Much of the advice is helpful and full of common sense tips. The talk about engaging your audience, developing content people care about, listening and responding. I have been guilty of this, too. (See What Makes Great Social Media Content)
Social Media is a hungry beast that is never sated. In order to be a part of the conversation you have to be there every single day. One could make the argument that you need to be visible and relevant several times a day. That requires a lot of content.
How do you fill that void on a consistent and compelling basis?
One word – involvement.
No one knows your business, brand or nonprofit better than you. The goal of social media is to humanize and personalize your operation so your followers feel more connected to what you do. The creation of this emotuional bond is at the core of what drives great social media.
The challenge is that most organizations are not equipped to handle this level of information development. Social Media content is a relatively new addition to the workload of many organizations. What eventually happens is that the responsibility for social media content falls on the already overloaded desk of one person. It becomes yet another daily task.
What’s worse is that most organizations do not have a cogent and well communicated plan for what they are going to talk about.
Here is a simple way to solve that problem. Empower everyone in your organization to be a content developer. From the front desk to the back room your people see stories and situations – every single day – that can be translated into solid social media content.
In essence, you want everyone to think like a reporter. They should look at what they do and what they encounter as an opportunity to share. From personal stories to brand benefits to simple acts of kindness or humor – there are a million stories in the Naked City of your organization. You just need to coax them out.
How to do that?
Make social media a team effort. If you make this an organizational mandate it will eventually filter down into everyone’s responsibility list. Once they are actively looking for social media content you will have more than you can handle. And, once they start thinking this way they will generate new and better ideas. In addition, encourage everyone to monitor your social media platforms. They can help you watch for spam, negative comments and positive opportunities. This has the added benefit of making them more aware of what your organization is doing and saying.
Make it fun. For goodness sakes, do not make it seem like work! Don’t set weekly quotas or benchmarks. This should be a process that people want to participate in. They should get a visceral thrill of finding something post-worthy. If you want to prime the pump set up a weekly or monthly contest for the best content idea. The winner gets a free lunch. Or a day off.
Brainstorm. Have a staff lunch where you ask your people to come up with ideas. Rememeber, in classic brainstorming sessions there are no bad ideas (even if there are). When you use these ideas be sure to give credit where credit is due. This is a team effort. Your staff is already engaged in social media – most likely during their working hours. Use this to your advantage.
Get visual. Encourage your staff to take pictures and shoot videos. You never know what they’ll find and it adds a richness to your content.
Establish a gatekeeper. This content stream should flow through a narrow funnel of one or two people who know own your organization’s image. Empowerment does not mean anarchy. The last thing you want to do is give everyone admin rights to your Facebook page. There does need to be some order in this chaos.
Set guidelines. While you don’t want to cramp their style you do want to make sure that every staff member realizes they represent the image of the organization. This applies to what they post on their own time. Remind them that if they wish to post for the organization outside your social media space they need to be aware of what is allowable. Using your staff’s personal social networks can help spread your message but you want to be sure they are posting appropriately. The use of the ‘@’ function in Facebook posts is a powerful tool when used wisely.
I realize the title of this post is about improving your social media content in one easy step. Despite all the bold points above that one easy step is getting everyone in your organization – from your CEO to the receptionist – to realize they can have a stake in advancing the goals, cause or image of your organization.
Making this a part of your company’s DNA is a process. It does not happen overnight.
As the Chinese philosopher Lao-Tzu said: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
Start yours today.
Social Media Specialist