Make your social media more like a factory. Say what?

Content is king. A picture is worth 1,000 words. Time is money. Though all these phrases are completely cliché, they still ring true for your social media channels. If your followers don’t like your content, they wont engage with it. If they stop engaging with it, they stop seeing it. There are a number of aspects that go into making great content, but how do you keep the content flowing?

Build a Content Factory. Simple, right?

First things first, consider your social channels as your museum with a limited number of walls to fill with great works of art. As the curator, it’s up to you to decide what goes on the wall and what is better suited for the office fridge. In order to know what should go on the wall, you need to know who your audience is and what emotion (or message) you’re trying to relate. If you don’t know, try working through these handy dandy worksheets to give yourself some guidance.

Once you have your themes defined and your brand voice warmed up, it’s time to start the machine. There are a number of resources right at your fingertips and across the hallway to help feed the social media monster you’ve created.

  • Create Facebook or Twitter lists including your partners, members, like-minded brands, competitors, etc. to keep an eye on the conversation and following trends within your market. Don’t just RT or repost this content, but find ways to repurpose it to fit your brand.
  • Use Hootsuite to set up searches, monitor hashtags and engage where appropriate.
  • Use your community to create assets for you. Ask them to share specific photos, use a branded hashtag on Instagram to aggregate content and build relationships with photographers.
  • Get the rest of the staff invested and involved. Ask them to contribute and be a part of the community you’re all working to create. If they don’t have the best photography skills, host a training to teach them how to create more visually appealing content.
  • Get your members and partners involved by asking them to share relevant content with you. Remember, you are the curator. You decide where the content actually goes.

Now that the worker bees are busy, busy, busy sending content your way, you have to think about your audience and what you’re trying to achieve with your social media content.

Not every post can be everything to everyone, but each piece should have a specific goal.

People are most likely only going to engage with each post once, meaning they will only like, or only comment, or only share, or only click to the website, or only… you get the point. Don’t ask for the “like” if you want to drive web traffic. Don’t expect a lot of comments on videos; people tend to click to watch and then maybe click to share. If you have a link, a hashtag and a call to action in each post, the results will be muddled; the user has too many options. Keep it simple and mix it up.

After establishing what actions you want your audience to take with your content (e.g., comment, share, watch), establish KPIs that align with these goals in order to determine the success of your posts. Your goals and evaluation tools must align. Just as you can't ask your fans to perform more than one action with your content, you can't evaluate your posts by every KPI. Acknowledge your main goal up front, track its success and reflect on learnings moving forward.

Now that this factory is becoming a well-oiled machine, how do you keep track of everything? Create a content calendar. Keep an excel file or a Google doc of your themes and your goals. Each week, take time to layout your content to ensure you’re hitting all your themes and varying the calls to action to achieve your goals. This will also help you appropriately utilize content across platforms without hitting your audiences over the head with the same content messages. Don't forget to create space for yourself to go back and note learnings for easy reference down the road.

A few more tips for factory-like efficiency:

  • Plan ahead for timely events. If you’re going to do a photo shoot, get props for a number of different holiday posts rather than doing them one by one on the day they are happening.
  • Check your insights. It’s important to know when your community is online and how they respond to different types of content.
  • Instead of just tweeting an article with the 10 Best XYZs related to your brand or destination, take each one of those 10 items and create a content piece around it.
  • Utilize your locals and your community. They want to be involved, ask them for answers to questions, for photos and for recommendations. If you use their photos, make sure you have permission and always give credit.
  • Get a better response on your content by posting specifically for each channel. Do not ask people to RT on Facebook or auto publish your Facebook posts to Twitter. Sure, you may thing it saves you time, but you’re going to lose engagement by not being relevant.
  • Give yourself time to take a step back and evaluate what is working and what could you change. Try to look at your social communities from an outsider's perspective. If this is too challenging, find a real outsider to give you honest feedback.

One important note to end on is that even though a content factory will help produce a steady flow of valuable content, this neither means your content should lack in quality nor should you step away completely from your machine. In addition to being a curator, you're a also a foreperson of your factory; make sure the content produced is of good quality and your machinery is running properly.

Now that we've given you all these job titles, get out there and build your content factory! For a little more information, take a look at the Content Factory Slideshare, and if you have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to @Sparkloft.