Creating meaningful social media content on an ongoing basis is a common challenge for SMBs, large corporations and agencies alike.
Barriers to creating great content that I’ve experienced, and that I’m sure many of you have as well, include:
Budgets for content production being miniscule or nonexistent.
Hierarchy diluting ideas and slowing the creation process.
Fear of underperformance or failure hindering creativity and experimentation.
Input from too many stakeholders muddying process, and dulling sharp thoughts.
And limited time… time always seems to be too short, doesn’t it?
The good thing about identifying barriers is that they’re – well – identified. And then you can determine how to address them head-on. So, let’s do just that.
Following are a few suggestions for how you can address these barriers, and heighten your opportunity for creating great social media content:
BARRIER 1: “We’ve got no budget to do anything really fantastic”
If budgets are a barrier to you creating great social media content, it may be an indication that your idea isn’t strong enough. There are an almost infinite number of ways to create compelling content without breaking the bank, so if budgets are a challenge to you, it may be time to invest a little more time in conceiving content ideas.
Real value can be created in numerous ways, so if you’re hanging your hat on high production value for every piece of content, it’s time to get creative.
BARRIER 2: “By the time our ideas are approved, they’re barely recognizable”
If you’re like me, you’ve seen many amazing content ideas die a slow painful death as they move through organizational hierarchy. Someone doesn’t like this. Another person things something should be added, and another thinks something should be removed. Someone else is worried about this scenario or that. Before you know it, you’re publishing .jpgs of your company’s latest print ads on Pinterest.
As well as you know your social media audience, you also need to know your organizational audience. If you have a deep understanding of the things that make the powers that be in your organization nervous, you’ll be better equipped to preempt their input, required revisions, concerns, additions, deletions, or any other curveball they throw at you. In short, if you understand the sandbox you’re playing in, you’ll be able to produce better content as a result.
BARRIER 3: “We’re not certain that this is going to work”
Feeling a little uncomfortable about the content you’re creating is probably a good sign that you’re onto something. If you’re continually producing content that’s tried and true, it’s not likely to be dramatically distinct from the content your competitors are creating.
Sure, sometimes taking a calculated risk doesn’t pay off. But so long as you use your head, the worst-case scenario will probably be that you’ll learn a great deal from your failure that can be applied to making better content in the future. In the long-run, this isn’t so bad.
BARRIER 4: “Everyone has interesting ideas, but we really need to focus”
Having a number of people pitching in with content ideas can be great for obvious reasons, but sometimes the volume of ideas can be overwhelming and indecision can bog you down.
Keeping your content creation team small and nimble can help you to avoid this, but what is most important is having clearly defined roles for each member of the team, including someone that is appointed head decision-maker. This person should be able to keep the team on track, make tough calls, and be responsible for keeping your content creation machine moving forward.
BARRIER 5: “We don’t have enough time to be creating awesome content”
Particularly as it pertains to SMBs that don’t have the luxury of having a dedicated team of content creators, limited time can be a major barrier to content creation.
While I don’t have a solution to magically make more time (I’d be pretty rich if I did), I do have a few suggestions for how you can integrate content creation into your workflow so that it becomes part of your daily routine. Dedicate yourself to scheduling increments of time in your calendar to work on content and commit yourself to not moving that time. Keep an ongoing record of content ideas so that no mater when ideas strike, you’ve got them captured and you’re ready to craft those thoughts at a later time. And finally, find inspiration for content ideas from the individuals and departments that surround you. Keep your ear to the ground and identify where the interesting things are happening within your organization and convert those things into compelling content.
What barriers do you have to creating compelling social media content?
If you don’t have any of these roadblocks to creating great content, what’s your secret?
It would be great to chat with you more about this in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
As they frequently do, Facebook has relatively recently made some changes to their platform that have changed how you go about activating targeting options for Timeline posts.
Roughly one year ago, I had written a post to provide step-by-step instructions on how to adjust your Facebook Page privacy settings to give you access to this powerful feature set, but the instructions have since been rendered obsolete.
