"To stimulate creativity, one must develop the childlike inclination for play." - Albert Einstein
Inspiration is a process that can hardly be explained and is oftentimes even harder to find. The Oxford Dictionary defines inspiration as: "the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative."
In social media marketing, creative content is vital. Even when you know your target audience well and have an idea of what should be shared, finding fresh and interesting ways to produce new content is a constant challenge. Learning how to create that inspired state when we need it is key. Here are seven ways to trigger creative inspiration:
1. Stay social.
What are your followers tweeting about? What are the people you're following tweeting about? Scroll through Pinterest boards, Twitter feeds, Instagram feeds, trending topics, News Feeds, Tumblr, Reddit, StumbleUpon, and all the other various networks to gain insight into what’s of current interest. If there is a search functionality, type in keywords or hashtags for even more insight.
"I find inspiration from pinterest and instagram a lot. Also: designspiration.net, creativebloq, articles in my twitter feed, IRL (billboards, signs, random things I see in the city), and "Mind Of A Chef" (he's really creative in the kitchen.)" -@SilentMacaroni
2. Check out the competition.
Write down a list of your major competitors and see what they’re doing on social. Browse through their content, look up their hashtags, read through the comments and conversations they are having with their fans. Gaining insight into what’s working and what’s not can help spark ideas for your own community.
3. Open your eyes.
There are plenty of things that may inspire you if you just stop and take a moment to yourself. Put your phone away and observe your surroundings. Ask yourself “why” and “what” while looking at billboards, signs, people and things around you -- and make sure you have a notepad handy to jot down your thoughts.
"I get inspired when I'm driving somewhere alone, most of the time
the music is on, sometimes not."- @J_Pargament
4. Have a laugh.
If you want to create content that will make your communities “LOL," find out what triggers you to laugh. Entertain yourself by watching some stand-up comedy, a few episodes of your favorite shows, or the latest comedy flick. Take note of the situations in which you’ve actually laughed out loud and think about how you can mimic this through your content.
“Sitcoms (Friends, Modern Family) that make me laugh usually put me in a good mood. Good mood = happy. Happy = working brain. Working brain = ideas.” -@mikeharari
5. Soak up knowledge.
Take it all in. Read up on topics related to your brand. Go to a bookstore and immerse yourself in that topic. Flip through magazines and stop to take notes when something catches your eye. Read blogs to gain different view points and draw inspiration from all of these various angles.
"I get the best ideas after spin class! I also like when clients specify 'who' the voice of the brand is - if it is
Tina Fey...I watch her commercials, read parts of her books, and try to understand how she would speak." -@preppypostgrad
6. Immerse yourself in pop culture.
Turn on the radio and listen to the top hits. Watch the entertainment portion of the evening news. Listen to the weekly This American Life podcast. Watch the award show everyone is talking about. Social media is where all of this comes into play; being in touch with pop culture is key to creating successful real-time content.
7. Get involved.
Attend events related to your industry. Meet people who are interested in your brand and ask questions about what they like. Listen to seminars to learn about the community and their interests.
"My inspiration comes from everywhere. I love to look at art books, visit galleries...I hardly ever use the internet for inspiration unless i'm thinking of something specific and want to look it up. I love posters and graphic art like comics because they capture complex ideas in quick visuals. I find that going out and walking is a good way to stimulate my creative process, too."- @nicksweetweets
The moral of the story is simple: Stay open to inspiration. Know your audience and put yourself in situations that allow you to be open. The great lightning bolt of creative genius can strike you when you least expect it.
Where do you turn for inspiration when you're looking to create content? Comment below!