Consider just this: Millennials alone have over $200 billion in purchasing power, and they look to social media for product research, for “social proof” from their peers, and for companies that honor their values. Add to this generation Z, also very active on social media, and even older generations that continue to access at least major platforms, and the need to be there is overwhelming.

Social Media is Different from Other Content Marketing

Content marketers generally set calendars for their content publishing. They generally schedule at least one post per week and attempt to place compelling and engaging topics on their calendars. This keeps them organized and allows them to create that content in advance.

But what about social media? It’s an entirely different “ball game.” Companies that want a strong presence on their selected channels need to be “on” those channels daily. First, they need to be available to respond to questions and comments that followers post. Second, followers expect daily posts – they will not come back if they consider a platform stale and not providing anything they find valuable.

A content calendar for social media is probably more important than it would be for a blog – simply because it is more complicated. Daily posts that are also engaging are just more time-consuming and shooting from the hip doesn’t work. The demand to find content topics is obviously huge.

Where Can You Find Lots of Content?

A marketer needs sources for content – lots of them. If there is a team involved in content marketing, along with other staff members, they can provide some topics, as they do their own research. But daily posts will demand more than that.

Here are nine great sources for content topics – the rest is up to the marketer. Turning those topics into engaging posts can be another huge challenge, especially if the content marketer is operating solo, but this is a good place to start.

Check these sources for great ideas:

Follow Influencers

Every niche has influencers. Many have their own blogs, of course, but many are also all over social media. They understand the audience, have large followings themselves, and they will certainly be writing and posting about the most trending topics. Following them on Instagram, Facebook, and even Vine will give you the latest and most popular topics. And the content with those topics can give you ideas about what to include in your own postings.

Buzzsumo

This site is an amazing place to find topics and content. Marketers can search by keywords or even by URL’s of sites they know post great content. Once the search is placed, the most recent and socially shared content will pop up. You will now have the topics that your audience finds appealing and valuable. And reviewing that content should give you lots of ideas of what and how to post.

Social Media Sites Themselves

If you are smart about social media, and unless you have a huge team like Coca-Cola, you will have chosen just two, no more than three, channels. And you have chosen those platforms because your research has shown you that these are the most popular with your target audience.

Every social media channel has a search feature, and you should use it to search by topic. But don’t just limit your search to those channels on which you have accounts. Go to other channels and search as well. You may find some unique topics that you can turn into great posts.

Re-Post (with credit) the Great Content of Others

Sometimes, a post is so incredibly powerful or entertaining that it is worth re-posting. Don’t be afraid to do this occasionally. Your own followers will appreciate it too. This is a good tactic when you are just totally out of fresh ideas but use it sparingly. You don’t want your followers moving on over to a competitor because they might be more engaging.

Your Own Company Blog

Every blog has some evergreen content. Go back and find that content, re-purpose it, add fresh visuals or create a video or infographic (Use sources like Canva, Wistia, and Picktochart) to present the content in a far more engaging way. A lot has changed recently, and posts that do not contain compelling media are just far more popular than text. (Remember, your audience is probably accessing your social media channel via mobile devices, and they are often on the go. They don’t want to read; they want to see.)

User-Generated Content

This can be one of the most powerful social media marketing tools you have. Millennials especially want “social proof” of value, and you can give it to them by posting photos, videos, and comments from happy customers. Openly solicit this, and provide some reward (e.g., a discount) if they will submit content for you to share. ModCloth, a women’s clothing retailer, is a master at this.

Run Contests

Every so often, a contest will give a boost in interest and following. And followers will share contests with their tribes if the award is worth it. Jack Daniels, from time to time will do this. One really popular contest was “Weird Bar Stories.” It solicited strange bar stories from its followers, published them on their social media channels, and got a great response. (Plus, the stories were just fun to read).

Curata and Reddit

These two sites house an amazing amount of content, and more is added hourly. Curata locates and publishes content from literally thousands of places and, using its own algorithm, can sort and recommend content based on a user’s preferences. Reddit is another huge source of content – you can navigate through subreddits and find new content almost hourly.

Get Personal

People love stories and you have your own to tell. It makes your brand human and works to develop connections with your followers. Has your company participated in a charitable event recently? Has a team member just had a baby or finished a degree program? Do you have an office pet? Share your brand’s personal stories, with visuals, of course, maybe once or twice a month.

Know What’s Working

One important driver of the content you post is what proves to be most popular with your target audience. If you do the analytics (available on every channel), you will know the types of content your followers like best and can optimize that knowledge as you fill up that calendar.

 

**About the Author: Linda Grandes has spent the majority of her career in the writing industry, gaining experience in areas such as editing and writing. Currently, Linda is a blogger at Studyton.com and Head of CD at BuyProfEssays.com. She also enjoys reading books and traveling.