Fresh content is great for social media, but sometimes deadlines, budget or writer's block get in the way. Take these tips to repurpose existing content from your business for social media.
Content is king. If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it 100 times. But the fact is, it can be difficult to create interesting, relevant content day after day. If you’re a small business, or working with a new brand, establishing a social media presence from scratch can seem overwhelming.
It doesn’t have to be.
If your business or brand has been around for even a little while, chances are you already have content you can spin into information that’s appropriate for social media.
Here are some tips on how you can use what you already have:
Go Back in Time
Facebook’s Timeline makes it possible and maybe even fun to dig back in your company’s history and then spin it into a current story. People love history! Especially photos that show off funny hairstyles and fashion. You can say something like, “This was our opening day, May 22, 1990 -- what do you remember about this year? Did you rock hammer pants like these?” If possible, mix in a marketing message: “We only had 10 tables then, but now we have three locations!”
Another idea: Did you save that first dollar your business earned? Take a photo and reminisce about what’s changed since that day. Do you have any other documents -- your first menu, price list or any other photos of special events -- photograph what you have and put it on your Timeline with a little commentary.
How about asking your customers to share stories about how they use your product or what they like most about your brand? (Don’t forget to acknowledge their comments with a Like or a comment of your own.)
Put a New Spin on Old Advertising and Collateral Materials
Have you invested in any display, newspaper, radio, tv advertising? Do you have a blog? Have you written any white papers or case studies? Have you put any videos on YouTube? Have you ever been interviewed by a reporter?
All of these count as content that you can respin into “new” content to use on various social media platforms. One newspaper article could be diced into 10 social media postings as long as you take a minute to make the information relevant to what’s happening with your business today.
Keep in mind that social media is more day-to-day than traditional marketing. An ad campaign can take months to plan and then more time to implement. Is there any information that didn’t make it into the campaign? Consider using some of it for social media. Using social media platforms allows you to use, or reuse, information that you’ve created for other mediums.
Share Information That is Unique to Your Business
Let’s say you own a restaurant and you’d like to promote happy hour without shouting “Join us for happy hour!” How about posting the recipe for your popular James Bond Martini -- along with an instagram shot of the beverage -- and then saying, “If you don’t feel like making your own, we’ll make one for you: the James Bond is just $4 all week long.”
Or the owner of a garden shop might post a tip about how to freeze herbs that would otherwise go to waste. I saw this exact post put up by a small nursery the other day. They didn’t say, “Come and buy some herbs from us,” instead, they shared a useful insider tip, one that their Fans appreciated enough to share again and again.
Share Other Peoples’ Information
There is an amazing and practically unlimited amount of information available on the Internet. And there’s a good chance that some of it is relevant to your brand/business and that your customers will appreciate you sharing it. You spend more time paying attention to news about your industry than your customers do. Some of what you discover will surely be of interest to them.
If you own an art gallery, consider putting up links, along with a quick editorial comment from you, to art news that your customers or potential customers would find interesting. If you share good “stuff,” you will quickly become the go-to source for news about what’s happening in the art world.
You can also use social media to build business alliances. If you own a bar, for instance, maybe you want to give a shout out to a restaurant that’s down the street -- the one that makes your favorite lasagna on Wednesdays. This tactic also allows you to build relationships with other businesses and grow your fan base at the same time.
Get your Employees in on the Action
You’ve been on Facebook since 2009 and are feeling like you have nothing left to say? Why not go back and look at a few postings that had a good response and ask one of your employees to talk about something in the same vein. Again, think about some insider information that your customers would appreciate.
Let’s say you own a restaurant: ask your chef to demonstrate the proper and easy way to dice a mango. Or ask your dessert chef to share her recipe for her popular lemon bars. If you own a hair salon, ask one of your stylists to put up a post that demonstrates how to do some sort of fancy braid. You get the idea.
Ask Your Customers/Users to Contribute
This tip sort of veers into creating new content, but bear with me. Remember that in order for social media to work as it’s meant to, you need to invite your users into the conversation. Your social media presence should be a mix of announcements about you/your brand or business, stuff from elsewhere that your customers/users might find interesting and stuff that they want to share with you.
One great way to get a conversation started is to ask questions. I just saw the Facebook page of some women who have a really popular running blog and Twitter following and they asked their readers to do this: “Fill ‘er in: I was ______years old when I became a runner.” On Twitter alone they had more than 600 people (out of 3200 followers) play along.
I hope this gives you some ideas on how to use the information you already have for social media.
Editor's Note: Other articles about Social Media by Jim Belosic you might be interested in: