How to stay on top of your social media
Of course, nobody wants out of date content, but how can you ensure that your content is current and relevant? For small business owners who do not have the luxury of a team of staff dedicated to researching the latest news and developments this can be difficult. After all, ensuring that you are up to date with the latest developments is a full time occupation, and if you are doing that, who is running your business?
Without doubt ensuring a continuous stream of fresh content is a challenge, but here are some key points to ensure you stay on track.
Me! Me! Me!
Don’t talk about yourself. Even the most endearing friend has their sell by date if they are constantly talking about themselves. Nobody wants to hear boasts about how great your business is or how wonderful you are. Ensure that social media is a two way communication and give viewers the opportunity to participate. Sharing their viewpoints, suggestions and links to create an interactive and vibrant content can boost your website ranking as well as generating great content.
Don’t create controversy
Whilst making a bold statement may see the comments rolling in think twice before posting controversial remarks. Making tasteless or inappropriate statements may result in loss of business as people will disassociate themselves and a negative reputation can be hard to undo.
Start with an interesting fact
If you are floundering for content, check the date. Did an important historical event take place on this date, or a freak event occur? Give it a modern twist, and voila, unique and original content. Planning this in advance can allow you to tie it in with special promotions. This also avoids having to compete with the “buy me” promotional rush which takes place at popular occasions such as Mother’s Day and Easter.
Rather than sitting in the dark and hoping that inspiration will hit you, take a look at other social networks. What are the latest discussions or hot topics? Whether a subject is annoying people or pleasing them doesn’t matter. Provided it is generating interest it is something worth talking about. Apart providing useful content for your site, sharing content also indicates that you are aware of the bigger picture and can add credibility to your website. It also shows that you are interested in your viewers and not simply self-promotion.
Seek inspiration from other sources, or ask your viewers for suggestions. Polls can generate discussions whilst photographic competitions can generate interest and create content.
Create a discussion
If you are lacking content, why not ask your viewers a question? It can be flippant or fun, topical or surreal. Avoid topics which are too controversial or could result in people being offended.
To be of maximum benefit it should ideally relate to a product or service (whether existing or fantasy) but this is not essential. However, if the market research obtained from any resulting discussions can be used to develop the business this is an added bonus
Finding a quirky quotation and asking for opinions on it can also be a great way of generating engagement and content. A witty quotation is also great for sharing, especially if it is accompanied by humorous image. Quotes can relate to your industry, a particular date, or simply about the weather as long as it is relevant.
Asking your viewers to participate in a poll or respond to a question can stimulate discussions and raise questions. Ensure that any questions receive a response. Failing to do so will result in loss of credibility.
As the saying goes “a picture tells a thousand words”. Colourful images, clever graphics and photographs can add instant colour and energy to your website. Images are far more easier to share than a page of text and can tell a story instantly. Even if you have amazing content, adding an image or video can give an extra dimension to this and break up the page to make the text easier to digest.
Create a teaser
Just as television series create a hook to encourage viewers to return why not post teasers on your landing page either to explore further elsewhere in the website, or to return again for new information.
Sources of inspiration
Inspiration is all around you. Watch the news, look at competitor’s websites and trade magazines. What topics are being talked about? Of course, don’t copy them, but see how you can put a new twist on them which is relevant to your viewers.
If you know your viewers well, look at online lifestyle sites. What issues are they talking about and how can you relate this to your business? If you can offer a solution, or at least be empathetic to viewers’ needs and desires, emotional bonding will be established.
Other sites such as Pinterest and Quora can offer inspiration. By typing in a keyword, a list of content will appear and this may provide you with the inspiration you need to create that dynamic new content. Sites such as Flickr and YouTube offer inspiration on a visual level. Content is not necessary revolutionary, simply history and practice retold in a contemporary way.
Evernote is a very useful tool for saving snippets of information, images and thoughts for times when you are seeking inspiration. Look at the comments you have received in response to a blog, newsletter or other social media. What are viewers saying? If they are expressing opinions other than “like” or “don’t like” this might prove a useful content source.
Variety is the spice of life
Create content interesting and fresh by varying what you do. Variety is the spice of life and this applies to content, the same as everything else.