Any social media content creator will tell you the same “golden rule” of post making: The post must entertain, delight, inspire, connect with, or educate your audience.
A fun joke post entertains your followers. An office dog delights everyone on your feed. A story post of how your business came to be can be inspirational. A family photo can connect with your community. But how do you become an educator on social media?
Educational posts take careful consideration when incorporating into your social media strategy. Not only do you want the post to be interesting, you want the information to be useful (and, of course, correct). Luckily we have a few quick tips on how you can become a trusted educator on your social channels.
Determine What You’re Going to “Teach”
In order to start teaching your audience, you have to know what you are going to say in the first place. Here are just a few things to keep in mind.
- What you are teaching should match your industry. If you’re a veterinarian, it might be a little confusing for your followers if you post a lesson about human dental hygiene (which is important, but maybe more relevant for say, you know, a dentist). At Eternity, we build websites and provide digital marketing services, so we often post about SEO, Google Ads, copywriting, and social media strategies. Do what makes sense.
- Determine what your audience is actually interested in learning about. When we started making educational content here at Eternity, some posts did better than others. We noticed we were getting more engagement on posts about SEO and Google Ads than we were on social media education posts. People vote with their likes, and we adjusted our strategy to fit what people wanted on their feed. (Bonus: A great indicator of whether or not someone found your post valuable is whether or not they bookmarked it. If you got a ton of bookmarks on a post, make more of that.)
- Ask yourself if the information you are providing is valuable. We could tell you right now that, fun fact, porcupines float in water, but how ultimately valuable would that be to our audience who is expecting web and digital marketing content? It would be fun for a moment, but then the viewer would keep scrolling. The more valuable and on-topic the content is, the longer someone will stay and engage with it.
- Ask yourself if you would stop and like this content. Okay, now ask yourself if the average person who doesn’t have the same experiences as you would stop and like this content. As much as some of us here at Eternity like some deep coding, we know not everyone in our community would connect with that content as much. When deciding what to teach, think about who is listening to you right now.
Find the Medium/Platform that Connects with and Entertains your Followers
Now that you know what you’re going to teach, you have to know how and where you’re going to teach it.
When you’re on social media, there is a built-in expectation that the content you are consuming is going to be quick and oftentimes fun. Aka, this may not be the time to share a chapter out of a textbook. Educational posts should be entertaining and/or delightful to your audience. That way, not only are they learning something, but they are finding joy in learning.
So what will delight your followers most? In creating your social content, it will take trial and error to learn what works best for your community. Here at Eternity, we used to make text-based videos that we would post on Instagram and Facebook that covered a certain topic. They were never that much of a hit. After some experimenting, we saw that we got more engagement on educational Instagram carousels and TikToks where someone looked directly into the camera and spoke.
For us, carousels and videos, Instagram and TikTok, became how we posted educational content on social media. Take some time to find the mediums and platforms that resonate with your audience.
Nevertheless, no matter where you are or what you are crafting, here are a few sure-fire quick tips for your posts to keep them engaging:
- Length. Again, we don’t want to go chapter length. The shorter the better. Try to keep your videos within a minute to 30 seconds, and keep the text in your graphics short (three sentences is our absolute max length). If you have a lot more to say about the topic, link to a blog post!
- Presentation. Strong graphics or well-edited videos can work to capture the attention of your followers. If you’re making a carousel, make your content stylized and striking. If you’re making a video, pick a fun background that no one is sure to forget.
- Language. A positive tone and punchy language can help bring to life just about any topic. If you’re worried some people might not think your topic is fun, make it sound fun through your word choices. (If you’re making a video, music can help liven things up as well!)
Need an example? Check out how we made an Instagram post about alt text that much more joyful through a few dog pictures:
Find your Tone and be Humble
In addition to making a well-crafted and entertaining post, how you personally convey your content matters just as much.
No one really wants information to be yelled at them, nor do they want to feel belittled when the information is being presented. Crafting your tone to be sympathetic, empathetic, generous, and kind will help you be one of the best kinds of educators on social media. While you may know a lot about the topic at hand, be careful that your tone doesn’t sound superior (there’s a fine line between confidence and potentially sounding like you are bragging).
When crafting, try and walk in the shoes of your audience. Think about their position and needs. A few great ways to keep the tone appropriate include:
- Incorporating jokes into your caption
- Talking about when and how you learned this information
- Using “you” language to bring your audience into the conversation
- Ending the post by asking your audience to comment their own tips and facts so that everyone is creating a resource together and therefore forging a sense of community
Fact Check, Fact Check, Fact Check
Last but not least, to be an educator, the information you are putting out into the world should be correct. We know, we know, you know this, but it is always important to double check your sources.
When performing research, try to find articles from sites that you trust and that are trusted by your industry. For example, when the Eternity team is looking to present facts about social media trends or numbers, we don’t just link to the first blog post we see on Google. When we want information, we first look to industry leaders such as Sprout Social, SemRush, HootSuite, and HubSpot to view their deeply researched, peer-reviewed articles. The information is trusted by us and the industry at large, so we can feel confident about what we are presenting to our followers.
In addition, try to find research that is still relevant. As a general rule of thumb, the facts and numbers you are citing should be research that was done within the past year. At a maximum, the information should only be two to three years old if you cannot find current data. For example, if you’re writing an article in 2021, it might be a hard-sell to post statistics that were gathered in 2016 (unless it’s relevant to your post).
Find resources you trust, and find research that is as up-to-date as it can be.
So, are you ready to give a few educational posts a try? We can’t wait to learn something new with you. (And be sure to follow us on Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok to join our Eternity educational community.)