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
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
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
There are a huge number of articles about when to publish social media content to maximize impressions and engagement.
As the volume of content being created and published continues to explode, finding every opportunity to place your content in front of as large a proportion of your audience as possible is of utmost importance to maximize results.
You shouldn’t simply follow best practices.
Taking a moment to conduct a Google search for phrases to do with optimal publication times reveals nothing short of a gaggle of opinions on the subject. However, few take into account considerations that managers of individual social media communities should weigh into their decision-making of when to publish their content.
Most ‘best practices’ pertaining to optimal publication times are derived from studies of huge volumes of published content, and what times of publication yield the highest number of impressions or interactions. What these studies do not do, is consider your target audience’s social media habits, the volume of content being published by others during key times, or other contextual relevance that may be important for your business’ content to yield optimal results.
What you should do in lieu of following best practices.
To determine when the best times are to publish content for your targeted audience, begin by making some hypotheses about when you think your audience will be on a given social media platform, and when they will be inclined to engage with that content. For instance, if you are targeting a professional audience, publishing content during regular business hours is probably ill advised as these people are probably preoccupied with their workday, and may be less inclined to spend time with your business’ content.
Test to determine what works best for your audience.
After you’ve made some hypotheses about when might be the best times to publish content, you’ll want to test those thoughts by publishing content during different times of day and tracking what yields the best results.
Commit yourself to testing different times of day, and different days of the week, and even times that contradict your initial hypotheses (these are just a starting point after all). In order to identify trends and determine the best times and days to publish, track impressions and interactions with your content noting when it was published. In order to make this even more effective, try comparing the publication of similar types of content at different times, and use trends observed for that content type as your gauge.
Create your own data set, and observe trends.
Over time, you will have created a nice little data set for yourself and will easily be able to plot days of week, times of day, interactions, and impressions to get to the bottom of when the optimal time is to publish content for your targeted audience.
If this practice yields inconclusive results, identify the low-performing times of day for content publication, eliminate them from further consideration, and focus future efforts on the higher-performing times of day. Then, continue testing using these times, plot results, and determine what the best-of-the-best times are.
And there you have it. By spending a bit of time to hypothesize, test and optimize, you’ll effectively be creating your own publication best practices for your business.
If you have any interest to read more about social media best practices, and more specifically why you should defy them, please check out my recent article Rethinking the Value of Social Media Best Practices.
How have you determined the best time of day for your business to publish content on social media?
What are some other ways that you maximize impressions and interactions on your content?
As always, it would be great to hear from you in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
Hi all. I hope you’re either in the midst of, or are able to soon, spend a bit of time away from work and enjoy the company of your family and friends for the holidays.
With the year winding down, it’s nice to reflect back on some highlights, lowlights, and what was what in the year that is now largely behind us.
Google’s YouTube Rewind video and compellations of top trending videos serve as a great way to remember, and in some cases discover, what people have been paying attention to over the last 300-some-odd days, and to gain some perspective of where video content may be headed in 2014.
YOUTUBE REWIND: WHAT DOES 2013 SAY?
TOP TRENDING VIDEOS OF 2013
TOP TRENDING MUSIC VIDEOS OF 2013
One thing that immediately stands out to me is how incredibly successful music videos were in 2013, the top 25 of which have amassed over 5 BILLION views.
What were your favourite high-trending videos of 2013?
What do you think of the branded videos that are included in the top trending list?
Let me know what you think in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial