How To Find Content Ideas
Of the challenges facing small businesses when trying to use social media for marketing, one big question that I regularly get asked is “what do I use?” Finding good quality subject matter to share with your online audience can take up so much of your time you may decide that it’s just not worth doing.
Add into the mix that you need to update your social media regularly AND you need to vary your content for different social channels and you could start to lose the will.
Social media works for a huge amount of small businesses – so how do they find relevant content on a regular basis to share with their followers?
Here are Dolphin's 10 tips for small business social media updates.
10 Actionable Ideas For Free Social Media Content:
Calendar: With any type of marketing it’s helpful to have a content calendar; can your business tie into larger events? How far in advance should you be thinking about this to get your content out there? For example, say you run an independent café, can you get some cupcakes made with hearts for Valentine’s day? Then share the images online, and accompany it with a Facebook post that includes the recipe. The images you can post on the day to Twitter and Instagram but the Facebook post will need to be sent out in time for people who are searching for Valentine’s Day cupcake recipes.
The Great Google: Move one step further than just “Googling it” by noting the options Google gives you underneath the search box:
All | Videos | Images | News | Shopping | More
Settings | Tools
Say you’re searching for an interesting article about marketing your small business. Type in your search phrase, then click News followed by clicking Tools and you’ll see four more options to hone down what you’re searching for. Have a play, see how much more you can get from a simple search phrase.
Industry Publications: Whatever niche your business is in there will be some form of publication relevant to your market sector. The majority of these will have online versions so find them and bookmark them. You can either use these for inspiration (note not plagiarism….) or share the articles to your audience.
Newsnow: This is a great tool for finding out the most relevant news articles and breaks down your search options into a wide range of Industry sectors. If you’re really niche it may not be for you but with sections such as Business, Finance, Insurance, Law, Retail and more you may find something of use on Newsnow.
Videos: The first thought here is You Tube – and nothing wrong with that. But how about also looking at Vimeo? This time I’m not making cakes, I am a small business that supplies hotels with flowers, so I searched for “Hotel Reception Flowers”. You could always share those videos online, or you can use it as a tool for finding out what’s most popular. This works particularly well if you’re wanting to jump on the video bandwagon and are unsure of what your own video content should be.
LinkedIn: If you’re in a B2B business, LinkedIn can be a goldmine for finding content. First stop, your main timeline – what are people sharing that are causing most interactions from others (check the number of Likes and Comments underneath the update)? And conversely, what are people sharing that is getting no reaction? If you have a large number of contacts you won’t have the time to scroll down your timeline to see them all, so filter by industry and company. In the search box, top left-hand side, I searched Accountant, and got the option to search for Jobs, People or Groups; then underneath that was a list of people I am already connected with who fit the search term. Click on a person, scroll down, and you’ll see a box that highlights their recent articles. Are there any that you can share?
Use What You Do: Case studies tick so many boxes; you’ll help your clients understand what you do; you’ll generate new interest; you’ll be adding Google friendly keywords; and it’s something you know all about. You can add a sentence and an image on Twitter and/or Instagram. You can make a video and upload it to You Tube. You can elaborate a little more and share on Facebook and/or LinkedIn.
Ask Your Clients: If you have a email marketing program already set up this becomes a little easier. We like MailChimp and within this we have the option to send out a survey to all of our contacts, or to break them down into sections. Ask your client base what their pain points are, what they would like more of, or any other questions that you feel are relevant to your customers and that will inspire you to find the content that they would like to read more about.
Internal Resources: Depending on how large your team is, it can be worth asking around the office for inspiration. Here at Dolphin we have specialists in different fields who can all bring a different take on any given subject and all know where the best resources are to find out about the latest developments.
FlipBoard: A small confession here – personally I used to love Zite, but they got consumed by FlipBoard which I never liked as much. That being said, an awful lot of other business people always preferred FlipBoard in the first place, so go and take a look yourself. Like Newsnow you can search for stories relevant to your industry and it pulls through articles you may not find on Google.
Bonus Tip: Blogs | Yours! I cannot emphasise enough how valuable having a blog as part of your website is. Sharing content from other sources should always be part of your social media campaigns, but the web traffic then goes to their site not yours. A blog on your own website can be a vital aspect of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) as well as giving your clients and a wider audience quality articles. You can use all the business tips above to come up with blogging content but never copy someone else’s work. Quite apart from nobody liking a copy-cat, you could get penalised by Google, have a messy PR exercise on your hands and end up in a legal dispute.
Creating interest online can be great for your company's branding and reputation - as long as what you are sharing is relevant and of interest to your target market, you should start to see some benefits from taking time to source and create good quality content.
We hope that the ten tips above have given you enough actionable points for you to improve your social media marketing. In addition to sharing great content, consistency and interaction are key points in maintaining a professional online presence for your business, so stick with it. If you just don't have the resources to keep up with digital marketing, there are plenty of good people out there who can manage this for you.