Whether you’re posting to Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn, the content you share on social media can make or break the way your brand is perceived. Do you have a strategy for deciding what to share on social media?
The good news is: you don’t always have to write original content yourself. Small businesses can get a lot of mileage out of sharing links, articles, blog posts, videos, etc. from relevant third parties. But there’s more to sourcing content than just randomly posting links or retweeting articles. You have to determine which content is appropriate for your audience, brand, and chosen social networks.
Want to improve your strategy? Here are our four tips to help you choose the best content to share on social media.
1. Understand Your Audience
Social media is all about starting a conversation. But if your audience isn’t interested in the topic, the conversation isn’t going to get off the ground.
One Step Further: Keep in mind that audience expectations may vary by platform. For example, when you share content on Facebook, you can add your own message to the headline, photo, and caption of the original post. Learning how to optimize messages for each network will help you build a strong social media presence.
Before you do anything, think about the audience you are trying to reach. Ask yourself:
- What are they doing online?
- What problems are they trying to solve?
- Do you know what interests them?
- What would they find entertaining?
- Why did they follow my business in the first place?
A solid understanding of your target audience will help you create and gather the most effective content. Now known as content marketing, this consumer-centric strategy helps many companies strengthen brand loyalty and their overall customer experience, ultimately leading to referrals and repeat business.
2. Find High-Quality Sources
One Step Further: There are more convenient ways to source content than starting from scratch on Google.
- Set up Google Alerts for topics that interest your customers.
- Keep track of popular articles you’ve shared in the past, and check back for updates.
- Follow industry blogs or sign up for newsletters.
Always evaluate potential links you may share based on credibility, accuracy and audience appeal. Prepare to spend a decent amount of time researching, as you might need to read more articles than expected to find the best content.
Be persistent, and make sure every link comes from a reliable source. Try to avoid sharing pages with an excessive number of ads, which can easily overwhelm or irritate readers. A good rule of thumb: You shouldn’t need to scroll and search for the actual content in the article.
Remember, while Google is a great way to source valuable content, it isn’t without junk. Be your own filter, and take time to sift through the bad links. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, try using different search terms, search engines or websites. You can also search social media to see what third-party links and articles your competitors are sharing, and evaluate whether that content works for your audience. (Don’t use their original content without credit though!)
3. Share Only Relevant, Timely Content
The best content to share on social media is relevant and timely. No one wants to read a holiday-themed post in the middle of August or a back-to-school article in March.
One Step Further: Take advantage of trending topics. How are innovators in your industry using new technologies like AR and VR? Is there an opportunity for your audience to live stream an industry event with Facebook Live? There are a lot of topics to choose from but tread carefully when discussing sensitive topics like politics.
Increase engagement by asking yourself the following questions before you share something:
- Does the post speak to your audience’s interests? Focusing on content that’s related to your industry is a great way to hit the mark.
- Is the post up to date and relevant to current industry trends? Talking about how Facebook acquired Instagram isn’t exactly cutting edge.
- Is the post appropriate for its scheduled time of year? Don’t just think in terms of what’s coming up next week; think a month or two ahead.
If this feels hard, not to worry. Finding and choosing the best content to share on social media will get easier as you get to know your audience better.
4. Focus Mostly on Them, A Little on You
It’s important to share unbiased third-party content, but you also have the right to promote your company from time to time. The best content to share on social media is something people want to share and will make them remember you.
Make sure your content calendar includes a healthy (but not excessive) amount of self-promotion to remind customers that you’re there to provide a service, not just share great content.
One Step Further: Learn more about the 80/20 split and other business-oriented social strategies here.
A good rule of thumb: Create an 80/20 split, where 80 percent of your content is helpful, interesting or entertaining, while the other 20 percent is directly related to promoting your business. Try to link to specific pages on your website (like a signup or landing page) whenever you can.
BONUS: 3 Things to Avoid
Even as you begin to feel more confident in your search-and-share abilities, it is important to remain wary of a few potential risks:
- Think twice before sharing links from competitors. You might find a perfect blog post, but you don’t want to unintentionally send customers to the website of a competitor offering similar products or services.
- Be conscious of paywalls. It’s so frustrating to see an interesting headline only to click it and be lead to blocked content that requires a subscription.
- Beware of overwhelming or underwhelming your audience. Posting multiple times a day is not necessary and posting once a month is too infrequent. Find a balance and stay consistent.
Each social network gives you a new way to connect with customers and prospects, so take advantage of what they have to offer. Choose content that lifts you above the noise and helps strengthen your relationships, not fluff.
Finding the best content to share on social media is just one part of having a social media strategy. If you don’t have the time to dedicate yourself to your online marketing strategy, we’re always here to help!