Creating or finding engaging, valuable content is 99% of managing social media channels. The 1% is actually posting the content, and a 5 year old can probably do that at this point from their own iPhone. As an instructor in this space, I find this the most difficult concept to explain to my students. Facebook posts, blogs, articles and tweets don’t write themselves – social media professionals must be creative and downright crafty to have enough content in their queues to be present on social media today.
Before I get further in the weeds, here are some examples of content your brand can consider creating, then promoting via your social media channels:
– Blog Posts
– White papers
– Press Releases
– Newsletter Articles
– Event Photos and Videos
– Presentations or SlideShare
Before you feel overwhelmed by that list, or think that you don’t have the resources for any of it, let’s note the difference between created and curated content. Creating is what you as a brand develop, and curating is what you are “borrowing,” or pointing to (i.e. relevant YouTube videos, recent Forbes articles). Your content mix can and should be a mix of both your owned content and the content of others.
A content rule I learned in an MBA blogging course is the 4-1-1 Content Rule by Joe Pulizzi of the Content Marketing Institute. Joe’s rule states that for every 4 value-added and informative content offers your provide, you can have 1 soft-sell offer and 1 hard-sell offer – like a demo/trial, % off sale offer or product spotlight.
If you’ve read Gary Vaynerchuk’s (@garyvee) Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, you’ll be familiar with the school of thought regarding properly mixing value-add and sell-focused content. “Jabs” are value-added pieces of content that make your viewers laugh, think or even shed a tear. Jabs show you are culturally relevant and paying attention to what is going on outside the world of your brand or store. “Right hooks” are calls to action that directly promote your business, product, service, or brand and include an obvious CTA (call-to-action). Build credibility and an audience with Jabs, then Hook sparingly when the time is right.
If you’re looking for a place to start creating content, I recommend starting a blog or posting long-form articles on your website. Try posting 2 times/month, then gauge the additional traffic generated to your website from the blog posts your promote on social media to determine ROI. Consider outsourcing the posts to a freelance writer or employees in other departments to save time on your marketing team.
Once you have developed your great content, here are three tips regarding the distribution:
#1) Respect each social channel and the devices available to consumers. Content should be tested on all devices and take into account the UX of the specific network. Be native and create channel-specific micro-content as much as your resources allow.
#2) Get organized with a content calendar. Now is the time to be a planner. Planning your content allows you to seize last minute opportunities, since you won’t always feel like you are in the content trenches. Schedule using a tool like Hootsuite, and identify the target social channels and right time to deploy on each network.
#3) Post frequently, but in my opinion, quality>quantity in the world of content. Be native so you do not stand out in the channel for not understanding the users. However, your content should be true to your brand, no matter the channel. Maintain your voice, but fit the channel. This is synonymous with how I am always “Sarah” but there is “work Sarah,” “Professor Sarah,” “Friend Sarah,” etc… Adapt to each channel, but still be yourself.
What are your content development and management best practices?