What are good brainstorm techniques to come up with social media content?

social media pyramid of channels

Ever run out of ideas to share on social or, worse, get writer’s block? Often, your audience holds the key to what you should be sharing…

View the original thread on Quora: What are good brainstorm techniques to come up with social media content?

My answer:

Phenomenal answer by Kasper Kazzual Vancoppenolle, to be fair.

Of all of those points, getting into bed with your audience is the one that rings truest, here.

I firmly believe that listening to your audience (not thinking that you know best when it comes to what they want) is the best inspiration for producing or curating content.

More on that, here: How do I get known or promote my online profile?

Owned Content

If we have a purpose for what we produce, it helps us define and refine our answers. If we’re best-guessing, there’s room to go off at all different tangents, thus easier to meander from our content marketing goals.

Staying consistent with our message also helps us attract an engaged, loyal audience.

As more brands see the need for social engagement, we’re asked more and more to measure our activity, prove our clients’ ROI.

As direct sales are not attributable to social media activity (at least not in volume), interaction and brand mentions are one way to see how effective our campaign is.

Google analytics (another must-read source for discovering keywords and phrases that your visitors are finding your site for) can also help us determine what is (and isn’t) effective.

Produce our own or curate content?

Without content, curated or authored, there is no strategy. So your social listening activity has to affect the content you write or curate from the outset.

Pareto’s 80/20 rule applies as much to social as any other aspect of business. As in, for every two posts of our own we share, we should be curating eight relevant other posts from our industry space.

To help define a robust curation strategy, we need to see what our peers, industry thought leaders and competition are sharing. And, of course, the reaction that content is garnering with their audiences.

I’m not suggesting be a copycat; heck, you wouldn’t be in business without a USP that your customers love. But if those who share your industry space find certain content shareworthy, the likelihood is that your audience will, too.

…there are always going to be the leading blogs in your industry. No doubt many of those who inhabit your niche share that same content.

However, there are likely to be lesser known websites with at least as influential and relevant content. In my experience, the seeds for content on authoritative blogs are often sown by smaller articles found elsewhere in their niche.

So why not try Google Alerts as an alternative means to fetch relevant content?

It may well be that you can beat your competition to the punch, or even produce that killer article before the authoritarians can steal a march. Now that is worth brainstorming.

More on Google Alerts, here: Where can I find articles on International Social Media Strategies?

Image: Social Media Pyramid Showing Blogs Foruns And Podcasts by Stuart Miles freedigitalphotosdotnet.jpg

Where can I find articles on International Social Media Strategies?

Google Alerts results for Global Social Media

What has happened to Google Alerts? It’s gone all Hummingbird on us!

I was asked to answer this question on Quora:

Where can I find articles on International Social Media Strategies?

Social media strategy is almost exclusively focused on the United States.  Who are the social media thought leaders in the International space?

The original question was posted in September. Since, there have been some other answers from formidable authorities in the social media space.

Whether the poster of the question didn’t like the answers their question had garnered, who can say? Whatever, I threw my hat into the ring. Along the way, I found out something very interesting about Google Alerts…

Continue reading

5 Trends That Will Change How You Use Social Media in 2015

I’ve seen many forecasts like this posted since answering a similar Quora question last week. But few with so little fanfare (and believable accuracy) as this one on Hootsuite.

Written by Hootsuite’s CEO, Ryan Holmes, it portends a Dystopian social media future:
► ability to buy direct from a tweet or facebook post with a click;
► social networks gathering even more data (watch out for the ‘we’ll handle your payment‘ carrot);
► and:

“a smart fridge that tracks your Facebook Events, sees you’re planning a party and how many people have RSVP’d and alerts you to make a beer run”

1984? I kid you not » http://ow.ly/2RugnC

How do I get known or promote my online profile?

Examples of Hootsuite Stream Twitter Search

Jason Darrell’s answer (on Quora) to: How do I get known or promote my online profile?

Answer by Jason Darrell:

First, you want to get known for the right reasons.

Start with social listening – follow conversations where your expertise can help people out. Don’t try and sell anything at first – just be a hero to those in need.

If your knowledge is sound and advice clear, people will start to follow you for the right reasons.

Be where your customer is
If you simply gatecrash a conversation and paste a link to an answer you have existing on your own web real estate, (social media or website/blog), people will see you as a spammer, even if you do it with good intentions!

The psychology adopted by today’s digital-savvy consumer makes them very protective of their little bit of the internet.

As marketers, we have to reach people where they are – if they’re using facebook, don’t try to send them to Google+ or Twitter.

In order to encapsulate the whole of this market, you need to be wherever you think potential customers will be.

How to begin Social Listening
The temptation is to push, push, push your own content. Then push it some more. You cannot do that until you’ve developed trust and displayed your authority by sharing relevant knowledge with your potential audience.

To begin, you can follow hashtags, perform your own searches on the platforms themselves and follow thought leaders in your field to see how they’re responding to people who you believe will benefit from your help.

Hootsuite Social Media Management offers ways to follow “twitter searches”, as per this image, depicting a couple of terms I’ve got a vested interest in:

To accomplish following hashtags using Hootsuite, simply:

  • create a stream in Hootsuite (after you’ve signed up, if you’ve not done so already),
  • choose the Twitter account via which you want to follow conversations (must be linked via Hootsuite),
  • choose the ‘search’ option for the new stream (it will have ‘mentions‘, ‘inbox‘, ‘home stream‘, etc.)
  • and finally enter the search terms for which you want Hootsuite to render tweets in your dashboard (as above).

