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Social media posts with a high average emotional value are shared far more often than those with a weaker average emotional value.

But what type of content is most effective on social media and will deliver value to your business in terms of revenue, return on investment and engagement?

Writing for the CoSchedule Blog, Neil Patel has rounded up some of the latest research to come up with a list of the six types of social media content that will give you the greatest value.

Patel is the co-founder of Crazy Egg, Hellobar and QuickSprout and he draws on studies from companies such as SumoMe, CoSchedule, Buffer and Hubspot to explain why some types of content deliver more value on social media.

Here are Patel’s six types of social media content that will deliver the greatest value to your business:

1.    Infographics

According to Patel, infographics are the most socially shared form of content, thanks to the human brain’s ability to process visual information faster than words. 

Patel cites a recent study of more than 100 million items that have been shared on social media that found infographics far outstrip all other types of articles in terms of average shares.

However, communications and social media expert Catriona Pollard told SmartCompany she doubts infographics are “as popular as people think they are”, suggesting this type of content may be favoured by content marketers but not necessarily consumers. 

 2.    Interactive content

It’s no surprise that social media users love content they can interact with but Patel points out it is not just video content that falls into this basket; digital consumers also love quizzes. 

“Quizzes are a two-way form of content. Users do something with it rather than just consume it. Besides, people love to share their quiz results,” he says.

3.    Content that sparks strong positive emotions

CoSchedule studies show social media posts with a high average emotional value are shared far more often than those with a weaker average emotional value.

Posts that inspire positive emotions such as awe, laughter, amusement and joy are more likely to be shared.

“If you want truly valuable social media activity, focus on emotion,” Patel says.

“It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in.”

Pollard agrees, saying “negativity doesn’t work on social media”.

“People don’t want it in their streams,” she says.

“If there is a feel-good story, or something is funny, it absolutely gets the most engagement.”

 4.    Content with images

Photos on Facebook Pages receive 53% more likes than average posts and 104% more comments, according to the studies Patel has found.

But it’s not just Facebook users that love photos. Research from Buffer shows tweets that contain images attract 18% more clicks, 89% more likes and 150% more retweets than those that only have text.

5.    Lists

Multiple studies have shown that list posts and articles that explain ‘why’ are highly shareable, but lists come out on top, according to Patel.

A study by Hubspot found lists and ‘why’ posts average around 21,000 shares per month. In the same study, lists claimed the most social traction.

6.    News-based content

While news articles are among Patel’s list of the most effective types of social content, he says only businesses in the news, entertainment and technology sectors are likely to have an advantage in this area.

If that’s not your business, he recommends trying some of the other forms of content in this list. 

However, Pollard says businesses that operate in the B2B space should still consider sharing news-based content on social media, whether it is content the business has produced itself or articles from news outlets that relate to its industry.

Pollard says this works particularly well for businesses that operate in niche sectors and those that can offer specialised knowledge to customers. 

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