Every time I work with a client, speak at a conference or deliver a corporate training workshop, questions about social media dominate the conversation. Social media is a big mystery (and concern) to many entrepreneurs and organizations.

Why? Because many people asking the questions built their businesses and careers in a time before social media was a large part of the conversation. And in some cases, social media was seen (or still is) as frivolous or entertainment, not a resource for businesses (which we know is not the case).

One of the biggest questions I’m asked is how often should I post on my social media channels. When you have something meaningful or interesting to share that would be relevant to your target audience(s).

Here are some social media tips to help you create engaging content that people will actually read.

1. Know Your Audience

Think about each post from your audience’s perspective, not yours. Be clear on who the real people are who are engaging with your organization or brand. Do you see them as individuals with interests, jobs and a life? Or do you just see them as a faceless crowd (males ages 35-44)?

Before you create any social media post, have your audience in mind. What information interests them? What do they care about? Is this relevant to them? Create your content with a specific person in mind not the general masses (meaning it relate to your target audience instead of being relevant to no one).

2. Education vs. Sales

This is a tough one for many businesses that sell products. They tend to use social media as a never ending sales flyer. While this might make sense from your perspective (free advertising) it’s the quickest way to lose the interest of your customers and audience.

The golden rule for businesses is 80% of your content should be education and 20% sales. If you’re not sure what this means, take a look at the social media pages of some of the big brands.

Lululemon is a great example. Yes they sell bras, shirts, yoga mats, pants and more. But 80% of their posts are about the yogi lifestyle – nutrition, travel, yoga articles. This engages their audience by producing relevant content, which makes it MORE likely their sales content is seen and consumed instead of being tuned out.

3. Be Relevant

Does your post educate? Inform? Entertain? Going back to your target audience, think about what they care about and produce content that connects with them.

If you sell cars, the cat video maybe funny, but how does it connect with your brand or business? People may get a chuckle on a one-off share but if you’re sharing cat videos on a regular basis after a while you will loose credibility and people will stop following you.

4. Quality Over Quantity

My final tip is a reminder to not worry about how often you are posting, rather focus on what you are posting. Take a look at your analytics to see what posts are getting the most engagement (comments, shares, likes). This will help you know which content, or types of posts, are getting the biggest traction.

For me, Facebook Live generates more views, comments and likes than any other post. I create Facebook Live videos on a weekly basis, often a follow up on the most recent blog post. And I keep them short – under 2 minutes. By having weekly Facebook Live posts, I’m not using too much of the good thing, but also making sure this tool is a regular part of my content planning.

I encourage you to spend 30 minutes this week evaluating your social media from your customer or audience’s perspective. Does the information you share engage them? Connect them with your brand? Make them want to get more post? Or are you just adding to the noise?

If you use more than one social media channel, do this exercise for each. Now, looking at your ideal client or target audience, how can you improve upon the content you deliver to make sure it is engaging?

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