The type of content that seems to be cutting through the noise, according to Facebook’s 2021 Transparency Report, seems to be either:

  1. Memes
  2. Humanitarian content
  3. Cats, dogs & babies

Maybe we’ve been overthinking our content strategies just a little. Let’s take a closer look at this.

Riddles are the King, Memes are the Queen

Facebook content

That’s what the stats from Facebook itself are saying. The top piece of content in 2021 has been a letter scramble puzzle or riddle that invites people to create words out of the scramble. Which totally tracks with what I’ve been seeing endless examples of.

The comment bait, as I call it, has been rampant on the Facebook feed lately since they introduced their “positivity” rating on posts earlier this year.  Gone is the constant string of anti-vax, politically loaded rants and in its place is “Age yourself by sharing what poster you had on your wall as a teenager.”

That’s right. We’ve been overthinking all our marketing strategies way too much. The key to the audience’s heart is a regular dose of memes and riddles.

Some ideas you might want to try, based on what Facebook says is working well, are:

  • Anything loaded with nostalgia from the 80s and 90s
  • Anything that reminds you of when you were a teenager
  • Anything that prompts someone to comment their answer on a maths, language or geography-based riddle

Humanity sells

Facebook content

One of the biggest accounts on Facebook is UNICEF, the United Nations agency for children. It shares beautiful stories of children in developing nations overcoming hardship to be educated. You’ll see stories of kids doing extraordinary things, becoming leaders in their communities and giving us ample ammunition to say to our own kids, “see, if they can do it, you can do anything!”

This tracks with what marketing experts have been saying for years. Humanity sells. We can’t help but be engaged by human faces. It’s why we ignore the homeless, the sick and the dying by not looking at them. We would rather disconnect from these things because it’s hard not to empathise once we’ve seen their faces. We are literally haunted by the faces of the sick, poor and dying. To not be moved by it is a neurological disorder.

Ideas you might want to try may include:

  • Stories about clients and staff
  • Video testimonials about how your product or service has changed a life
  • Shared videos of your community activities

The key here is video. We are far more likely to connect and empathise with moving images of imperfect humans with faces rather than perfectly posed photos.

Rescue dogs, cute kittens and beautiful babies

Facebook content

We’ve always joked that the internet is built on cat videos. That joke is based in reality. Although evolution has geared us to have empathy for our fellow humans, sometimes the things that humanity does to others, especially animals, makes us cold towards people. Hugely successful pages and channels such as The Dodo make their money by sharing and promoting videos from various animal rescue services and wildlife organisations worldwide. That content is then supplemented by videos shared by influencers, activists and everyday people who love animals.

I personally tend to get sucked into a vortex in the afternoon where I will lose up to 30 minutes watching stories of dogs and cats getting rescued. It gives me my daily dose of tears and makes up for my lack of a lunch break. But this kind of content is useful for anyone. Not just the big channels.

Videos of dog days at workplaces, photos of work-from-home Mums with their cat curled up beside their keyboard, and stories of loyal dogs being reunited with Dad who has been away for a while are just as effective at pulling an audience who are hungry for eye and ear candy to break up their day.

What does this tell us about ourselves as marketers?

Facebook content

The obvious lesson here is that all the fancy strategies and tactics that we think people will lap up are possibly less effective than simply posting a video of a puppy.

Of course, puppies and babies don’t sell courses, clothing or car servicing. So we need to do better than just post what people want. We need to find a way of bringing the point back to what we’re trying to sell. And this is where marketers come into play. We find the connection between content and intent.

Listen to this article on the podcast

Dante St James is the founder of Clickstarter, a Facebook Blueprint Certified Lead Trainer, a Community Trainer with Facebook Australia, a digital advisor with Treeti Business Consulting, an accredited ASBAS Digital Solutions advisor and presenter, and the editor at The Small Marketer. You can watch free 1-hour webinars and grow your digital skills at Dante’s YouTube Channel.

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