How to Find Content to Share on Social Media
Getting started with social media can seem daunting. It’s hard to even know where to start! You’ve finally got your profiles set-up and ready to go, but do you know the first step? How will you craft your first post?
Whether your purpose is to network professionally or personally, or to manage business profiles, the most important thing you need to understand is content. The entire purpose behind Social Media is to share and engage with a community through content. There are a few kinds of social sharing. Among those is personal sharing, such as baby announcements or wedding photos, and professional sharing, like sharing your thoughts on a specific topic or posting an article on breaking industry news; no matter how you package it, sharing is based around content.
If you’re thinking “Oh no! Does this mean I have to start a blog?”, the answer is no. You’re not expected to create all the content you share with your community yourself! By sharing some industry news, some trending topics, and some original content, you’ll find you have more than enough content to fill your feeds!
How to Quickly Find Social Media Content to Share
Note: For these tips, we assume you have already done your keyword research and know your social media goals and how they fit into your overall marketing strategy. If you have not, you’ll want to start with those things first.
Google alerts is one of my favorite listening tools; it helps me to never miss an opportunity to join in an important conversation on behalf of my clients. Google alerts are an easy and convenient way to find content to share. This tool keeps me updated about what is happening in my industry, and in the industries of my clients. With Google Alerts, the latest news stories on any given topic are delivered to my inbox. Think of Google Alerts as an ongoing google search of the topics that are most relevant to you. To set up your Google Accounts, all you need is a Gmail account and a keyword list.
Step-by-step instructions for setting up Google Alerts:
- Visit Google Alerts.
- In the ‘Create an alert about” box, enter the top keywords for your industry.
- Click ‘Show options’ to narrow down your search, set how often you want to get notified, etc.
- Click ‘Create alert’.
- You can also create an alert by clicking the ‘+ ‘next to any of the suggested topics on the Google Alerts page.
- Once your alerts are set up, Google will send you emails in digest form when new content is posted containing the keywords you identified.
Tip: Set up your Google alerts to be sent to you in digest form every morning. Dedicate one hour every day to reading through the aggregated list, and scheduling out the best of those to share on your social media channels. Make it part of your routine – I do it over my first cup of coffee every morning.
Track Competitors or Industry Leaders
Note: I highly suggest everyone conduct a competitive analysis before they begin creating or sharing content. This can apply to businesses and individuals. My favorite way to conduct a social media competitive analysis is using a service called RivalIQ. Here’s a link to my comprehensive guide to conducting a social media competitive analysis.
Tracking competitors will help you see what your industry peers are posting, and what types of content their followers are and are not responding to. By knowing this information, you can create a marketing plan with similar content for your audience, based on the common interests of your followers and demographics. Not monitoring your competitors leaves you vulnerable to missing engagement opportunities. Piggy-back on the research and audience knowledge your competitors and adjacent industries to find great content to share.
Follow Your Favorite Blogs and Publishers on Social Media
Just like you, your favorite bloggers and publishers are on social media. Use their publicity to your advantage by re-sharing the quality content they create. Similar to competitors and industry leaders, they are trying to reach a similar or complimentary audience. Sharing relevant content from your competitors and industry leaders also benefits you by allowing you to align your brand with their brand or messaging.
Note: Don’t forget to tag them when you share their content. Give them a ‘digital nod’ and they may return the favor and share your original content sometime!
Write Your Own Content
You don’t have to start a whole blog to create great content to share. Using LinkedIn Pulse or Tumblr is a two-birds-one-stone tool when it comes to great social media content. They both contain built-in social networks and offer easy-to-set-up, easy-to-use account platforms. to create content, start by using your keywords as topics for content, or write your take on a trending topic in your industry. Of course, creating your own content is the most time-consuming option. However, it is the best way to get the most out of your time on social media because it defines and reinforces your expertise, and allows you to speak directly to your audience. Sharing original content also gives your competitors reason to share your content, expanding your potential audience.
Creating and finding content is a fun and creative exercise that will help you gain brand power and happily engaged followers. My best advice is this: Read, read, read! The more you read, the more content you’ll find, and the more ideas you’ll get for original content. Setting aside just one hour each day for reading will help you quickly fill up your feeds with social media posts, and your brain with great content ideas!