Whether you manage social media content for a large organization, a startup or a host of diverse clients, social media offers huge potential in terms of website traffic and engagement.
The challenge? Finding enough fresh, relevant and effective content to fill your social media requirements.
Frequent posting is a necessity to reach more followers, but creating that much content can make you overshoot your budget.
The solution? I turned to a group of experienced digital and social media management professionals for suggestions.
Most of them use keywords (or hashtags) either manually or on keyword based content suggestion tools to find relevant content. They also refer to high authority publications in their industries, content being shared by influencers and their fans for inspiration.
On a side note, you could use DrumUp to implement some of those solutions.
Set up keywords during signup and add RSS feeds of your reference publications under “Feeds”. You can then access fresh, daily suggestions from those sources on your dashboard.
Ensure that you use (by clicking on) the @mention and #tag suggestions the tool generates, because consistent mentions of experts will increase your social media visibility and help you build valuable relationships with those people.
To understand exactly what companies are doing for their social media content, I asked people with experience managing digital and social media content the following questions.
[Note that some of these people own and run businesses themselves, so they are sensitive to the issues that social media managers like yourself face]
1. How do you curate content for your social media pages?
What are your favorite sources and tactics to finding the best
2. What are your top three ways to boost engagement on your company’s social media pages?
Founder and CEO of Company Folders
Brand all the posts you share so they are recognizable. You could use custom images with a recognizable style to do this.Avoid sharing too much self-promotional content.
Recommended reading: Like oversharing promotional content, there are other social media marketing mistakes to avoid at all costs. Read more about them on this post – The #1 Mistake You’re Making on Social Media and How to Stop It.
“We share our original blog posts and infographics on social media. We make sure our content provides useful resources to help graphic designers (our target audience) do their jobs better.
Since we create images in-house, we also have a very unique illustration style that helps our followers recognize our posts right away.. This recognizable and practical content lets us leverage social media to build trust and turn readers into customers. For this reason, we avoid self-promotional posts that don’t offer any real value to our audience.
We boost our social media engagement by sharing helpful content. When people know you’ve posted something they can use, they’re much more likely to interact with it. We use targeted social promotions to connect with new readers. And we share content where it’s relevant. For example, we emphasize our infographics on Pinterest’s image-based platform and share blog posts on Facebook, which is more conducive to longer articles.”
Content Marketing Project Manager at Fantastic Services
Create an internal communication channel to share content with your teammates. Use Messenger to do it so it can be directly shared on Facebook.
Side note: You can also create an internal communication system by using DrumUp’s Slack integration. Your teammates can directly schedule posts to Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter from the Slack channel that you choose to pull content suggestions into.
“There are several things my team does and recommends to find great content for social media.
We’ve established our own internal communication channel on Slack, which we strictly use for sharing interesting content between each other. Plus, Slack is far more business-oriented and less distracting than Facebook. Another way to establish an internal communication channel is using Messenger – when you share a link inside, you can directly share it on Facebook without having to switch between different platforms.
News gathering sites, such as Feedly are immensely helpful at sorting out your favourite topics and receiving news all at once. My advice is to create an account there and pick the topics that matter to you most – the platform will bring together sites from the niche.
It’s always beneficial to create a twitter list with influencers in your niche and follow closely the content they produce in the list feed. Observe and follow the hashtags they share and the people they tag, too – each one of the popular hashtags can be a goldmine.
Establish a social media editorial calendar. Much like the ones you create for blogs or newsletters, your social media calendar should cover important, notorious events and current trends that will bring the extra virality to your posts.
- First of all, make sure you don’t mess up the type of message with the type of social media you are using to promote it. You have to be professional on LinkedIn, while you can save Instagram for backstage stories. Shout out short and to-the-point news on Twitter and have deep, prolonged discussions on Reddit. Hitting the bull’s eye with the right media has tremendous effect on your efforts.
- Tag, tag and tag some more – make it a habit of yours. This is a great way to fall under the radar of people and brands; you can alert your twitter list this way that something big came up their way.
- Share your content in relevant communities – Facebook groups, Reddit threads, Google+ communities, to shorten the road to the public you aimed your creation at.”
Senior Account Executive at The Content Factory
Set keyword alerts on content suggestion and keyword alert tools to find top trending stories to share each day. Follow the 80/20 rule for the content you share (80 non-promotional and 20 commercial).
“As a social media manager for The Content Factory, I deal with clients ranging from Fairtrade America to Astroglide, so it’s crucial to have our social listening antennas up 24/7 in a wide array of social spaces.
We religiously use certain tools each day to curate the top trending stories around the topics and influencers that matter most to our respective clients and their followers.
Also, setting alerts around pertinent keywords provides our SMMs with a flow of timely content throughout the day without having to break every hour to search independently (though we do that each morning as well).
These services, combined with monitoring trending tags give us the content that we need to engage with and add to our social mix so that we follow the 80/20 rule of self-promotion a bit closer and still speak to our respective followers on the topics that matter most to their lives.
Boosting engagement is key objective we’re held accountable to by each of our clients and we must show metrics consistently proving that we’re getting the results they pay us for. Three of the top tactics we find effective for social media engagement are:
- Research every hashtag and use strategically. Jumping onto a trending tag is a no-brainer, but when character space is limited, as with Twitter, we find sites like Hashtagify.me provide a valuable (yet free) service by allowing you to test the popularity of any given hashtag before you award it valuable character real estate in your tweet or Instagram post.
- Take a moment to tag the writer, influencer or customer that you’re hoping to engage with. Usually a minimal amount of searching will allow you to properly tag people on each channel so that they’ll get the notification you’ve given them a shout out.
- Create a strong CTA every time. If you just place a post out there without giving your followers any call to action, no matter how great the post is, they may just keep scrolling. Sometimes, the most obvious requests like “Please RT” or “Let us know what YOU think in the comment section” will get social fan to take that action and set into motion a chain of events that give your post more exposure.
If all else fails, sponsor and boost your posts! Social advertising is the best way to target new followers and even a minimal budget can provide the additional engagement you need to impress your client and get the results they seek.”
Junior Content Creator at Illumine8
Align your social media content with the content going out on other channels, like email, for the best effect.
“For social media, I curate what I post by setting up a social media calendar about a month in advance. I post messages based on the campaign that we’re currently running, so our social media messaging is consistent with email marketing, exclusive offers, or an upcoming event.
Recommended reading: How to Integrate Email and Social Media Marketing for Double Impact.
This means that my priority is posting relevant blogs and landing pages, then rescheduling those links two weeks later with different copy or image to continue enticing followers – ones that I might’ve missed the first time around.
Between those messages, I supplement the feed with 101 blogs, website pages (project portfolios and case studies), shared content from industry thought leaders, and so on. We also ensure that we use analytics to post when our followers are online to boost engagement and click rates.
My favorite source to finding the best content for our company accounts is HubSpot, which utilizes guest blogger and employee content, so it’s always up-to-date with different perspectives.. We also follow journalists that have written articles with quotes from our team members, so we build that relationship for great content, as well.
- My top way to boost engagement is employee advocacy, which has now stretched to the employee’s personal circle. Facebook invites are a great, simple way to gain Likes and reach. Tell your employees to retweet their blogs or share it on LinkedIn, so their following can see it.
- Another way to boost engagement is to run Facebook Ads, which subsequently runs Instagram Ads. It’s inexpensive, and your company has the potential to reach thousands. Facebook also allows you to specify your audience, so you reach the right people, those who might eventually fill out a form or continue to click around on your website.
- The last tip I have is to be choosy when following people on Twitter. It seems counterproductive when you’re trying to build a following, but I’ve seen accounts that have 8,000 followers yet no one is retweeting, favoriting, or commenting on their posts. Engagement is about building a virtual relationship, so take the time to converse with local publications and other marketing firms outside the competition. This will build a quality, genuine, and organic audience.”
Founder of SME Pals
“Marketers are going to rely more and more on great content and influence in order to drive visibility and revenue. In fact, I would say that Content + Influence = Confluence marketing. In effect, marketers are going to need to produce higher quality content and use it as a platform to extend their reach by building relationships with strong influencers.
One of the ways they will do that is by using “visually compelling data driven content”.
There are a lot of tools and apps that can provide interesting and useful data. For example, we monitor the sales and price performance of products online and receive alerts when they experience changes in pricing and sales (using RankTracer), which has easily shareable charts and stats). Because many influencers have books or informational products and services this makes it a great way to reach out to them – especially on Twitter.
