Whether you fill up your social media calendar months in advance or post content on the fly, you will need to have a steady source of content to post on social media.
Consistent content is a challenge for many social media marketers. Alongside an increase in the number of businesses on social media, we see a massive increase in the quality of content by brands.
Whether you create it yourself or share it from another source, your audience expects visually compelling and original content. It shouldn’t go overboard attempting to sell a product or service.
Creating Social Media Content Vs. Finding It
Should your content marketing efforts focus on creating original content, or can you mix in curated content?
Original content can be more time-consuming and expensive, and it’s not always readily available, especially for smaller businesses that have a limited budget or are just getting started.
If you only have so much original material to share with your audience, finding other content online, weeding out the good from the bad, and curating it for your audience is entirely acceptable. Many successful content sites implement content curation as a core strategy.
Finding good content to share with your audience makes you an authority in your niche if you do it consistently and stick to interesting and high-quality pieces.
How to Find Content Ideas for Social Media
But where do you find content for social media? The sources on this list will allow you to find a consistent source of content to share on social media and inspire you to create original content.
Some say Buzzsumo is a social media marketer’s best friend, and when it comes to looking for information to share with your audience, that’s true. Buzzsumo allows you to find the most popular social media content, and you can search for it by categories like date, keywords, and even the type of content.
Buzzsumo is also a great way to find influencers relevant to your industry, which can be another fantastic source for content.
2. Twitter Explore
While many people may not think of Twitter as a search engine, a glance through the results for a particular keyword or hashtag can bring you everything from news to relevant memes related to your niche.
You can also create a list of your favorite content providers and do a quick survey of them each day. It’s a great place to look when you’re in a hurry and need quick content to share.
3. Facebook Fan Pages
There is a Facebook Fan Page for practically everything these days, and many of them provide excellent share-worthy content. Look for pages that relate to your niche, or pay attention to the content leaders in your industry are sharing. One of the best things about using Facebook Fan Pages is that you can sign up to receive notifications every time the pages relevant to you make a post.
4. Pinterest Search
Pinterest is not just a hotbed for impossible-to-replicate recipes, though those do make great content depending on your niche.
You’ll find a little bit of everything on this social media site, from photos and memes to how-tos and instructional blog posts. Simply use the search bar and get lost in visual content. Follow your favorites to keep your feed updated with good stuff to share with your audience.
If you aren’t searching YouTube for content, you should start. Once you’ve watched a few videos in a particular category, the site begins to point you in the direction of similar ones, and it should provide you with weeks worth of content.
6. Email Newsletters
Email newsletters are a great way to find the most trending topics in your niche. Email newsletters often include weekly or monthly curated lists of interesting material.
Sign up for some that relate to your niche or simply provide interesting or attractive material to share. Someone else has already gone to the trouble of choosing top-quality pieces, which can save you a little time.
Packed full of quality visuals and links to interesting articles and other media, Tumblr is a content curator’s dream — particularly if you’re focused on trending topics that appeal to a younger audience, like fashion and travel.
The news aggregator app, Feedly, is not just a great place to find material but also a great place to keep it organized. Just search for your keywords, find some sites you like, and add them to your account for regular updates.
You can also collect your favorite blogs in your niche and keep a pulse on your industry – it’s a fantastic way to find content to share on your social media accounts. The Feedly app is available for iOS and Android, making it easy to find content on the go.
9. Your Competition’s Social Media Sites
Check out what your competition or the bigger companies within your category are posting. While you don’t want to copy everything they do, it can provide you with some inspiration and send you in the right direction when you’ve just started seeking good content.
You sign up for an account and follow the topics and other accounts that fit the description of what you’re looking for. Your feed is then presented to you in an attractive array of pictures and articles, and you can share the things you like to almost all of your social media accounts with just the click of a button.
If you’ve ever visited Reddit, you know it’s a massive website with millions of users submitting photos, discussions, links, videos, text, and other digital content types. Learning how to navigate the subreddits — at least one for practically every topic — can be overwhelming, but once you figure it out, you’ll hit the content jackpot.
You may or may not be familiar with Pocket (it used to be called Read It Later), but it’s time to introduce yourself if you’re not. The app allows you to save links and articles you would like to read later, which is great if you’re skimming all of the other sources mentioned on the list.
You’ll even receive updates on trending content similar to your saves. Best of all, Pocket will point you toward timely content that keeps up with pop culture and current events.
13. Google Alerts
If you don’t want to search for your content, try having the content delivered to your inbox with Google Alerts. Simply go to the site, sign up for alerts based on keywords, phrases, and topics you’re interested in, and you’ll receive emails when someone posts about those topics online.
You can allow Google to sort through it and only bring you the high-quality stuff or have them send you everything. You can also sign up to receive emails as they happen or a daily digest.
If you enjoy sharing content from your favorite blogs, sign up for a Bloglovin account. The platform helps you organize your favorites and find more blogs in particular categories, like DIY, fashion, beauty, lifestyle, entertainment, and home decor. You can also sign up to receive emails when your favorite blogs are updated.
Another excellent place for finding good visual content is Slideshare. All of the material here is high-quality, and the site will make recommendations for you based on what’s trending.
How to Find Content Ideas for Social Media Without Using Tools
But finding high-quality curated content doesn’t have to mean signing up for a bunch of tools or trawling through dozens of social media accounts.
