Social Media Posts That Suck vs Ones That Rock, And Why

Tom earned his master’s in IMC from WVU and his bachelor’s in public relations from Utica College of Syracuse University. He joined the Site-Seeker team in 2013 as an account manager.

There are 500 million tweets per day. About 1 billion Facebook posts. And more than a billion videos if you combine those from Instagram, Vine and YouTube. That’s a lot of content. And that’s only one day.

In short: You have to cut through the clutter to stand out above the rest. Wait. You’ve heard this before, haven’t you? Well it’s easier said than done. Of course, it takes a great deal of creativity to really get noticed online and see your posts take off. It’s a challenge that we all face and some of us have been rewarded for our efforts.

But we’re not talking about creativity today. Instead, I want to focus purely on the basics: structure and design. For every platform, there’s a certain way of posting that lends itself to a clean, polished look, which leads to greater chances of being found and shared. This is the first step to being noticed and garnering excitement and interactions. Very few brands see the benefits of social media when publishing ugly, disjointed or irrelevant material. You must take the extra time and effort to ensure your content is being presented in a way that looks great and best represents your brand, so it will more likely be received by your target audience.

Below, find 10 different types of social postings. We’ll look at a poor quality post compared to a high quality one and explore some of the differences.

Facebook

Bad

 

Good

 

Here why…

First off, Seaport Hotel has quite a bit of text in this post. Too much, actually. They also didn’t shorten the link, which makes the post appear very unsightly. They also failed to tag iFest in the post. By doing so, it would have appeared on their partner’s page for additional viewers to find. On the other hand, Coke keeps their text length fairly short (the shorter, the better with Facebook). It includes a full size, branded image that is entertaining and relevant to its brand. And it has also tagged fans who have commented, so those individuals feel special and will be more likely to share the post, enhancing its virility. Finally, they include the custom campaign hashtag #ShareACoke, which relates to offline efforts.

LinkedIn

Bad

 

Good

 

Here why…

Equipment Depot committed a few mortal sins in this post. First, they are posting to LinkedIn from Facebook. As a result, the post is formatted terribly, the headline and caption just say “facebook.com,” and the text is cut off. If you are going to auto-post or use a third party automation tool, you must be very cautious and ensure that posts come out neat and clean on the other side. Secondly, the brand liked its own post. Just don’t. Adobe publishes an excellent post. It keeps its message short and direct with a shortened link. And it uses a branded landscape image with all of the details directly in the photo (in case people share just the photo). The inclusion of Richard Sherman is likely to intercept those scrolling too (you like that pun?).

Twitter

Bad

 

Good

 

Here why…

Here, we see automation once again ruining the impact of a post. With Facebook connect, Zips Car Wash tweets a text-only tweet with characters also getting cut off. No image. No hashtag. No call to action. Lowe’s produces a nice post as it shares an article on gardening ideas. It’s close to the ideal length of a tweet, which is 100 characters. It has a shortened link for a cleaner look while allowing for tracking. Lowe’s also includes the handle of the blogger (so she can be notified and push it to her followers) and it includes no more than two hashtags, *after* the link. The embedded image is relevant to the story and allows the tweet to take up more real estate in followers’ feeds.

Pinterest

Bad

 

Good

 

Here why…

VIP Cars pinned a picture of Cape Town. Although beautiful, it is a random photo that isn’t exactly relevant to its brand. It also pulled the picture from the image-only page of a site so the pin isn’t correlated with a webpage for users to read/find more information. Instead, All You Magazine shares a delectable recipe shot directly from its own website. Users can click and find their way to the recipe to make it right at home (directly in line with its brand). The description is short and to-the-point. It has also placed it on a fitting board, “Outdoor Entertainment,” for followers to find other similar recipes, and follow the board outright.