NOD3x Social Media Analytics and Data Discovery does a similar thing for Google+.

Both have free versions, with options for greater social network coverage (both in volume and number of networks you can follow/post to) for upgraded licenses.

Also, make sure you’re following Twitter chats around your sector and are involved in Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ groups/communities of the same.

The new term for this ‘phenomenon’ is “Relationship Marketing“. It’s no different from the 1-2-1 help pro digital marketers have been offering for years.

If you’re looking for an overall social strategy, here’s a 12-step guide I put together in a similar answer right here on Quora: How should I stop my self-promoting on social media?

I think that should cover all your bases; the very best of luck.

I am trying to get more website traffic and social networking traffic. Any help?

Hummingbird in a Nutshell

…question found on @Quora

Answer by Jason Darrell:

Some great answers here already. But there are three main routes via which relevant traffic can reach your website:

  • organic (SERPs)
  • social (networking/engagement)
  • paid (sponsored/adwords)

First, make sure you have unique quality content that adds value to your readership/following when they get there. Both in the service pages and on your blog.

Then, make sure they can find their way around your website.

According to #StateofSearch this week in Dallas, high quality content and navigability are the two key factors of the UX that will help your website in SERPs for organic traffic.

More info in this SlideShare, here:

Hummingbird and Semantic Search – State of Search Dallas from Eric Enge

Then, you need to be the face of your brand on social. Begin with social listening, pick out the conversations that point to your product/service being of benefit, then offer to help.

Don’t go in with a hard sell – just help out and your authority will lead to traffic via social in time.

I outline out a social engagement strategy based on my personal experience (if you don’t have one), here: Jason Darrell’s answer to How should I stop my self-promoting on social media?

Then, there’s paid traffic. Whether you use adwords and/or sponsored/boosted posts on social will depend upon the nature of your product.

Your ‘social listening’ efforts will help you to determine which platforms’ users have most in common with you, your brand and your product.

SEM, unfortunately, is beyond my remit, therefore take on board what others have said about driving paid traffic, if you will.

How do I use LinkedIn for promoting a social media app?

screen shot of linkedin 'groups you may like' sidebar widget

Answer by Jason Darrell to the Quora question, “How do I use LinkedIn for promoting a social media app?“:

First, we have to realise that LinkedIn is a platform where wheels move within wheels. Not quite “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours”, but close enough.

So, before dropping a link to your app on groups who may like the product, but don’t yet see you as part of their clique, write an in-depth post about your app on LinkedIn Pulse, LinkedIn’s personal publishing platform

But don’t make it a sales pitch. Instead, outline the benefits:

  • Why would people need your app?
  • What time/money will your app save adopters?
  • How simple is it to install/use?

Stage 2 – LinkedIn Groups

Once that’s posted, engage in community threads where people are asking about issues that your app could solve. Or in groups where users of your app are likely to hang out.

There’s often ‘suggested’ groups for you to join. Ensure that your profile relates to the app you’ve created and these should be relevant.

screen shot of linkedin 'groups you may like' sidebar widget
“Groups You May Like”, LinkedIn suggestions

Better still, add details of the app in a “project” on your LinkedIn profile.

Even if the groups aren’t what you’d expect, one assumes you’ve tested the market and know your target persona before creating the app, right? Cool. But again, no hard sell.

You can always link back to your LinkedIn Pulse article or your profile in order that people can make up their own mind about your new product. This may be preferable at the outset instead of sending people off site to a bespoke landing page you’ve created.

Which reminds me, when you insert a link into your LinkedIn Pulse post about the app, create a specific landing page for potential LinkedIn customers.

They do think they’re special. Landing page content directed towards the traffic LinkedIn is likely to bring (corporate, middle management and small business owners) will help you convert them. They’ll love it!

Rehearsed ad lib – breaking down barriers and garnering trust

Mm, should I? Ah, what the heck…

…here’s something else you could try.

When I was doing the promo for a new golf product, the developer and I set out to look for both affiliates and customers in the LinkedIn groups.

We were already members of many of the same groups as I was writing a lot about golf at the time.

What we used to do is known as a ‘Dog and Pony’ trick.

We’d get together on Skype (he was in Canada, me in the UK) and craft a Q&A that covered the issues we’d identified his product could help solve.

We also looked at the price point, to ensure that there was a good margin for third parties to retail through affiliate links.

I followed his LinkedIn profile so that I got notifications when he posted. He’d put the questions to relevant groups and I’d respond with the preprepared answer.

As this seemed totally organic to other group members, they had no problem pitching in with their thoughts and comments. Neither did they object, as my answers always added value to the group.

Very important, that last point. If the info is quality, people will see you as an authority. Even if they don’t proceed to buy your product, you’ll at least have some return on your investment.

Anywho, the responses from golfers and affiliates alike gave us even more of an angle to pitch the product.

We also had a level of exposure that advertising cannot buy. Through word of mouth, we achieved our goal over the course of a few months.

How? People do like to share their knowledge when they’ve helped out elsewhere. Double bubble.

Now, I’m in no way suggesting you do this. My biz partner was a wily old fox and I’m an expert copywriter, a great team for what we wanted to achieve. But if you’re confident you can pull it off, the very best of luck…☺