Basically, it offers them a shareable way to promote themselves – which is what everyone, even established influencers, are after. For example, Guy Kawasaki tweeted, “This made my day” after seeing a chart of his marketing book outselling those of his competitors.
Sharing content that influencers find shareable and interesting is arguably the best way to become an influential thought leader in your own right.
Here’s a sample tweet for Eric Reis’ book, entitled ‘The Lean Startup’:
Social Media Manager at AHume
Use external content for inspiration. Refer to references on Wikipedia pages for content ideas. Create an updated version of posts that have worked well.
“Almost all of the content that we share on social media is our own, but is usually inspired by something we’ve seen elsewhere online. This is particularly true of our blog content, which is all original but is heavily inspired by other posts that we find elsewhere online. We tend to read industry blogs and news sites to find inspiration for our posts. If we’re producing informational content then we like to look at Wikipedia pages, then scroll down to the ‘references’ at the bottom. We’ll then take a look at all of the pages which are included in the references, and we’ll try to find a page that we could create a better or more updated version of. This tends to work really well and is great if you’re struggling to think of content ideas.
One of the most underrated ways to promote engagement with your social media content is to simply ask your audience questions. This will promote discussion in the comments, which is one of the best ways to get people engaging with your content. Many social media platforms are also designed to give preference to content that generates a lot of comments, so if you manage to get people commenting on your posts then your post will gain more visibility, which will lead to more engagement.”
Social Content Liaison at Pole Position Marketing
Use RSS feed readers to curate content from your favorite blogs for your social media pages. Create a list of trusted experts and sources to follow and subscribe to newsletters and blog digests that you trust.
“I have a number of ways to curate content for social media. First, I subscribe to some newsletters and blog digests from trusted sources and often share those articles. I also often use an RSS feed (Feedly specifically) to find new content to share from my favorite blogs. Finally, I use Twitter lists. I have one that I have marked “Trusted Experts.” These are people I know write awesome content that is relevant to our audience.
There are some specific tactics I like to use for different networks, such as participating in chats on Twitter and posting images first on Facebook. But generically, I would say the best tips are to:
- Know your audience so that you are posting things they will actually want to engage with.
- Be human. Use a conversational voice and humor in your posts. Don’t be afraid to use memes, GIFs, etc.
- Invite them to engage. Ask questions. Ask them to click, like, re-post, etc.”
Content Strategist at CopyPress
Share content from peripheral industries to reach new markets that you may not have accessed. Avoid sharing mainstream content that has already been exposed to everyone in your space.
Side note: The content suggestions you receive via DrumUp are fresh and sourced on a daily basis, so you have good chances of being the first to share it.
“We use a mixture of on-site content, but a great deal of external content within our industry. As a business in the content marketing space, we strive to provide insightful content on our social channels. This helps us better position ourselves as thought leaders in the industry and drives more click-throughs to our internal content when we share it. To streamline the curation process on our social channels, we’ve developed style guides that specifically outline parameters for the content (i.e. don’t use competitors, use content from this pre-approved list of sites, include images, etc.).
We’ve also found that sharing content from peripheral industries and sectors is a great way to attract new followers that we might not reach by only sharing content from our specific niche. With regards to finding content, we try to avoid sharing mainstream content that is already being regurgitated across our space — we look for lesser-known blogs or sites that are producing quality content and deserve the recognition.
Of course, we also have our publishing partners that we curate from, too. The biggest takeaway is to have a healthy mix on your social channels and to not have tunnel-vision (your followers don’t just want to see your own content).
- Consistency – you need to be posting regularly, about the same topics and using the same style/voice. This consistency will help you develop an audience that is active and attentive.
- Optimize your posts: Add images, create a clever caption, and make sure you are using hashtags effectively. If you focus on these 3 optimization tactics, you will see better results.
- Two-Way communication: Too many companies just use their social channels to send out information. Social media is meant to be, well, social – the communication should be reciprocated. If people are commenting on your posts, make sure to respond. Don’t be afraid to spend time commenting on other social profiles (especially from influencers you’d like to share your content).”
Director of Marketing at Wixon Jewellers
Don’t sell to your audience, be inherently useful to them. Use forums to find questions that concern them and use your content to help them find answers.
“Content marketing and social media are powerful when combined. I have found that one of the best uses of social media is to be useful to your followers by giving them content that they enjoy. Do that well and you will see both engagement levels and conversions go up.
