Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer who has been featured on Social Media Today, Search Engine Journal and is a contributor to the YouMoz community.

We all want to be liked, pinned, retweeted and shared hundreds of times by a legion of followers and fans. We want thousands of unique visitors to our websites daily and pages of blog comments. Regardless of your social media goals, “content is king” when it comes to generating attention and conversation.

Start by establishing your social media goals. What do you want to achieve through your social media strategy? Are you looking to increase traffic and grow the number of unique visitors to your social media pages? Or build an audience of subscribers and followers on social media outlets? Perhaps you want to start a conversation with your followers and fans and increase the quality and quantity of comments.

Whatever your goal may be, it is vital to set metrics on how to measure the success of your content. Gauging what’s attracting an audience is important as this will determine what content strategy you should continue to follow. Decide what the minimum number of social media mentions you want in a day, week or month. Or measure growth through a certain amount of “likes” or followers gained in a month. These more specific measurements will help point you in the right direction for content production.

Here are a few tips on how to create content for your social media sites that will please, inspire and attract fans:

What does your audience want?

Do a little research on what your existing target audience is discussing. If you want to produce content that will draw people to your social media sites, make sure that it’s relevant to their most current conversations and interests. The comments and links people share are great clues to figure out what topics excite them to gain their attention. Mining this information gives you a window into what draws your target audience, and is an excellent starting point for generating content.

What does your audience have to say?

Another way to determine your followers’ lifestyle and interests is to simply ask them. Use your email newsletters, social media sites and surveys to get a sense of what your audience wants to learn or hear about.

Give your audience something useful!

People love to learn how to do things (whether or not they go out and put what they’ve learned into action is another thing entirely). Step-by-step tutorials on how to use your product, or how to do something that relates to your brand or field, is likely to garner attention. Create a video, an infographic or turn an existing article of yours into a tutorial, and chances are someone will find it useful. They are also more likely to repost, reblog, tweet or link a tutorial if it pertains to their line of interest.

Give them something to talk about!

One of the most shared types of content on social media platforms is entertainment. How many times have you seen the grumpy cat video or epic celebrity fails posted on Facebook and Twitter? While silly cats and celebrity stunts may not necessarily work for your brand, keep in mind that entertaining content has a greater chance of being shared. A good laugh goes a long way to ensure that your content stays fresh in multiple feeds.

Everyone loves pictures!

Infographics are a great way to compile a significant amount of data into an attractive and fun package. Easy to understand infographics are a great way to establish yourself as an expert in a particular field, to showcase the benefits of a particular product or how to use a particular product. Infographics are the most shared pieces of content on Twitter, garnering 832% more retweets than other links.

Make it interesting!

Solid walls of text can immediately overwhelm a casual reader, therefore, make sure you break up the text with formatting, bolding, images and video to keep your fans’ interest. While that’s not as much of a problem for certain outlets (like Twitter and its 140 characters), as for other sites, keep the copy short and sweet, and visually appealing. A picture is worth a thousand words, after all.

Build your fan base, generate traffic to your website and start a conversation with appealing, relevant content. Share information that pertains to their lifestyles and interests, and that piece of content will help you get closer to your social media goals.

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Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer and business owner with a background in online marketing. She works alongside with HostPapa to help other businesses, small and large, to help them achieve their goals with their social media marketing and content development. Learn more about her success by visiting her business’ site, Gryffin Media.

Find her on: Twitter