If you’d like an explanation as to why you might want to target your Facebook Timeline content, I recommend reading my previous post, and for now, I’ll just cut to the chase on how to gain access to these options.
STEP 1: In the Admin Panel, click on the ‘Edit Page’ drop-down menu
STEP 2: Click ‘Edit Settings’
STEP 3: Ensure you’re on the ‘Settings’ tab
STEP 4: Look for ‘Post Targeting and Privacy’ and click ‘Edit’
STEP 5: Click the ‘Turn on privacy and News Feed targeting so I can control the privacy of new Page posts’ check box
STEP 6: Click ‘Save Changes’
That’s all there is to it. Follow these few steps and you’ll be given Facebook’s targeting options for all of your future Timeline posts.
How do you use Facebook’s targeting options for your business’ Timeline content?
If you have any questions to do with social media or content marketing, how to use Facebook and/or other social media platforms, or anything related, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment, or contact me directly.
Facebook recently made an interesting change to the Page content they are going to show in users’ News Feeds.
Straight from Facebook,
“Now, When a Page tags another Page, we may show the post to some of the people who like or follow the tagged Page”.
While this seems like it’s ripe for abuse, Facebook is going to be taking several factors into account to avoid spamming users’ News Feeds with irrelevant content, just because a Page has tagged every other Page under the sun.
Facebook is going to be considering the commonality of interest between Pages, as well as engagement with individual pieces of content to determine if it may be of interest to those who have not ‘liked’ the Page the content is coming from.
For instance, if a significant number of people that ‘like’ your Page also ‘like’ my Page, Facebook is reading this as indication that our Pages are connected in a sense. So, if you produce a great piece of content that is being engaged with by people that ‘like’ both of our Pages, Facebook may serve your content in the News Feed of people that ‘like’ my Page, in addition to those that ‘like’ yours.
What isn’t clear is exactly how far reaching this will be, though I would imagine it will be tweaked and changed over time.
The one thing we do know for sure is that Facebook certainly won’t allow for our content to be so far reaching that it mitigates the value offered by their advertising products, so this shouldn’t be viewed as some impression- or fan acquisition-boosting loophole.
So, how should you act on this? Here are a few considerations:
Test @Tagging Related Pages
There’s no point in tagging every Page you can think of in hopes of broadening the reach of your Facebook content. But, go ahead and test this new update out by tagging Pages that are, or that you hypothesize to be, relevant to your business’ Page. The only way to know how tagging Pages will affect the reach of your content is to try it out, so go for it.
Monitor and Measure Results
Keep an eye on how the content performs that you’ve tagged to determine if this is something that is going to make a positive impact on the results of your social media marketing efforts. If you see upticks in impressions, engagement, fan acquisition, or other related metrics, then keep tagging away (smartly, of course)
Tag Pages Because it Makes Sense, Not for the Sake of Tagging
Don’t think that you should be tagging a Page in every post just because Facebook may serve your content to a new audience. Only tag other Pages when it makes sense in the context of the content you are publishing. If you’re tagging willy-nilly, not only is it unlikely that Facebook will serve your content to a new audience, but your existing audience will see through your thinly veiled marketing efforts and will potentially be turned off by the irrelevance of your poorly chosen tags.
Be Prepared for this Update to be Updated
Be ready for this feature to change. My spidey sense is telling me that this is going to be updated, adjusted, pulled, reintroduced, and run through the spin cycle a few times before we really get a handle on what this will mean for our day-to-day Page management and Facebook content creation. Keep an ear to the ground for any changes and how it may affect how you’re testing this, whether you should put a halt to tagging all-together, or whether you should ramp up your efforts.
How do you plan to take advantage of Facebook’s new content distribution feature?
Are you going to begin creating content specifically to be tagged?
How significantly, or insignificantly, do you think this is going to affect the reach of your content?
It’d be great to chat with you about this and hear your thoughts in the comments, or on Facebook at facebook.com/RGBSocial
We all know that mobile social is kind of a big deal.
