Social media without content is like a sunless garden with no flowers


Whilst it makes sense to first define your social media involvement according to your organisational objectives, a secondary and often overlooked consideration is your ability to source, produce and manage the distribution of digital content. Here are half-a-dozen content driven frameworks to consider as part of your obligation to keep your online garden-places relevant, fresh and engaging:

Media Formats

Each social media platform where you’ve staked a brand claim requires one or more specific media formats to be published through it. YouTube for example requires video content – if you don’t have the ability to source or produce video you probably shouldn’t set up a presence there. There are five main categories of media formats, and every social media platform requires at least one or two of them:

  1. Text – short-form, e.g. status updates on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn
  2. Text – long-form, e.g. blogs
  3. Images, e.g. Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram
  4. Video, e.g. YouTube, Vine
  5. Audio, e.g. podcasts

Content Sourcing

Knowing clearly which content is required to drive each of your social media vehicles is one thing, getting your hands on it is another. Here are 3 questions to ask yourself:

1. Do I have access to subject matter expertise? You may be the social media manager, but the value of any content is defined by the end users its being targeted to. Engineers for example will need credible content produced in most part by other engineers. You will need the means to tap into the expertise of a wide range of people across other departments within your organisation: finance, operations, sales, contact centre, and even the CEO.

2. Will my content be original or will I curate other people’s content, or both? Producing your own content in-house is the ideal, but its not always achievable. Curating or filtering the best industry specific content of others can also provide value to your target audience.

3. Can I pay others to produce content on my behalf? Yes, content production can be outsourced to subject matter experts, but you’ll need a budget allocation.

Content Capture and Production

Physically capturing and producing content is the next hurdle. If you wanted to produce a series of ‘how-to’ videos to feed through your YouTube channel and Facebook page, would you film these yourself or outsource the task to a professional videographer? Outsourcing can be expensive in the long-term if the content requirement is ongoing (as it surely will be). If you are producing in-house you’ll need to be able to write well and/or have access to AV equipment, and then the requisite skills to record and edit at acceptable quality levels.

Posting, Pre-Scheduling, Cross-Promotion and Re-Purposing

Okay, so now that you have your content together you’ll need to get it published it online through one or more of your social media platforms. Smallish amounts of content are easily uploaded as they come to hand, but larger volumes will require a publishing schedule and likely the use of pre-scheduling software such as Hootsuite.

To maximise the reach of your content you’ll want to cross-promote it or syndicate it across your different platforms. Your YouTube videos for example may be cross-posted through Facebook, Google+ and your blog; your blog posts may be cross-posted through LinkedIn; your Instagram photos may be cross-posted through Pinterest. Or your Twitter stream may be automatically syndicated into your blog.

All of your content should also be viewed with the potential for repurpose. The hard work which has gone into a blog post for example could be the outline of the script for a YouTube video.

Post-Publication Maintenance

Your social content has been posted, corss-posted and syndicated. But don’t sit back just yet – Facebook, YouTube, and your blog all require you to moderate comments in response to your posts. And most social media platforms allow (and encourage) comments and questions –  timely and considered responses on your part are required.

And Repeat

The content creation and publication processes described above never let up. By entering social media you’re setting yourself up as a media outlet akin the modern newspapers, radio and television stations – and there’s nothing worse than dead air or white space when it comes to the media, your media or anyone’s media.

image by atmtx

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