Small-business owners managing their own social media efforts often ask the same question: “How can I keep my updates fresh and engaging?”
It’s no easy task. If one were to poll marketers and business owners alike, he or she would find that creativity and the challenge of keeping updates from becoming stale are top concerns in social media. Luckily, at Omnicore Agency, our social media experts never run out of good ideas.
Taking a page from their book—and asking their recommendations—we’ve compiled a list for you to use the next time you get stuck on what to write, or for those moments when you want your content to pop.
No matter what your social media challenge, these tips for keeping updates fresh can make managing social media channels easier and more successful:
1. Don’t always talk about yourself: This is the key to success in social media. Don’t just share promotional posts or links to your site. Be human, be conversational, and talk about the good works of others, including sharing their content, links, or other creations (with credit, of course).
2. Check the date: No idea what to post? Check the calendar. Each month—or even each day or week, for that matter—includes some holiday, awareness week, or event. Find the ones that tie in to your business, and connect with your audience about those occasions. Try implementing date- or time-specific promotions through social media that relate to the occasion, host chats or streams using hashtags relating to that event to raise awareness and generate conversation, or create graphics associated with that event and share them through your social media channels.
3. Crowdsource: Your social networks are goldmines of content, so draw from them when you need an occasional break. Ask for photo submissions for a contest, or retweet their answers to a poll, prompt, or question. It gets the conversation going and can increase your audience. Bottom line: Ask for input.
4. Quotations and questions: Quotations are good for more inspirational or lighter topics—as a bonus, turn that quote into a graphic that’s easily shared on Facebook or Pinterest for maximum impact. When choosing quotations, go for something fitting for that day, a particular topic, or your industry. Connect it to your own business by linking that quote to relevant content you’ve created. Alternatively, post a quotation, and pair it with a question to elicit feedback.
Free-standing questions can spark conversation. Just make sure the questions aren’t too complicated or too controversial. Pose opinion-based questions you might ask in a focus group or customer survey, or go for easy, conversational questions one might find in small talk—you might be surprised by who responds and connects with you. Also, use your social media channels to answer questions. If you have FAQs, do a Q&A series and then turn those Q&A updates into a blog post or other article. Answering questions builds credibility and connects with the customer.
5. Add visuals: Adding videos, photos, or graphics makes your status update more attractive; plus, it boosts your potential to have it shared across multiple channels (as research has shown). Enrich a post with a photo or a video you’ve created; you’ll be surprised by the levels of engagement you’ll see.
6. Post a teaser: Link to content or a landing page where readers can get more in-depth information. Offer calls to action when you make your updates.
7. Search for sources: Stuck on where to find a topic for your next tweet or status update? Check these standby sources for information and inspiration:
- Today’s headlines: Current events are a great way to generate conversation. Just approach with caution, and choose relevant topics that bolster your brand.
- Industry blogs or websites: Share industry buzz.
- Your competitors’ websites and media channels: If your competitors are writing, tweeting, or blogging about it, it’s valuable. Look at what they’re doing, and see how you can do it better.
- YouTube: Share or adapt industry-relevant videos as status updates.
- Flickr: Like YouTube, Flickr can also inspire a status update, simply by exploring a topic visually.
- Pinterest: Search for phrases relevant to your industry and see what content is out there. Can you create and share something similar or better?
- Slideshare.net: Look for slideshows for snippets of information that are easily shared through social media; they might inspire presentations of your own.
- Your swipe file: if you don’t have one, you need one. Here’s how to make one.
- Your latest newsletter: Look through your latest email marketing blasts; is there something there that could be shared through social media, too?
- Your blog: Check recent posts to see whether you can condense one or more into tweets, Facebook posts, or snippets to share on other networks.
8. Keep it short and sweet: Research shows that on Facebook, shorter posts garner more engagement and views. Make a short exclamation, and let it roll from there.
These are just some guidelines for keeping social media updates fresh. (There are many more, and we’d love to hear some of yours in the comments.) The key is to not do the same thing over and over again.