#PlanYourBusiness – The Benefits of Themes (Daily, Weekly, Monthly)

Keeping marketing materials fresh can be a challenge. When it comes to social media, it can be all the more difficult since the landscape changes rapidly. Nevertheless, it’s essential that your content stays on-brand, relevant and timely. While that may sound like a tall order, there is a way to simplify the task of developing content — creating themes.

When you design a series of themes to use on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis, you provide yourself with a framework for your content. This enables you to focus on specific topics and to spread that focus across all the platforms you use. Focusing on specific themes can help jump-start your creative juices.

Before you start to develop a series of themes, remember that the most effective social media is consistent, engaging, and authentic. That means that your themes should work together with your entire business objective. It also means that you need to know who your audience is and what type of information will be most useful to them.

Before you start, take a quick inventory of:

  • Your audience: If you don’t know who your audience is then this is a great time to find out. Even the best content will miss the mark if it doesn’t target the right group.
  • What your goals and objectives are: For your content to be consistent and authentic, it needs to fit in with your overall messaging.
  • What tools you will use: Knowing how you will develop your content can help guide you in selecting themes that you can execute. It can also help you develop a plan for how to go about the job of actually creating the content.
  • What platforms you take advantage of: Each platform has unique requirements. Understanding how you will present the content can help you work more efficiently.
  • What your budget is: It doesn’t do much good to create a list of daily themes if you don’t have the resources to produce daily content. Be realistic about what your limitations are. Remember that you want consistency. If you only have time to post monthly, then be honest and open about it.

What themes are best for you will depend on your audience, your business, and your resources. Regardless of what your constraints are, focused themes can provide a valuable framework for developing your social media; they can jump-start your creativity and help you fully utilize each platform.

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Hollie Clere of The Social Media Advisor is a “#BeAwesome” Developer, Social Media, Brand Builder, Content Manager, Trainer and Author in LinkedInFacebookTwitterBlogGoogle+YouTubePinterestInstagram, and the tools to manage them.

Click here for Social Media TrainingSpeaking and Strategy Consultations.

#BePrepared – Don’t Steal Images Off Google!

We’ve all been there. A quick Google search and the perfect photo pops up. A couple of quick keystrokes and it’s all yours. Your troubles are over. But are they? No, in fact, post that picture and your problems may just be beginning. Using a photo that is protected by copyright without permission is stealing. So, before you “borrow that photo” consider the following.

  • Taking photos that don’t belong to you is not a victimless crime. Stealing a picture hurts the artist and deprives him or her of the royalties to which they are due. Remember, even though photographers may love what they do, it’s still a job and how they earn a living. Artists deserve to be paid for their work.
  • It can cost you. If you “borrow” a photo and you get called on it you are subject to fines. Sure, having that picture solves a problem but is it worth it if you end up having to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for it? Sometimes a copyright owner will be kind and simply send you a cease and desist letter. However, they don’t have to warn you first. They can simply send you a fine for illegally breaking copyright laws.
  • You don’t need to steal photos. There are many pay per use stock photo sites that charge a reasonable price for the pictures they carry. You can find some amazing images and pay their creator for the right to use them.
  • Free stock photography is a great option. Luckily, pay sites aren’t your only option. There are plenty of free stock photo collections you can take advantage of. Let’s talk about three of the best.
  1. Canva – You may only know Canva as a powerful graphic design tool. In addition to being an excellent site for creating fliers, collages, and infographics, Canva has a substantial library of free stock photos that can be used for both personal and commercial use. Plus, if you use the tool to create your designs, using the photos within the site is quick and easy.
  2. Pixabay – This site has over 1.5 million royalty free stock photos, and some videos, shared by their community of artists. They are public domain without licensing restrictions so you can feel comfortable using them for your business needs.
  3. Unsplash – Similar to Pixabay, Unsplash has a large catalog of royalty free images gifted by their community of photographers. While Pixabay is a great tool if you are seeking specific photos for a project, Unsplash has beautiful images fantastic for attention-grabbing designs.

Without a doubt, finding free stock photography that is high quality and right for your specific needs can be a challenge, and it is always tempting to take the easy way out and grab something that you find through a Google search. There are tools that photographers use to track their images online and, eventually, your actions will be uncovered. This happens nearly daily. There are many small business owners that aren’t even aware that what they are doing is illegal. Be aware and educated. There are plenty of legal alternatives and doing the right thing will save you a headache, and money, in the long run.

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Hollie Clere of The Social Media Advisor is a “#BeAwesome” Developer, Social Media, Brand Builder, Content Manager, Trainer and Author in LinkedInFacebookTwitterBlogGoogle+YouTubePinterestInstagram, and the tools to manage them.

