Creating social media content that gets likes is not only a code that everyone wishes to crack—who doesn’t want more social media likes?—but it’s also shooting at a moving target, as the algorithms change not only from day to day but hour to hour. What works one week might not work the next: using a special feature on one site might be the hottest thing for a few months, but become passe the next.
But there are ways to create content on social media that gets likes that never get old. We’re going to talk about that, and then we’re going to talk about each of four of the biggest platforms: Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter, and see how you can get more likes on those social media sites in particular.
We know what you’re thinking: easier said than done. There was a statistic put out a few years ago by YouTube (so it’s already out of date) saying that three hours of content was uploaded to the site every single minute. With that kind of volume, with so many posts going up, how are you going to differentiate yourself from the crowd?
There are a lot of answers, and if we were to tell you one then it would suddenly become unoriginal, because everyone would do it. But we can tell you this: there is something about you that can only come from you. Something about your personality, or your ideas, or your perspective and background that is specifically you, and that’s what you need to channel as you create content on social media sites.
Yes, sometimes it’s fun to chase trends, and we’re not saying that you shouldn’t get in on certain hashtag games and challenges, but put your own spin on them. Do those things in a way that is unique to you and the persona that you’ve created for yourself. If it was possible to create a successful channel just by imitating the channels of other successful YouTubers, you might gain a little success but you’d soon alienate your viewers. No one would be a die-hard fan because they know they can get the same content somewhere else, and probably better because it’s original.
Focus On Headlines and Thumbnails
No matter what platform you’re on, you need to grab attention. You know the phrase “Never judge a book by it’s cover”? Ask any bookseller or publisher if that’s true and they’ll tell you it’s nonsense. When people are browsing a bookstore they’ll spend an average of three seconds looking at a book, and if they’re intrigued enough to pick it up they’ll spend an average of twelve seconds inspecting it. That cover, that title, that copy on the back of the book has to really grab them and suck them in, or it’ll just be put back on the shelf.
The same is true of YouTube thumbnails or Twitter handles or Instagram pictures or Facebook headlines. You need to harness the power of the headline to be able to get people to read on, or they’ll just keep scrolling by.
Provide Answers—Be Useful
A good social media post is something that can be used. This doesn’t mean that it needs to be “tips and tricks” (although tips and tricks do terrific on social media) but the content needs to have a purpose. You need to be solving a problem that the viewer has. Maybe that viewer is looking for clothes advice. Maybe they’re looking for perspectives on the news. Maybe they’re looking for the right way to knit. Or maybe they’re just looking to be entertained, to waste a few minutes with a smile.
A social media post that solves a problem is going to perform far better than one that merely exists for its own sake.
(It’s probably here that we ought to make a caveat: we’ve all seen celebrities and influencers post inane things to their social and it gets liked and shared by the hundreds of thousands. The difference is that you’re not a celebrity, and you’re probably not (yet) an influencer. These people have massive following because they have done something useful–provided entertainment, usually–that has gotten them where they are. They didn’t rise to be a star because they posted boring Tweets. You’ve got to do the legwork to gain status before you can ever reach that level.)
Use Videos and Images
No matter what platform you’re using, images and videos grab eyeballs. Of course, if you’re on Instagram or YouTube or TikTok then everyone is going to be using images and videos and you’re nothing special–then you’ve got more work to do–but if you’re on Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn or any other number of text-heavy social media sites, you’re going to need to leverage the power of images and videos. And we’re not talking pictures you pulled off the internet (you could get in a lot of trouble, both legal and social) for doing that. You want original content.
Get to the Point
Finally, get to the point. We already said that there has to be a reason for your content to exist. Well, there also has to be a point to it and you need to get to the point quickly. It may sound corny, but think of what you learned in sixth grade writing essays: you tell people what you’re going to say, then you say it, then you say what you’ve said. We’re not saying that your social media posts have to follow an essay structure, but people should know when they click on your content what to expect. Is it fine to throw in a big surprise? Sure! But often the promise of a surprise (mentioned in your headline) will get you more views and likes than just surprising people who have already clicked on the link.
Now, getting to the point doesn’t mean your content has to be short and sweet. YouTube algorithms actually reward longer content. We just mean that you explain to your viewers or readers why they’re viewing or reading instead of letting their minds wander away into parts unknown (and clicking on something else).
How to Create Content that Gets Likes on Instagram
Long gone are the days when Instagram used to be pictures of what you had for lunch. Today, 90% of Instagram users follow businesses as well as other accounts, and they could very well be following yours if you follow the tips that we list below.
Of course there are a LOT of tips for crafting the perfect Instagram post and we can list them all here, but these are great ones to start with:
This might seem like a no-brainer: Instagram is literally nothing but pictures. But you’d be surprised (or maybe not, if you browse through Instagram regularly) to see that many people will throw up just any old picture, well-composed or not, well-lit or not, well-framed or not, and on and on. Yes, there is a time and a place for a spontaneous selfie, but most Instagrammers have been conditioned over using the site for so long to expect that the pictures they’re looking at are going to be good. They’ll scroll right past—and never like—a picture that is out of focus or too dim.
