the top end of the scale we have face-to-face communication (which is said to be the most ‘rich’), followed by video, audio and finally text-based content.

Why social media richness is important for brands

So, what does this theory have to do with social media? When we talk about rich social media, we’re looking for content that:

  • Conveys multiple messages: using images, video content, text overlays and captions
  • Allows for instant feedback: such as inviting users to comment, share or send a DM
  • Uses natural language: using conversation and easy-to-understand phrasing that’s on-brand for the account
  • Offers a personal focus: feels like it’s spoken by a human and is tailored to the needs of their target audience

For brands, understanding social media richness is key to ensuring your content cuts through the noise. By skillfully blending media formats and finding ways to humanise your content, you’ll be in the best position to communicate your key ideas effectively with your target audience.Plus, by curating your content to align with the pain points and needs of your audience and offering opportunities for two-way conversations, you’ll build powerful relationships that turn followers into customers.

How to create rich social media content

You’re probably wondering: but how do I create rich social media content?Keep reading to discover 10 proven ways to craft engaging, dynamic social content your audience won’t be able to resist.

Design social content that solves your audience’s problems

Understanding your audience’s needs, aspirations and challenges is what will help you give your social media posts a personal focus. The more relevant and tailored your content is to their needs, the more likely they are going to engage with and remember your brand.To design hyper-relevant social media content, you need to take the time to identify your audience’s pain points. Here are a few key questions to help you do this:

  • What common questions do you receive from your audience or customers?
  • What is stopping your audience from converting?
  • What is preventing your audience from reaching their desired outcome?

Every post you share to your social media channels should be solving a specific audience problem. That could be by educating users about a more efficient way of doing something, empowering them with a proven framework you’ve created or even promoting a product or service that can solve their biggest challenges.With these pain points in mind, you’ll be able to harness the right combination of images, text and graphics to communicate your message effectively.

Create tone of voice guidelines that your audience will resonate with

Does your brand have an instantly recognisable tone of voice? If not, your audience is going to struggle to form a personal connection with your business on social media.That’s why crafting clear and consistent tone of voice guidelines is essential when creating rich social media content. In a nutshell, tone of voice is about defining how you speak to your audience and the language you use to convince and convert them.Recent studies have shown that 33% of consumers rank a distinct personality as being important to helping a brand stand out on social media. Plus, 32% noted compelling storytelling as an essential ingredient for what makes them remember a brand on social media.To help you develop your brand’s unique voice, ask yourself:

  • What five adjectives would I use to describe my brand’s personality?
  • How formal or casual is my brand when speaking to our target audience?
  • What keywords or phrases are ‘on-brand’ vs. ‘off-brand’ for my business?

With a clear tone of voice framework in place, you’ll ensure every post you create feels unique, distinctive and memorable for users. By humanising your brand and crafting a compelling brand personality, you’ll build trust and brand preference with audiences (and boost their chances of converting, too).

Draw on emotions with captivating messaging

A key ingredient to rich social media content is compelling, memorable messaging. And one of the best ways to achieve that is by crafting copy that draws on emotions.In a similar vein to our previous tip, this strategy is all about building rapport and a personal connection with your audience. By showing the human-side to your brand and skillfully leveraging emotive language in your copy, you’ll boost brand affinity with your ideal customers.Think about it like this: are you more likely to remember a post about dry facts and figures, or an emotive piece of content that shares a personal, engaging story?So, here are some top copywriting tips to help you craft captivating social media content:

  • Position your message as a story and use the narrative framework of Who, What, When, Where and Why to structure your copy.
  • Use emotive language to trigger an emotive response from readers.
  • Inject a conversational tone to your copy using relatable anecdotes and shared experiences to build trust with audiences.
  • Draw on audience pain points and aspirations to generate an emotive response.

Show the behind-the-scenes of your brand

Speaking of building rapport, taking your audience behind-the-scenes is key to giving your social media content a human focus. No matter what industry you’re working in, revealing the magic that happens in your office, studio or shop is what will build valuable trust and relatability with audiences.The good news? Social media platforms offer stacks of opportunity to take your audience behind-the-scenes, including:

  • Getting each member of your team to take over your Instagram Stories and show a day-in-the-life of their role.
  • Crafting a short, snappy Instagram Reel showing a sneak peek of an upcoming product, project and new release.
  • Giving your audience a tour of your office or workspace on Instagram Stories.
  • Sharing your experience at a live event or conference using LinkedIn Stories.
  • Filming an IG TV that introduces yourself and explains why you started your business.

The key is to be honest, authentic and relatable with your behind-the-scenes content. Rather than worrying about how professional the footage is or how perfect your content looks, focus on sharing the raw, candid side of your business.

Reshare powerful user-generated content (UGC)

Rich social media content offers the opportunity for two-way conversations, and that’s exactly what user-generated content is all about.The act of brands resharing content created and published by their followers is known as UGC. Whether brands repost images, reviews, videos or text from users, these pieces of content offer stacks of powerful opportunities for businesses.Here’s why your business should prioritise UGC on social media:

Clearly, UGC is a meaningful way to give a personal focus to your content and develop meaningful connections with your target audience. Need some inspiration to get started? Here are some of our favourite ways to generate and leverage UGC on social media:

  • Run a UGC competition or challenge: give your followers a reason to create content showcasing your brand by incentivising UGC with the chance to win a prize or discount code.
  • Create a branded hashtag: encourage your customers to share their experience with your products or services by promoting a branded hashtag. Plus, this will give you a bank of powerful UGC to reshare on social media.
  • Craft a UGC content pillar: give your followers a chance to be featured on your social platforms by designing a content pillar dedicated to UGC. Make this a regular weekly or monthly event to motivate your followers to take part and create content for your brand.