There are plenty of viable content curation strategies that don’t involve a single tool. Here are some of our favorites:
16. Share User-Generated Content
Your audience likely already loves user-generated content (UGC), with four-fifths of consumers saying it highly influences their purchasing decisions.
In contrast, just one in eight feel the same way about brand-created content. So it’s definitely in your best interests to incorporate UGC into your content curation plans.
User-generated content comes in many shapes and sizes. Popular formats include:
- Reviews and testimonials
- User-written blog posts
- Video content
- Social media posts
- Q&A sessions
GoPro is a big believer in the power of user-generated content. Spend 30 seconds scrolling its Instagram wall, and you’ll come across numerous UGC examples. Most of its content comes from its users rather than its marketing team.
View this post on Instagram
How does it get so much fantastic content from its audience?
It doesn’t hurt that GoPro designed its product to capture extreme, exciting, out-of-the-ordinary imagery and video. Sharing that footage gives GoPro users a fantastic opportunity to show off their latest adventures.
And it also doesn’t hurt that GoPro has a considerable following (19 million+ on Instagram alone). If you’re an aspiring creator, getting your content shared by a brand like GoPro is a big deal.
But despite all those advantages, GoPro still realizes its audience might need a little nudge to submit high-quality UGC, which is why it runs regular incentives and competitions.
If you’re struggling to generate a consistent stream of quality UGC (or any), consider doing the same. Make your audience’s life easier by giving them clear instructions for what you’re looking for, including an engaging theme. Offer a prize worth winning — whether that’s a free product, a cash reward, a gift voucher, or a unique experience.
17. Raid Your Blog
Okay, so repurposing your own content doesn’t technically count as “curating” content, but it’s similar enough that we decided to mention it here.
Think about it. Unless you’ve only just started your blogging journey, there’s a good chance you have a sizable library of content covering a wide range of top-level subjects. For instance, here at SMSS, our blog search brings up about 240 results for the term “Facebook.”
That means you’ve got a ton of ammo for creating something fresh to share on social.
Have you created custom images for previous blog posts? Use them as the basis for new image posts. Interviewed a thought leader in your niche last year? Pull out a key quote and share it with your audience again — chances are many of them missed it the first time around. Have you published an evergreen blog that’s still relevant? Feel free to reshare it whenever you’ve got a lull in your social schedule.
18. Leverage Other Companies’ Content
Your industry likely has a handful of big companies that set the agenda.
For instance, in social media, we have the likes of Facebook, TikTok, and Twitter. If those folks were doing something new, we’d want to know about it, and so would our audience. So we might consume one of their latest blog posts (or videos, investor reports, or patent filings) and pick out the key takeaways, so you don’t have to.
That way, we get a fantastic basis for a social post, and you get a bunch of useful, interesting information without having to dig through a 20-page pdf.
SEO expert Bill Slawski has used this tactic with excellent results. He routinely dives into Google’s latest patents to find out what the search engine giant is up to next, unsurprisingly of great interest to his audience.
Generating Query Answers https://t.co/zSu3Ucccg0
— Bill Slawski ⚓ ?? (@bill_slawski) May 4, 2022
19. Share Survey Results
It’s hard to overestimate the value of original surveys (that is, surveys carried out or commissioned by your organization) when curating content.
You ask several questions, share them with your audience, and end up with a substantial dataset that can be the basis for multiple social media posts.
The best thing is, if your survey is based on an evergreen topic, you can keep sharing the results months (or even years) down the line because there are so many ways to cut and slice the data to produce new insights.
For years, Orbit Media has been running a blogging survey that digs into stuff like the average word count of a blog post and the length of time bloggers spend on a typical post.
They carried out their most recent survey in September 2021, but the results are just as relevant now. Orbit is still sharing some of the juiciest tidbits on social media more than half a year after the results were first published:
Why are some bloggers so much more successful than others?
What do top bloggers do differently?
Our latest research on blogging trends ?https://t.co/0BYErBVvoQ
— Orbit Media Studios (@orbiteers) May 2, 2022
While it’s always nice to have new data, there’s no reason why those results won’t still be helpful — and shareable — in another year.
20. Tap Into Large Datasets
Like the survey idea, but don’t have the resources to run your own?
There are tons of other massive datasets available to you. While they’re publicly available, there’s so much information that it’s possible to develop engaging, unique insights and takes. That potentially makes them an extremely valuable part of your content curation strategy.
So what do these massive datasets look like? Where can you find them?
There are tons of examples — far too many to list here. But here are a few of our favorite sources:
- US Bureau of Labor Statistics: The go-to source for data on employment, inflation, wages, etc.
- Glassdoor: Offers insights into what it’s like to work for different organizations (and how much they pay).
- Numbeo: Compares the cost of living in more than 10,500 cities worldwide.
- US Census Bureau: Data on businesses, demographics, health, housing, and more.
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: A wealth of information on traffic crashes across the US, segmented in various ways, including location, type of vehicle, and type of incident.
These Sources Are Just the Beginning
These are just a few of the great places to find content to share on social media.
There are thousands more out there just waiting to be discovered.
Sometimes, all you have to do is think outside the box when searching for content that people will enjoy, engage, and share themselves. What’s the most unique place you’ve ever relied on for social media content?
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