Always be aware that the picture itself is not what you’re trying to drive people to on your Instagram page: you’re trying to drive them to click on the description to read more. That’s where you tell your story, where you sell your products, where you link to deals, and where you inform them about news. In essence, the Instagram photo is NOT the content; it’s the headline that makes you read on for more content.
Create Engaging Stories
Jumping off of what we just said above, that the photo is not the point of Instagram, but merely the headline that gets you to the description, you need to make sure that whatever you put in that description grabs people in like a good story would. If you’re talking about a product and showing a close-up of it in your photo, then the story to the side had better have some intriguing information about that product, whether it’s info about the manufacturer or the material or a sale or a use-case scenario.
And if you’re an influencer showing a picture of your perfectly manicured toes sitting by the pool, there had better well be a story about where you are, what you’re doing, how cute the other swimmers are, and where you got your nails done.
Utilize Instagram Stories and Highlights
Instagram Stories make your pictures come to life. More than 500 million stories are viewed by users every day, so don’t think that you’re just sending that video off into the ether. It’s going to get viewed and viewed by a lot of people. The question is: can you make that story engaging enough to convert those views into followers and likes?
But Stories disappear after 24 hours. That is, unless you add them to your Instagram Highlights. Instagram Highlights allow you to choose Stories and keep them showcased on your Instagram page so that people will be able to view them again and again.
Have a Killer Bio
Remember when we said that your photos are just the headline? When people see a photo and they’re intrigued by it, and maybe they’ve clicked “Read More” to find out more about this photo, the next thing they’re going to do is click on your bio to find out who you are. Your characters are limited in your bio so it’s going to require brevity, but you want to convey who you are and why people should care about you. Don’t think of it as an autobiography or a resume; think of it as a ten-second pitch on why people should follow you. Be succinct. Be engaging. Give a reason to follow you.
Responding (on all social media) is essential, and responding ASAP is especially so. People are much more likely to stay your follower (or become your follower) if they leave a comment and you take the time to respond personally. Odds are, if you’re reading this article, you’re not famous enough to require an assistant to respond to your comments, so do it yourself and be as fun, engaging, and professional as your personal brand requires you to be. Starting a conversation, getting them to reply back to you again, is almost a sure-fire way to get them to become your follower.
It’s all about the algorithm. Instagram rewards people who post more often. If you’ve scrolled the site much you’ll notice that you’re seeing the same people coming up more than others. This is probably because the algorithm has decided that they’re more relevant to you. And one of the things that factors into that is the number of times that you post. Are you a regular, once a day, every day? Do you post multiple times throughout the day? And if you post a lot are you able to still respond to each and every comment? Find what works best for you and dive in.
Go Behind the Scenes
Everyone loves a look behind the scenes: what does it look like behind that perfect tableau you’ve laid out to take a picture. What does your camera setup look like? What is your lighting rig? How messy is your house just out of the camera’s range? All of these things are like secrets that your followers get to see and feel a closer kinship with you than they otherwise would have.
How to Get More Likes on Facebook
Facebook is the behemoth when it comes to content marketing: more than two billion people use the site. That’s a quarter of the earth’s population! So how do you stand out from the crowd in a sea of so many people all seeking attention?
Make the Perfect Page
We assume you’re talking about getting likes on a Page not on your personal Facebook profile. We assume you’re trying to sell a product or sell yourself as an influencer or expert. If this is the case, you need a Page, and it needs to look good.
Don’t let anything about the page go to waste. In the About section, give them that bio that grabs their attention and makes them want to learn more, and makes them want to buy into the product or ideas that you’re promoting.
Likewise, use images that matter. So many Pages use pictures that are pretty but don’t convey anything about the brand. A picture you took of a sunset might be great, but if you’re promoting a food site then show the plate; if you’re promoting a swimwear line, show the suits; if you’re promoting yourself as a motivational speaker have an image that is a beautifully crafted quote from you that will tell people “This is the kind of speaker I want to hear more from.”
The same goes for your profile picture. Whenever possible, have a picture of whatever is most important. If you’re a speaker, then make it your face, and make it a good photo. If you’re selling a product then either show the product or show your company’s logo.
Keep Your Finger On the Button: Be Relevant Always
People scroll through Facebook multiple times a day, often multiple times an hour. Add new content throughout the day. If you’re just talking about your product, that’s okay, but you want to be relevant to what the scrolling public are looking for. Does this mean that you need to write a post about every current event? No. But you can write about some of them. No matter what your product is there are things you can post to respond to. Swimwear? Talk about the hurricane that’s going to be hitting the beaches (you already know your readers are interested in the coast). Energy drink? Talk about finals coming up and strategies for doing well on tests (they’ll probably be chugging a few of your drinks during the cram session.)
And if you are a motivational speaker, or an influencer, or a commentator, then by all means comment on whatever you want to comment on that is within your brand. Do something meaningful to you at the same time it’s meaningful to your reading community.
