Keep The Social Media Fires Burnin’ Sustain-ably

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Last week when we began talking about sustainable content creation, we mentioned the natural extension to social media. If you are writing good content, you are now demonstrating your expertise. It’s time to share that with the world!

As anyone who has researched social marketing can attest, the black hole of labor involved with social networking can be gigantic; multiple full-time jobs!

But most of us don’t have the resources to devote that much time and energy to social media.

There are tools out there to help us engage with our audiences on social media – and we’ll get to some of those in a minute – but first, do we understand what we are trying to accomplish with social networking?

You must be prepared to provide value to the venues in which you participate. Advertising your own abilities can be a natural part of the process of social media participation, but if you are just blasting commercial messages at users all the time, you will not be valued.

For us it starts with our own follows on Twitter and Facebook. We’ve followed some of the great writers and experts in the web design and web marketing spheres. Some of them are content aggregators pulling valuable knowledge together for easier consumption. Others are original thinkers; experts on certain topics from the wide range of possible web expertise pushing us toward deeper understanding.

If you know who your thought-leaders are in your industry, you can make valuable connections to great content that may not be well-known to your followers, and in the process, assist the original writer! We won’t get too much into relationship-building with other content creators in this post, but there is nothing wrong with properly attributed collections of other peoples’ great content, and you will find natural partnerships you can reach out and form in this process.

What do these thought leaders do that resonates with you in their writing? What aspects would you want to mimic in your own content creation? These questions will help you isolate just what it is you should be doing as a resource in your industry.

We presume for the sake of this article that you know where you’re headed, but are just looking for some process advice to get the word out on social networks.

Start Aggregating, Baby!

One of the best methods to learn more about your industry, while simultaneously cutting your teeth in social media is to start by collecting links to great content and resources. Right away, you can start providing meaningful, helpful content to your audience.

Google “best <your industry here> blogs” to get started. There are blogs dedicated to who has the best blogs in your industry; maybe hundreds of them! Pick a few terrific articles that you want to share with your followers (even if none exist), and plan out when, and on which networks you will share your finds.

Plan Your Attack

We typically take a few hours, once a week to schedule at least one post a day to Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Linked In. Sometimes we share similar or the same posts on multiple social sites, but you shouldn’t necessarily do this with every post. Your audience on one network or another may value your contributions differently, to say the least, and your strategy for selecting content to post should reflect some thought in this regard.

We cross-share about half of our content. We always plan out the sharing of our weekly blog posts across all 4 networks. but not all at once. We schedule each blog post, and then schedule Tweets, Facebook, Google + and Linked In posts up to a month out referencing that content.

So now we have 1-2 weekday posts across 4 different social networks, and we’re getting our blog out there on every network. Scheduling ahead of time helps to appear more active on a regular basis, which is essential for a healthy social presence.

Don’t Be  A Robot

First, when aggregating links, use this as an opportunity to show your own unique personality. Be polished, but not rigid. Which of these blog posts are you likely to click on:

New blog post by @somebody about SEO
Aghh! Not another SEO article! But wait…@somebody, this is something special!

The point here is that we still have an opportunity to make this resource collection be “of ourselves”. This is your sweet collection of links you’re sharing with us’n.

Each day during the week, we also make an effort to like, link and/or retweet at least one other person’s tweet or share. You should do this too! Look at your own Follow list and when someone says something great, or links to something that could be very valuable to your users, retweet it! Send them a message “hey @whoever, outstanding post last week!”.

This is a little known secret on Twitter: people LOVE compliments and public engagement about their work. Many of them will return the favor when you write something great.

And the world turns.

Scheduling Tools

So this is daily shares on 4 different social networks, 1-2 daily direct engagements on 1-2 networks with people in your follow list, circles, etc.

All with staggered re-sharing of blog posts and other links to keep the fires burnin’.

How does one organize so many uses and re-uses of content across multiple social networks? You can do a lot of it with plugins for your blog using WordPress, or you can subscribe to social planning tools like CoSchedule or Trello, but one word of caution here:
It may be tempting to use scheduling tools and do all your social networking in large chunks and then forget about it. The problem with this approach is, things are happening in real-time on these social networks. If you are always referencing great articles from 4 months ago, and scheduling re-tweets two weeks out for things people said yesterday, you will always come off a bit dated.

That’s why direct engagement should take place on a daily basis as well. By all means, schedule your daily shares, but do your direct engagement in real-time.

Colorado Web Design continues to have sustainable growth using this method, both in our social media circles, and in the traffic being driven to our website as a direct result of our efforts.

Stay frosty out there, people.

Bill lives and plays in Fort Collins, Colorado. After a fulfilling career for a Fortune 50 company, Bill founded Colorado Web Design in 2012 with a passion for creative digital solutions for business. Bill likes to manage a wide variety of projects and tasks for his clients in the digital space. The creative elements of website design, application design, and marketing are enough to keep anyone busy and engaged, but wiping the slate clean over and over at the start of new projects comes with its own challenges. "I like to start with really good client communication sessions. The rest is easy if you get started in the right way." He plays tennis, bikes, and hikes and then undoes all of that with too much delicious food and TV watching.

About Colorado Web Design

We've been building websites for Colorado businesses since 2002. We are a small team of dedicated individuals who love the challenge of each new marketing project. We live and play in northern Colorado.

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