Creating enough content to keep your social media feeds current is tough, right? Whether you’re on your own or a billion dollar multinational, it can seem like you’ve never got enough new stuff and your Twitter starts to look just a little bit repetitive.

Well here’s a little secret: new social media content doesn’t mean writing until midnight, creating graphics on the beach, or frantically constructing social copy on the move. There are great blogs, articles and graphics everywhere you look on the internet – many of them written by people with more expertise than you. The trick is finding the right stuff, and then using it in the right way. Here’s our top tips for doing just that.

Finding the right content

With content coming out of the internet’s ears, it can feel a little daunting when you start out. It really doesn’t have to be though. This is how you can create an effective and efficient digital sieve:

1. Invest the time finding sources, authors and organisations whose content is aligned with your message, tone of voice and fits into your overall content strategy. Your audience will want consistency – they’re following you and engaging with your content for a reason. It’s important to regularly review these sources – are they still right for your organisation or are you missing out on new options? Be picky and chose quality sources, that will offer your current and potential followers something. A tool like BuzzSumo is great place to start. Search for topics your organisation engages in, see who else is creating content around these themes, and check them out.

 

2. Once you have a list, find out which sources have RSS feeds. Set up a Feedly account, and use these to automatically pull in blogs as they’re published. Review these on a regular basis, depending on the volume you want to share.

3. Those sources that don’t have an RSS feed will be harder to monitor. You have a few options though, don’t worry. You could create a Twitter list for all those sources with an active presence – or better yet see if someone else has created a list that closely matches your own, which might even include other great sources you hadn’t considered. You can also set up a BuzzSumo search, and everyday pop the domains in, and hey presto you’ve got the most shared content from those sources in the last year, the last month or the last 24 hours. (P.S. extra, bonus tip – do this with all your sources anyway, and jump on trending articles and topics – there’s nothing worse than looking behind the curve). Or, you can use a good old fashioned Google Sheet, include the URL and the name of the source, and review regularly.

Sharing in the right way

Great news, you’ve got a bank of great social media content, aligned with your brand and organisation from reputable sources. Job done!

Actually, I’m afraid, the tricky bit is just beginning. Sharing relevant and engaging content is a great start to get people interested in you, and following your social media feeds. But (and this is the hard bit to hear) at the moment you’re not unique. There’ll be any number of other organisations sharing exactly the same content, on the same themes. They might even be bigger than you, with a bigger budget, and able to operate at a much higher volume, trawling far more of the internet for content and posting far more often.

So in this case Goliath gets a resounding victory over David, and you wander back to the social media wilderness with your keyboard between your legs? Well no, not necessarily, hold your mouse up high, and get your sharing strategy right. (By the way, Goliath, this doesn’t mean you can stop reading, the next bit is just as true for you.)

You have to make sure that people are coming to you, rather than your competitors, or even straight to the horse’s mouth. The key to this is social copy.

This is where your share of a piece of content will stand apart, the bit where people will get something original and unique to you – and therefore unique and original to them.

There are a few ways to do this:

• Make the social copy clever or witty – the world can be a depressing place, especially on social media, so give people a smile, arrest the scroll and get them clicking.

• Or, show your expertise to your audience. You’ve read the blog, understood it, and now you can offer them an insight in your copy – giving them a reason to share, like, comment or read more.

• Better yet, expand beyond the content itself. Offer your followers a thought not in the article, share it with a related graphic or tag the author with a question. Other people have probably had the same question and your feed becomes a useful source of additional information.  

You might be using tech to find your material, but that doesn’t mean you can sound like a robot.  Give your well-curated, well-sourced content an intelligent, human voice and you’ll be building your social media presence before you know it – all taking a fraction of the effort of creating it from scratch.  

 

Like this? Read ‘What the death of clickbait means for engaging content’.

If you’d like to hear how we can help you with curating and creating content that fits with your social media and comms strategy, get in touch today.

Email: office@formativecontent.com or call our team on 01494 672 122

Joe Myers is an Account Manager at Formative Content and manages high volume, high quality social media communities for our largest clients.

Formative Content is a UK based content marketing agency producing high quality content, live event coverage and strategic communications support for clients around the world.

 

It’s fair to assume that every digital communications strategy today contains an element of social media. With digital advertising spend set to double in 2017 and social media making up a large proportion of that, social media advertising can really pay off for businesses.

But setting up a paid campaign isn’t always straightforward. So what do you need to know to make it easier and why should you consider making the effort in the first place?

Three advantages of social media advertising:

1. More people can see your content
Getting results through organic social media can take a lot of time to be successful. If you’re running a short campaign about a particular topic, or want to create a surge in awareness, organic posting alone often doesn’t have the desired impact. Paid campaigns can help boost impact – and much more quickly at that.

2. The right people see your content
With paid campaigns, you can target audiences down to a granular level, whether it’s on Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter. This means that you’re not just getting more views, you’re getting more valuable ones.