Engage Consistently and Quickly
Responding (on all social media) is essential, and responding ASAP is especially so. People are much more likely to stay your follower (or become your follower) if they leave a comment and you take the time to respond personally. People begin to see you not as a brand but as a person, and that goes a long way in building a relationship that will last. Reaching out to someone, especially in their hour of need, is a way to make a friend for life (or a customer for life).
Host a Contest
Hosting contests is a huge way to gain more likes on Facebook. Be aware: there are rules on the site about the types of contests that you can run. You can’t have a contest where people need to share your post to enter, but you can have contests where people have to like your post to enter. Obviously, this is going to get you a lot of likes, but does it just end there? No: remember the algorithm. If the algorithm sees that people like your posts, they’ll show them more of your posts.
How to Get More Likes on Twitter
Twitter may be one of the hardest nuts to crack when it comes to content creation, because you have so many constraints to work within. You can only post so many characters and only post so many pictures. So how do you get more likes on Twitter?
As with all of the above, visuals stand out on Twitter. Perhaps more so than on any of these platforms, visuals are particularly effective on Twitter because Twitter tends to be so text-heavy. Scrolling through idly on your phone you’ll almost always pause on a picture just long enough to see what it’s a picture of. Those moments may be exactly what you need to draw someone into your post, and then into your feed, and eventually hit “Follow”.
Yes, we know that Taylor Swift has 88 million followers and will often go months without posting anything, but if you want to keep a following, you need to be seen, and to be seen you need to be tweeting consistently. Of course, you don’t want to flood Twitter with inane tweets that no one wants to read–your tweets need to be meaningful, important, and have a purpose to them. But they should be frequent enough that people keep you in the back of their mind (or even the front).
Social media is called social media because it’s supposed to be all about conversations. There are few times in life where you can read something by a celebrity, reply to them, and have some amount of confidence that they might see it. More likely, you’ll meet a community of people who are like yourself, but you won’t get to know them until you start going out of your comfort zone and being social with them. Strike up a conversation. Maybe they’ll respond and maybe they won’t. But the next time they tweet, strike up another conversation (a relevant one with an interesting perspective) and sooner or later you might become this person’s friend. Not follower, but friend. That’s how social media is supposed to work. (Oh, and of course reply to the people who are trying the same thing with you.)
Engage with Micro-Influencers
You may be too small of a fish in the giant sea of Twitter’s hundreds of millions of users to interact with the celebrity influencers, but there are always micro-influencers—the people who have 5,000 to 10,000 followers. Strike up a conversation, try to make a deal that’s good for both of you, whether that’s offering them free product in exchange for a fair review, or collaborating on a project together. These micro-influencers might seem like big fish to you, but they probably still feel pretty small, and they’ll be more willing to engage than a big influencer would.
How to Get More Likes On YouTube
YouTube has more than two billion active users, and is one of the primary sources of news, information, entertainment, and commentary that many people have. But it’s a big place that is hard to make a dent in. So how do you stand out?
Grab Attention with the Title and Thumbnail
Think of the typical screen you see when accessing YouTube on your computer: you’re shown maybe twenty thumbnails with small headlines written under each one. And if you scroll down, you’re going to find infinitely more. So how do you choose? By the quality of the thumbnail and title. There are YouTubers who say they spend as much time honing their thumbnail as they do editing their entire video. That may be extreme, but there’s no underestimating the importance of thumbnails. You want it to grab attention, convey meaning, and get people to click on it, all in seconds.
Write a Thorough Video Description
Many YouTubers hardly put anything in the description of their video, other than a few links and a sentence or two, but you can write 5000 characters in there. Will someone read them? Maybe, maybe not, but the search algorithm looks through those descriptions to figure out what your video is about and to tell it what type of people will be the most interested in looking at your content. Never forget to put a detailed synopsis of your video in the description, especially using keywords and phrases that are commonly searched for. (Remember: YouTube warns you that it doesn’t pay much attention to the tags you can enter. That’s because it’s focused on the description.)
Use Closed Captioning
Another great way for search engines to find you is through closed captions. Did you know that search engines read the closed captions? They absolutely do. So on top of making your videos easier for some people to watch, closed captions are a great way to get seen. (If you don’t know how to do closed captions on your video, try YouTube’s automatic closed caption app.
Research Your Audience
Don’t ever forget about your analytics. There are some things that it’s easy to focus on, such as how one video performs compared to others, and neglect the truly important analytics. You can see the times of day and the days of the week that your audience is viewing your videos and you can set your release times to coincide with those times. You can see demographic data about your viewers and customize your content to those viewers. YouTube gives you some powerful tools: don’t forget to use them.
Playlists are easy to set up, and they’re a great way to get people to stay on your channel. If someone liked one of your videos enough to watch it all the way to the end, then another video in your playlist will start up and that viewer will continue to get more of your content.
Wow—we’ve gone over a lot of information. But there’s so much in here that can make your content get likes. Some of the biggest points that apply across all mediums are to write great titles and headlines, to use great imagery and video, and to be as engaging, social, on social media as you can be.