By Joseph Troyer, CEO of Digital Triggers

Your online engagement is your most valuable resource. It's even more important than your follower growth, because social media shares, comments and conversions reveal lots of useful information. Online engagement tells you what content your audience does or doesn't prefer.

It can also increase your sales. According to AdAge and Google, "Hyper-Engagers" (people who always engage with brands) are four times more likely to buy a product online every day or multiple times per week, as compared to their less-engaged counterparts.

Engagement will also increase your audience reach. Whenever someone shares your content, they're introducing your brand to new potential customers. However, platforms like Instagram and Facebook are limiting your reach, and customers are starting to filter posts that are too promotional.

These changes are forcing you to rethink how you publish on social media. Good isn't good enough anymore. You have to create amazing content that will attract your audience and inspire them to interact with you. Here are the five types of content that will do that.

1. Embrace your vulnerability to build connections.

Contrary to popular belief, we're more attracted to flawed characters than perfect ones. This is called the beautiful mess effect.

German researchers asked participants to imagine other people in vulnerable situations, like confessing their love or apologizing. Participants were more likely to judge the people and vulnerability itself as "desirable" or "good."

In April, I experimented with vulnerability myself. I released a video explaining how I lost weight for my kids, sold my last company and started my new seven-figure agency.

The responses were better than I'd expected. Loyal followers and new viewers thanked me for my transparency. They also shared their plans for transforming their personal lives and businesses. This act of being honest about my failures and how I overcame them helped me build better relationships with my audience.

2. Share social proof and customer transformations.

Your vulnerability will inspire people -- but social proof will make them buy. Many business owners make the mistake of being overly promotional with their social media posts. Not only will this likely be hidden by algorithms, but potential customers could also ignore it.

That's why you should try social selling. Instead of telling people to buy, you should show how they'll look after using your products or services. For example, if you're selling fitness plans, show videos and pictures of their body transformations after working out.

You should also provide social proof to support these transformations: client testimonial videos, product review screenshots or graphics showing quantitative data that confirms your results. These types of content cause people to ask more questions about your company, trust your brand more and justify their buying decisions. 

3. Increase your credibility with research studies and expert advice.

Today, false information can spread wide and fast. This is why credibility is more crucial than ever. Increase your industry authority by using expert advice and reports in your content. Transform their insights and data into infographics. 

According to Venngage, an infographic producer, over 40 percent of marketers claim that infographics engage audiences better than stock photos, videos, charts or memes. OneSpot reported infographics could increase web traffic by 12 percent.

If you struggle with design or hiring a good designer, leverage credibility in other forms of content. You can post video or audio interviews with industry leaders. You can create picture-quotes citing experts or research studies. You can use text to simplify complex information to your audience. Whatever you choose, remember to cite your sources.

4. Help your audience achieve a goal with tutorials.

If you have followers, it's because people see you as their go-to resource for a specific niche or industry -- so give them what they want. Create content that teaches them something new or improves skills they already have.

For example, videos showing how to finish a task step by step are very popular. They're so popular that Google created a term when someone searches online for a tutorial: micro-moments.

You can also teach your audience via text or pictures. Create a long-form post, thread or article that helps your reader achieve a specific goal. If you can't teach, you can give insider advice most people don't know. Share behind-the-scenes information on how they can navigate stressful situations or level up in their niche.

5. Motivate your followers to become better people.

Earlier, I spoke about the power of vulnerability. There's also power in tapping into your audience's vulnerability. Your audience probably has insecurities related to your niche they struggle with. 

Create content that acknowledges these doubts but also motivates your followers to overcome them. Headlines like "The 5 Ways Entrepreneurship Will Burn You Out -- And How to Overcome Them" touch a lot of emotions. They highlight their pain points and appeal to their desire to become more successful.

These types of content will improve your brand's reputation and authority. You'll no longer be just another creator, but also an industry leader.

Joseph Troyer is CEO of Digital Triggers: on a mission to give entrepreneurs the right processes and strategies to build businesses that fit their lifestyles.

Published on: Oct 18, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.