Click here for Social Media TrainingSpeaking and Strategy Consultations.

#FreshContent – Monthly Themes for Your Content

A key challenge for social media managers is keeping the creative juices flowing. Even the most imaginative content developer can get caught in a rut from time to time. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid finding yourself stuck. One great technique is to set a monthly theme for your content.

The beauty of themes is that they provide you with a framework for your content and can help you narrow your focus. Even if even if you have no shortage of ideas, themes can help you stay on track so that you post consistently.

So now that you are sold on using themes, how do you get started? No surprises here, you create a plan! Of course, that’s easier said than done. No need to worry though. Here are seven steps you can follow to build a successful strategy for incorporating monthly themes for your social media content.

  • Assess what currently works – Take a look at which platforms work best for you now and the type of content that is getting the most traction. Remember that your objective is to get people engaged. You want to do more of what is working best.
  • Restate your social media goals – It is always helpful to remind yourself of your goals. If your primary objective for social media is to strengthen your relationships with your clients, then a customer appreciate theme is appropriate.
  • Think about your customers – What type of content will interest and help your customers? Do they need information on your products? If so, a monthly “how-to” theme will work well. Could they benefit from getting to know your company better? Try a monthly “getting to know us” theme.
  • Brainstorm – Spend some time documenting a variety of possible themes. Get your entire team involved. Each one will bring a different perspective to the task.
  • Prioritize – Once you have a good list, prioritize the topics according to your goals and what is likely to be most successful in engaging your customers.
  • Decide how you will measure success – Set some targets so that you’ll know whether or not your theme campaigns are working. Useful metrics can include shares, likes, follows, conversions or whatever works with the goals you have set.
  • Rinse and repeatEvaluate your campaigns periodically to see what is working. Revise your plan to strengthen the themes that aren’t quite hitting the mark.

Working with themes won’t just help you keep writing, it will help your customers know what to expect. They’ll appreciate your consistency and come to depend on you for insight, inspiration, or a smile. Themes also give you the chance to incorporate content that is unexpected. One month you may focus on a technical topic, the next you might express gratitude or profile a customer or employee. The point is, you can take advantage of themes to keep your content fresh, engaging, and fun. So get started with themes now!

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Hollie Clere of The Social Media Advisor is a “#BeAwesome” Developer, Social Media, Brand Builder, Content Manager, Trainer and Author in LinkedInFacebookTwitterBlogGoogle+YouTubePinterestInstagram, and the tools to manage them.

Click here for Social Media TrainingSpeaking and Strategy Consultations.

#FreshContent – Repurposing Your Past Content

If there’s one thing that professional marketers agree on it’s this: creating high-quality content is hard! Not only is it hard, but it also requires near mastery of a number of tools and resources. So it makes sense that you want to get as much out of your content as possible. The best way to do that is to repurpose it or use it in new and varied ways. Of course, doing that sounds much easier than it really is. Fortunately, we’ve got some ideas that can help you get a jump-start on repurposing past content.

Share on a Different Platform

The most efficient way to reuse your content is to share it across multiple platforms. A short blog post can quickly become a Facebook or Twitter post. A longer post might work best on your LinkedIn account. The point is you should make the most of all your social media accounts as a way to get more exposure for your content.

Give it a Facelift

The biggest problem with content is that it quickly becomes dated. Sometimes all you need to do is freshen it up by taking an older post and incorporating a current issue or challenge you’re facing; once done, it’s ready to re-post. As this “fresh” material gains relevance, you can use it in an email campaign or a brand new social media post.

Shapeshift It

There are many ways to take your old content and create something entirely different. A blog post can become a slide deck that can be posted to SlideShare or turned into a video. An article with statistics can become an infographic. With a little imagination, you can take an old piece of content, dust it off, and turn it into something completely different.

Mix and Merge

If you’ve been creating content for some time, you likely have a great deal of information on related topics. Bundling complementary material to create an e-book not only breathes new life into old articles, but it also cements your position as an authority. If your content has more of a “how-to” flavor to it, you can package it into a webinar. Even better, why not do both?

With a little creativity and imagination, you can turn older content into a brand new asset. In fact, you can use the very same information to create multiple articles, posts, and tools. Done the right way, what you thought was a one-shot post or article can be turned into something that is evergreen and long-lasting.

Be sure to Follow us and Let’s Engage!

Hollie Clere of The Social Media Advisor is a “#BeAwesome” Developer, Social Media, Brand Builder, Content Manager, Trainer and Author in LinkedInFacebookTwitterBlogGoogle+YouTubePinterestInstagram, and the tools to manage them.

Click here for Social Media TrainingSpeaking and Strategy Consultations.


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