August 20, 2012

Where Do I Find Social Media Content?!?!

Whether you want to be a social media authority figure or just stir up some conversations, you need content. Please do not just become a link-spewing automaton, but here are some places to find current news and links to share on your social channels.

Your Own Content

So obvious it hurts. Use your own blog content, or anything else you have available.

Google Alerts

This is a real fire hose of information. Let's say you are in the tennis shoe industry. Create an alert for "tennis shoes" and (I highly recommend this unless you like a zillion emails) send it to your RSS Reader. 

If you only sell in the UK, your alert could be "tennis shoes" to only return stories from .uk websites.

Experiment with how specific you need to be - "tennis shoes" is probably going to give you a lot of junk and little meat. Customize alerts to get a good balance of quantity vs quality.. 

Always create an alert for your company and product names, by the way.

Your reader now has the latest stories/blogs/etc. for you to reference and stay current.

Social Search

Want to know what people are talking about? Easy. Just use
Or to search Facebook and Google+ also, you can use

Just like Alerts, you have to find the right balance of quantity vs quality. You may want to stick to the hashtags if possible - this is how users are organizing their thoughts FOR you. 

It may take time to get it right. For example, my main business sells a lot to construction professionals. Searching #construction eventually led me to realize that most professionals are tweeting with the hashtag #aec (architecture, engineering, and construction). Now I have a better way to search the twittersphere, AND I know what hashtag I should be using in MY tweets.


Trendspottr is one website that tries to capture trending conversations around a particular keywords. Search for your industry or other keywords, and you can see (sort of) what is trending around Twitter.

This is useful to see what is getting the most attention, and therefore is more likely to stir up interaction if you share. 

Note: If you are not using Twitter, don't dismiss things like or Trendspottr. You can still take the information to your social network of choice.

Blogs, Newsletters, & Humans

Find blogs or news sources that supply quality content. Subscribe to them, either into your RSS reader or email. This is one of the best ways to find great content, since most authors are either good or bad...find the good ones and your are set.

Most industries have plenty of newsletters. Sign up! SmartBrief has a ton of great digests for finding the big stories in your industry.

Find influential people in your industry. Follow them. Retweet them or use their conversations as a starting point. There are almost always people who devote 24hrs per day to tweeting or posting about your industry. You don't have that kind of time, so just follow them. 

Advice: Use Tools!

All this information can get overwhelming if you aren't organized. Keep your RSS reader organized, and your alerts in folders. When you get 3 days behind and have 1,000 items in your reader, you will really thank yourself that you can go straight to the meat.

By now, you probably realize that I am using Hootsuite a lot recently. I definitely recommend you set up a content-based tab group. This lets you quickly see a snapshot of what is being discussed in specific hashtags (only use a couple of high quality ones). 

Hootsuite also has some apps (plugins really) that you can use. One of them is Trendspottr, which should sound familiar! You can also import a specific RSS Feed into a tab, but since it only shows maybe 10 items I find it useless. You may like it though.

There is also a Hootsuite app called InboxQ that supposedly will find questions based on any topic you choose. I've never had any questions appear, but give it a shot if you like.

By the way, after all these posts I should probably make something clear. I am not endorsed by Hootsuite! I just happen to find some features very useful. I definitely have some serious critiques, but that is another post for another day. ;)

Advice: Respect Others

Don't just take someone else's content and make it your own. Give them a retweet. Give them the link juice. Give them a thank you. No scraping content and putting it on your own website. Play nice. 

This is how you build relationships with the people that matter, anyways - not by acting like you are an island.

Good luck!

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