The first step to social media success is in the type of content your business or personal brand promotes on your accounts: the topics you choose to cover will affect how others interact with you on social media. The concept of content also includes hashtags and keywords, which we will discuss later in this post.
There are two types of content you need to be aware of: curated content and created content.
Curated Content: Start with What Others Have Written/Posted
If you feel nervous about writing your own content, or have no interest in writing blog posts just yet, start filling your social media feeds with curated content. “Curated content” is generally content (blog posts, articles, videos, images) created by other people and brands and is a simple way for you to get started with keeping your social media feeds active and showing your audience some of your subject matter expertise. Curated content can be local news, industry-specific news, or even personal hobbies of yours (as long as it still pertains to the brand/image you want to project on social media).
Get started with finding curated content:
- What kind of topics do you want your brand to be known for? List out 3-5 topics you want your brand to be known for. Examples: A restaurant owner may say that his or her establishment wants to be known for organic cooking, clean eating, and vegan cooking. A real estate agent may say that he or she would like to be known for local real estate trends, neighborhood parks, and tourist attractions in his or her city/town.
- Search for hashtags specific to the topics you want to be known for. Do some initial hashtag searches on your platforms of choice (Twitter, Facebook). Which hashtags will be the most relevant to the topics you chose? See if you can find variations of the hashtags you come across. Examples: When searching for #OrganicCooking on Twitter, other posts come up with hashtags for #foodie and #organicfoods.
- Find and organize your content. We like to use the tools Feedly and Pocket for finding and organizing content. Feedly is a website/app that you can use to “subscribe” to specific websites/blogs/magazines/etc. and keep track of all new articles that these websites post. Pocket is a website/app that you can use to “pocket” articles to read later. You can also organize the articles in Pocket through tags, which you can create on your own. Example: We created tags for leadership, Denver, and books in our Pocket account.
- Share articles to your social media accounts. After following the steps above, you will be ready to start sharing articles from your areas of expertise to your social media feeds. There are ways to save time on sharing content to your social media feeds, such as web browser plug-ins and third-party scheduling tools, such as Buffer or Hootsuite. To start out getting comfortable sharing content on your social media accounts, let’s stick to posting directly to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn.
Created Content: Make Your Own Content
The second type of content is the type you create on your own and post onto your website: generally, these are blog posts, but video content is emphasized a lot more recently. Creating your own content will require more time (for planning, writing or shooting video, and editing), but can be more rewarding since you will then have your own content to share with your audience on social media. Content creation also boosts your subject matter expertise a lot more than sharing curated content, but both pieces of the content puzzle are important in setting your foundation for social media success.
Get started with creating content:
- What kind of topics do you want your brand to be known for? (same as above) List out 3-5 topics you want your brand to be known for. Examples: A restaurant owner may say that his or her establishment wants to be known for organic cooking, clean eating, and vegan cooking. A real estate agent may say that he or she would like to be known for local real estate trends, neighborhood parks, and tourist attractions in his or her city/town.
- Search for hashtags specific to the topics you want to be known for (same as above). Do some initial hashtag searches on your platforms of choice (Twitter, Facebook). Which hashtags will be the most relevant to the topics you chose? See if you can find variations of the hashtags you come across. Examples: When searching for #OrganicCooking on Twitter, other posts come up with hashtags for #foodie and #organicfoods.
- Plan out your content creation over a couple months. Decide on how frequently you want to release a blog post or a video. We recommend going with at least once a month just to give yourself time to plan out the content for each individual piece. If you feel ready to commit to producing/launching content 2-4 times a month, go for it! But go easy on yourself so you won’t end up burning out.
- Plan and execute each individual content piece. When writing or creating video for your brand, try to choose topics that have not already been extensively covered. If the topic has been covered by other content creators before, see if you can provide a different viewpoint or angle to that topic. Example: Instead of another list of “top ten places to visit in Philadelphia,” maybe a real estate agent would write a piece about the “top ten things NOT to visit in Philadelphia” to encourage tourists to avoid tourist traps.
Hashtags and Keywords: Keeping Your Content Relevant and Searchable
When planning out your content strategy for social media, keep in mind the types of hashtags and keywords that you will use in each of your posts. Nowadays, social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and even Pinterest act as their own independent search engines: type a keyword into Pinterest, and Pinterest will pull up “pins” (aka content) that pertains to that particular keyword.
Hashtags and keywords are important for your social media posts because they are a way for your posts to be found by others searching for those kinds of posts. Using strategic hashtags will help your content be seen by more people (versus not using hashtags at all). Tools such as hashtags.org, RiteTag, Websta, and Hashtagify can help you figure out a variety of hashtags to use in your social media posts for Twitter and Instagram.
And there you have it: the first C of social media. Stay tuned for next week’s post about the next C: Consistency.