You need to be inherently useful to your followers.
Social media is unprecedented because it puts businesses together with social media users’ friends, and it is important for you to note that their friends don’t constantly try to sell to them, so you shouldn’t either.
Give them something useful, and they’ll be happy to complete a lead capture form, subscribe to your e-mail list or follow you on social networks.
Once you enable these permission based marketing vehicles, they will allow small businesses like you to continually engage with these potential clients and win business.
Our staff has really succeeded with blogging for our website – a difficult task for any business to start, and maintain over time. Many businesses resort to hiring outside writers, which I don’t feel is the right approach because your in-house staff is best positioned to create content that is engaging to your core consumer base, as well as appropriate for your brand.
I asked two of our sales staff, Jessica and Amy, to put their talents to work for the blog. Their blog posts sometimes come from questions submitted by clients like in the Ask Amy section, or are very current and engaging topics about jewelry, fashion and watches.
In my opinion, the most important thing a marketer should know, that will help them navigate Facebook’s algorithm and help show up in targets News Feeds, is how to be useful to their audience. That is crucial for engaging the audience.
This genuine approach saves business owners time, because they won’t have to generate loads of crap content to engage their audience… one well thought out post will bring more engagement than 10 terrible posts.”
Head of Creative Department at TruckDrivingJobs
Create a balance of viral and informational posts, and ensure that what you share is easily digestible and relevant to your industry.
“For our social media – namely our Facebook page – we generally proceed with content that alternates between viral and informational. In other words, we provide news stories and blog topics that are shareable in some sense.
For our news pieces we tend to find stories that are picking up steam nationwide and provide a unique perspective to them in order to make them more digestible for our readers and to ensure that a story fits in with our industry-conscious presence of advocating for truck drivers and defending their rights and careers on the road.
We want to provide something that our visitors can sink their teeth into, but we realize that it can’t all be sturdy, informational blog posts and graphics – there needs to be a balance of content that veers towards the less consuming.
To boost user engagement I think that it never hurts to pose an open-ended question that might divide users, even if ever-so slightly. Asking a question such as, “What is your experience with…?” is a great way to simultaneously see answers to both sides of the conversation from your population of users as well as giving them an opportunity to come back to see what others have said.
With this tactic you provide a forum of sorts, and if arguments ensue, then one has done a terrific job stirring the pot.”
Social Media Manager at QNY Creative
Use private mood boards on Pinterest to curate visual content. Pick ideas that align with your brand and boost them to reach your specific target markets.
“When it comes to curating content, the most important part is finding a style that will fit your brand’s aesthetic. Some of my favorite accounts to draw inspiration from are @helloemilie, @probablythis, @talenti, @mansurgavriel and @wallpapermag. Having a variety of places with different looks to draw inspiration from will help you gain a better perspective when you’re choosing or styling content.
Another way to curate content for your client’s social media page is to create a private mood board on Pinterest. These mood boards are a collection of pictures and ideas that align with our client’s brand image and help inspire us when creating our own original content for the brand. This mood board will represent the direction the agency plans to go in, which we send to the client for approval.
Choose quality images and relatable content. Keep the voice of your page consistent.
Boost social media content specifically to your target market.
In the first comment of your post, use popular hashtags that your target market is using (#foodie #eeeeats #foodvideos etc) as well as a few specific hashtags to your brand or the topic of your post, such as brand name or brand slogan (#buzzfeedtasty #justdoit #yoga)”
North American Marketing Manager at 51Talk
Experiment with different types of content and create a continuous feedback loop to identify what’s working and isn’t.Our primary social media page is Facebook, which is targeted toward teachers.
“As an online education company, we want to reach out to as many teachers as possible over social media. To best align with what teachers want to see, we surveyed the teachers who were already a part of our company.
We tried out as many different types of content as were possible, and as we continued to build our following, we utilized analytics to see which content types were the most successful.
With this approach, we honed our content creation process to focus on the most popular things.
To stay on top of what our audience likes, we continually survey and talk to our teachers and followers to generate feedback.
We’ve found that having a continual feedback loop is key to providing what followers want to see.
