Your social media stream is one of the very first things people notice about your brand.
Yup, I said brand.
Regardless if you are the social media manager of a large company, the “marketing department” for a small brand, or a solopreneur, your social media matters.
It helps establish loyalty, 53% of Americans who follow brands on social media are more loyal to them. It also helps with overall influence, “93% of shoppers’ buying decisions are influenced by social media – because 90% trust peer recommendations.”
If that’s not a case for getting your social media on point, I’m not sure what is.
But, the big question is how should you approach your social media? What content should you be sharing? And, how do you find the right content to share?
The last thing you want to do is share all your own content all the time. Gary Vaynerchuck, famed entrepreneur, author, and social media guru of sorts, follows the “jab, jab, jab, right hook” approach to social media.
Jabs are content that you share that highlights others, interesting topics, expert opinions, and information that appeals directly to your readers.
The right hook is the ask. It’s your own content.
This mix of sharing content you think your followers (and potential customers) will love is the perfect formula to educate, provide value, and set yourself up as an influencer or authority.
Now that you realize how important it is to share different types of content, including a mix of your own. You’re next step is to find that content.
This is where a lot of people get stuck.
It can be hard to find great content that both applies to your industry and interests, as well as educate your followers.
As you’ll see with most influencers you’ll find online, they seem to have a “knack” for sharing content that gets tons of shares. Their secret isn’t that they just have access to better content than you do. Nope, it’s that they have systems of finding it.
That’s what we’re going to cover today. I’m going to share with you exactly how you can set up a system to consistently have a pipeline of great content to share online.
The first thing you need to do?
Know where to look.
Tools for Finding Content Online
The good news is there are tons of great tools out there that make finding great content easier than ever. You don’t have to worry about devoting hours of your time every week to find content to share.
We’ve got a few tricks of the trade that will help you find content. Let’s take a look at some of those tools:
At Spokal, we love Feedly which is why we integrate it right into your social sharing editorial calendar.
So why is Feedly so awesome?
First, it’s an RSS reader that allows you to collect tons of content in one place. You can pull in content from your favorite blogs, news publications, and even YouTube channels.
You can also create your own collections which allows you to discover new influencers and topics, so you’re not only getting information from the same few blogs over and over again.
If you’re looking for content that is related to your industry, look no further than LinkedIn Pulse.
Here, you can get all the content you’re interested in in your specific field or industry, plus topics around news sources and other big industry related influencers.
If you want to find content that both hits a certain keyword and also lets you know how many shares that content is getting, look no further than BuzzSumo.
It’s a great way to find content that is hiding away on blogs you might not know about in your industry. Plus, knowing which content is popular off the bat is a huge bonus too.
AllTop is the brainchild behind one of the most prolific content sharers and influencers on Twitter, Guy Kawasaki.
The curates top stories from a number of the most popular blogs in a number of different categories, featuring everything from travel, to social media, to golf.
Nuzzel is a tool that takes an interesting approach to finding content.
It connects to your Twitter account and then pulls content that is also being shared by your friends and friends of friends. So, it gives you a bit more of a well rounded look at what people in your circles are loving on Twitter.
Want to be able to see and share what’s hot, right now? Welcome to Google Trends.
Use this tool to track exactly the keywords that people around the world are searching for and the most popular articles that correspond to them.
Topsy is a content discovery tool that is made to work hand in hand with Twitter. Use it to discover popular tweets (and content) based on your own filters.
Plus, you can use Topsy to discover new influencers based on specific keywords, company, or industry to follow and find even more new content.
Most consider Medium to be a great platform for publishing. But, it’s a lot more than just that, and if you know where to look you can find awesome content.
Pay attention to the tags, collections, and trending lists that tie to your industry or followers likes and you’ll be introduced to lots of new content.
The Digg today isn’t the Digg of old, instead it’s a site that pulls in some of the most diverse and interesting content online and is ready to share.
What Digg is great for is finding really interesting content that lots of people (including your followers) are likely to find pretty cool.
ContentGems packs over 200,000 sources of content on its site and allows you to monitor all of that information based on your own interests.
This is a great way, especially if you operate in a certain niche or industry, to see content that only suits your needs.
Bonus: A Few More Ideas
The tools above are all general sites you can use for finding content. But, don’t forget to take a deep dive into what is influential in your own industry.
There you can find really high level content that your social media followers should love.
If you’re into marketing, check out Inbound. For those in tech, don’t forget the Hacker Newsletter. Designers love Sidebar.
Also, pay attention to blog comments. Sometimes you’ll find a few gems hidden from commenters who are sharing their own great posts.
Now that you’ve got tons of content, you want to find a way to keep tabs on it before you start sharing on your social media channels.
Tools for Saving Content
Once you have all this awesome content, you can’t share it all at once, so what to do?
One way to solve that dilemma is to schedule your content to be shared weeks or even months out in advance. Another way is to keep track of the content you love and then schedule a time each day or week to fill your content sharing calendar.
Here are a few tools that will help you keep track of your content:
If you love consuming content online but need a place to store it all, then Pocket is a great place to start. Use the web extension to save any content you want to later share.
Another website you can use to handle all the content you hope to share and organize it is Delicious. You can also discover what other people you follow are saving and sharing.
This tool is sort of like a Pinterest for content. Scoop.it allows you to not only find and save content, but share it on your own personalized board that others can follow at the same time.
List.ly is another tool that is similar to Scoop.it in that it offers you a hybrid platform to both find and save content you want to share, but also allows other engage with your lists.
Set Your Sharing Calendar
Once you have found the content you want to curate and share over social media, you want to do is set up your sharing calendar.
Remember, the best method of sharing is one that not only uses a mix of your content and shared content, but also mixes automated and real time postings.
You don’t want to have 100% of your posts automated. Then it just seems like your social media is being run by a machine…which, technically it would be. Instead, use a combination.
Schedule your own content to be shared plus some of your curated content. Then spend time interacting with your followers on a real time basis. This way you know every week you are hitting that perfect mix.
A good rule of thumb is to share one of your own posts for every four posts featuring others. So, if you’re scheduling three posts a day over the course of the week, you want to have about five posts of your own content, about once a day.
We know how important this mix is because Spokal allows you to have automatic social sharing, including a custom content calendar.
Makes it pretty simple, right?
As always, be sure to pay attention to what content hits and what doesn’t. It’s also really important with social media sharing to pay attention to when prime time is for your followers.
It might turn out that sharing from 8pm to 10pm Eastern provides a huge boost in your engagement. So, it’s something you want to watch out for, and adjust accordingly.
The great thing about scheduling social media is you can always tweak it. This is all about finding the right mix that works for both your followers and you.
Start Sharing (and Connecting)
Once you’ve got a solid selection of content consistently coming in the pipeline, a way to save that content, and a schedule to share it, you’re going to be well on your way.
Now, you can dedicate your time to focusing in on what matters: actually connecting and engaging with your brand’s social media followers. This personal touch mixed in with your new foray into content creation will be sure to be a hit with your followers.
One last note, keep an eye on what your followers really respond to. If you find they love certain types of content never be afraid to go in and tweak your collection and scheduling. The key is to remember what your followers love, and then adjust accordingly.
Have you started curating and sharing more content on your social media channels? What have been your results?
Let us know in the comments!