Social brand building — the art of thumb-stopping content

Social brand building — the art of thumb-stopping content

How to create memorable social media content that turns heads and stops thumbs from swiping.

Social brand building — the art of thumb-stopping content

With social content living and dying by the swipe of a thumb or the tap of a finger, your creative needs to be just that — creative. If you’re building a brand or a social media presence (or both), we’ve put together some handy tips to help you out.



Since smartphones crashed their way into our lives like pocket-sized wrecking balls, our thumbs have enjoyed a bit of a workout. From Tinder to Instagram to simply using the internet every day, our thumbs are stuck in a constant state of swipe — swiping left and right through potential first dates, smashed avo on toast, crushed candy, and 'good boys’.

But without a limitless pool of cute dog photos at your disposal, how are you — someone who's only just started building a brand on social media — going to get those thumbs to stop swiping and stick on your content? There's no secret formula, but we reckon these four things are a good starting point:

1. Hook 'em early

No one’s got much of an attention span these days. We want everything and we want it NOW (or, even better, we want it yesterday), so you need to set the scene early doors. How early? Three-seconds-early. Every second counts, so you need to find a way to capture their attention, convey your key message, or sneak your branding in early. Even if they don’t convert, they’ll remember your content later.

2. What’s your why?

The question so many marketers don’t ask themselves. Or, they do but don’t answer honestly. Start with the consumer and work backwards — before you launch any sort of campaign, ask yourself why any of your followers or target audience would care about what you’re showing them. Find a way to add value, and make sure your message is clear as a result.

3. Know your target audience

Very closely linked to ‘making people do stuff’. More questions to ask yourself: WHO are we talking to? WHAT do they want to see? HOW is our content reflecting that? HOW is our content different to our competitors? WILL this force them to take action? You should have a good idea of your target audience and which social media channels they use, and adapt your content marketing strategy and messaging to suit this.

4. Make people do stuff

… and no, that doesn't mean chucking in a question at the end of your copy. “What’s your favourite?”, “Have you tried it yet?” — when was the last time you read that on Instagram and thought ‘I’ll tell *INSERT NAME OF BRAND* exactly what they want to know!’That might work for bigger brands and influencers, but you might not always have that luxury, so decisive engagement and meaningful CTAs are key if you want to get people visiting your website, reading your blog, or buying your product.

That’s not to say that question-asking is bad, but we recommend front-loading them. Pop one at the start of your copy as a hook or, better yet, start your video content with one to keep those thumbs from swiping.

The art of thumbstopping content - Buzzbar Marketing Service

The social media landscape is more crowded than the Northern Line and it’s only getting worse.

Speaking of the tube, you can’t avoid (escape?) advertising down there. Similarly, if you’re waiting to find out who’s been dumped from Love Island, you’ve got a few ad breaks to sit through. Not so on social. As well as competing in a crowded marketplace, you’re playing in a space where your content is totally skippable… so it needs to be compelling, and it needs to be memorable.

It also needs to be unobtrusive. The rise of influencer marketing on social media suggests that users prefer a more genuine, less sales-y approach as social media is a largely self-curated space. Think about it — if you could curate TV ads, you’d probably make sure you never saw another Go Compare or Compare the Market advert ever again (we wouldn’t blame you, either.)

So, in a nutshell: make your content compelling so it sticks in your audiences’ heads. If you hook your viewers early on, know your key messages inside-out, add value to their lives, and empower them to take action, then you’re on the right path.

It’s as easy as that. But if you DO need a little extra help getting the internet’s collective attention, give Buzzbar a shout. Need a hand building a killer social media campaign? Looking for someone to run your paid social media advertising? Want a hand with your videos? We take care of all that and more. Get in touch to book a free 30-minute consultation.

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