As marketers, we have long heard the saying “delivering the right message to the right person at the right time” when speaking of traditional marketing. This rings true to social media marketing as well. Consider the various platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, and Pinterest to name a few. Each has a specific demographic and can be optimized accordingly. What is often overlooked is the importance of relevant and timely content for these platforms.
Here are 4 things you will NEVER hear any successful social media marketer say when talking about content:
“I am not interested in trending topics or what my audience is talking about”.
Are you listening to what your audience is talking about? What are your followers, fans, and others in the blogosphere having conversations about? Social listening is much more than just responding directly to conversations on your Facebook page, Twitter Stream or blog. It’s about spending time on a regular basis researching topics that are of interest to your audience and producing or curating content related to these topics.
Several tools exist for marketers to better listen to the conversations about not only their brand, but other trending topics. In my Social Media MBA courses, I suggest (or highlight) free tools for the students to experiment with. I outlined a few of these tools in my blog post Social Media Inspired by Big Gas Savings.
Some worth mentioning again are:
1. Twitter’s hashtag ( # ). This is by far my absolute favorite tool. It can be used to find content and conversations around specific topics. My favorites are #smm #socialbiz #socialmedia #marketing #branding and of course my hashtag I use for my classes #snhusmm
2. Klout: Assists in finding influencers in your audience.
3. HootSuite: Allows teams to collaborate across multiple social networks from one dashboard. It is a web-based dashboard that includes the ability to create custom reports. Upgrades are available for a small fee. Hootsuite can also be used to help identify what’s trending among your audience members
4. Google Alerts: Sends email updates based on your preferences
5. Pinterest Web Analytics: Allows you to see how people are interacting with pins that come from your websites.
6. Pinpuff: Very much like Klout, but targeted at Pinterest.
7. Social Mention: Offers real-time social media search and analysis that curates user-generated content from Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Digg, Google, etc. into a single stream.
8. Industry specific publications. I am an avid reader of The Journal of Marketing, Fast Company and Ad Age. Popular articles (or studies) in publications such as these can be extremely good indicators of timely topics.
“I do not have a stockpile of content. Why would I do that?
Starting with an editorial plan is great. But, after time you will need to progress to an editorial stockpile. My grad students are working on a class blog this term and have just created their editorial calendar for the term. This is a great way for us to plan their one or two blog posts they will each contribute. However, in a real world scenario, we would need a lot more content! This means, it would be necessary for some content to be created and/or curated long before the need to publish it. I suggest a collection of a wide array of topics relevant to your audience in your arsenal that could be used in a pinch. Of course, be sure they are timely! Also be sure you have done your research (as outlined earlier in the post). Content should resonate with your followers/fans. This is a basic skill but worth repeating. The more the viewer can identify with what you post, the more likely they will be to share or reply (engagement).
“I never time my content, I just post it whenever”.
One of the first steps in delivering timely content is monitoring, and then seeing what topics fit the content you already have ready to go. Using some of the tools above, you will be better able to see what your audience is talking about and when. Content is more effective when your audience is most receptive to it.
After looking at previous research and reading the commentary of many of the thought leaders in the social content space, here are a few suggestions I provide my students:
1. Blog: Publish your blogs in the morning.
2. Facebook: Post to Facebook when there are the most shares (between 8:30 and 10:00 am).
3. Twitter: Twitter appears to have more activity later in the day, so why not time your content appropriately (BufferApp and Hootsuite again are great ways to do this).
“I have no more ideas, so I am not going to post anything until I do.”
Often, you will no have content already created or curated to share. You may need to take some time to create it. Ideas are everywhere! Consider reading/re-reading comments to your blogs and seeing if there is a topic that needs further attention or elaboration, ask your audience what they would like to see more of, see what your competition is presenting, provide something educational, or even take an older piece of content and re-purpose it.
Not only do you need to be relevant and timely, but content should be compelling. There is a lot of “clutter” online and having content that is compelling (or actionable) is paramount to differentiating yourself from the competition. Content your audience finds valuable will be viewed and shared; you will want to be sure to be the source of that content. When content is “done right” you can create content that people want to share with their online communities.
Do you have an awesome approach to delivering relevant and timely content to your audience? Please share!
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