Social media strengthens connections and collaborations. It’s a way to share knowledge with your: community, clients, staff, volunteers, other agencies, and those seeking your expertise. Wonderful, right?
In 2018 it is used to turn communication into interactive dialogue among communities and individuals. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, GooglePlus, the list goes on. These platforms enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking, and who in this day and age doesn’t want to be able to do that for their organization?
Not one of us.
We all know that social media is something every organization should be utilizing. Then how come you may feel overwhelmed at the actual task of doing it, of creating content, or finding it? Perhaps you are a beginner, or a volunteer, or employee with no experience in this area, or don’t really ‘get’ how to generate social media period.
Don’t worry, you are not the only one.
Be it generating content by writing your own, or by sharing other’s – taking care of social media can be an overwhelming task for busy, well-meaning organizations to achieve on a daily or weekly basis. It takes time and effort, but you can do it!
While I’m no expert, I sure do read a lot about ways to facilitate effective communication in the social media sphere. Not only that, but I actually do generate social media content on a daily and weekly basis, and I’ve learned how to begin writing and finding content effectively. And that’s where you start.
So here are my 5 simple tips for generating content to start and keep your community association or organization’s social media activity, active…even if you are a beginner.
Social Media Tips for Beginners
1. Keep a running list of ideas
You never know when inspiration might strike. Alongside the ideas that come to your own mind, you may see something online, hear something on the radio, or see a reference on tv or in the news – write them down. I keep a running text document easily accessible on my desktop, and refer to it when I am ready to write my posts or blog. Remember that a good practice is to clear items off of your list as you use them for your posts or blog.
2. Subscribe to topics of interest through Google Alerts
This is a great and free tool. If you set up alerts for specific keyword phrases related to your niche, you’ll receive results (links basically) to your email from the web. I love this time saving research tool. With it, you can get ideas that you can build on by seeing and getting a feel for what’s being talked about. You can build on those ideas or maybe see what’s missing and fill in that gap with your own article or post. You can set up hundreds of alerts if you want to and have lots of options about what information you receive.
3. Set aside 10-15 minutes a day to read read read
None of us has much time, but you will need to scan and read the articles and information you collect. I tend to do this right when I wake up in the morning, or on the bus, or even on a coffee break. You can fit it in, and you will find that you get really good at scanning what is useful information to your specific needs.
4. Monitor what others are talking about on social media channels
Always keep an eye on other agencies like yours or complementary to yours that use social media. We’re in this together after all, and they will often have great content to share or build on. Remember to tag them and use the hashtags appropriately. Here’s a useful article on how to use hashtags on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
5. Search news sites for the latest current event about your area of expertise
Although your Google alerts should bring in the news to your inbox, a tip to finding the most current news for sharing is to go to the top Canadian news sites (or international if you prefer) and simply search their site for the latest news in your area of interest. You can even search by date, so you can ensure you are getting the latest, most relevant news stories to your organizations areas of interest, or those of the community you serve.-
The above tips, using my own experience as a guide, will hopefully be useful to you for idea generation, and that is half the battle. You will find lots of content to share using the above methods of research to generate ideas, or to write your own posts.
Now you’re ready to get really productive in your social media posting by scheduling your posts. Clearly you could post every day to get the job done, or you could get even more productive and ‘schedule’ your posts. Scheduling posts on a weekly basis saves you time and is very easy to do.
There are a number of software options to schedule your social media and I’ve used a few of them. While I really like using Hubspot to post content in one convenient place, it is a service you pay for. There are many free social media scheduling tools out there that are easy to use as well. You will just need to find the one that feels right for your needs and budget.
Keep in mind, you won’t always achieve original content that hits the nail right on the head every time, but with practice and dedication, your organization will hit those moments with increasing frequency. I plan to write more original content about how an organization can measure those moments in another blog post for ShareVision.