3. Organic social is amplified
Advertising campaigns are not a replacement for organic social media.They simply amplify the success of your organic social strategy. Paid social media is great for extending the reach of your top performing content. Your content is more likely to reach the people you want to see it, because the algorithms used by Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter favour paid over organic content.

If your organic activity is already working, paid campaigns are the natural next step. By amplifying your successful campaigns, you ensure that your quality content is exploited on a much larger scale.


How to get more out of your social media advertising campaign:

Understand who your audience, buyers and influencers are. Paid campaigns are useful for distributing your content to both a highly targeted and a broader audience that will be interested in your message. Get clear on who you’re targeting before you run a campaign – you can always adapt and tweak the parameters later, but it helps to have a good idea before you start.

Be clear on what you want to achieve. There are lots of different potential outcomes when running a campaign, so it helps to know exactly what you want to get out of it. That might be to:

Get the copy and content levitra online us right. Your copy needs to be short and powerful – can you draw your audience in with just a few sentences? Whatever platform you’re using, the most successful campaigns are based around strong imagery (and video, but not across all platforms). So choosing the right images to promote your content is key. Looking for advice when choosing stock photography? We made this short social video which will help.

So what platforms can you use?

Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter all have their own in-built “ads” platforms that allow you to promote organic content or set up unique paid campaigns. There are some subtle (and some not-so-subtle) differences between them, but in a nutshell:

Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter ads are all great at increasing the performance of pages on their platforms. They are also good at driving users through to external websites. However, if increasing website visitors is a priority, you should consider using paid advertising platforms like Outbrain and Taboola.

Taboola and Outbrain are algorithmic “Content Discovery Platforms” that distribute links to content on premium websites including the BBC, Independent, Boston Globe, Guardian and Reuters. Your brand’s content is displayed within a “promoted stories” box (‘widget’) on these websites. The association of your brand with these “premium” websites conveys greater perceived authority to your content.

As Taboola and Outbrain rely on computer algorithms to deliver content, you don’t control who sees the content, nor can you target specific people (you can target geographic areas). However, these platforms are a sure-fire way to increase the number of visitors to your website.

Their algorithms continuously learn and will only deliver the content to people they think will actually be interested in the content. This means that Taboola and Outbrain are useful for building a broad audience of people who are interested in a specific topic area, for example telecoms or IT.

Like this? Read ‘How to define true social media success’

If you’d like to hear how we can help amplify your content through organic and paid social media strategies, get in touch today.

Email: office@formativecontent.com or call our team on 01494 672 122

 Adam Shirley is an Account Manager at Formative Content and runs paid campaigns for many of our clients.

Formative Content is a UK based content marketing agency producing high quality content, live event coverage and strategic communications support for clients around the world.

The transforming and disruptive effects of technology are being felt in all industries, and events are no exception. From how they’re organised and run to the on-the-ground experience of attendees, digital technologies are making their mark.

This was one of the key topics discussed during the recent session The Future of Events: The Challenge of Digital, held by Formative Content in London.

Timed to coincide with our report of the same name, the event was moderated by Formative Content CEO Gay Flashman with presentations from Jazmin Beale from Olympia London, Una O’Sullivan of KPMG, Lucy Eldred from KNect365 and Joe Edwards of Sage.

The packed room was given a whistle-stop tour by the speakers of the way that events are harnessing technology – both old and new.

Jazmin Beale began with a couple of stellar examples that she had seen recently as Head of Marketing and Communications at Olympia London, where she handles some 220 conferences a year.

One of the largest shows that Olympia London hosts is the London Book Fair – or LBF.

 

Online diary

“Among the innovative ways that LBF are using technology is an online diary, which allows attendees to find those that they want to connect with face to face. It also matches visitors, based on their interest areas, with the exhibitors. It’s a great tool,” said Jazmin, “Particularly for new attendees who are trying to navigate the market, and establish themselves within the industry.”

 

Snapchat

It began as a way for millennials to communicate but Snapchat is fast becoming a useful event tool, according to Jazmin. Another regular to Olympia London is Pure London, the UK’s largest gathering of fashion buyers, who have effectively used Snapchat as part of their content strategy.

“Using Snapchat enables B2B events to target a different audience, which might not have access to the show, but can still experience it live,” explained Jazmin. “With over 100 million daily users sharing over 400 million snaps a day, Snapchat is one of the fastest growing social networks of 2016.

“Pure London took things a step further by using geo-filters, enabling visitors to leave their mark and take personalisation to the next level. Creating a ‘story’ placed the event literally in the hands of a huge London based market, providing a huge audience for the show and its exhibitors,” she said. “Pure London is trend-leading in terms of integrating social, whilst being a B2B.”

 

Video

Whilst video itself is nothing new, how it is deployed is what is important, as Joe Edwards, Global Director of Global Campaign Development at Sage, and a comms industry veteran explained.

