We often hear our clients talk about how they have tried and tried to get more social media followers, but just seem unable to either get or keep them.
Then we look at their accounts and we understand a little more.
Sure the quality of the visuals, the punchiness of the copy, the frequency of the posting and the diversity of the content they’re putting out there all has an effect, but the number one reason we see they are not drawing people in, and holding them, is to do with value.
More specifically, the value their social media accounts offer.
But what do we mean by value, how do you create it and how do you use it to grow the social media accounts of your business?
We’re going to dig into that all in this blog post, so let’s dive in…
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What Do We Mean By Value?
So let’s start first of all by looking at what exactly we mean by value.
In the context of social media, the clue to what is valuable lies in the name.
Social media was originally a concept developed around social networking between groups of friends, it was not developed initially as a marketing platform.
Therefore we know what people largely respond to on social media is other people, their stories, their thoughts, their perspectives, their knowledge and their advice.
When businesses only concentrate on using social media to showcase their products and services, to platform their latest company launches or promotions, to market and advertise directly, they are not offering their followers value.
Or they are not offering them much value.
Once that customer has bought that product or service, or decided they don’t need it, there’s very little reason for that individual to continue to follow that brand on social media, and even less reason for them to engage with, recommend or save their content.
And if you’ve read this post we wrote about how to increase your engagement on social media, you’ll know why it’s so important that we just can’t help keep tweeting on about it!
So the idea is, just constantly using social media to market your products and services does not offer your social media followers great value.
It’s dull, repetitive, unimaginative, unengaging and, quite frankly, annoying.
Because if you’re anything like us pufflings, you’ll also be really put off by being constantly marketed to on social media.
If you don’t unfollow accounts that bombard you with direct advertising, then you’re at least be likely to stop engaging with them, which means Instagram’s algorithm will do the job for you, and largely remove that account’s content from your feed.
So you get our point – direct, overt, shameless marketing does not offer value on social media, because it provides user’s with very little.
So What Does Provide Value on Social Media?
Now that we’ve outlined what doesn’t provide users with much value on social media, it’s time to explore in more detail, what does!
And it’s quite simple really, because value is anything that keeps users engaging with you.
Keeps them learning, laughing or lusting!
Any content that makes social media users more educated on a subject matter, more amused and energised, or more passionate, is a good way to test the value offering of what you are posting.
Or, as we pufflings like to break it down… any social media content that offers value can be split into 1 of 3 categories – it either informs, entertains or inspires.
We highly suggest you check every single piece of your content that goes out across social media to ensure it’s doing at least 1 of these 3 options, because this is a really quick way to ascertain if you are providing value for your followers or not.
And to explain in more detail, we’re now going to break each of these 3 categories down to help you understand further.
Inform, Entertain, Inspire
So that now that you know your social media content should aim to do 1 of these 3 things, it’s time to look at what these things mean…
First up, inform.
Now don’t get confused.
This isn’t about informing your followers about your new products or latest awards (although it may include that), but this is largely about informing your followers about your expertise in your niche area.
This is about imparting free information or advice, giving great tips and hacks or educating them about trends and developments in your industry.
If you work in the B2C design field for example, this may include tips on the latest design trends for the year, seasonal colour palettes, or fashions in home furnishings.
In the world of travel, this may include packing tips, advice about where to go, safety pointers or itinerary templates.
Informative content covers anything that gives your followers (who are interested in your business area) free information and advice they may find interesting, helpful or useful.
Not only are you creating value for them here, with tons of top insider tips from experts, but you’re also showcasing your expertise at the same time.
In essence, the success of social media content that informs is that it both provides huge value for social media users, but also establishes your authority in the field which, in turn, makes customers more likely to trust your brand, professionalism and service.
When potential clients see you as knowledgeable they come to you for products and services because they know, you know, what you’re talking about, and they trust that.
Informing content on social media builds your brand integrity and relationships and shows that you are generous with your skills and knowledge – 2 more things potential clients love.
In the B2B space, informing social media content is also very important – research or details about latest industry trends, campaigns, successes or developments can all show that are both on top of your game, but also willing to give those you are networked with, huge amounts of value… for free!
Next up, entertain!
And now we more to the second value category, entertain.
If your social media content isn’t informing your users of anything, then perhaps it is entertaining them.
The most common way to do this is through humour, often memes or behind the scenes content are the easiest way to do this, with platforms like Reels or TikTok lending themselves to this value category particularly well.
Entertaining doesn’t only have to mean amusing posts however.
It can also involve content that introduces your staff team or company culture but, at its core, it is largely about human-to-human connection.
Either that, or pets!
And finally, inspire!
And lastly we come to inspire, the final value category which is all about wowing your audience and flooding them with aspirational content.
When your audience are inspired, they usually become more passionate, more ignited, more excited and more fired-up.
You’re tapping into their creativity and dreamer sides here, wowing them with amazing visuals or hitting on those aspirational values or lifestyles they’re seeking.
And side note here – this doesn’t have to be consumerism-lead either, inspiring followers with charity work, or talking about a passion project, can do all of this too.
After all, we know we invest as humans (either financially or in terms of time / energy) not usually thanks to a rational impulse, but because of emotion; because we want a certain feeling.
Imparting that feeling sits at the heart of inspirational content and is a key way to provide value for your social media followers.
How Do You Use Value to Grow Your Socials?
So now that we’ve outlined what is and isn’t considered valuable on social media and why, as well as how to create and litmus test that your content is valuable, it’s time to talk about why value is important.
And this is pretty obvious really, it’s because value gives people a reason to follow your social media accounts, to engage with them and to recommend them.
Valuable content draws people in and keeps them there, keeps them interacting with your brand, keeps your business at the front of their mind, keeps strengthening your values and integrity in their mind.
In short, social media content that offers value gets more people to follow you on social, gets you more likes and comments, shares and saves and gets your presence on the platform building.
And after all, isn’t this what we are trying to do? Aren’t we trying to elevate your brand awareness and your sell products, or services through digital means?
Offering value is the best way to do this in our humble opinion here at Social Puffin, because it primarily serves users, not your business.
So rather than hitting publish on that next piece of content that serves your business first, take a moment to pause and reflect on how you could serve your audience better instead.
Because, in the end, serving your followers is a win for everyone.
Audiences get value and you get better returns.
Now what’s not to love about that?!
Where to Put the Value in your Social Content?
And finally, we want to quickly talk about where to put this value in your social media content.
And the answer is everywhere! Both in your imagery and your copy!
All elements of your post need to be working together to impart real value to your audience and to back up, or emphasise, what other content components are offering.
The accents of this may be slightly different i.e. your visual component may be slightly more humourous, whereas your caption may be slightly more informative, but both elements need to support the overall message of the content piece and the value it offers.
To learn more about how to offer value in your caption and how to craft great social media copy, we recommend checking out this post we wrote.