top of page

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

The expert: Apryl Pilolli – Social News Desk

Apryl Pilolli is the Head of Innovation at Social News Desk where she is tasked with creating new technology solutions to help newsrooms generate revenue. She is a social and digital marketing expert with 22 years of experience in the local media industry. During that time, she spent 12 years at Cox Media Group leading social strategy across content, marketing and sales. Apryl has earned numerous Associated Press awards for her newsroom work and has been certified by the Internet Advertising Bureau in Digital Media Sales and by Facebook for Media Planning and Buying.

Like this post?

Catch the companion article from Pilolli – 8 best practices for using social ads to distribute branded content

What’s your game plan?

What’s in the guide? The pages are filled with advice for those creating their first branded content initatives, those who are leading sales teams who have branded content in their toolbox, and those that are creating content for advertisers and looking for best practices and techniques. The articles in the guide are written by experts in the branded content space who have built impressive programs and are able to share strategies to help you navigate through this unique and sometimes complicated area of potential business. We’ve also included checklists geared toward sales, content, and development to start and grow your initiatives.

Take a tour through the guide to get action plans, step-by-step instructions, advice, and recommendations. And don’t forget to check out the checklists before you get started.

If you are taking your first step into branded content or giving your program a refresh, take a deeper look into our “CREATING IT” section and hear from the following experts:

  • 9 Branded Content Production Tips – Adrian Fulle – Left Hand Productions

  • 5 Common Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Content Campaign – Carolina Esbaile – Creative Lab @McClatchy



bottom of page