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8 Branded Content Creative Best Practices For Social Media

Wondering how to build successful and impactful social media content for your branded content campaign? Apryl Pilolli, head of innovation at Social News Desk, shares advice on how local media companies can utilize best practices when creating branded content for social media.

This post is part of the first edition of a branded content guide for local media organizations, a playbook released by the Branded Content Project, a partnership between the LMA, the Local Media Consortium and funded by the Facebook Journalism Project.

1. Use thumb-stopping creative 

The creative is the most important part of any social post. With so much content appearing in a person’s social feed, it is easy to get lost in the mix. Your creative needs to earn people’s attention and stop their thumb from scrolling past.

2. Think mobile first 

96% of users access Facebook through mobile devices.(1) It is essential that you optimize your social content for these screens. This includes making sure your copy and creative is readable on a mobile phone and using square or vertical creative. Numerous tests have shown that maximizing the real estate of your post with square/vertical creative will improve the performance of your content.

3. Use colors that stand out 

When selecting colors for your post, consider the colors that will surround it. On Facebook, nothing will help to camouflage your post like blue, because Facebook’s color scheme is based around it. To stand out, you need to use a contrasting color that will pop in the user’s feed.

4. Write conversational copy 

When creating content on social media, it is important not to forget to “be social.” People don’t want to be advertised “at” – but instead, they want content that brings them valuable information and entertains them. When you write the copy, think about how you might share it on your own personal social account. Keep the text short, conversational and ask questions.

5. Add emojis

Emojis are everywhere on social media. This is because they are perceived to be friendlier than text and it is easier to communicate with images. The human brain can process visuals 60,000 times faster than text. This is the reason why emojis increase engagement by a whopping 48% on Instagram.(2)

6. Create videos or animated graphics 

Did you know that video or animated graphic on social media generates 12 times the shares as a text or photo post?(3) The human eye is attracted by movement so using motion in your ads will attract more attention to your content. That doesn’t mean you need to hire a professional video team to produce your social creative. Short text animations and movement in images can work just as well to draw the user in.

7. Design for sound off 

“Can you hear me now?” Probably not, if you are watching a video on social media. Only 15% of Facebook videos are watched with sound,(4) so it is important that your video or animation can tell the story without people listening to it. Many social networks offer tools to help with video captioning.

8. Test different creative formats 

Facebook and Instagram both offer several different creative formats to let you showcase your message. From carousels to slideshows, collections to immersive landing pages, you should test different options to see which works best to tell your story. Carousels are great for sequential storytelling and showcasing multiple images/videos, whereas Instant Experiences (formally known as canvas ads) are great for long-form content and immersive mobile experiences.

1. Statista, 2019 2. Quintly, 2017 3. eMarketer 2018 4. Digiday, 2016