So you have your social media strategy and team in place: channels to target, rules of engagement, responsibility matrices, inbound marketing linkages – in short you’re set (if you need help, check out our Quickstart Guide). Just a (minor) problem – what content do I use as meat for all that engagement? Where do I find it? Do I even need any content?
Effective content is top grade fuel for social media engagement. The good news is that it can be found right under your noses. Here are some ideas on where they lurk and how to deploy them effectively in your social media engagements:
- Success stories (aka case studies): assuming you’ve been around for a while, you would have some happy customers. If you don’t already have them pitching in a good word or two on paper, now is the time to ask them – on paper and, preferably, on video too. Keep them to under 5 min, but if they really want to pile it on (the good stuff, that is), consider breaking it up into small clips based on themes or key value propositions. Be sure to upload these onto popular video sharing sites (YouTube, Vimeo, Viddler – the latter two give excellent analytics tools with their pro accounts). Do the same for the written versions. Share it on Scribd (which also gives an excellent embed widget you can put on your site), or Issuu. Remember that the more avenues you peddle your wares (choose wisely though), the more visibility you garner and more “shareable” you become.
“The Content Grid” - Infographic by Eloqua/JESS3
- Brochures and data sheets: you may have tonnes of these lying around. Share them online as described earlier. But “brochure-ware” is becoming passé, so consider revamping the content into sections like “what we do”, “manifestos” (or why we do what we do), “how we can help”, “who we are” to talk to your visitors more directly. Liberating them from PDF also works wonders for SEO. And while you are it, scrub them clean of any and all stock images (especially those showing a bunch of people crowding around a computer with cheesy smiles plastered on their faces). Engage a talented illustrator (crowdsourcing is the way to go), or have a shot at iconography (tons of free resources available online, not least via Smashing Magazine). Once you have done all these, embed “Share” buttons aplenty so that visitors can quickly share/email them to themselves or friends.
- Opinion pieces: you may have considerable amount of subject matter expertise and know-how’s in the opinion pieces, fact sheets and FAQs written by your tech teams. These have immense value in establishing your thought leadership, but not if they remain locked up in PDFs or long write-ups. Consider adapting the content into easily-digestible morsels such as blog posts carrying headlines like “5 ways to collaborate using unified communications”, “Top 10 ways to set up a virtual office while on the move”, etc. It may take some trimming, rejigging and re-toning of content, but the meat is already there. You don’t have to research/analyze/write all that again.
- Whitepapers: a mother lode of good quality content since you are likely to have invested considerable resources in producing one. If your whitepaper touches several ideas, consider converting each idea into an e-book. E-books are the glitzy cousins of whitepapers and make for great reading on mobile devices. Jazz up the graphics and you have an imminently shareable resource. Also think of platforms like ChangeThis where you can give a sneak peak into what readers can expect from your e-book.
- How-to’s/process diagrams/manuals: (Did you say manuals?) Surprising as it may seem these lend themselves well to being adapted for infographics – a hot commodity in social sharing channels. The meat you already have – now think of utilizing a broader, more flexible canvas to layout this information so that it all makes sense at one glance (or two, if you must). You will need to get a couple of talented illustrators on board, and your subject matter experts would need to pick the prime bits from that content – so, yes, a little more involved creation, but the output would be well worth all that re-imagining of content.
The next time you go around scrambling for content, remember, it’s all there already. With a little imagination and nip-tuck routine you can get going with your social media engagements on a full tank of content, with refill cans to spare.
Also check out some useful content marketing tips in this cheat sheet.