Top Social Media and Content Posts – The Weekly Round Up

17 May
May 17, 2015

I didn’t get around to a wrap up last week of the top content I had shared, so I’ve curated 10 posts this week to make up for it.

Someone asked me the other day how I measure engagement on these. I use Buffer‘s analytics to understand engagement from a sharing or favouriting perspective, but my main measure is based on click – how many people actually clicked on the link in the content to read it.

8 Types of Social Media and How They Can Benefit Your Business

Hootsuite published a great piece on some often forgotten forms of social media – it’s not just about the big platforms, it’s also about the tools and function they bring.

Cross Platform Use of Social Media

We all know that people don’t just use one channel, but this post was a good analysis of where exactly they are, with a focus on Twitter and YouTube.

10 Types of Visual Social Media That Get Shared & How To Create Social Media Images that Connect with Your Audience

Visual social, as we know, is hot. But what works in the world of visual? These things. Try them out. Two great posts from NewsCred and Social Media Examiner.

10 Marketing Ideas to Test on Every Social Media Channel

It’s easy to play it safe on your social channels, but these ideas around using data and variable testing will help take your content and marketing on social up a level.

Save Time with a Content Gap Analysis

Content marketing is such a hot topic and businesses feel the need to create, create, create. But many might be surprised they already have a decent bank of it, and just need to find the gaps.

4 Steps Framework for Content Curation

One of my own posts got a lot of clicks last week, and that was when I published my framework for how I curate content.

5 Different Types of Content to Make Your Blog Stand Out

CoSchedule is one of the best blogs out there, and this post is an example of why, assembling some easy to use content formats to add a different angle to your blog.

Brands are Powering Opt-In Influencer Networks

Ambassadors and influencers are an important piece in the marketing mix. This is a good look at how some brands are capturing and activating these users.

How To Rock and Awesome Content Plan

An in-depth look behind the scenes of on of my favourite blogs, Convince and Convert

A 4 Step Framework for Content Curation

12 May
May 12, 2015

Any good content strategy is a mix of created and curated content, and in many cases, curated will be the dominant part of that. It plays an important part in building trust and authority in whatever business you’re in.

While content curation is not just confined to sharing links on social channels, it perhaps the dominant method.

I curate at least 18 content pieces a day across Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Pinterest (in addition to on the fly retweets and shares). and over time I have built up a framework to support the what, when and how.

It breaks down into four elements.

Find Trusted Sources

Your curated output will only be as good as the content you consume. Creating authority through sharing means that you need to find consistent, trusted sources for that content.

I find pieces to share from a wide and varied range of places

  • Newsletters – I subscribe to a dozen different newsletters from individual sites, and scan them each morning for headlines that grab me
  • Aggregators – Further to the newsletters from these individual blogs, there are a number of aggregator newsletters I also use, such as Swayy and SmartBrief that find top pieces of content around a theme
  • Feeds – I use Buffer’s Feeds function, but you can also use tools like Feedly, to bring together stories from other sites I like into a single feed
  • Twitter Lists and Search – I have a number of Twitter search columns set up in TweetDeck around themes like social media and content marketing, as well as lists of key influencers tweets that I can always find something interesting to read
  • Facebook Saved Links / Twitter Favourites – Facebook’s saved links has come in very handy as a way of bookmarking content I like, or want to read later. In the same vein, I use Twitter’s favourite function as a way of bookmarking links for later. These are also particularly good as a way of finding evergreen content to share again.

UPDATE: Looking for some more trusted sources? Check out this post from Buffer.

Read & Organise

Reading the content you plan on sharing may sound fairly obvious, but surprisingly, there is little to suggest that links actually get read before they are shared.

Ever shared something on a channel and had someone like it or retweet it so quickly that they couldn’t have possibly read it? I have seen content on this blog shared multiple times on social platforms, and result in absolutely zero traffic, which as someone who writes with the hope of people reading can be disappointing.

Because you’re wanting to establish trust, read the content you are sharing to make sure that it fits with your social tone of voice and philosophy. Don’t blindly share just because it may have your topic of interest as its overarching theme.

Once you’ve read it, then you need to organise it all. I use Buffer almost exclusively for organising my content that will be shared. It allows me to organise when and where I will share it, and optimise (see next point) my curated content ahead of time.

First I need to work out what content is going to be shared where. The graphic below is a reasonably simple representation of how I determine what to share on the platforms I use the most. Although multiple platforms are listed against each, I may only choose one of them in each situation – as an example, I generally share once to LinkedIn to every five on Twitter. It will all depend on the piece of content.

1

 

Once you know where, then you need to think about the when.

I organise four ways:

  • Relevance – is the topic time sensitive, or relevant right now? Bring those up in the queue and give evergreen content some flexibility
  • Length – I tend to share shorter reads during business hours, with longer content pieces after close of business and weekends. Understand your audiences time available to consume it.
  • Uniqueness – Has it been shared heavily by other people who you could reasonably assume have a similar following to you? If I think yes, I tend to schedule it later when it can still be useful but not lost in a sea of tweets that are exactly the same.
  • Variation – When curating from trusted sources, you will often find many stories from the same site. Make sure you break these up so you’re not sending people to the same site every time.

Optimise

Despite all serving similar function, no two social channels are the same so it is imperative that each piece of content you intend on sharing is optimised for each channel.

