Tuesday, January 14, 2014

8 Ways to Keep Your Social Media Updates Fresh

fresh content

Small business owners managing their own social media often ask the same question: “How can I keep my updates fresh and engaging?”
It's no easy task. If one were to poll marketers and business owners alike, he or she would find that creativity and the challenge of keeping updates from becoming stale is a top concern in social media. Luckily, at Omnicore Agency, our team of social media experts never run out of good ideas.
Taking a page from their book – and asking their recommendations – we've compiled a list for you to use the next time you get stuck on what to write, or for those moments when you need your content to pop, or those instances where you want to take what you've been doing to the next level. No matter what your social media challenge, these tips for keeping your social media updates fresh are sure to make managing your social channels a whole lot easier -and more successful!
  • Don't Always Talk About Yourself: This is the key to success in social media. Don't just share links to your site or overly promotional posts. Be human, be conversational, and talk about the good words of others, including sharing their content, their links, or their creations (with credit, of course)!
  • Check the Date: No idea what to post? Check the calendar! Each month - or even each day or week, for that matter – plays host to a variety of holidays, awareness weeks, and events. Find the ones that tie in to your business and find a way to connect with your audience over those occasions. Not only is it timely, but it's also unique. Try implementing date or time-specific promotions through social media that relate to the occasion, host chats or streams using hashtags relating to that event to raise awareness and generate conversation, or create graphics associated with that specific event and share them throughout your social channels.
  • Crowdsource: Your social networks are a goldmine of opportunity for content, so source from them on occasion when you need a break. Ask for photo submissions for a contest, or retweet their answers to a poll, prompt, or question. It gets the conversation going and has the potential to grow your audience at the same time.  Bottom line: ask for their input!
  • Quotations and Questions: Questions and quotations are always good for sharability and engagement.
Quotations are good for more inspirational or lighter topics – for an added bonus, turn that quote into a graphics that's pinable and sharable for maximum impact. When choosing quotes, go for something fitting for that day, a particular topic, or just your industry in general. If you can, find a way to connect it back to your own business by sharing that quote and then linking to a content piece you've created that uses that quote or connects back to it in some way. Alternately, post a quote and then ask a question relating to its contents to try to ignite some feedback.
Questions alone, on the other hand, are good for getting valuable feedback and sparking conversation. Just make sure the questions aren't too complicated or too controversial. Think of questions you might ask in a focus group or customer survey, or go for the conversational/laid-back sort of questions one might find in small talk – you may be surprised on who you connect with! Speaking of questions, also use your social channels to answer them. If you have FAQs, do a Q&A post series and then make that content perform double duty by turning those Q&A updates into a blog post or other content piece. Answer questions builds credibility and connects with the customer.
  • Add Visuals: Adding videos, photos, or graphics instantly makes your status update more attractive, plus, it boosts your potential to have it shared across multiple channels (research shows it!) . Take the time to enrich a post with a photo or a video you've created – you'll be surprised at the increased levels of engagement you'll see as a result.
  • Make the Next Step: Post a teaser of something and then link to the content or landing page where they can get more info or explore something more indepth. Think calls to action when you make your updates!
  • Search for Sources: Stuck on where to find the topic of your next tweet or status update? Check these standby sources for new information and inspiration:
▪     Today's Headlines: current events are always a great way to generate conversation. Just approach with caution and make sure you're choosing topics that are relevant and reflective of your brand in a positive way.
▪     Industry blogs or websites: see what the buzz is in your industry and share it with your audiences!
▪     Your competitor's websites and media channels: if your competitors are writing, tweeting, or blogging about it, it's valuable – look at what they're doing and see how you can do it better.
▪     YouTube: videos are great ways to look at a topic from a visual angle. Look for industry relevant videos and see how they might be shared or turned into a status update.
▪     Flickr: like YouTube, Flickr can also be a great way to get inspiration for a status update, simply by looking at a topic from a more visual angle.
▪     Pinterest: do a search or two for phrases relevant to your industry and see what content is out there – can you create something similar or better to share?
▪     Slideshare.net: look for slideshows for snippets of information that are ultra-sharable through social media and may inspire presentations of your own.
▪     Your swipe file: if you don't have one, you need one! 
▪     Your latest newsletter: look through your latest email marketing blasts – is there something there that could be shared through social media too?
▪     Your blog: check your blog for recent posts and see if you can condense down your post takeaways into tweetable, shareable, or Facebookable snippets.
  • Short and Sweet: Research shows that on Facebook, shorter posts tend to perform better in terms of engagement and views, so keep that in mind when making an update. Don't be afraid to make a short exclamation and let it roll from there!
These are just a handful of tips (there are countless more and we'd love to hear some of yours in the comments!) for keeping social media updates fresh. The key thing is to not do the same thing over and over again. You know this as a common sense takeaway, but it can be tempting to do so. Remember that Mark Twain quote about insanity – it's when you do the same thing over and over and expect a different result. Don't do only the same things!

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