We’ve all seen them. Viral social media posts that bounce across the screen, scooping up likes, follows, reposts and engagement like a shopaholic let loose at a shoe sale. They often take serious amounts of graft to craft, but when they take off, there’s no feeling like it. 

Yet the majority of social media content enjoys a modest amount of traffic, no matter how much thought goes into them. So, do you want to know the alchemical recipe that can create a really engaging, potentially viral post? Sit back and pay attention – we may ask questions later… 

1 Be Inspiring

Don’t be afraid to use your words of wisdom, whether based on your company’s ethos or your own experience, to empower your followers and others. Motivation often leads to action. 

2 Start a conversation

Many people love being the centre of attention (though few would publicly admit it), so use your posts to find out what other users think.  We recently posted a tweet celebrating World Chocolate Day, which got seen by over 58,000 people, racking up more than 12,000 engagements in the process. It worked because it combined a lot of what we’re going to discuss here: the text was quirky yet snappy and asked a timely question, there was a memorable hashtag and the image showcased trusted brands. You’ll have to keep reading to find out which was our fave bar, though. 

3 Emojis are your friends

A picture paints a thousand words and when your character count is limited, emojis are a godsend. Five billion of the little suckers are sent daily on Facebook Messenger, injecting a pinch of humour across social media.

4 Reduce to seduce

There’s an art to creating memorable headlines (remember Freddie Starr Ate My Hamster?) and social media posts are no different. Condense what you want to say to either get your message across in a flash or arouse curiosity. 

5 Love the hashtag

An easy way to drive engagement is to include hashtags, especially if you’re keen to piggy-back or create a trend, rather than express a complete thought. Instagram is an ideal platform for hashtags as an alternative to links. 

6 List, list, list

Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn LOVE a list, they’re like catnip to those platform’s users. Bullet point your latest webinar or sum up a recent article linked to your business and watch the engagement go up. 

7 Hello you…

Speaking directly to users is a simple method of increasing engagement, while showing empathy with your specific, target audience is one of the most powerful ways to use social media. Don’t be shy to @ your regular followers. 

8 Timing is everything

Time is arguably our most precious commodity and has led to the FOM (fear of missing out) phenomenon. Content that creates a sense of urgency – without bellowing from the rooftops – can give your engagement a serious boost. 

9 Not-so fringe benefits

Crafting a really engaging social media post isn’t just about getting your message out into the world, it’s also about who reads it. Users want to know what’s in it for them, so be bold and say so. 

10 Embrace numbers

Whether you’re a fan of maths or not, we like numbers in our social media content. They create impact and enhance credibility, and the higher up the business food chain your social media posts go, the more likely those figures are to boost your engagement. 

11 It’s OK not to be OK

Creating empathy is one of the best ways to boost engagement and that applies to both positive and negative posts. Be honest when presenting downbeat facts. Use them to create a shared experience, before suggesting how you can help turn things around… 

12 Tag a thought leader

It’s always thrilling when a celebrity likes or retweets content, but you don’t have to wait for such A-list endorsements. Find out who are the credible thought leaders in your chosen field and tag them in your posts to give your engagement a boost. 

13 See the funny side

Marketing posts don’t always have to be poe-faced and deadly serious – this is SOCIAL media after all. Have some fun with your content, shove that tongue right in your cheek and be playful. Users who get the joke will soon show (and share) their appreciation. 

14 Draw the line

A quick and easy way to make your social media posts stand out is to add a line break – though LinkedIn won’t let you do it (boo, hiss). Not only does it add to a post’s visual impact by extending the vertical length, it can also prevent content from looking crowded and your message getting lost. 

15 Who said that?

A well-placed quote can give your engagement a boost, so it’s worth digging around for memorable quips, either from historical figures, Hollywood’s finest or even something you overheard on the bus. 

16 Picture perfect

You’ve crafted a cracking social media post with a call to action that would make even Del Boy blush. But that’s only half the work. Now you need a picture to send it into the stratosphere. Choose an image that chimes with your headline, is impactful and prompts an immediate emotional response. Puppies, apparently, do well… 

17 Go one further

If a picture won’t cut the mustard, then why not try video? TikTok, Facebook and LinkedIn have made the filming/editing processes as simple as falling off a log (but you won’t win £250 from You’ve Been Framed!). 

18 Keep it real

It’s never fun trying to be something you’re not, and it’s just the same in social media marketing. Authentic voices always cut through the noise – so be yourself when crafting content and you’ll be rewarded with healthy engagement stats. 

19 Consider colour

Choosing images, emojis or videos to accompany your social media content can be time-consuming, so why not use a trademark colour instead? Think Coca-Cola’s red, or Harry and Meghan’s Sussex blue. An eye-catching colour scheme is a quick and simple way to engage users and keep traffic flowing in your direction. 

20 Be a team player

If your company or business has several employees, get them in on the social media act too. Not only will it give your content a different voice, it also gives less visible parts of your firm a chance to shine. If you’re a sole trader, why not invite trusted guest posters to mix it up a little?  

21 Keep them wanting more

Soap fans know a long drawn-out storyline keeps them coming back for more,  and it’s the same with social media. Drive engagement with a regularly scheduled series of posts and, like the telly soaps, make them appointment viewing. 

22 Hire a professional

Not every business owner is a creative, even if they have the strongest vision for their company. Bringing in a professional, such as a social media agency, to create your content could help you make the leap from ho-hum engagement to booom!

23 Make every character count

Remember when Twitter increased its character count and we all felt like overnight Shakespeares? But word count erm… counts.  The most engaging social media posts average between 100 and 250 characters: too short and your content will be glossed over, too long and users get bored. 

24 Be consistent

Creating engaging social media content requires planning, and while the occasional off-the-cuff post may go viral (in which case pat yourself on the back and then get straight back to work). Don’t post in fits and starts or chop and change platforms, instead make sure your user base keeps on growing by generating consistent, quality content. As for our favourite chocolate bar in the tweet mentioned at the top of this blog? Give us a Boost, baby, all the way. Boost. See what we did there…

If you’re still baffled by the process of creating engaging social media posts, don’t fret. Talk to us at 24 fingers and we’ll have you whipping up viral content faster than you can say Jamie Oliver.