When optimising for my channels, I look at four things:

  • Character Limits – Even though Twitter’s limit is 140 characters, according to some analysis the optimal length is actually 70. All networks have different post formats, and you should consider the length text of what you are sharing. Hubspot published a great post of templates for formats on Twitter recently.
  • Hashtags – add appropriate hashtags to content on Twitter, Instagram, G+ and Pinterest. Facebook uses hashtags as well, but there’s a lot of discussion about their actual usefulness. I tend to use 3 at most in any tweet.
  • Images – While most platforms will automatically support a rich preview of content shared, Twitter’s default is still text. Images however increase engagement up to 35% so make sure that where possible, your tweet carries one. Use the Buffer’s Share Image function that appears on hover to make it easy. Also, scroll through the image selected if you’re not happy with it.
  • Credit – Where possible, make sure you give credit to whoever created to the site where you found it, and the writer if possible (in the case of guest blogging and contributors)

Review

Reviewing what is upcoming in your schedule of curated content, as well as what has gone out, is important.

Keeping an eye on upcoming content helps you avoid instances where a story you are sharing has either become irrelevant in light of a change of circumstances, or worse when an event makes that content inappropriate, like Tesco’s ill-timed scheduled tweet a couple of years ago.

I always curate at least 2 days worth of content at a time, as there will be days where life takes over and I don’t find the time. But I am always aware of what’s in the queue.

Keep an eye on this, and also the opportunities to move content around as relevance changes.

Reviewing what has gone out is also important, so you know what resonates with your audience. Look at things like time of day, the hashtags you used and the kinds of users who have engaged with it. All of this will help inform the ‘organise’ step of the process for next time.

I hope you find this framework useful.

Weekly Social Media and Content Round Up – 3rd May

04 May
May 4, 2015

This week’s top social and content posts from my Twitter feed covered some interesting perspectives on social media including false economies and ROI, as well as brand building planning.

How Click Farms Have Inflated Social Media Currency

This article was a really interesting look at fake likes and click farms. Quite a long read, but fascinating.

4 Essentials to Building Your Brand on Social Media

Honestly, I think some of this is reasonably straight forward, and has been covered so much in the past, but this is a good, succinct overview.

How to Measure the ROI of Social Media

Social ROI is one of those topics that continues to be discussed at length as many businesses struggle to work out how to measure value as it applies to their business. These 5 concepts are a good starting point.

The Social Media Content Calendar Every Marketer Needs

An excellent template to manage your publishing on social channels every day. Recommended.

6 Tips Content Marketers Need To Know About Google’s New Update

Google’s recent change to favour mobile friendly sites had some significant impacts on sites, and this post from Contently was a good overview for all content marketers on how to make the most of it.

Weekly Social Media and Content Round Up – 26th April

28 Apr
April 28, 2015

A lot of interesting social media and SEO related content around over the last week as both Facebook and Google made some pretty dramatic changes to the sites and posts they serve up.

Here are the top 5 posts I shared last week.

Google’s Evolution is Forcing Marketers to Invest In Loyal Audiences

I love Whiteboard Friday from Moz, and this post was an excellent piece around building a loyal audience first, rather than primarily focusing on SEO. 

Using Analytics to Show Social ROI

Proving value of social media to executives has always been a challenge, this analytics and data driven approach is a good place to start.

A Visual Guide to Telling Compelling Stories for Your Brand

Storytelling is the new black for brands but something that is still struggled with. 

Staring Up On Social: Twitter

This 101 on Twitter is a great primer for new users of the channel.  

How To Grow Your Personal Brand on Twitter

I really enjoyed this post. Twitter is my primary platform I use without fail everyday. This 10 minute a day framework is great if you want to build yourself as a brand on the network. 

Is There Such A Thing As Extreme Customer Service?

23 Apr
April 23, 2015

I was at a shopping centre over the weekend and dropped by a store in the food court to grab coffee and something to eat.

Stuck to the counter next to the register, facing the server, was a laminated sheet of paper titled “Our Extreme Customer Service Policy“. Under it were 4 simple points:

  • Fast
  • Accurate
  • Quality Product
  • Friendly Smile

When you put it all together, it’s basically saying serve the customer exactly what they want in the fastest and friendliest way possible. Which to me seems a bare minimum.

So while I understand the intent was to reinforce good customer service practice, would these things be considered “extreme” customer service, or are they just the core tenets of service? Granted, the example of a coffee shop is different to digital business, I think it paints an interesting picture of how businesses perceive the expectations of the customer.

Customer Expectations Have Changed

There is no doubt that the expectations of customers are now extreme compared to where they were 10, or even 5 years ago. The technology we now have for them to communicate with us has seen barriers removed and timeframes dramatically shortened.

A recent study from Lithium Technologies indicated that 43% of people expect a response to an online query in the space of an hour, and 14% of them want it in 5 minutes or less! This is where tech has raised the expectations.

So while they are extreme compared to where they have been in the past, it’s also the new normal, because we now won’t settle for the old level of service.

Using the word “extreme” to define a customer service policy is incorrect. What you’re seeking is consistently high, because the heightened expectation is now the baseline.

The policies and processes you have around how you support customers should make amazing service a rule rather than an exception.