There’s a common phrase used to explain a basic principle of social media that says content is king. However, the platitude doesn’t mean a whole lot if the throne is empty. In other words, you have to find content first before you can think about how you’re going to use it to rule social media.
Finding good content to post to your organization’s social media accounts is often not an easy pursuit. It takes time, know-how and a keen eye. You also have to know where to look. With the mountain of information that is readily available online, finding the content that provides the right kind of value to your target audience can be like finding a needle in a haystack.
Luckily, we’ve taken some of that hay out of the equation by putting together some suggestions for where to look when searching for good content. Hopefully with these five tips, you can find that needle much quicker.
When you want to know the latest on a certain topic, issue or industry, a hashtag can go a long way. If you’re not familiar with the power of hashtags for finding content, it works sort of like this: Twitter is a huge ocean of information being put out by millions of people. If you try to go fishing in that ocean, the chances of catching a fish are slim. Hashtags are like the streams, rivers and ponds that flow from the ocean. They are smaller and more contained, meaning you’re more likely to find a fish if you go searching there.
Find a hashtag that relates to the sort of content you are looking for and explore the content that people are posting to that hashtag. For example, we like to monitor the Association Chat hashtag (#assnchat) for all the news and views on the association industry. People are always posting blogs, articles and expert opinion on this hashtag, the best of which we share with out followers. One of the best ways to find a hashtag that fits your purposes is use hashtagify.me, a site that allows you to type in one hashtag and discover the most popular hashtags associated with it.
Magazines, Newsletters and Other Publications
There is no shortage of specialized publications for the industry you are posting about. If you look hard enough, there are magazines and newsletters and just about everyone, from pet grooming to turfgrass management to hair styling and everything in between. These publications usually contain well-thought-out insights from experts and often include new studies, perspectives and opinions. Many of these publications have online editions as well as hard copies, meaning they can be a source of content for your social media channels.
These magazines, newsletters and other publications are not hard to find. Many trade associations publish their own magazines that they make available online as well. Check out the national or local association to see if you can get access to their publications. Businesses and bloggers often send out weekly or monthly newsletter that you can sign up for as well. Put together a list of publications that you can subscribe to and a list of others that you can check on a weekly basis. Combining the two lists will help keep your content cupboard stocked.
News and Trending Topics
Chances are, over the course of a week or month, there will be more than a few times the news and your organization’s interests intersect. That’s why it’s important to keep on top of current events. When you can share interesting news, whether it’s hard-hitting journalism or a human interest story, your audience can relate to or can use in some meaningful way, they will find both the information and your organization valuable.
There are a few great ways to keep tabs on current events. The first is to set up a Google News Alert. Set an alert that will notify you every time a certain word or phrase is found in the news. This can be more basic, such as “golf” if you are in the golfing industry, or more specific, like the name of your organization. Another way to keep up with the news is through the trending topic section on many social media platforms. For example, keep an eye on the Twitter trending topics. Over time, the trending topics are often configured to match up with the content of your tweets. By keeping an eye on these topics, you can see what everyone is talking about and get in on the action. This way, you won’t be lacking for content.
Your Staff, Board or Customers
Two heads are better than one, so imagine how great five, six or 20 heads would be for finding quality content! You have a lot of great resources at your disposal in the form of your colleagues, board of directors, customers, staff or others that you work with. Most of the time you’ll find that if you simply ask, people will be more than willing to brainstorm with you, point you in the direction of content or pass on some of their own ideas. These ideas are some of the best because they help you find a new perspective that might be lacking in your current content line up.
The best way to go about finding this type of content is to simply ask. Section off half an hour or an hour every week to gather your staff or colleagues together and brainstorm ideas or share content they found during the past week. Create a document on a program such as Google Docs that allow your board of directors to jot down ideas or share blogs, articles, opinions or other forms of content. Create an Idea Box at your store, office or headquarters where customers, members or volunteers can drop off suggestions on which content to cover. All these methods will help keep your content calendar full for a long time to come.
Make Your Own
Whether you have exhausted all your resources and are still lacking content or are just trying to supplement a full schedule with your own take on things, creating your own content is a great idea. Not only do you have full control of original content, this type of social sharing helps drive traffic to your website, increases awareness of your brand and lets you share information that is most valuable and most important to your target audience.
Creating your own content can come in many forms. You can start a blog, a YouTube channel, create infographics, post a Facebook album or make an Instagram account. The best part about using this method of content creation is that it offers the opportunity for so much variety. With a YouTube channel, you can share how-to videos on your Twitter account. With a blog, you can share an interview with a member or an infographic on your products on your Facebook page. There are countless chances to be creative and share great content by creating your own!