On average, consumers are spending 37 minutes daily on social media, which is a greater amount of time spent doing any other activity on the Internet – email and porn included.
Of those 37 minutes, 60 percent of that time – or 22.2 minutes – is spent on mobile social media.
There, probably enough said.
It’s clear that engaging your business’ audience on mobile social media is becoming increasingly critical.
The trouble I find many businesses have isn’t about realizing that mobile is an important platform on which to have a solid presence, however, it’s how to establish that presence, and where.
Facebook is a mobile juggernaut
On desktop computers, determining where to socially engage an audience is pretty clear for most businesses. With over 1.2 billion active users, and significantly more time spent per user on the site than any other social media network, Facebook is an obvious social media starting point, and for many businesses, serves as a hub of social activity.
On mobile, as it pertains to users and usage, Facebook is actually a great place to be as well.
In fact, it was revealed in Facebook’s Q4 2013 Earnings Report that the platform had 874 million mobile monthly active users. What that means is that of Facebook’s 1.2 billion active users, 72 percent of them were also active on mobile, or were mobile-exclusive users. Which is huge.
But there are other players you need to pay attention to on mobile
Unlike on desktop computers, where Facebook is the far and away the attention and time consuming champion, the mobile social media landscape is much more fragmented and competitive.
While Facebook on mobile is still commands the most of time spent on site per user out of all mobile social networks, there are a few key players that demand significant attention as well.
When you combine monthly time spent on Instagram (3 minutes, 40 seconds), Twitter (3 minutes, 7 seconds) and Pinterest (1 minute, 39 seconds) – all heavy hitters in the mobile social arena – it actually amounts to more time than is spent on Facebook (7 minutes, 43 seconds) (source: Nielsen Digital Consumer Report)
And all of this makes sense. Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest offer streamlined and focused experiences that are well suited to mobile engagement and are aligned with mobile user expectations, whereas Facebook has shoehorned its platform into a messy and notoriously sluggish mobile experience.
This isn’t to say that all of these platforms might be right for your business and target audience, but it clearly demonstrates that there are networks worth paying attention to beyond just Facebook, despite their efforts to provide stronger mobile experiences with the introduction of standalone apps such as Paper.
So, what should you do with this information?
For starters, I recommend thinking more openly about which social media platforms you choose to engage your targeted audience on. Mobile social’s fragmentation means there is no obvious choice of social network to serve as the hub of your mobile social activity.
Figure out which platforms your audience using and for what purpose, determine the value that you can provide through engaging them on those platforms, and what benefit that will yield for your business. If you fail to do this – simply put – you’re missing a tremendous opportunity.
Also, on Facebook, it’s increasingly important to consider mobile when developing your social media and content strategies. Determine which types of content resonate most strongly with your audience on Facebook’s mobile apps, and think about mobile technological limitations and opportunities when prompting them for interaction.
Taking a photo and sharing on mobile is a relatively simple ask because mobile devices have the tech built-in to easily facilitate that interaction.
Asking for essay-length comments or responses to your content, however, is a terrible idea because typing anything of any length on a virtual keyboard is a sub-par experience.
How have you adapted your social media and/or content strategies for mobile?
Are there any social media platforms that you use to engage a mobile-specific audience?
It would be great to chat with you about this more in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
With over 22 million subscribers – only bested by YouTube category channels for ‘music’ and ‘popular on YouTube – Worldwide’ – there’s no arguing that this is what ultimate YouTube success looks like.
After viewing some of PewDiePie’s content, however, you might be left wondering how this 24-year-old Swede could possibly be so successful.
He employs a simple and repetitive format – video game footage with commentary.
His production quality is okay, but feels very homemade.
Commentary is frequently disjointed and juvenile.
And – as respectfully as possible – there just doesn’t seem to be much to point to when trying to figure out why exactly it is that this channel has 22 million subscribers.
