content marketingAccording to Jonah Peretti, founder and CEO of BuzzFeed, creating content people love to share is the key to success.

This year, I was lucky enough to attend the interactive conference at SXSW in Austin, TX. I spent five full days attending a ton of awesome sessions. One of my favorites was “The Big Shift in Media” featuring the BuzzFeed founder.

Self-titled as the ‘hottest, most social content on the web,’ BuzzFeed features content ranging from breaking news to cat pictures that make you ‘LOL’ (laugh out loud).

Peretti emphasized one important rule for content: “You need to spend 50% of your time on the idea and 50% on how you spread it. Not 95% and then only a tiny portion on how to spread the idea.” Quality alone is simply not enough to making something spread; you need a strategy.

When it comes to creating content people will love to share, anyone can do it. Keep these eight helpful tips in mind next time you’re thinking of what to post.

1. Have a heart

Emotional intelligence is important when it comes to creating relevant social media content. The formula for success, in regards to social media marketing, begins with showing your fans and followers that you genuinely care about them. Focus on starting a conversation, not advertising your services. Listen and pay close attention to what your customers have to say and get to know them. This is what builds strong relationships. By recognizing the things your fans and followers care about (relevant to your business), you can create a meaningful community.

Also, don’t be afraid to add personality to your content. Prove to your fans that there is a living breathing person (or people) behind your brand. Content should never be dry and lifeless. Your audience may be professionals, but that doesn’t mean they’re not human. Remember, people use Facebook to make social connections with friends. Make your brand feel like a friend.

2. Discover what drives them

People use social networks to build profiles that express who they are. Consequently, people share content that helps them share their identities. This may sound harsh but it’s not likely that people are passionate about your actual product. It’s what your product enables them to do or what it allows them to express about themselves that’s important. What does your business’s product or service say about those who use or buy it? Tap into these insights and tailor your social content to speak to the unique personalities of your customers. This will create a vibrant, engaged community of people with common interests and passions.

3. React fast

During the Super Bowl blackout, Oreo got so much buzz from their on-the-fly Facebook post. The ad said, “You can still dunk in the dark.” It was incredibly simple but so successful because it was timely and subtle. Oreo reacted to an unexpected event and in turn created the most powerful ad on one of the most expensive advertising days of the year, for free! When your posts are timely, they feel more authentic and genuine. As a small business owner, you can use your smartphone to instantly react to breaking news or simply share an in-store exchange.

4. Walk a mile in their shoes

Cute animals deserve respect. ‘Huh?’ What Peretti meant is that you should be human and empathetic. Put yourself in the shoes of your fans and followers. The best content is content that is emotional. Use the perspective of your audience to shape the nature of your community.

5. Make them laugh

Perretti made a great point, “When you go out and laugh with your friends, you don’t remember the jokes, only that you laughed.” You don’t always have to fixate on the value level of your content. The emotion your content elicits is what creates a memory. It’s not mandatory that every post makes you ‘ROTFL’ (roll on the floor laughing), but humor is important when it comes to connecting with people socially.

6. Use nostalgia socially

People use social media to express themselves and share their past experiences. Content that pays tribute to something your customers might miss or may have forgotten creates connections amongst customers who share the same emotional reaction. This will create social chatter and engagement.

7. Take a stand

Caring about something that ‘matters’ is absolutely something people want to express. Nonprofits have a great advantage here. Let the passion you have for your organization shine through and if you’re not a nonprofit, show customers the ways your business gives back. You also shouldn’t be afraid to share the positive causes you stand behind. Be inspiring and your readers will be inspired to share.

8. Keep it classy

When people search for content on Google, they assume no one is watching. When people consume content on Facebook, they know everybody is looking. In fact, people are 25% less likely to purchase an embarrassing item online if there’s a social media button next to it (25% more likely if it’s an item they’d be proud to own). If you ever have any hesitation about posting something socially, don’t post it.

These 8 useful tips will help you create socially shareable, relevant content. Just make sure you spend as much time getting your content out there as you do actually creating it.

This article originally appeared on Constant Contact Blogs and has been republished with permission.

(image: shareable content / shutterstock)