“We’ve started watching more video on mobile than desktop. If you’re not thinking about video on mobile, then you’re two years behind the curve,” he stated.

Indeed, Pure London used video very effectively to showcase footage from backstage of their shows, added Jazmin.

“A recent study shows that video content is 12 times more likely to be shared than text. Video can play emotion, and can communicate atmosphere and branding more effectively than anything else. In the case of Pure London, it’s great for showcasing features, such as all the back stage action.”

The London Book Fair also used video, through strategically placed television sets, to enhance their event experience, she continued.

“They had screens positioned around the fair, listing what was going on and giving exhibitors the opportunity to drive traffic to their stand,” explained Jazmin. “It also pushed quieter workshops, and provided organisers with an extra revenue stream through advertising on the channel.”

 

What’s next?

During her presentation, Jazmin Beale also treated us to run down of what we might expect to see at events in the near future.

 

Augmented reality

Among the more recent innovations is augmented reality (think Pokémon Go). “It’s very on trend,” she said, whilst warning that: “You need to be very creative and have large budgets. We don’t see this filtering down unless you have really deep pockets.”

 

Virtual reality

Not to be confused with augmented reality, virtual reality is becoming increasingly relevant to corporate offices around the world, according to Jasmine, because it allows attendees to access the event from their desk.

“Not only will this reduce cost of travel and accommodation but it is a ‘step up’ from live streaming as it promises to allow live interaction with colleagues and the event itself,” she said.

 

Behind the scenes tech

Behind-the-scenes event management was also becoming more sophisticated, explained Jazmin.

“Communication between suppliers and other departments can all be done through a central hub of information, which can be accessed in any time zone. It makes the process of organising an event smoother, and reduces the risk of errors. Look to Double Dutch or Propared for event management software specialists,” she said.

 

Is the app dead?

 Lucy Eldred’s insights show us how what may be wildly en vogue one year can disappear very quickly.

“A few years ago it was all about “QR codes”,” she said. “Everything had to have one. Now, you just don’t see them anymore.”

The same seems to be happening to the use of an “event app”, which, according to Jazmin, had declined in recent years. However, used in an innovative way, it still has its place.

Jazmin explained how the LBF app added value to their app by incorporating an interactive floorplan, which allowed visitors to find their way around the show floor easily and even plan their route between stands and feature areas.

However: “If you’re building a brand then yes aim to have an app and that’s something people can engage with throughout the year, but otherwise it’s not really worth it,” she conceded.

 

Podcasts

What about podcasts? Una O’Sullivan explained how KPMG had made great use of podcasts for news-specific content, for example, Brexit. “People just wanted to talk and wanted to hear what global leaders through about it, so we recorded some leaders talking and we had record numbers dialling in.”

Joe Edwards told us how one of the clients he used to work for had engaged the services of famous actors to do voiceovers for their whitepapers, which turned out to be a highly successful strategy.

 

An online portal

Among the upcoming developments at KPMG’s events, as highlighted by Una O’Sullivan was a portal, where both delegates and non-delegates alike could dip in and out of to get the best content.

“It’s a hub that contains what the conference achieved, what was showcased, and the key highlights on the future of industry,” she explained.

Interestingly, in terms of reaching her audience, new wasn’t always best, said Una.

“We went down the html newsletter route, but now, if you want something to have impact you make it plain text and straight from a global leader. We have reverted to good old fashioned email because that’s what works best.”

 

Insight leadership not thought leadership

 “Thought leadership” is a key element of any digital content strategy, particularly for events, but Joe Edwards felt that insight leadership could be much more powerful.

“At Sage we built an online personality test that works out an individual’s work style and allowed them to compare that with their friends and colleagues. Through that we can gather lots of data about HR and Payroll professionals, which allows us to produce insight-driven content. It’s not an opinion piece, it’s factually based and it’s company-owned.”

It was left to Lucy and Joe to sum up the role of technology in covering events.

“You have to be responsive to trends and issues,” said Lucy. “The digital landscape is in constant flux, and it simply needs to be looked at on a continual basis.”

Joe’s opinion was simple. Regardless of what technology was used: “Put your content everywhere. Engage everybody, and engage them all the time. Never stop engaging.”

 

Find out more in the report, The Future of Events: The Challenge of Digital. Enter your name and email address to download your copy.

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Formative Content’s team of experienced journalists and marketers will help you build the reputation of your brand. Get in touch – we’d love to hear from you. office@formativecontent.com Tel: +44 (0) 20 7206 2687

Alex Gray is a Senior Writer at Formative Content responsible for writing fast-turnaround, engaging blogs on a variety of topics and industries.

You can follow Alex on Twitter at @Agray_formative

Formative Content is a UK based communications agency producing high quality content, live event coverage and strategic communications support for clients.