When brainstorming about what kinds of content to create and share in social media, you need not look any further for inspiration than social media channels themselves. Colleagues who communicate with customers every day can also provide excellent insight.
Let’s take a closer look at how to uncover the important issues your community is ready and willing to discuss with you.
1. Ask Your Customers Directly
Your customers are your best source of intelligence. Valuing customer opinions will help you better connect with them and bring you closer to like-minded prospects. Ask them what problems they’re having trouble solving. Ask them whether they watch videos on YouTube more than they read industry blog posts. Ask them to point you to their favorite online resources. This doesn’t have to be a formal survey. Pick 10 to 20 customers that you have a good relationship with to call, email, or even tweet.
2. Ask Your Sales Team
Your sales team spends their time talking to customers and prospects. They are building relationships around business issues that your company can solve. Any sales person worth their salt can tell you the kind of information that closes deals. They can tell you what competitors are doing right. This can easily translate into content. Ask them what kind of ebook can help build a relationship with a prospect.
3. Ask Your Customer Service Reps
Customer service and technical support reps know what the weak points are in your products and marketing materials. They get asked questions from customers and prospects about things that don’t work and things they don’t understand. Which questions always resurface? Write a blog post with the top troubleshooting tips. Shoot videos with the support team answering actual customer questions.
4. Follow Your Customers on Twitter
While asking your customers direct questions is one way to get information from them, following them on Twitter and other social media platforms is a way to find out what’s really on their minds. They could share concerns online that they wouldn’t share with you directly. And make sure you follow individual customer contact accounts and corporate handles to benefit from different perspectives.
5. Join Industry LinkedIn Groups
LinkedIn Groups can be a great source of content ideas. Join groups in your targeted industries to see what the conversation is about. What kinds of blog posts are shared? What gets the most discussion? These can guide your own content creation. You can ask questions and use the answers given as the basis for a blog post or part of an ebook.
6. Follow Industry News Sources
Even though many of us now get our news through social media channels, there are still traditional news sources providing perspective into many industries. This could be in the form of print, web, or social media updates, but they still reflect the issues that are important to your customers and prospects in those industries. Use these ideas as jumping-off points for your own content.
7. Discover Keywords in Web Analytics
Search still drives significant traffic to many websites, and yours is not likely to be the exception. Get access to your web analytics and see what search terms are bringing visitors to your site. Create content around the search terms that are already driving traffic to boost traffic further.
8. Listen for Prospective Customers
What kinds of questions are people asking online in your industry? Are they looking for recommendations in your product space? Can you create content that responds to their expressed need?
9. Monitor Industry Conversations
Whether you use a paid social media monitoring platforms or free tools, you should follow key industry terms. These are terms that you can glean from all of the other sources above, and by following them on a regular basis, you can get a sense of how people talk about these key issues. Many companies use their own version of industry terms in much of their content, but this can be a way to make sure that your content is in sync with your audience.
10. Monitor Competitors
Your competitors might be creating content of their own. Pay attention to how it resonates with your target industries. While you don’t want to copy their content directly and create a me-too batch of content, by understanding what they are doing you can reach your audience with more compelling content. If there is nothing your competitors are doing that is noteworthy, don’t settle for a basic content approach. Create content that is exemplary, thereby securing a first mover advantage in your market.
Ideas for creating content are all around, inside and outside of your company. Learn to know where to look, and discover plenty of information that help your social media efforts worth while.