BUT… it’s clear that whatever it is that PewDiePie is doing is seriously working, and when you try to dissect what he’s doing, there are some smarts and strategy mixed in with all of the ridiculousness of this channel.
Some of these things can serve as great lessons or reminders to social media and content marketers. Here’s a quick breakdown:
Prolific creation of valuable content
At the time of writing this post, PewDiePie had published 1,655 videos, and after spending a bit of time perusing his channel, it appears as though he publishes virtually every day, and sometimes several times per day.
There’s certainly no shortage of content.
This is an area that many businesses, brands and agencies have a very difficult time keeping up with. There are very few examples of branded channels that are pumping out great video content every day, let alone every week or every month, for any length of time.
If you are going to build a significant audience of loyal viewers that subscribe to be notified of new content, you need to be creating new quality content regularly enough, and consistently enough, to satiate the viewing needs of your targeted audience.
Build an army of loyalists
PewDiePie has built an army of loyal viewers, commenters, and general supporters. He nurtures this behaviour by listening to his audience, addressing them in his videos, taking their recommendations into consideration, regularly thanking them for their loyalty, giving them opportunity to interact and engage more deeply through his store and other social media accounts, and much more.
It’s critical to be in tune with your audience. Just like any social media network, YouTube shouldn’t be viewed solely as a broadcast platform. You should know who your audience is, listen to them, provide tremendous value, and find ways to interact and engage with them.
Create and sustain a meaningful dialogue
I know that I’ve already touched on this, but PewDiePie regularly references comments that his audience has left, and notes them as having influenced the content of his videos. If they give him a tip or trick to try, he’ll try it. If they ask him to do more or less of something in particular, he’ll do it. He even has a series of videos dedicated to doing exactly what his audience asks; no matter how ridiculous, including taping salad to his face (yes, he did that).
Creating a dialogue with your audience is key; this is social media after all. If you don’t dedicate time listening to your audience, you can’t expect them to dedicate time listening to you. And if you don’t work to build relationships with the people watching your videos, and take their input into account, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to develop a legion of loyal followers.
You know there’s a horseshoe involved somewhere here
Let’s face it, PewDiePie has been incredibly lucky. Sure, he’s done things to create some luck for himself, but to date, this level of success is unprecedented and that requires a few horseshoes.
The main point here is to not despair if your efforts don’t result in attracting millions of subscribers in your first months of dedicating time and resources to building a YouTube channel.
Success needs to be relative, and you should measure yours following the thoughtful creation of achievable goals, objectives and KPIs. If you’re working your butt off and trending positively, then you’re probably in good shape. Also, for businesses on social media, success shouldn’t necessarily be measured by how many people you’re able to engage; it should be more about engaging the right people.
When it comes to engaging on YouTube, many businesses and brands seem to overlook the practices that have yielded great results on other social media platforms.
PewDiePie reminds us that similar to Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or any other social media platform on which your business is active, it’s important to be dedicated to creating quality content on an ongoing basis, nurture sustained loyalty, and find opportunities to listen and interact with your audience.
How have you found success for your business on YouTube?
Which brands do you think are doing a great job engaging an audience on YouTube?
What specifically do you think has led to PewDiePie’s great YouTube success?
As always, it would be great to chat with you more about this in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
Guest posting can provide many benefits for you, your business and brand. It can earn you increased exposure amongst a targeted audience, maximize impressions of your content, broaden your digital and social media footprint, attract new members to your audience, and more.
If you’re privileged enough to have one of your blog posts published as a guest contribution on another blog, however, you shouldn’t consider that to be mission accomplished.
There are actions you can take to support your content, amplify its success, enhance your returns from having made a meaningful contribution, and maybe even increase your chances of having subsequent guest contributions published.
Monitor for comments
Just because you’ve had a guest post accepted and published, that doesn’t mean you should immediately move on. Take time to monitor your post and reply to comments that its readership may leave. After all, you’re the subject matter expert of the post, making you the most qualified to reply. Also, it’s a great opportunity to interact with your new audience.
