I can’t believe it, but it’s already December, and the holidays are bearing down on us.
While you’re undoubtedly busy planning your personal social schedule with family and friends, now is also a perfect time to be planning your social media activity for the coming weeks. Planning can be critical to ensure you’ve got your ducks in a row for when you inevitably take a bit of time off to enjoy the season, and to sustain activity and engagement with your audience during this time.
In the interest of avoiding over-used clichés and long-winded rambling, let’s get into it:
Plan your content calendars
This is an obvious one, but certainly worth noting. Be sure that you not only have your December content calendar ready to publish (which you should already have), but that you have your January calendar ready to go as well. If you work with a team on content creation, or require any approvals from management, clients, legal, or anyone else, they aren’t likely to be around during the latter part of the month to accommodate your requests. Therefore, be sure to have your January calendar prepped and ready for approvals well in advance of people taking off for the holiday.
Spend a few extra minutes thinking about your holiday-specific content
If Christmas, Boxing Day, or New Years Eve have any relevance to your business, brand or audience, which they likely do, then it might be worthwhile spending a bit of extra time thinking of how to create special content for those days. Sure, you can keep things simple and wish everyone a safe and happy holiday, but you could also embrace these days as a creative opportunity with your content.
Have a monitoring schedule in place
It would be easy to forget about your social media communities during the holidays, but the reality is that you should really try to keep an eye on any activity that might be going on during this busy time of year. Keep it simple by setting a schedule for yourself to login, quickly monitor and moderate, and then get back to enjoying some time off.
Reflect on the year that is largely behind us
There is a tremendous amount to be learned by reviewing past performance, amazing successes, and dramatic failures. Take some time before the craziness of the holidays to reflect on how things have gone for you and your business in 2013 on social media. You might be able to identify helpful trends, reinforce activity to avoid or not replicate, think about new ideas that haven’t been explored, or more. Without a doubt, dedicating some time to reflect will be revealing, and of great benefit.
Set goals for the coming year
New Years Day represents a fresh beginning, and opportune time to enact resolutions and find ways to build upon successes of years past, and the same holds true for businesses, many of which have a fiscal year that mirrors the calendar year. While having a personal resolution to lay off fried food, or visit the gym more frequently are easy to identify and put into action, business resolutions – or goals to be more direct about it – should be more thoughtful and strategic, and thus, require more time to think about. So, if you haven’t been thinking about your social media and content marketing goals for 2014, now is a perfect time to start.
Take some time for yourself
Taking time away from social media can be reinvigorating, energizing, and save you from being made fun of by your family and friends for your unhealthy obsession with checking Twitter and Pinterest. Remember to take some time for yourself and to not stress about the craziness of social media and content marketing; you deserve it. It’s the holidays, and you really should be spending some quality time with the people who matter most to you.
What are your tips and tricks for prepping for the holidays?
If you have anything to add it would be great to hear from you in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
Did you happen to notice anything strange last week?
If you did, it was probably a result of the immense number of mentions of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford on social and traditional media, and not that I took the week off of social media.
Believe it or not, while I took the week off of social media, the world kept spinning, my business survived, my face didn’t melt off, and no other catastrophes occurred as a direct result (as far as I know anyway).
Of course I’m joking about the dramatic overestimation of my importance to the world of social media, but I did gain some perspective I’d like to share while taking this bit of time off recently.
It’s perspective that is relatively simple to understand, but I’ll tell you that having lived it has given me a new appreciation for the validity of the following points:
Before anything, take care of your business.
Sometimes there are more important things to do than sweat every detail of your efforts on social media, particularly as a small business owner. If your business requires your full attention, it would be foolish to let critical business requirements slide in favour of managing your social media presence. If your business is comprised of a small team, be sure to have your priorities in check and take care of what’s best for your business first and foremost.
Taking a break can be reenergizing.
It’s obvious and cliché, but it’s true. Taking a break from anything, even if it’s something important and that you’re passionate about can be incredibly reenergizing. Because social media marketing is demanding of your time and attention on a daily basis, taking a few days off can really help to refresh your motivation for building relationships with your targeted audience, providing huge value, and generally killing it on social media.
