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
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
Listen up agency friends!
I know there are some of you that find the ongoing creation of social media content to be a bit of a drag.
It takes a huge amount of time.
It is a constant and ongoing requirement.
It can seem fleeting and trivial.
It often doesn’t allow for the same level of crafting as other communication platforms.
But, there is huge creative opportunity here that you really should be excited for.
Conceptualizing and creating killer social media content couldn’t be more on-trend and be capturing more attention than it is right now. Businesses are buying into the power of social media marketing, and big name marketers and advertisers are receiving accolades and awards for the amazing quality of their content.
Creative convergence means everything is content
Creative that used to be well defined by its respective (media) channel is no longer so clearly delineated. Let’s face it, with the proliferation of digital, mobile, online, social media, and countless other technologies, there has been a massive creative convergence happening for some time. All advertising, marketing and communication is increasingly becoming content of one variety or another – text, audio, video, and visual – and being on the cutting edge of acknowledging this will lead to better, more focused creative work.
It can be easier to sell a crazy idea
Let’s face it, not many of us are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars producing a single piece of social media content. In fact, most of us are spending next to nothing (nothing being a relative term), save for our time. Because of this, our Clients are much more likely go along for a ride and test an exciting, maybe even crazy, new creative idea on social media (of course it needs to make strategic sense). And why wouldn’t they? If it works, everyone looks like a rock star. If it doesn’t, it can easily be viewed as a test or learning opportunity. No big deal.
You get to do more work
I know this may seem counter intuitive, but doing more work should be a good thing. Versus traditional media, you typically get more opportunities to think about interesting ways to engage a brand’s targeted consumers, and more opportunity to execute your concepts on social media. Thinking of amazingly smart, creative ideas and seeing them in market is a big reason why many of us got into this business, right?
Social media begs for innovation
By it’s nature, social media is a dynamic, ever-changing landscape. Platforms are being updated, new networks are being developed, usage behaviour shifts, technology enables new features, and on and on. This dynamism carries over to the content we can create for each respective platform. The prospect of using tools in new and interesting ways should be exhilarating, and there are countless ways to engage, interact with, and provide value to your targeted audience. What all of this means is that there has never been a better time to produce work that is truly innovative. Exciting stuff!
The creative opportunity that social media content provides is near limitless, and is hugely exciting.
For those who have come up through advertising, marketing and communications working primarily on more traditional channels, the conceptualization and creation of content for social media can be a shock. It’s a never-ending creative assignment. But it’s also one of the most opportunity rich assignments one can have, and those who are truly innovative on these platforms are getting recognized as being leaders in creativity.
Where do you see the biggest opportunities for creativity on social media?
What work have you done, or see, that is absolutely killer?
It would be awesome to chat with you about this more in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
There are businesses and brands producing and publishing amazing content, and doing some really amazing things on social media and with digital technology virtually every day.
It’s probably not surprising that a concert series put on by Apple would be pretty fantastic, but there are many more facets to what makes this killer than just the sheer scale of the month-long event.
What they did
The iTunes Festival is – you guessed it – an annual concert series, during which high-profile performers take the stage every day, for a month.
Each day a new concert is performed in front of a live audience and is broadcast via iTunes, an iPhone and iPad app, and on Apple TV.
Check out the following site for more information including a full lineup and schedule of performers for the 6th annual iTunes Festival:
Why it’s killer
Sure, Apple is massive and iTunes is the largest retailer of music in the world, so you would expect that if they were to put on a concert series that it would be of equal proportions.
And it makes great sense for iTunes to hold an event like this. It builds on iTunes’ value proposition, is tremendously entertaining to iTunes users, likely creates a surge of affinity for the product, and perhaps even draws lapsed iTunes users back to the platform.
What makes this concert series even more amazing is that it would be so simple for Apple to become complacent with their music distribution dominance that they cease to promote it with vigor. This is a trap that many leading brands fall into, which in some cases leads to their demise. But they haven’t done this, they’re continuing to push their promotional efforts, and are doing it in a grandiose, and likely very costly, fashion.
Additionally, Apple has tapped their ecosystem of technology products to heighten the value proposition for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Apple TV, and Mac users.
Finally – and I know you’re wondering where social media comes into play here – there is a robust pipeline of content being created from each performance; videos and photos of performances, retweets from participating artists, and more. This entire event is an amazing source of content, conversations, and shared experiences for music lovers across the world.
What can be applied to your business?
Organize your audience around shared experiences
Whether they are online, on social media, or offline, organizing and fostering experiences to be shared can have a greatly positive impact on your business. An experience that consumers have and share online is a high prize as people are creating a very literal association with, and endorsement for your brand. Ultimately, this acts as a sort of social validation that will work toward earning you the trust and attention of other consumers.
Always act like a challenger brand
Even when you’re on top, and by a considerable margin, there are always competitors who will have you in their sights, and will be waiting for an opportunity to take a bite out of your dominance. Stay hungry and continue pushing to undertake smart, strategic activity to keep your brand in a leadership position.
On social and digital media this will mean finding new and interesting ways to provide value and connect with your audience.
Take full advantage of opportunities to feed your content pipeline
You should always be thinking about ‘social media’ and opportunities for content creation, and particularly so when planning and executing communication programs, promotions, events, or any similar activity. Capitalize on every opportunity to create and capture content to maximize the ROI on your programs, and keep your audience satiated and involved with your brand.
Ensure that your content builds on your brand’s core value proposition
Sure, you can provide value in a multitude of different ways, but unless the value connects back to your brand’s core value proposition, you’re not going to experience any meaningful long-term benefits. All of your social media content, advertising and marketing should be contextually relevance to your business, brand and consumers; otherwise, you’re wasting your time and resources.
Have you tuned into the iTunes Festival?
Who are you most looking forward to seeing perform?
Have you seen any killer content recently that you’d like to share?
It would be great to chat with you about your thoughts in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial