Using Social Media to Produce Better Content

Using Social Media to Produce Better Content image People turning green 300x211At the start of every content marketing campaign, you’ve got to do a little bit of strategizing with your team. During that time, you will inevitably discuss social media and how you can leverage it as part of your content strategy. And really, social media is a gem when it comes to this because not only can you use it to promote your content, but you can use it as you strategize and plan, as well.

It’s Friday, your brain is in weekend mode, and maybe you need a little nudge with the ideas. No worries – you’ll find a few in this post that you can take to your meeting with you.

#1: Use social media to find good content

Reading up on current trends is one way to be sure your ideas are sound – plus these are the sources you will use to support your content.

Surely you are aware of sites like the Content Marketing Institute, HubSpot, and Marketing Profs. These popular sources are great, but what if you’re ready to expand?

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Use your social media channels to find excellent content. This seems like a no-brainer, but with all of the information and resources that are shared every day on platforms like Twitter and Facebook, you’re sure to be able to find something that is informative, well-crafted, and not the eight zillionth re-tweet of the latest Mashable post.

(No disrespect to Mashable at all. They’ve got superb, authoritative content. And everyone follows them on Twitter, so everyone retweets them and… well… echo chamber?)

Keep your eyes peeled on these platforms for fresh ideas – set up alerts or lists, whatever works best for you – but use those sites to find sources that will bolster your own content.

#2: Use social media for outreach efforts

By now I’m sure you know the basics: Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn. And yes, those are all great for making connections and saying a quick hello, but how do you use them to dig a little deeper in both the planning and promotion stages?

If you’re looking to make or nurture connections, one option to consider is featuring a certain individual or business in a piece of content that you’re creating as part of your overall content strategy. Remember that you should only do this if you truly believe in the business or individual – don’t fake it just to get some promotion. That’s not cool. It’s one thing if opportunities crop up naturally, but it’s another thing to force them as a means to an end. Don’t be that person (or that business).

But genuinely nurturing your relationships can pay off for your content (and the benefits can be mutual).

  • Contact the business or individual during planning stages to get some information for your project. In doing so, you establish yourself as someone who is genuinely interested in what they do and wants to learn more. This is the perfect situation because if they’re willing to provide you with this information, it virtually guarantees further conversations, which means more opportunities to nurture that relationship. Also, they’ll be interested to see what you’ve got to say about them.
  • Later, after you have the information you need to proceed with your own content, maintain your presence through comments on their blog posts and recommending their material across various social media platforms. This keeps you in touch.
  • Drop an email or tweet just to say hello. After all, not everything has to be about business.
  • Eventually, as in all friendships, as your relationship builds, you might discuss collaborating on projects or how you can help each other out. Let this happen naturally, though. Don’t force it. Again, a friendship is not a means to an end, social media or not.

After you’ve established these higher-level connections, continue to use social media to promote and leverage.

For example, if you write an article about XYZ Company (whether you’ve established a relationship with them already or not) and their killer blog or an annual event they hold that raises awareness for a worthy cause. Spread the word. Don’t just tell your friends, but tell the company too. You can do this easily on Twitter: “Hey @XYZCompany, I’ve featured you in my article about _____. .”

Easy as pie, and it can be used to nurture or establish relationships.

Remember, too, that because most companies are monitoring their mentions, there’s a good chance they’ve seen your article or that they’re at least aware of it. You could also send a tweet and ask what they thought. Engage in some conversation with them, and keep building upon it.

As I mentioned before, once your relationship is firmly established, then you can discuss guest posts and collaborative efforts. And even if they aren’t interested just then, stay on their radar (dropping off of it immediately after would indicate that you were only in it to get something in return).

#3: Consult your audience

Using social media to consult your audience is another way to produce better content. Who better to tell you what they want to see than the people themselves? If you’ve got an engaged community, ask them what they’d like to see you write about. What other kinds of content would they like to see?

This serves a few purposes. It shows that you care what your audience has to say, which is endearing (I mean, unless you ask for their opinions and then take absolutely none of them into consideration). It also means that if you give them what they’re looking for, you know they’re going to show up to see it. Give them what they want and what they need, and you’ll all but guarantee they’ll be return visitors.

How do you use social media when planning your content strategies? Let us know!

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