Today’s post is care of the always brilliant Alexis Grant. Everyone gets stuck for something to say so I know you’ll find this guide incredibly useful.
When I launched my e-guide on how to make money as a social-media consultant, a soon-to-be-uber-successful-consultant emailed me. “What about clients who don’t know what to say on social media?” she asked. “What should those people tweet about or share on Facebook?”
It’s a problem a lot of us face, both as businesses and individuals. If you don’t feel like you’re all that interesting, and you know you’re not supposed to tweet about what you ate for breakfast, then what do you tweet about?
When it comes to sharing via social networks, we often think of original content, usually in the form of a blog. But not everyone has the time or desire to blog. And most of the people who think they have nothing to say on social media don’t have blogs.
But here’s the secret: Not everything you share has to be original content. In fact, it’s best if a good portion of what you share isn’t original. You’ll be more successful at building an online community if you think outside the original-content box.
Here are a few ways to come up with interesting, valuable information to share on your channels:
Embrace the Retweet
Find people who are sharing information you and your audience is interested in, and re-share it. On Twitter, this is in the form of a RT, or retweet, and on Facebook it’s called a share. Not only will this help you have something to say, it will also help you build a community, because the people whose content you share will notice and possibly want to connect with you.
To make your job easier, set up your channels so it’s easy to find information to re-share. On Facebook, create a list of favorites or have your page “like” other pages that often offer content that pertains to you, then browse it daily.
On Twitter, use lists. The easiest strategy is to pull lists that have already been created by other people – find them on Listorious – into your Hootsuite account, then browse that list daily looking for tweets to RT. I like to create my own private lists of people and organizations I hope to RT, so I can have all those tweeps in one place and easily browse their tweets without them knowing it.
Love Your RSS Feed
RSS is God’s gift to those of us who make a living helping people use social media. Why? Because once you take the time to set up your feed, it will spoon-feed you the information you need to thrive. Take a few hours to add blogs within your niche to your Google Reader (or another RSS feed), and check it each morning for posts or news to share with your followers.
Totally confused? Check out this Google Reader 101.
Don’t forget to add Google alerts for relevant and interesting search terms. And make the effort to add new blogs to your feed weeks or months after you set it up. If you get in the habit of adding quality sources of information when you come across them, you’ll always have something to tweet or share when you need it.
Respond to Others
Twitter is all about conversation, so browse tweets from relevant people and look for excuses to respond. Think your response might be interesting to the rest of your followers? Add a period in front of the tweet so everyone who follows you sees it, rather than just the person you’re tweeting. Now you’re not only engaging in conversation, you’re saying something interesting on social media. Woot!
Offer a Look Behind the Scenes
Help followers or fans get to know you by offering a glimpse of what makes you or your business tick. Don’t just tell us what your product is and why we should buy it; tell us the juicy details that went into creating that product. Think TimesCast, The New York Times’ peek behind the scenes.
This is a fabulous opportunity to use photos, which are great conversation-starters and buzz-creators, especially on Facebook. Same for video.
These are just a few ways I find information to share from my clients’ (and my) accounts. What ideas can you add?
Alexis Grant is a journalist and social media coach who’s writing a book about backpacking solo through Africa. She recently released her first e-guide, How to Build a Part-Time Social Media Business.