Leverage platform features that enable images and text to work together

Want to convey multiple messages in just one piece of content? That’s where this next tip for rich social media content comes in: make sure you’re taking advantage of all social platform features that allow text, images and graphics to work together.The more dynamic your social content is, the more engaging it is for users and the more likely they are to resonate with your key message.Plus, social media is built to harness multiple content formats, allowing you to pick and choose which medium is the best way to reach and engage your audience.In practical terms, here are some of our favourite ways to blend text and images on social media:

  • Adding GIFs and text overlays to make your Instagram Stories stand-out for users
  • Leveraging text overlays and punchy video transitions to design TikToks and Reels that your audience won’t be able to resist
  • Using a blend of images, text and graphics on your Instagram Carousels to communicate multiple pieces of information in one post
  • Using text overlays on your IGTV posts and Reels to direct users to read more in your caption
  • Crafting engaging Instagram video posts and using captions to ensure your key messages are still received (even with sound off)

Host live broadcasts on social media

One of social media’s most powerful features is its ability to facilitate live video broadcasts. From Instagram to Facebook, these live streamed events allow for instant feedback from users and a deeper sense of personal connection between brands and followers.While meeting users individually face-to-face isn’t possible for brands, live streaming breaks down these traditional barriers and allows for meaningful two-way conversations in real time.To help you craft rich social content using live video broadcasts, here are some content ideas your brand can leverage:

  • Host a live Q&A session with your followers on Instagram: make sure to promote this live broadcast ahead of time and call-out for user questions to create a two-way dialogue between you and your audience.
  • Facilitate a live training session or how-to presentation: want to teach your audience a new skill in real time? Whether it’s Pilates or baking, find creative ways to host a live broadcast where you share your expertise with audiences through a training session.
  • Jump onto an Instagram Live broadcast with another brand: boost the reach of your social content and connect with new, likeminded audiences with a joint Instagram Live broadcast. This live interview format is a great way to build trust and rapport with new and existing followers and build credibility by aligning yourself with another brand.
  • Promote an upcoming release with a live broadcast: build interest and anticipation for an upcoming product release, new service or event with a live Instagram or Facebook video. In this broadcast, you can show a sneak preview of the product or event program and encourage users to ask questions to facilitate open, two-way conversations with your audience.

Use interactive tools to inspire two-way conversations

Social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn are constantly iterating and releasing new features for brands and content creators. This offers powerful opportunities for you to craft compelling rich content to inspire deeper engagement to turn followers into customers.Social media’s interactive tools give brands (like you) the chance to gather immediate feedback on new content, product ideas and services. By harnessing these tools, you can test and refine your offering and give your followers a chance to be involved in this process, too.Looking for creative ways to harness social media’s interactive tools and platform features? Here are a few strategies you can start using on your social channels today:

  • Use Polls to gather audience feedback on a new product or service idea: from Instagram Stories to LinkedIn, these clickable polls are a simple, cost-effective way to test new ideas and gather feedback in real time.
  • Call-out for questions to inform your upcoming social content: give your followers a chance to influence your social content by using the Questions sticker on Instagram Stories. This will ensure your upcoming posts are tailored and relevant to your followers’ needs as well.
  • Leverage Instagram’s DMs feature to start two-way conversations: what better way to offer an immediacy of feedback than with Instagram DMs? These direct messages allow audiences to reach out to your team and receive a timely response. Make sure to check this inbox regularly and look for any common questions or themes to design content that answers your follower’s questions and concerns.

Use natural, conversation language in your social copy

Unlike other marketing platforms, social media is a place to let your brand’s personality shine. That means ditching stiff, corporate lingo for natural, conversational language that is easy for your audience to understand.In the context of social media, your copywriting should feel friendly and relatable to build trust and rapport with audiences. No one wants to read a complex, confusing caption filled with tonnes of stats, facts and figures.Instead, it’s about finding on-brand ways to communicate your message in a more casual context.In practical terms, that means:

  • Using short, snappy sentences that are less than two lines to keep readers engaged
  • Offering witty jokes and relatable anecdotes to humanise your copy
  • Using simple, everyday language instead of complex, corporate phrases

By injecting a casual, approachable tone to your social captions, you’ll be able to get your key message across in the most effective way.

Add emojis to your social captions

It might sound simple enough, but injecting emojis into your social posts is an easy way to create rich content on social media.By blending visuals with text, emojis allow you to communicate in audiences in dynamic, engaging ways. Rather than spell out the message you’re trying to get across, you can skillfully leverage visual emojis to do the job for you.Here are a few innovative ways to inject emojis into your social captions:

  • Use emojis to create a bullet point list in your captions and break up long slabs of text
  • Look for creative ways to use emojis instead of words in your captions
  • Add emojis to support your copy and offer a quick visual illustration of the concept you’re discussing

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So, there you have it. When it comes to creating rich social media content, it’s all about understanding your audience and designing content that feels tailored, authentic and relatable. By leveraging social media’s unique platform features, your brand can skillfully blend visuals and text to get your message across in a more effective way. Plus, by switching up post formats you can find the right medium to communicate your ideas with your audience.

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