How to Find Content for Social Media

A graphic wheel showing an annual report and the types of content you can extract from it. Finding content is a struggle for many of my clients. Even with a well-developed brand and strong marketing campaigns, many organizations have a tough time filling the spaces of their social media networks with content. Content is right under our noses if we know how to look for it.

“I just don’t know what to say,” is a phrase I hear repeatedly. That’s a sign that you’re overthinking the concept of content. It’s not like writing a brochure or a press release, although both are great sources of content for social networks. If it’s important enough to include in your organization’s brochure, you can bet some — or all of it — should find its way into your digital profiles too.

If the brochure provides the big picture, or the macro view of your company, then content is the micro view, or the small, up-close nuggets that bring the big picture to life.

There’s nothing more traditional and all-encompassing than the annual report. A good annual report gives a complete picture of a year in the life of an organization. It might be mailed, or shared online or both. It’s the macro view. And it’s the perfect place to start mining for those content nuggets for social media, or the micro view.

Here’s a brief example using elements from the annual report from ChildSafe, a Child Advocacy nonprofit in San Antonio, Texas. What could you pull from this annual report? Here’s a list:

  •  Statistics about children assisted by the organization
  • Information about this community issue
  • Event photos
  • Volunteer recognition
  • Call for new volunteers
  • Donor recognition
  • Call for new donors
  • Ways for donors to give
  • Highlight programs funded by donors
  • Information about education and training
  • Efforts of community partners
  • Key staff and their roles
  • Board Members and their roles
  • Fundraising opportunities

 

Content is right under our noses if we know how to look for it. Just like the expression “can’t see the forest for the trees.” Lots of individual trees make up the forest, just like lots of pieces of content make up the story of an organization.

Resolve NOT to Set and Forget Your Social Media Channels This Year

Do you see a lot of relatively inactive pages and channels in social media?  So many companies start with great enthusiasm, but before too long, they’ve abandoned their Facebook page or forgot their Twitter login or the person who set up the Instagram account has left and no one knows how to open it.  A client once told me: “I just want to build it and then let it run by itself.”

The challenge is that these channels are organic and they change rapidly. To really use social media to engage customers, volunteers, fans or other key stakeholders, you have to be there – preferably with enthusiasm and a plan.Avbandoned on Facebook

Batch Scheduling

Chances are you have other marketing programs in development, some months or even a year in advance.  Consider grouping your content related to those programs in batches to minimize your time commitment.  This works for thinks like changes in hours of operation, events and activities that happen regularly around the holidays and cyclical events like your Spring Clearance or an Easter sale.

Be a Dart Monitor

Set an alarm on your phone or a meeting notice on your desktop or revise the notifications on the channels where you have the most traffic and “dart” in to monitor, respond to comments and resolve issues.  This only works for small pages who are NOT doing their entire customer service outreach on social media channels.  By doing this 2-3 times per day, monitoring becomes part of your daily practice.

Take the Analytics Tonic

There are a LOT of analytics that come with social channels.  Set aside one hour each month to review the analytics, click through all the options and within 2-3 months, you will start to see trends and patterns emerge.  It might even set you on the road to measuring the progress of your social channels.

Find a New Flame

Is it time to add another voice or different thinking into your channel?  This is a sure way to breathe life into a stale FB page or static Pinterest account.

By creating content in batches, monitoring by “darting” into your channels, you won’t have to worry about “setting and forgetting” your social channels again.  If you also take time with analytics and new voices, you might even see your channels grow.

What tools can you share for keeping your social media efforts fresh?