Stepping back can give you fresh perspective.
There are times when the best way to progress something, is to step away from it. Being removed can give you fresh perspective, and let you think about things in new ways without needing to take care of the day-to-day. I’m convinced the same holds true for social media. Not being so involved in the daily requirements of managing your social media properties can better facilitate those magical moments when ideas and fresh thinking comes to you almost subconsciously.
If your efforts are consistent, the odd hiccup isn’t going to disrupt anything.
And the reality is that nothing terrible is going to happen as a result of a few days away from social media. You’re not going to lose your entire audience, and you’re not going to jeopardize the relationships you’ve built. Your business will be fine, and maybe it will even be better as a result.
What were the negatives of taking a week off?
After returning to my business’s social media efforts, and my personal social media networks after a week away, things were pretty well where I left them. Sure, I lost a few followers on Twitter, but I think that number was literally 3 or 4.
I published only one blog post last week instead of the two that I typically do, which wasn’t technically a cheat because it was pre-scheduled to post from weeks prior. This resulted in my page views being down about 10 percent for the week, which is within my blog’s typical range of fluctuation, so nothing really dramatic.
These were the most dramatic changes that I noticed as a direct result of this experiment, so certainly no irreparable damage done.
So there you go. If you have pressing needs to take care of that keep you from managing your social media and content marketing efforts as strictly as you’d ideally like, don’t sweat it, particularly if you have a track record of consistency and you don’t make it a regular habit.
As a result of having done this myself, I might actually suggest taking a break every now and again to recharge and reinvigorate your efforts upon your return. And an alternative to letting things stagnate is of course to have someone capable stand in for you while you take a bit of time away.
When is the last time you deviated from your regular routine on social media?
If you’ve ever done this, what happened as a result?
Do you have a plan in place to facilitate taking time off of social media?
It would be great to hear from you in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
If you’re like me, you spend a solid amount of time reading.
Educating yourself about your business. Industry trends. New thinking. Old thinking. Learning about what the competition is up to. Listening to your consumers. And much, much more.
I’d be willing to bet that you’re not the only one in your organization doing this either.
Now imagine if you could have access to all of the best information, articles, whitepapers, reports, and resources that your coworkers are paying attention to.
Also imagine if they had access to everything you were checking out online.
You would all be better for it, right?
You’d all have access to the most interesting, thought-provoking thinking available, and be smarter and more knowledgeable as a result.
This might even save you a bit of time. Having a collective contributing to the curation of the best, most relevant content means that each individual isn’t left to their own devices (and lunch breaks) to do it themselves.
Let’s get into it. Here’s how you can use Twitter to enhance your organization’s collective intelligence.
Getting set up
First, you’re going to need a Twitter account (obviously).
Set up an account as you typically would, but I recommend adjusting your privacy settings to protect your tweets so that your competition won’t be able to benefit from your organization’s internal feed.
Organize curation, contribution and support
Volunteer to be the lead curator, responsible for collecting content and publishing it for everyone’s benefit.
Promote that you are doing this to your organization so they know how to experience the benefits and get involved by contributing their best finds.
Gain the support of senior leadership to really give this initiative a shot in the arm. Having the support of your leadership team will help this plan to really take off, and to gain the attention it deserves from the rest of your organization.
Establish a hashtag
Choose a relatively obscure, or very specific hashtag and have all participants use it so that you can easily find the content they think is relevant to the rest of your organization.
You don’t want to choose anything that is likely to be used by other Twitter users because it will taint your search results. You’ll be happy if your search results only yield your coworkers’ content and you don’t need to syphon through other conversations happening on Twitter to find what your coworkers tweets.
Search and retweet
Set up a search stream in HootSuite for your hashtag and retweet everything your coworkers are tweeting using that hashtag.
Soak up the goodness
And that’s it… contribute when you come across something valuable, and enjoy the flow of interesting content from your coworkers.
