Social Media Blogs by Aliza Sherman
Aliza Sherman is a web pioneer, author, and international speaker. Sherman is the author of 8 books about the Internet including The Everything Blogging Book, Streetwise Ecommerce, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Crowdsourcing and Social Media Engagement for Dummies.

5 Tips for Standout Social Media Posts

5 Tips for Standout Social Media Posts

Let’s face it: The Internet is noisy and someone else is in control of what messages get heard. Social networks are today’s town square, water cooler, library, and back yard all rolled into one virtual space. Millions of people use the Internet daily, not just searching for things but posting their own opinions and ideas for the world to see. How do you get your content to stand out from the rest?

With social networks in control, advertising is the only guaranteed way to get your posts in front of the right people repeatedly at the right time. If placing social media ads is not in your budget – or you’re looking to enhance the effectiveness of your ads – here are five tactics you can try to garner more attention and engagement from your followers.

1. Write Compelling Content

First and foremost, check your messages. Who are you speaking to? What are you trying to get them to do? Even more important: What do they want to hear from you? If you don’t know your audience - their schedules, their online habits, their preferences and needs – then crafting on-target and effective content will be a challenge. What makes compelling content? Posts that elicit an immediate emotional response and reaction tend to be the most engaging. Content that is heartfelt, authentic and revealing rates high online as people are looking to connect more personally online, even with companies.

2. Use Emoji and Hashtags Thoughtfully

Get familiar with Internet-speak, the idiosyncratic manner in which your target audience communicates. If you’re targeting a younger audience, abbreviations, acronyms, hashtags and emoji are part of their vernacular. Each social network also has some communication norms, from a shorter character count on Twitter to the use of multiple hashtags on Instagram. Even emoji are part of the expression and tone of a post, although they may not be appropriate for all audiences, messages or on all social networks. If you’re going to communicate in different places on the Internet, know the difference in “language” and “customs.”

3. Video, Video, Video

Whether it’s a short, 5-second clip or a 30-second one, video attracts attention and holds it – at least for a few moments. Shorter videos continue to perform better than longer ones in a fast-moving social media stream. Longer form videos – “how to” demonstrations, podcasts, clever “commercials,” can convey more information more quickly than text content.

4. Animated GIFs

Not into video? Animated GIFs could be the next best thing. Whether you create your own animated GIFs using a tool such as Giphy or or you share “memes” or animated GIFs created by others that are meant to be shared, these simple, short moving images are popular and can get a message or emotion across in seconds.

5. @ Mention Others

Tagging or mentioning others in your posts - using the @ symbol followed by their account name - is a surefire way to get people’s attention and potentially elicit a response that might even include a share. Don’t tag people indiscriminately. Do mention people who are referenced in your post or might find your post useful or interesting. Giving kudos or sharing someone else’s content is another way to cut through the noise and get someone’s attention.

When it comes to capturing and holding attention online, relevance is important. Knowing your audience comes first. Mastering social media marketing tactics follows.

Read other social media blogs by Aliza Sherman