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3+1 Ways to Find Better Content Ideas on Social Media, from Competitors, any by Using Tools

It can be an exciting moment when you open your social media accounts. You start thinking about the potential customers that will come your way – and perhaps the potential for a viral post or two! But one challenge that many face is the simple fact that you have to continuously feed your social media channels content. And not “just” content, but high quality content that your readers will gobble up and eagerly look forward to more. So where can you find great content ideas?

Don’t panic yet. Great content ideas are actually all around you. But we’re going to give you some of the top places where you are guaranteed to find great ones.

The first thing we’ll recommend is to carry a small notebook (how 1985!) or your smartphone so you can start recording these ideas as they come to you. Don’t let an idea slip through your lovely content creating fingers!

Finding Content Ideas from Competitors

Take a look at what your competition is doing and decide what you would do differently. Each business and company is unique, content needs to be customized to your own business’ needs.

Do you know how to look at your competition? Choose businesses that a customer might select vs. doing business with your brand. Try a simple search engine search to see what businesses come up along with yours when you type in keywords and keyword phrases to pull up your business. Also note which businesses come up in the paid Google AdSense ads, when your business comes up, when you type in your business name directly into a search engine. This is one of the easiest ways to find who you – and others – would consider to be your competition.

We recommend you look at a minimum of 5 business competitors that you admire. You could look at up to 10 competitors but more than that can simply be too overwhelming. Here is what you should try to review their content for:

  • What do I like about their content?
  • What would I change about their content?
  • What content of theirs is the most successful? The least successful?
  • Does their content fit their company brand?

As you seek out your competitors, try to look mostly through the past 3 to 6 months of content. You’ll see not only day-to-day content, but also special promotions, sales, events and holidays. For that you may need to look over the past 12 months, simply keep in mind they may have changed their content strategy. All of this special content is important to observe too as you start to plan your own unique content strategy.

Once you’ve looked at your competitors, get back to examining your content. Ask several staff members to give their input about your content. A fresh pair of eyes or someone in a different job within your company may see something about your content and how it does or should attract customers.

*Bonus tip: Another suggestion is to look at businesses that you simply admire. They may not even be in your specific industry. These businesses could be ones that you use personally, perhaps you go to Starbucks regularly for a fancy coffee drink or you like to visit a popular theme park on vacation. Take a look at brands that you admire, when you do this you may see strategies that are doing by different industries but also things that are relatable because you share the same values and passions.

Finding Content Ideas from Social Users

This is one of the best ways you can create content. Why, it’s almost like having your very own in-house focus group, sharing their opinion about what they love or want to see otherwise about your company, products and services. What’s so exciting about this process is simply by doing this, you are engaging social media in a way that keeps your social media followers happiest because you are interacting with them. Lots of companies make the huge mistake of thinking that social media is a way to send out announcements and they never have conversations with their customers, fans and followers – unless there is a customer complaint.

Some of the ways you can find fresh content ideas from your social users is by paying attention to what they like and also do not like. If you are showing photos of your company’s mascot dog who has just had puppies and social users get excited, want to name the puppies, then this could be something to get them involved in, especially if you have a dog or pet products company. If your social users have questions about a product that will be launched, you could hold a Twitter chat or even reveal the product on Snapchat or Facebook Live, with some fun giveaways.

Don’t neglect the opportunity to ask your social users what type of content they would like. Here are some questions you can ask, that will often spark a conversation:

  • Do you like “A” or “B”?  Ask them which choice in color, box choice, product name. Give them a choice, people love to share their opinion.
  • Seasonal topics.   When preparing your fall products, you may want to know what scents people would love for candles. Ask them what their favorite scents and memories of fall are.
  • Invite them to take a survey for an incentive.  Short surveys are acceptable and can easily be done. Try offering a free product or a small gift certificate, to be given to a random entry.

You’ll also find terrific content ideas from social users out on social networking at large! This is one of the important reasons you should have an interactive attitude about taking part in social media. That social media is a conversation and not a series of company announcements, so you are able to listen when someone else is talking.

Try following people and companies that you admire or simply enjoy. Invest at least 10 minutes each day looking at and commenting on their social media, to develop relationships and also to stay current with what others are doing as social users. You may see a great idea for a holiday themed meme, with a few adaptations will work perfectly for you. Or perhaps you see something that you simply want to share as a social user and pass along just as it is.

*Bonus tip: Take a look at several celebrities or social media celebrities that you admire, to see what they are sharing. If you aren’t following their accounts, take the time to do so now. Remember that if you connect with someone with a large audience that you admire, there is a chance they could share one of your Tweets, memes, videos or images. That’s almost a guarantee that it will go viral – building your business and social reputation!

Finding Content Ideas from Your Own Successful Content

This is one of the super ninja ways to locate successful content that your fans and followers will love! For best results, look only within the past 12 months as social media tends to have a shelf life and is always evolving. Keep in mind that you may not want to do something exactly as you did it before, but you can “mine” previous content for inspiration.

For example:

If infographics are a top social share, then don’t limit this content! Start brainstorming on how you can continue to add infographics to more of your regular and seasonal content.

Did you have a fun contest that was especially popular? Run the contest again, just add a few minor tweaks. If your contest was to create a Pinterest “pin” board of shoes you would wear on your dream summer vacation, change the type of vacation, holiday or season – but do another Pinterest “pin” type of contest! *Because Pinterest customers shop, more than some of the other social channels actually.

Do people love seeing certain images or fun facts? If you offer tips on how to choose healthy vs. not-so-healthy snacks and these are a huge favorite, then expand on this idea. Look at desserts, meals and comfort foods where you could offer a great healthy switch, as this is social content your fans would er, “eat right up!”

Looking at your seasonal, holiday or special event content for inspiration? Remember to take the best of this while adding in today’s popular trends. Perhaps some of your content last holiday season was a top favorite, because you used a trending hashtag. So we’d recommend not using that older hashtag from 6 or 12 months ago, but to find a more current hashtag – or even create your own! – that people will catch on to.

Bonus tip: One of the ways “the pros” don’t get frantic about creating social media content is they sit down and create a calendar of what they are going to post. Plan out the next month to three months – this can be an over reaching plan or very specific, simply create a plan that makes you feel more confident about your social strategies going forward.

PromoRepublic’s Content Calendar and Content Ideas

PromoRepublic’s content calendar can save you hours of research and brainstorming. Find unique holidays, historical and celebrity birthdays and trends in pop culture to easily weave into your social content.

What’s so helpful about this is that it is often impossible to be up-to-date with every popular trend in social media, unless you have a full time staff dedicated to it. But PromoRepublic’s content calendar and content ideas present you with topics and helpful tips, so you’ll never run on empty and have nothing to say to your fans and customers. Simply log in and check out PromoRepublic’s suggestions, to see which ones would be ideal for your target market.

Bonus tip: This tool is like having someone follow and “friend” all of the top thought leaders in your industry, carefully curating the best ideas and delivering them to you. When you want a full time social media staff but can’t take the hit to your wallet, choose PromoRepublic to get the same high quality results in your social content!

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