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Digital Marketing: 10 tips for educational and entertaining online business content – North Bay Business Journal

December 9, 2022


Shana Bull is a marketing educator and digital storyteller, working with wine, food, hospitality businesses, teaching classes on marketing, and freelance writing. Reach her with your questions about digital marketing at shana@shanabull.com, @sharayray on Instagram or at shanabull.com.
Read Shana’s past columns.
I have learned more about gardening and composting from accounts on TikTok than from anywhere else. True story.
I know people think of TikTok as the platform for dancing teenagers, but it’s so much more. It is a search engine, and you can find information about almost any topic you’re looking for.
When I was having trouble with my tomatoes, I turned to TikTok, quickly searched for tomatoes grown in Northern California, and found detailed information about what I may be doing wrong.
The kicker is that these videos weren’t just educational — they also entertained me. Whenever I watched videos on YouTube, read blog posts, or even took classes at my local nursery in the past, the content was boring to me. This is probably why I never got excited about gardening. Despite receiving extremely useful information, my interest wasn’t piqued, so my passion for the material wasn’t sparked.
Think back to your least favorite subject in school. Most likely, it was your least favorite because of the teacher, not necessarily the subject. And the same can probably be said of your favorite class.
If you want to be successful with social media marketing, you need to find a way to make your content both educational and entertaining. That may sound like a tall order, but it is possible.
Emily Caruso, marketing manager, Bear Republic Brewing Company, agrees:
“(S)torytelling is the most valuable aspect of marketing your brand on social media. I love learning about how a product came to be or why someone started their company. Whenever we tell stories about Bear Republic’s history, like how Racer 5 got the name “Racer 5,” we get high engagement.”
If you want customers to return to your social media page, give them a reason. Just posting pictures or updates about your business isn’t enough. Social media users are looking for content that teaches and engages…even if they don’t know it.
“It goes back to why we follow brands on social media. We do it because it feels like a more personal connection to something or someone to whom we are a fan,” said Caruso. “As social media content creators, it’s our job to make it feel personal to the fans.”
Think about the posts you want to see on a social media page.
It would probably be a mix of things, right? You may be looking at friends’ content to see some personal updates, but you are also there to be entertained and (if you’re like me) to learn about interesting things you might not know about.
Even educational content needs to be entertaining in some way; otherwise, people will stop watching or reading.
That’s why making your content educational and entertaining is so important. If you can do that, people will keep coming back for more, and that’s how you build a successful social media following.
But how do you strike that balance when creating social media content? Here are some tips:
People consume content differently, and you want to reach as large of an audience as possible. Mix it up and offer a little bit of everything.
This image from The Bear Republic is a great example of teaching the audience something in a fun way. The image, of Bear Republic’s most popular beer, their Racer 5 IPA is a simple image, but combined with the history of how the brand got its name has Bear Republic fans excited.
A post shared by Bear Republic Brewing Co. (@bearrepublic)
This is especially important for videos and blog posts. People are more likely to watch or read something if it looks good. Take the time to make your content look professional and polished.
And, trust me, you can do that with your camera phone. Just make sure to have a small mic from Amazon, and shoot your videos/photos in the shade if you’re outside.
People can tell when you’re being inauthentic, and they will quickly lose interest. Don’t be afraid to be real and transparent. It will only help you in the long run. Engage with your audience. Take the time to respond to comments and questions. Show that you’re listening and that you care about what they have to say.
Humor is a great way to keep people engaged, and it can also be used to educate people about your business. Understand what your customers find humorous, and stay away from the things that make them uncomfortable.
You should also be careful about using too much industry jargon or technical terms on your social media pages. Unless you are sure that your target audience will understand these terms, it is best to avoid them altogether. Use plain language that everyone can understand.
If you’re not passionate about your business, it will be difficult to create authentically fulfilling content. Consider what you’re offering and why it matters to you. If you can’t find anything interesting or valuable to say about your product, then social media is probably not the right marketing avenue for you.
Either outsource your social media marketing to get outside help, or spend extra time going to the root of what matters to you when it comes to your business or your work environment.
Because social media is such a casual platform, you don’t want to come across as too sales-y or pushy. But that doesn’t mean you can’t provide valuable information. Just do it with the right tone in mind. (See tip No. 4.)
If you want people to keep coming back, you need to create new videos, blog posts, and email newsletters regularly. If you’re consistent, your audience will know what to expect from you, and they’ll be more likely to engage with your content.
To keep your content both educational and entertaining, you need to maintain a state of growth. That means reading books, attending workshops, and taking online courses. The more you know, the better your content will be.
One of the best ways to improve your content is to get feedback from your audience. Ask them what they like and don’t like, what they want to see more of, etc. Then take that feedback and use it to improve your next posts.
If you’re not enjoying it, it will show. Focus on your passions and work to engage with people over the things that get you excited.
Creating educational and entertaining social media content is not always easy, but keeping your audience engaged is worth it.
If you can find a way to strike the right balance, people will keep coming back for more, and you can build lasting relationships with your social media connections.

Shana Bull is a marketing educator and digital storyteller, working with wine, food, hospitality businesses, teaching classes on marketing, and freelance writing. Reach her with your questions about digital marketing at shana@shanabull.com, @sharayray on Instagram or at shanabull.com.
Read Shana’s past columns.

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