Track social media for interaction
Similar to monitoring your guest post for comments, keep an eye on any traction it may gain on social media. While some people may simply share your post on their favourite social media platforms (hopefully many!), others may ask questions, provide input or commentary, or post something thought provoking that you may want to respond to. This will help to increase the value that you, and your audience receive from your post.
Promote the post amongst your social graph
While traffic to a blog may not be the be all and end all goal for every blog, I can’t think of any circumstance where additional traffic isn’t welcome. When your guest post is published, promote it amongst your audience. Not only will your content receive additional views but also the blog you guest posted on will experience a nice little bump in traffic, which is win-win for both of you.
What is your post guest-post publication action plan?
How do you maximize the success of your guest contributions?
It would be awesome to chat with you more about this in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
Remember the early days of YouTube and the first viral videos you saw on the platform? Do you remember how amazing you thought that was? That anyone could create a video, upload it to YouTube, and have it be viewed millions of times?
Do you remember thinking things like that?
I’m sure you do.
You know what I did after being amazed at the power of YouTube and viral videos? I recommended to a Client that we upload a video, so it too could achieve stratospheric levels of success online.
But that didn’t happen.
Sure, we uploaded what we thought was going to be a great video on YouTube, but man did it tank. I don’t remember how many views it received, but it sure didn’t classify as ‘viral’. I don’t even think you could classify it as being a blip, or hiccup.
It tanked because creating a viral video (I dislike many use cases of that term by the way… people don’t create viral videos, they create videos that go viral – I digress) isn’t that simple. For most of us, and the businesses and brands that we work for or with, creating content that goes viral requires an amazing idea, top-tier execution, serious investment, an awesome content promotion and distribution plan, remarkable luck, or some combination of the aforementioned factors.
I’m recounting the early days of being amazed by viral videos because I feel that in a sense history is repeating itself, this time with real-time marketing.
Last year, Oreo crafted an amazing tweet in real-time in response to a high-profile happening at a high-profile sporting event. You know the one I’m talking about.
It caught us all off guard. Real-time marketing wasn’t new, but we didn’t have such an amazing singular example of what real-time marketing was capable of, and the attention it could garner.
That tweet went on to earn major attention for the brand, win huge awards for the agency responsible, and inspired numerous agencies to try to replicate some of that success for their Clients this year.
But this year there was no ‘Oreo – You can still dunk in the dark’ tweet.
Oreo nailed it last year, and while it wasn’t hard to decipher the formula for why it was such an amazing success, many businesses, brands and agencies ignored that it represented a magical moment when all of the right pieces fell into place.
This isn’t to take anything away from the tweet, or the smarts, strategy and planning that made it possible, but you just can’t replicate that kind of magic, which is probably why Oreo and their agency 360i kept quiet this year. They were smart enough to understand the amazing circumstances surrounding their own success.
But all of this isn’t to say that the pinnacle of real-time marketing was reached last year, or that it’s a waste of time to pursue marketing efforts in real-time; quite the contrary.
Real-time marketing is here, and it has been here, to stay. There is huge opportunity for businesses and brands to interact with their audiences in real-time.
Businesses and brands, however, shouldn’t one day per year get a ‘real-time war room’ together and hope for some serendipitous opportunity to present itself, or worse, shoehorn their message into a less than memorable moment.
What we need to be doing is build strategies that are inclusive of real-time tactics. Long-term approaches and processes are needed to allow businesses and brands to seize opportunities when they arise, find ways to provide value in real-time, and generally be more organized on an ongoing basis for real-time marketing activity.
Similar to how I’m sure many of us published our first video to YouTube thinking it was going to be the next viral sensation, and later realized that there is much more to it than that, we need to take a step back and think smarter about real-time marketing on social media, and stop stepping up to the plate once per year for one big swing.
Do you have real-time marketing built into your social media strategy?
How do you provide value to your audience in real-time?
What do you think the future of real-time marketing has in store?
It would be great to chat with you more about this in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial