Social media is still a relatively new channel of digital marketing. Best practices are still being defined, and we are definitely making some of the rules up as we go.

Truly, there is no one-stop shop for everything social on the web. Much like any sort of digital marketing, or even the scientific method, asking a questions, researching that question, creating a hypothesis (writing a story), Testing (measuring), analyzing the data and then forming a conclusion is a method that is always recommended.

Getting started, we are going to treat everything you know up until this point about social media as bonus material and start at the very top level. The very first question we should consider about social is a question about engagement.

What drives engagement?

Content drives engagement. If your social page (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc…) does not have any content, traffic will go right past you to another page that does have content. Posting text, videos, blog posts, music, pictures etc… are all considered content. In fact, the Content Marketing Institute found 9 out of 10 organization use content for marketing. Proving your content will help you tell your story.

In my opinion, there are two ways to deal with content. You can either create it or curate it.

Content Creation
Content Creation is an important part of social media management. It gives the owner personality that a lead can connect with and gives your page engaging items that will keep a lead coming back to visit.
There are a few guidelines that one should be aware of when creating content.
1) Be Original
2) Be Specific
3) Be Relevant

Be Original
Content creation is inherently being original. Be it a picture, a post, and info graph, or a video, creating an original piece of content gives credibility as a thought leader and shows passion for your field of interest.

Be Specific
Vague content that doesn’t have a specific goal should be avoided. Every post needs to support your overall story on your social channel.

Be Relevant
Content is the foundation that supports your story. Relevant posts strengthen that foundation. It’s really important to have the story you are trying to tell match up with your target’s demand. Any sort of deviation from your brand’s image and you will be facing some skepticism from your followers.

Even when you’re not original, you can still be original. Truly original content can be rare; most content is inspired by some other work from another person. Be warned though, do not plagiarize; let that piece of original content inspire your own work, or you will be falling into a content curation bracket.

Content Curation
Curating content is the sharing and spreading of relevant information that was created by others. Content curation usually features handpicked content that supports your overall story.
While curation can feel like a cheat method to populating content on your social channel, it actually is a very effective way of telling your story.
1) Always give credit
2) Curate Relevant Posts
3) Have a plan for your curated content
4) Don’t be afraid to put your own spin on an original piece of content

Always give credit
This should go without saying else it is plagiarism. The quickest way to lose credibility is to claim a piece of content as your own. It is really easy and even acceptable to link and share someone else’s content. In some cases those creators will appreciate the mention and could end up curating your content.

Curate relevant posts
Just like above it is really easy to get lost in sharing content to your social channels. It is really important to make sure the content matches up to your story as an individual or as an organization.

Have a Content Management Plan
It is always in best practice to have a plan for your social media presence. Content management is not an exception. Hitting the “share” or “retweet” button on everything that appears in your newsfeed can get confusing for someone who is looking at your page, trying to figure out what you stand for. Putting together a spreadsheet that helps you keep track of what content you are going to share (or create) will help you keep track of your overall performance and storytelling in that channel of marketing.

Content and Calendar Timing
Post too little and you can get lost in the sea of information – post too much and you can inundate your followers with information. The best practices in this category are as follows

Posting is obviously a really important part of being socially active and being socially active means you will be in the minds of your followers.
In this regard there are different expectations for frequency of posting per social channel.

Facebook : 1- 2 post per day
LinkedIn : 1 Per work day
Instagram : 2 per day
Twitter : 3 posts per day
Pinterest : 5 times a day

These numbers are based on some research by At the end of the day though, keeping an eye on your own numbers and coming up with what works best for you, is always best practice.

Remember content is the key element to launching your social media marketing programs. Hopefully these tips on creating and curating content help you become more comfortable launching your social media campaigns. And if you have any questions along the way, just ask or post them in the comments.