Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I Don't Know What To Say

One of the biggest fears I hear in the voices and see in the faces of the people we introduce social media marketing to, is the creation of content. Put simply: "I don't know what to say".

This may seem like a valid trepidation on the surface, after all content IS king in social media, and along with strategy and engagement, is part of the social media "triangle" for success. Coming up with interesting and relevant information on a consistent basis seems like a daunting task, and many people and companies opt out of social media based on this one seemingly challenging prospect.

These are typically the same people I can have a fourty-five minute conversation with about who they are, what they do, and how they feel about their industry. They can go into detail about the latest trends, their past successes and failures, things they would love to try, how they started their company, and cite several news stories that are affecting their bottom line.

Can you see where this is going?

Without using a single tool to mine information, most people easily have several blog posts, dozens of tweets, a month or two of Facebook posts within themselves, all without researching a single thing. If they literally sat down for an hour one day, and thought about it, they could easily find enough content for months.

Besides their own brain power, there is this little discovery device called the internet. I did a quick experiment researching content for a medical billing company. I simply entered "medical billing" in Google, clicked the 'news' tab up top, and walla. A bevy of interesting articles about that industry. It took ten seconds.

Now setting up a Google alert makes this even simpler. At a pre-determined interval, the news finds YOU. An email is sent to you with several articles for the search terms you set up. Remember to use quotes when searching or setting up your alerts. In the example I just gave, "medical billing" will give you much more refined and specific findings, than typing in medical billing. The quotes lock the words together, giving results specifically FOR "medical billing". By just typing in medical billing, you will get results for anything with the word medical or billing mixed in with medical billing.

Read blogs about your industry or business. Find white papers or newsletters. Join groups on LinkedIn. Speak to your friends and neighbors and ask their opinions or thoughts. Chances are, you can come up with plenty of content by simply looking around you.

As well, mix in some fun and games. Have a contest once in a while and give away a $5 Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks card. On a Friday, link to an online game of some sort such as can be found on Miniclip. On Monday ask what people did for fun over the weekend. The possibilities are almost limitless. The only "what NOT to do" is to treat your social media as an advertising medium. Keep from making it a commercial about yourself!

Spend an hour one day data mining and creating several posts/tweets/blog entries. Create a word document or similar, and get some ideas ready for the next 2-4 weeks. Keep in mind some news items may be time sensitive, so keep those up top. A good strategy for posting frequency is to set up your ical or outlook calendar. Simply entering in a repeated task (facebook post; blog entry; tweet) will remind you that today is the day for this task. Once organized, it is simple to implement.

Still afraid? Keep in mind, your competition isn't. While we are still at the doorstep of social media marketing, this is your chance to get inside and get your stride going before the explosion that is bound to happen, and is happening right now. Every day more companies turn to social media, and every year budgets are increased for this marketing medium as more and more success stories roll in. It's still a great time to get your feet wet.

Still don't know what to say? Get in touch with us. We can help you develop your content and keep you on track.

-Bill DeRosa