BONUS – Newsletters
If you have any interest in really going above and beyond with your Twitter content curation project, consider creating and distributing simple monthly newsletters featuring links to what you deem to be the most interesting pieces of content for anyone that may have missed it in their feed. I’m sure there will be more than just a few individuals that find this to be helpful if you’re up to it.
How do you share information internally in your organization?
Is that information collected anywhere for future reference?
As always, it would be great to hear from you in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
For some organizations, continually generating killer ideas for content creation can be a challenge.
I think it’s probably safe to say that at some point or another we’ve all run into the issue of having a difficult time thinking of great ideas for future content.
Have you ever encountered this block?
Fortunately, if you know where to look and who to talk to, there is a great deal of inspiration to be found for content creation, and it’s probably sitting right in front of you.
Here are 5 places to find inspiration for content ideas to keep things fresh and valuable for your targeted audience:
Have a chat with customer service to see if you can find some inspiration from them. Ask if there are any particular questions that are frequently asked, or common concerns that your customers have. If there are, you’re in luck. Create content to answer these questions or concerns, and as a side benefit, you might even save your customer service team some future calls.
By the nature of their job, your sales team likely spends a significant amount of time speaking with current and prospective customers. Perhaps there is interesting insight or stories that you can glean from them that will inspire your content. Alternatively, think about opportunities to capitalize on their frequent interfacing with customers to learn more about how they use your product, their favourite features, or pain points. All of these things can be crafted into meaningful content.
You’re probably already tightly connected to your marketing team, but do your best to stay as connected as possible. Find opportunities for content creation through the integration of social media and content in your marketing team’s broader communication platforms and the various initiatives that they pursue.
In most organizations, senior leadership serves as the compass of your organization. They have a unique perspective on your business, where it is going, and many other facets that a typical employee won’t have visibility to. Also, they frequently serve as the figureheads of your organization and carry some clout with admiring consumers. Sit them down for an interview, or ask them for some insight that will be of interest to your audience.
This one is simple; speak with your customers. And ask them about what content they’d like to see from your organization. The best part is that you can do this right on your various social media channels.
These are of course just a few ideas for where to find inspiration for original content, and depending on the structure of your organization, there are likely to be many more.
As a content creator, spend some time away from your desk talking to the people around you in search of content ideas and think about what will be meaningful to your audience. Even if these people don’t give you ideas directly, spend some time speaking with them anyway and try to extrapolate ideas from their daily experiences.
How do you tap your organization for content inspiration?
Where do you find the most ideas for original content?
Do you have any additional suggestions to share?
It would be great to hear your thoughts in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
Roughly two weeks ago – I know, I know… ancient news – Facebook added functionality allowing users to edit posts.
For many, this is a long overdue feature. It seems like pretty basic functionality to allow users to edit their posts following publication.
If you’ve made a typo, need to correct some of your information, or make any small adjustments, this will be an absolute life-saver, and particularly so if the post requiring editing has already attracted some social interaction.
It’s a simple tool to use:
Simply click on the drop-down in the top right of the post you’d like to edit.
And make your revisions.
Here’s the thing; you really shouldn’t be using this tool.
Before publishing any content, on any platform, it should be thoroughly proofread to ensure it is flawless and without need of future revision.
Publishing updates with typos, grammatical errors, false information, or anything imperfect is unprofessional and can have a real impact on the perception your current and prospective consumers have of your business or brand.
Imagine showing up to a business’ Facebook Page for the first time and seeing their latest post has a glaring typo or grammatical error.
You would instantly have a negative opinion of them.
If they can’t ensure something as simple as posting a Facebook update is done correctly, is the workmanship of their product going to be shoddy? Is their service going to be comprehensive and top-tier?
Further to this, if the competition is presenting itself flawlessly, it gives consumers just one more reason to choose them over you.
So, do your best to never use this new tool.
Take time and care to proof your content before publishing to ensure you’re always putting your business or brand’s best foot forward.
Have you ever come across a profile on social media that is littered with errors?
If so, what was the impression you were left with of that organization?
Have you ever decided against a purchase decision because an aspect of a business’ communications was unprofessional?
Let me know in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial. It would be great to hear from you.