Three Social Content Tips, Compliments of BuzzFeed

According to Pew Research, 71 percent of American adults use Facebook – and 100 percent of them have taken a BuzzFeed quiz to determine which Sex and the City character they are, which country they actually belong in or how they would die on Game of Thrones.

Okay, I made that second part up, but chances are you’ve seen BuzzFeed content all over your social media feeds recently – and you’ve loved every second of it.  Case in point: 7 Reasons Babies are Just Tiny Drunk Adults.  You can’t make this stuff up!

Or can you…

We recently invited Andy Kraut of BuzzFeed into our office at PAN Communications to give us a peek under the hood of the social news and entertainment website. And what did we learn? 75 percent of BuzzFeed’s traffic comes from social media networks (primarily Facebook).


Here are three social content tips, compliments of our friends at BuzzFeed.

  1. Want to Build Sharable Content? Look No Further than your Facebook Feed

Consumers spend an average of 21 minutes per day on Facebook – that’s six percent of their total daily internet use. Why? Because Facebook content is shared for a reason – consumers find it funny, educational or valuable. BuzzFeed uses this same consumer-centric model to keep readers coming back to its website and sharing its articles socially. If the aim of your brand’s social content strategy is engagement – and it should be – then it can’t be self-serving.  The first question brands should ask when building content is: Why would my customer share this?

It’s also important to note that our Facebook feeds are being constantly refreshed by the people, news media and brands we opt into. Similarly, every brand’s social content strategy should include an element of curation, especially if the brand doesn’t operate in a consumer-facing industry.  The trick to creating sharable content is forging a “human” connection to a brand’s consumer.  If that brand-to-person connection isn’t explicit – as it often isn’t in B2B industries –brands need to work harder to create content that is relevant rather than promotional.  Take Adobe, for example.  The B2B software giant tasked BuzzFeed with building a content hub around its Adobe Marketing Cloud. BuzzFeed’s creative team worked with Adobe to deliver stream of entertaining and educational content, built to be shared among marketers.

  1. Don’t trick your readers

We’ve all experienced the disappointment of clicking on what looks like a highly-relevant article only to discover that it didn’t deliver the goods.  Don’t do that.  Instead, build great content you know your consumers will love to share.  Then, give it an even better headline – preferably the one that wins your A/B (even C/D) testing. And don’t stop there.

If you find that a particular asset is really resonating, put some paid social media advertising behind it or use paid syndication to reach a broader audience via earned media channels. But don’t get greedy. Even great social content has a shelf life – on average 30 days on Pinterest, one week on Facebook and 24 to 48 hours on Twitter, according to BuzzFeed. The same goes for assets that just aren’t taking off. Opt to “feed the winner and starve the loser” to make your investment go farther.

  1. You Can Create BuzzFeed-Style Quizzes, Too

What’s the secret to launching a BuzzFeed-style quiz for your own brand or client? Believe it or not, the origin of BuzzFeed’s quizzes is quite simple.  Andy likened them to the Cosmopolitan Magazine quizzes we all took as pre-teens.  BuzzFeed simply tallies the number of A, B, C or D responses readers give and assigns them a winning letter value, which links to a corresponding persona (i.e. Samantha Jones of Sex and the City).

The tricky part isn’t creating the quiz, but rather, landing on a topic that consumers can’t resist engaging with – like “How Well Do You Know the Lyrics to ‘Under the Sea’”?  Apparently, devising an endless stream of cheeky, shocking or otherwise entertaining content is not easy. If you are brave enough to try it for your brand, make sure your website is mobile optimized – over 50 percent of BuzzFeed readers engage via their mobile phones. If you’d rather leave it to the pros, BuzzFeed also offers paid brand campaigns.

This post was contributed by Megan Kessler, Account Director at PAN Communications

Twitter: @esteves1