As brand marketers we are tasked constantly with maintaining a social channel. And in doing so, we need to generate a TON of content. It is a huge challenge and one that has created some serious social paralysis in many marketing departments. Not only are we tasked with generating a lot of content, but our audience is looking for it to be (gasp!) useful and (dear lord!) valuable to them. Plus, we aren’t really supposed to be talking non-stop about the brand, so what are we to do. Simple – find a few key social themes.
Social themes are basically buckets in which your content shares some commonalities. For example, when I am curating content for our Facebook and Twitter channels, I focus on customer experience, innovation, content and channel strategy. These are the themes that drive my passion as well as the passions of our readers. We know our readers care deeply about these topics and there is a lot of amazing content that is developed to support these themes. Themes are incredibly important when you are curating content as they help focus your efforts and ultimately save you time and effort.
Talk to your fans
I know, right? What a weird thing to assert. But, truly, your fans will tell you one way or another what kind of content they want to read. You can see it with passive or active engagement. You can see it with fan growth or loss. Or you could honestly, ask your fans directly. You could do a quick survey within social. You could email them. Or you could (double gasp!) call them and ask.
I have done this myself. I have actually called customers and asked them what mattered to them and you know what, they totally told me. They were excited to tell me and better yet, they felt more in tune with my brand and me after having done it. It is really simple. Slightly insane, what with the calling people on the phone and all, but totally worth it.
Talk to your customers who AREN’T fans
It is important to note that in a lot of instances, your fans may not be customers, but potential customers. Their interests might be different from those who actually buy what you’re selling. This is a key delineation because, well, we are marketing and we need to convert leads (fans who aren’t yet customers) AND encourage repeat business (from fans who ARE customers).
So, same idea as above, but there is probably a ton of people who buy your stuff that do not follow you on social. Knowing what’s important to them as well can help shape your content themes to help convert fans who don’t buy yet (leads) into sales. Their interests may reveal some nuggets of information that may help your leads convert via social. For example, let’s say you sell high-end clothing and you have people on staff that help you style yourself. What if you learned from your customers who are not fans that the stylist experience was the differentiator? This could help you create style content that will inform leads that this is a huge opportunity for them. Plus, in this instance, you now have people who can populate your social content by identifying style trends at the same time as they are passively promoting your product – awesome, right?
Find sources that produce that type of content
There are about a ba-zillion blogs in the world. They all have a voice and topics they are passionate about. Then there are industry publications, news magazines and so on. The point is there are countless sources for curated content that aligns with the themes you’ve identified from your fans and your customers. When you find these sources, save them and use them to curate content that is important to your audience.
Set up an aggregator
I use Feedly. I love it. I have a number of different categories created that support my different themes for my different passions. I have a theme for SME: Digital. Another for some passion projects. And yet another for my “personal brand”. I use Feedly constantly and I use it solely to curate content that my readers will care about. It is a great resource to help you stay focused on the themes and to quickly scans the relevant news of the day.
Stick to the themes!
Once you know what matters to your readers…do not deviate. Ok, rarely deviate. You can grow and test new themes over time, but stay on task and target. And when you do adopt new themes make sure that you update your aggregator. When you maintain consistent themes in your content marketing, it will do nothing but engrain your brand’s values and personality deeper into the fan’s mind, because they will find you consistently useful.