Social Media and the Entrepreneur: #3 — Be a Content King

Kaitlyn Setter, Business Development Intern

If you’re reading this, I hope you’ve read the first two blogs in this series. I’ll make this easy for you if you haven’t. First installment. Second installment. Go ahead and read those.

Now, let’s get into the topic at hand: Content. In my last blog, I told you that content is king; now, I’ll show you how to be a king or queen 👑 of content in two sections. The first is developing content for your startup’s social media pages, while the second topic will help you manage all that lovely content.

When I say content, I’m speaking of the words, art, videos, links, and anything else that makes up a post. Now, that’s vague but that’s exactly the point. You have free reign on what you post on social media. It’s a creative outlet, which, when used for a business, allows followers to understand a brand’s personality and learn about what’s important to the company.

Let’s jump in.

Content Development

When you’re looking to develop content, there are two ways to accomplish it: curating content or creating content. Depending on your business, it may be more effective to lean towards either avenue but having both sprinkled into your content calendar (more on this topic in the next section) is important.

Curating Content

Google: Dare I say Google is a best friend of mine? It will lead you to all kinds of content you can use: articles, photos, infographics, videos, memes, GIFs. It’s a powerful tool, so use it wisely. When you’re finding content through Google search there are some things to consider before posting it on your social media’s pages.

1. Is this from a reliable source?

2. Is it relevant?

3. Will it engage my audience?

Also, when using someone else’s content, make sure to give credit where credit is due. Mention where the content came from and, if possible, tag the author/creator in your post. It’s a great way to garner engagement and interact with the community.

A nifty trick for finding content on Google without doing any of the searching is to set up Google Alerts. Google will send you an email when any new content pops up on the web with the word of phrase you set as the alert. A tip, your alert needs to be specific otherwise you will get content completely unrelated to the topic you intended.

User Generated Content: It’s a mouthful and the modern version of word-of-mouth . . . it’s digital word-of-mouth. People post a picture of themselves wearing your company’s clothing or they leave you a review. Sometimes they will tag you in it, sometimes they won’t. What matters is they are talking about your company on social media — fingers crossed it’s positive! What you can do is take their post and share it on your channel. Why would you do this?

  1. It validates your company’s product or service. If other people are using it and are happy, others are more likely to purchase.

2. It’s a great way to get real life content.

3. The people whose posts you use will be ecstatic to be recognized. And might even share it back to their followers.

As you can see, people value other people’s opinions.

Hit up this article on Sprout Social’s Blog (also in my last blog because it’s so good) for the ultimate user generated content guide.

Brief side note on UGC: Unfortunately, everything people post about your company may not be positive. When this happens, remember a few things:

1. Respond timely.

2. Don’t react negatively or be accusatory.

3. Listen to the complaint.

4. Make them feel their complaint has been acknowledged and genuinely try to resolve their experience.

Read more in depth about these occurrences here.

Social Media: My last recommendation is to find content via social media. Technically, that includes user generated content, but I’m referring to content that doesn’t have any connection to your company. Share the content of the accounts you follow or your follower’s content if it’s on brand and relevant to your audience.

Creating Content

Now we will talk about, in my opinion, a more exciting way of generating content because it requires a pinch or more of creativity. No don’t skip this section because you think that you don’t have a creative bone in your body. Don’t be afraid of branching out and finding that creativity. There are a ton of easy ways to create original content:

1. Write articles or blogs. If you have time and it makes sense for your company, start a blog. If not, you can publish articles on LinkedIn.

2. Start a podcast. If writing isn’t your thing, talk about it.

3. Take photos, post photos. Can be about products/services, events, staff, “Behind the Scenes”, anything relevant. Either post a few photos or post an entire album. P.S. videos are cool too.

4. Create your own infographic. Maybe it’s about how your company is helping the environment or how a product goes from an idea to the hands of the customer.

5. Make a meme or GIF. Are you or a coworker a comedian? Use it to your company’s advantage, if on brand. Who knows, maybe it’ll go viral. 👀

There are hundreds of different tools out there to help you create your own content, many are online. Here’s a list of 19 options. My favorite list item is Canva. It’s free but there’s also a paid version. Both allow you to easily create social media posts of various sizes, flyers, presentations, business cards, headers, plus a few dozen other things. You also have the option to create content using custom dimensions. Everything after that, aka the design work, is drag and drop which makes it easy and stress free.

When creating content, here is a major resource for you: Social Media Image Size Cheat Sheet. Thank you Sprout Social!

Content Management

A content calendar could quite possibly add years to your life!*

Last topic for this blog: how to manage all of your content. Two words. Content. Calendar. A content calendar will save you loads of time and could possibly save your life (less stress = longer, happier life*).

*I am not a doctor therefore you should not take my word as fact as this is simply my personal opinion.

A content calendar is fairly self-explanatory. It’s a calendar of the content you are planning to post. You can keep it as sparse or as in-depth as possible. My advice is to load that sucker up with the exact copy, tags, art, and/or link that you plan on posting. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself later.

You may be wondering where to create said calendar. Well, you have a few options. Keep it simple by using Microsoft Excel or Word, but those can require more work as you have to create the format then take your content from there to your social media channels. You can step up your game by using a social media management (SMM) platform. These allow you to create your posts and schedule them. The magic of SMMs: scheduling means it automatically posts to your company’s social media accounts.

Here are three different options:

1. Sprout Social | pricing

2. Hootsuite | pricing (free plan is in the footer)

3. Buffer | pricing

Hootsuite and Buffer have free plans, but they limit the amount of users and social accounts you can connect. For a single company, the free plans should work just fine.

My last tidbit is to schedule posts for the upcoming week a week prior. Not only will this save you time, but it will also allow you to focus on listening during the week to interact with the community you’ve fostered and grown.

That’s a wrap! Now you know the basics of mastering content development and management, but I want to remind you of something before you go. When developing content, it’s all about quality over quantity. Don’t waste your time and hurt your company by posting content that doesn’t add to you brand or might even diminish it.

Now go out there and slay those dragons holding you back from a kick a** social media calendar and stay tuned for the last blog of my series.😄😢 In the finale, I’ll explain how to throw some money, wisely, into your social media strategy to grow your business. Deuces.

Kaitlyn Setter is a graduate of Michigan State University with a degree in marketing. She recently finished her roles as intern with the MSU Hatch and MSU Foundation and will begin working full-time at Whirlpool Corporation in July. View her LinkedIn profile here.

To read more from Voices of The MSU Hatch, click here.

Edited by Aaryn Richard