Instagram

Bad

 

Good

 

Here why…

DJ Auto Collision tries to piece together three different pictures but it is not presented in a very aesthetically pleasing way. Lime green? Eek. I’d recommend shying away from bright, bold colors in most cases, unless it pairs well with the image. It also only uses one hashtag, which is the business name. Conversely, Utica Coffee Roasting posts a very down-to-earth photo of a customer taking a sip of its own product – a very delicious-looking latte. It keeps the caption brief with a few relevant hashtags to help it be found for those searching for similar images. It looks like a filter may have been used as well to just tone the image a bit and add a nice subtle effect.

Vine

Bad

Good

 

Here’s why…

FashionOffice doesn’t really include anything in this post that is captivating nor fitting for its brand. A short (and shaky, at that) montage of Times Square isn’t all that unique. It’s a scene seen by a few hundred thousand people every day. The caption isn’t very descriptive either. Oreo has been a long-time power user of Vine. It leads with a branded sign held by a person (kind of like a director’s action board). A magician then performs a quick trick using the Oreo cookie. The description is short and sweet (another pun, gotta love it!) and features a custom hashtag for loyal viewers who want to find more of these particular Vines.

YouTube

Bad

Good

Here’s why…

DigitLab’s video is high resolution but lacks any sort of supplemental graphics or charts to reinforce key spoken points. The video is short and the title and description are limiting. The one camera angle also creates a very monotonous experience. It’s boring. Conversely, Rand Fishkin, on behalf of Moz, posts video blogs on a regular basis, which cultivates a following. There are custom-created bookends at the beginning and end of the video to introduce and reinforce the brand. There’s also an intro slide, which includes the name of the topic as well as the presenter’s name. The title of the post is complete and a relevant description is provided too. Finally, the video is close to seven minutes, the ideal length of a video blog post.

Google+

Bad

 

Good

 

Here why…

CCRI published a very plain, text heavy post with no other information. It doesn’t capture a reader’s attention and has no call to action to lead users anywhere outside of Google+. WVU, on the other hand, features an article that leads back to its website. It begins with a simple but sensible caption and includes three relevant hashtags to pair with the content. The photo is eye-catching (seriously, who looks away from a wedding proposal picture?) and the headline and description for the article are also featured, taking up more space in the Google+ interface. As a result, this post saw a great deal of *engagement* (okay, third pun, what do I win?!).

Blog

Bad

 

Good

 

Here why…

Columbia features a very short post that is all about its own products. There is one image and a few outbound links but the content is very thin. The headline isn’t SEO friendly and no author name is provided. It’s very bland.

The idea for the blog post you’re reading stemmed from Kevan Lee’s post for Buffer on the ideal length of everything online – so I might as well give it a plug here. This post has it all. A title that is very search friendly. A custom banner graphic featuring the title of the blog. An author area with Kevan’s headshot. The ability to easily share on social. It’s a very length piece of content supported by research, stats and graphics (ideal length of a blog post is in the 1600-word area). And it features practical information that is very useful to viewers. The comment feed is open and Kevan has replied to some posters. It’s broken up by H2s to make it more readable. It features links for more information. And it features a sharable summary image at the bottom of the post that was purely made for social media.

e-mail

Bad

 

Good

 

Here why…

Your email marketing campaigns shouldn’t look like a website. Instead, treat it like an extension of your social activity. You want this touchpoint to be useful, not a piece of junk mail. Allied Bank’s email is very overwhelming with too much information and too many places to click. The many different content boxes make it seem disorganized and messy. In comparison, Simply Measured delivers short weekly emails instead of long monthly newsletters. Titled “How to Time Your Tweets Down to the Minute,” it is right in the area of the perfect subject line length, which is less than 39 characters. It has one main feature with a link to the website to read the full article. That’s followed by three more articles with simple teasers and images. In the footer, one can request a trial (its primary goal with these emails) or one can find its social media channels. It is a simple layout and effective at the same time.

Have you seen any other great examples of social media posts from brands? Share some additional examples and let us see!