When you start discussing discussing social media and content marketing with a client, at some point you get “the look.” The look that says, “Oh my God, I will never have time for all this work with what I already do.”
I get it. Everybody has their own busy schedule. Now they’re taking on social media and perhaps content marketing. It’s daunting when you think about putting up a couple of posts a day across three or four channels. That’s why I do my best to construct effortless, fun content systems for my clients.
Let’s take a quick stab at coming up with a list of ideas that create rich and engaging content with minimal effort.
First and foremost, when you are taking photos with your cell phone, take more than you think you need. This way, you can go back and use other photos from the same session for different purposes.
Example: You set up a new window display and take a photo of it for Facebook and Twitter. Also take the time to isolate each product in the window. That way over the course of the next week you can feature specific products and their attributes.
Have an opinion:
Don’t believe the myth that you can’t cite articles published elsewhere. Nothing can be further from the truth. Just keep in mind that if you reference an article, you need to accompany it with our own opinion or commentary.
Example: Forbes writes an interesting article related to the uptick in millennials for your industry. You copy and paste a large statistical finding and explanation from the article into a blog post. This content takes up the majority of space you would normally fill yourself. Essential to the success of the article, however, is that you then write your opinion regarding the information that you referenced. Tell us why you think the article is correct, incorrect, or perhaps reference your own statistic as a comparison.
Stop taking selfies and talk to your audience:
Recently in a private group of subject matter experts, I asked a question using my cell phone video as opposed to typing it out. The engagement was much higher than with a typical written post. This makes all the sense in the world to me. Seeing a video of a user asking a question creates a level of intimacy, as well as emotional response that simply cannot be conveyed in text. Therefore, knowingly or unknowingly, you are further incentivized to participate in the question.
This vs. that:
Having an opinion is just part of life. Capitalize on that fact. Using any number of mobile applications take two images side-by-side, and ask your audience which one is their favorite.
Example: You receive two new products from manufacturers. While the products may be similar, one is red and the other is violet. It only takes a second for you to come up a quick comparative graphic that will throw your audience into a tizzy raging about their favorite color.
Dovetailing with the ‘this vs. that’ example is voting or polling on your blog, social media channels, or community discussion posts.
Example: I recently started to kick the tires on a couple of new mobile voting applications. Not only can you participate by voting on questions created by the community, but you could create your own. Once you’ve created a poll, you could share it against your social channels. This was not only well received but it was very quick for me to do.
It’s an oldie but a goodie. Slideshare.com has been around for quite a while. And that is because there is an endless amount of content you can reference.
Example: Following the same trick as copying and pasting content from one article into your own, embed a Slideshare from a thought leader into a blog post. After such time, give your takeaways regarding the presentation, regardless if they are positive or negative. Talk about how your audience can also learn from it. Not only is this a great way to repurpose content, but you are giving a shout-out to the original creator, and you look smart to be associated with them.
Ask easy/short, questions:
A former travel and hospitality client once asked me how to get better engagement on their social media channels. I asked what kind of conversations they were having on their channels, and their immediate response was to tell me all about the exciting deals, specials, and upcoming events they had planned.
I responded by saying, “So you’re just talking about how great you are?”
Needless to say, they got it. They didn’t like it, but they got it. People probably already think you’re relatively great if they are taking their time to check your social media channels. You do not have to remind them of your greatness.
Example: After reading most of the posts from this client, I challenged them to pose a single, simple question to their audience. “What’s the first thing that you do when you get into a hotel room?” The next day, the same client gleefully texted my cell phone and reported they had more than 300 responses to that question! This didn’t come as a surprise to me, because we empowered the audience to give their own opinion.
In the content and social media world, one of the biggest goals is to be perceived as “authentic.” In that case, the best thing you can do is simply be human. I’ve often asked my clients if they have they ever admitted to doing something silly, embarrassing, or by mistake?
“OF COURSE NOT! That would make our brand look dumb!”
But why not let your audience know that the people behind the brand are human? We all do make mistakes.
Example: Even if you don’t want to talk about your brand with brutal honesty, you can still talk about your industry as a whole. Take the travel industry, for instance. Have you ever lost your cell phone? Has your bag ever been lost in transit? Have you ever ridden in a smelly cab? Has the weather ever been terrible upon arriving at your destination? Human experiences translate as authentic, And frankly, being human means being vulnerable and making mistakes. I already know how great your company and brand are, but I don’t know how human the person is behind the curtain. Make it fun, make it human, and it will resonate.