Ever felt a "need" to be active on Twitter? Do you feel guilty for not publishing to your blog for a few days?
Sometimes there can almost be a compulsion to keep feeding your social media accounts. Go away for a week and watch your blog plummet down the AdAge Power 150, your visitors fall and your RSS subscriptions drop off. Stop tweeting and watch the online discussion around your brand diminish.
So as a business, how do you deal with that time when you just don't have any content to post?
Personally, I agree with others who have argued that the volume of content isn't as important as the quality of content and its relevance to the audience.
So, here are a few thoughts on what you can do when your content well appears dry:
- Re-assess your content
- Listen to consumers
- Converse with people
- Ask what people want
- Experiment with new ideas
- Mine your internal resources
- Wait for useful content
Take advantage of the extra time you have right now to take a cold, hard look at what you're doing online. Is it working? How do you know?
Take a look at the kind of content you're posting. Is one kind working better than another? Is one medium reaching more of your audience than another? Could you experiment with something new? Perhaps there's a potential source of content that you haven't yet tapped.
Social media doesn't have to be all about broadcasting your content (frankly, it shouldn't). While you're in this lull, consider placing additional focus on listening. What are people saying about you? Are they discussing your product or company? Are they complaining? Complimenting you? Inquiring? Who is saying these things?
Take the time to reassess where you are against the baseline you set at the outset (you did do that, right?)
This sits nicely alongside your listening. When people talk about you, do you respond? Perhaps now is a time to get the buy-in you need to start. Maybe it is; maybe it isn't. Think about it.
When was the last time you asked the people who care about your company what they want from you? Have you ever done that? You may be making assumptions. Remember - building strong relationships with customers (and I don't just mean in an online forum) means making it about them, not just you. Ask for input, and ye shall receive.
One of the great aspects to social media (to online communication in general) is that you can experiment at little cost. Maybe it's a new promotion; a new contest; a new feature on one of your social networking properties. That means you can test out ideas, stick with what works and discard what doesn't. Instead of searching for that big idea to kick-start things, consider trying out a whole bunch of small ideas to see what works.
Do you have a content plan? How are you using each of the channels on which you have a presence? If you don't have a plan for them, consider creating one now.
Just because you work in communications (or marketing, or whatever function you're in), it doesn't mean you can't look elsewhere for help. Whether you're communicating online or offline, you probably have a wealth of resources right under your nose. Ask around within your organization. Does your customer service, IT or product function have information that you can mine? You don't know? Ask. Some of your biggest resources may be sitting there just waiting for you to find them.
You want to be heard. You want to build your community; to get results. Remember, though, that people may not want to hear you as much as you want to be heard. Don't get me wrong - results are absolutely critical, but spamming people when you have nothing to say won't help you to get those results.
As I mentioned earlier, look to speak when you have something to say rather than for the sake of it. If that time isn't now, then wait.
What have you done when your company or your client struggles to find useful content? What would you add to the list?
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