Menu

Tools for Writing Great Social Content

Mon, April 28, 2014

I’m passionate about social media because for me it’s the perfect mashup of communication, branding, psychology, strategy, analytics, innovation, technology, and marketing. It’s all about connecting to people, and as a fellow human (and social extrovert), I LOVE connecting with people (give me a follow here @dwyersg)!

But most community managers and social content pros will admit that writing fresh and remarkable content week in and week out can be hard. Very hard. Not only does the content need to be strategic, it has to strike the right balance of length, engagement, branded but not too branded, shareable, actionable, conversational…did I leave anything out? Oh yeah…and legal, it has to get by legal, too.

So with all of these challenges, how does one continue to drum up good content on a regular basis? Here are some of the Hanson team’s favorite tools. Maybe you’ll find them helpful too.

Inspiration Engine

Long-time Hanson friend Gene Poor often says, “The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.” Actually, I think he stole that from Einstein, but I digress. Either way, .

No idea where to start? This is where www.PostPlanner.com can come in handy. The key here is not to mimic or copy the content, but use it as inspiration to create your own. Their “Status Idea Engine” has a database of many different content ideas that allows you to sort through and look at the best performing content (based on their database).

Pages to Watch

Of course, Facebook wants you to stay competitive with your competitors – you’re more likely to advertise with them if you do. So they created the “Pages to Watch” tool that let’s you benchmark your page against your biggest rivals. Seeing a lot of success from a page you follow? Keep tabs on it and learn what’s working for them.

 screengrab of Facebook's Pages to Watch

Change the Output

It’s well known that Facebook rewards visual content from brands over text based updates. The web continues to become more visual every day. With networks like Instagram, Vine, Snapchat, and even Facebook’s new app “Paper,” the best performing content is that which is visually engaging. If you’re struggling with a piece of content, get a designer involved and think about what image might best convey your message. “A picture is worth a thousand words” has never been more true than in social media.

Or think about this. Is what you’re trying to say been summed up in a quote already? If there’s one thing people love sharing (other than baby photos), it’s inspiring quotes. In addition to google.com and brainyquote.com, findings.com is a great search engine dedicated to helping you find the perfect quote for what you’re trying to say. (Pro tip: They even have an awesome Chrome extension here.)

screengrab of Findings.com example

Google is Our Friend

Why? Not because Hanson is one of 75 Google Analytics Certified Partners (well, not just that.) It’s because of the incredible insight provided by their vast array of tools. Writing web and blog content around common search terms has long been a tried-and-true practice. A few of our favorite tools for gathering content insights include:

  • Google Instant will provide you “predictive searches” based on your keyword that can become inspiration for future content.
  • Google Trends is another fantastic tool that can help you identify where the conversation is going in your industry – possibly even your brand.

Social Search

Similar to Google’s search tools, using social conversations can also help uncover topics and content ideas for social.

  • Reddit (quite possibly my favorite website) is chocked full of conversation to drive future content. You might even stumble upon a subreddit that your brand could get involved in!
  • Twitter’s awesome search functionality can also help you uncover common topics  or questions users might have about your industry, company or products.
  • SocialMention.com (an awesome and free web based social monitoring tool) is great for mining conversations that are relevant to you.
  • Facebook’s Graph Search can often show you relationships between words, topics, people and places that you may not have considered.
  • When was the last time you typed a word into www.Pinterest.com? You may be surprised by what you find.

All of these tools reveal conversations happening organically and can help you develop content that is most natural to your audience.

Visualization

We are visual creatures and sometimes a little visualization can go a long way. Sometimes a little social searching can help you uncover some new topics and trends. Luckily for us, Sonar Solo is a tool that does a little bit of both. Type in a word and watch it reveal some pretty fascinating insights.

screengrab of Solar Sono example

 

Here’s another good one. Instead of reaching for your traditional thesaurus, try a visual thesaurus. GraphWords.com, for example, is a great (also free) visual thesaurus that shows you related words and might trigger a connection you otherwise may not have made.

 screengrab of GraphWords.com example

#Hashtags

Still struggling to write amazing content? Another thing you can do is add a hashtag. It instantly makes everything more engaging, and your content is sure to absolutely go viral because of it. #JustKidding

How about you? What tools do you use to help you write social content?

Welcome to the Treehouse!

"Welcome to the treehouse,” said CEO Steve Hanson the day we moved into our new headquarters. On an upper floor at the edge of the woods, we now enjoy a view from the trees. We think of this space not as a lofty perch but as a place to gather and seek a broader perspective. The same thing applies to our blog.

Join the Conversation