It’s the question that plagues many business owners who are trying to build their social media presence – Where the heck am I supposed to find engaging content for my social media accounts?

Add in the fact that social media accounts need updated at least once per day, and you can start to feel overwhelmed very quickly.

Who has time for social media?

Yes, building your social media presence is a daily activity, one that requires some thought and planning.

But we’re reaching a point where ignoring social media is just not an option.  This visibility is incredibly important for your reputation.

Get organized with a content calendar

The first thing you need to do is implement a content calendar for your business. A content calendar helps you plan the details of your content strategy – including what you’re going to post on social media!

If you take one thing away from this blog article, creating a content calendar should be the task you implement. Check out this blog article for more details about starting a content calendar.

Our internal calendar is a simple spreadsheet that tracks various campaigns that include email, news releases and more.  But for this article, let’s keep the focus on social media.

Original content versus curated content

Your content calendar will help you organize your original content and the external content you compile.  External content is what we call content curation.

Why should you be sharing someone else’s content? Don’t you want to keep the focus on your business?

Think of it like this: if you were at a networking event, you would never talk only about yourself. You want to be a courteous networker and talk about other things going on in the world. Social media works the same way.

Every business is different, so you’ll need to experiment with how much content you want to be your own and how much content you want to share from external sources

Let’s pretend you’ve decided on these ratios:

  • 40 percent original content (blogs, videos, infographics, etc.) from your own company
  • 60 percent curated content from (articles, blogs, pictures, etc.) external sources

This means that 40 percent of your social media content is driven by marketing pieces you are creating. And the remaining content can be industry-related information from other websites.

Check out this article for content marketing ideas that you can execute for your blog.

Below are our tips for finding and compiling curated content for your social media accounts that’s engaging and will keep your fans and followers interested in what you have to say.

How to find engaging content for your social media accounts

1. Set-up Google Alerts that relate to your industry

Google has a lot of tools for businesses – Gmail, Analytics and AdWords are a few. But one that many people don’t know about is Google Alerts.

If you have a Google account (and you definitely should) you can access this feature. Basically you can set-up an alert on a specific topic/phrase and Google will email you (daily, weekly or as-it-happens depending on your settings) when relevant content has been published.

For example, one of our clients is a land water conservation organization. Every day, our team receives an email about water conservation articles that were recently published. Some of them won’t be relevant for our client, but sometimes they are and we can publish that on the client’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. Super easy!

The latest website to try their hand at internet alerts is called Mention. It works well and provides more insight, although there is a monthly fee if you want to set-up more than one alert.

2. Subscribe to industry and trade group email newsletters

Most professions have an industry organization that’s sharing useful information on a regular basis. For example, the Public Relations Society of America publishes blogs and podcasts full of useful information.

Make sure you subscribe to your industry’s trade group or groups. More potential content sent straight to your inbox!

3. Know what’s going on in your community (and for that matter, the world)

Sharing external content doesn’t always have to be about your industry. And in fact, a little variety is a great thing. If there’s a big sports game or festival going on in your town, by all means talk about it!

Many of the companies we work with have a local footprint, so posting about community events or local news is a great way to keep fans engaged. Make it easy to remember what’s going on in your community by including big events on your content calendar. Then it can be as simple as posting “Who else is going to the rib cook-off this weekend!” with a link to a news article.

You should also keep on an eye on what’s trending nationally with sites like Google Trends and Fresh. If people are talking about something, you should be ready to jump into the conversation!

4. Follow industry leaders on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn

Every industry has some well-known names. In the marketing industry, Seth Godin is very well-known. We follow him on Twitter and periodically re-tweet his content to our followers. We learn something and so do our fans!

5. Use content curation apps and tools

Check out websites like Feedly and Prismatic. Feedly is a news aggregator that compiles news feeds from a variety of online sources. Once you create an account you can customize your sources and start sharing all from one website.

Prismatic is similar, although it uses an algorithm to suggest relevant stories for you to read. Prismatic is great because it will help you find blogs and articles that you may not have found on your own.

So you can see that there are many ways to find content for your social media channels. It just takes a little planning and a little effort to get these systems in place.

Have more questions about finding engaging content for your social media channels? Leave a comment and we’ll be sure to respond!