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Create content that your friends and followers will love and share

What does it mean to be a storyteller, and why is that an essential skill in the age of social media? Social media is emotional; it's about connection and community. The way you tell your company's story is like a well-developed, dynamic extension of your corporate brand. It's an authentic emotional appeal that is anchored in your marketing strategy. It shows your friends and followers that you're doing work that you genuinely care about and that you believe can add value to their lives.

To be an excellent social media content creator, be an astute social media content consumer. Pay attention to content that resonates with you and garners attention across the platforms where you're active. When a post, picture, video, or blog post is widely shared, it's usually because it strikes an emotional chord, answers a key question, or speaks to an experience with which many of us can identify.

When we see a great social media post, we experience a moment of recognition: "I wish I'd thought of that." It seems almost familiar because it hits home clearly and simply. The trick is to capture those observations and insights as they happen so that we can claim them before someone else does.

Here's how to create stellar, sharable social media content:

Audience is everything

The great Virginia Woolf once mused: "To know whom to write for is to know how to write." Think about who is reading your content. What are they looking for? What do they need? Why do they follow you?

Examine what your audience responds to; when you post something that does well, consider why that piece succeeded. Read your audience's comments. What can you learn from their responses?

What does it mean to be a storyteller? It means you use your craft to reach people in a meaningful way. Keep analyzing how you're doing that so that you can continue to refine your practice. It takes a bit of artistry coupled with a measured approach. Consistently measure how your efforts land because it teaches you about your audience.

Expertise matters

People love to learn, and social media is an easy way to do so. If you're an expert on your subject matter, find a bite-size way to share your expertise. Make it easy to understand, digest, and share. If you've found an easy way to offer monthly insights about the housing market's strength or weakness, that's stellar content for house hunters. If you've created a helpful summary graphic about home healthcare expenses, serve it up to your followers monthly. Create reoccurring content that provides valuable summary information and keeps measuring how much attention it's garnering.

Users love to understand insight from experts, and they are inclined to share it if it makes immediate sense. Another great source of expert info is quotes from the pros. Bite-size information from those in the know that take on a singular topic or a common problem tends to circulate well. Consider those frequently asked content questions-not about your business itself, like core hours-but about your industry. Then serve up answers to those. Although the internet is a trove of info, it can be hard to track down quality info. Providing that for your followers and clients can be helpful and sharable.

Keep a content stockpile

Social media content is natural. It feels like a conversation rather than a commercial. It can be challenging to sit down and force ourselves to think in a way that deems social media worthy. It tends to occur to us at the strangest times - when we're stuck in traffic, when we're helping a client puzzle through a problem, when our kids say something outlandish, or our pets do something cute. Keep a running list, jotting down future posts, noting those moments that are just waiting to be captured on social media:

· You figure out the perfect metaphor to demonstrates a complex point that you've been struggling to clarify. #healthcareintheknow

· A bacon truck pulls up in front of your window, and you need to capture your joy! #Fridayfeeling

· Your cat falls asleep in a ridiculous position that says: don't bother me. #Mondaymorning

Establishing a trove of pictures, insights, and quotes keeps you thinking about your social media presence every day. That leads to smart, sharable content that your friends and followers will appreciate and recirculate.

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