Our top 3 methods for boosting engagement:
- Posting content that offers quick activities, like sharing one’s thoughts on a particular question or helpful piece of career advice
- Utilizing hashtags to invite our followers to reply in the comments in creative ways that require the use of the same hashtags
- Posting motivational and inspirational quotes that drive our followers to share the posts with their own friends”
Founder of Inverse Culture
Create an online resource of content that you can easily schedule from in advance on your social media pages.
Side note: You can save interesting posts to your content library on DrumUp and schedule from there when necessary.
“Curating content was once a frustrating process, however now it can be automated rather easily.
One of my favorite examples is to use Zapier to sync up my RSS Feed & Feedly, so that all my relevant content articles get sent into a Google Sheets. All I have to do then is put it into my social media management tool, which is DrumpUp to automate the post times.
Another big time-saver for Instagram is to set up an automation that saves every image I like into Google Drive, with their username to credit them. All I have to do is then curate from a steady flow of the pictures I stumble upon.
It’s especially satisfying to have your content just continue to build & build – I pack out a month of social media posts in under two hours. Pretty nifty.
Boosting social media engagement comes down to three things.
- The first is a healthy mix of original & high quality referred content, from respectable sources.
- Next up is to find the correct mix for your market & then provide them with a consistent level of high quality posts that they cannot ignore in their news feed. It could be 5 times a day, or 3 times a week, you’ll have to test to find out.
- The third factor is your customer engagement. Engage with your customers, talk to them & convert them from your fans to passionate evangelists. If you treat them right, they will pay you back in spades with powerful word of mouth marketing.”
Head Wizard (Director) at Solvid
Refer to content being shared by influencers and track down those sources to follow for your content suggestions.
“Being in the Digital Marketing industry for over 5 years, we’ve established that following & engaging with niche influencers is the best way to identify and curate content.
To find influencers in a specific field, we use Followerwonk, a tool that enables you to find influencers in a particular industry.
After finding them, we track their activity and see what type of content they tend to share the most, and most importantly, where that content is coming from. This method enables us to find the most reliable sources of information.
We then establish trust in the eyes of our followers by sharing content produced by these sources (usually authoritative publications).
Apart from that, in order to boost our social engagement, we use the following strategies:
- Running Polls – We regularly run polls on controversial topics that encourage our followers to comment and participate in discussions. With the use of relevant hashtags, we often reach audiences beyond our regular followers.
- Contests & Giveaways – Once every 3 months we run contests that encourage our followers to share our content to stand a chance of winning a prize
- Facebook Ads – Whenever we release a new piece of content on our site, we run a Facebook post engagement ad to boost the reach of that post. This, in return, allows us to reach people outside of our spectrum. We then invite everyone who liked our ad to go ahead and like our Facebook page.”
Community & Content Manager at RepairPal
Maintain a balance between fun and informative content. Avoid overdoing content burdened with too much technical jargon.
“When we think content, we have an intersection we have to navigate: engaging, but also educational. The balance is key, especially when you’re talking about the automotive industry. It’s extremely easy to lose a potential audience when you start getting too into the weeds, so deciding early on what kind of balance you want to strike is key.
If we put out a DIY video, occasionally it’s going to be more technical than fun, but that audience we’re reaching is on a “when needed basis”, so it’s more about actually publishing the content than promoting it. If we skew the other direction and publish content that’s more fun, like how to clean your headlights with toothpaste, promotion is everything!
For engagement – Questions, questions, and more questions! Posing a question is a great way to drive engagement, but making it the right question is key. For example, yes or no questions aren’t always the best way to go on social. People don’t feel a large opportunity cost for not providing an answer, therefore, they won’t engage.
When a question requires more of a narrative, people have a harder time just scrolling past when they have something they really want to share. Give people a question that’s hard to pass up.”
Founder & CEO at MonetizeMore
Create lists of trusted sources for every sub-niche that you wish to cover.
Side note: You can choose different keyword sets for each account that you attach to DrumUp, giving you access to content from different areas. You can schedule that content to any account connected to the app.
“Depending on the subject that we want to curate for, we have a list of trusted sites that have high quality content. Some examples of great sites to find high quality content to curate are: ProductHunt.com, HackerNews.com and BuzzFeed.
Our top 3 ways to boost social media engagement:
- Personally engage with users and share their content.
- Ask controversial questions that create furious debates.
- Always ask for feedback from your audience when posting new content.”
Feature image by FancyCrave via Pixabay.com