If you want to build an audience on social media you need to share great content. The problem is, writing your own can take time and trawling the web for content isn’t much faster.  Then there’s the scheduling and the linking to all your channels. It can become a huge, not always enjoyable, chore.

A few months ago I came across two websites (both of which also have apps – more on that later), which have really helped me up my game on social media.  (If I say so myself!)

I’ll just start by saying that I’m not affiliated with either, in any way.  I just find both really useful and thought that others might too.

What kind of content should you share?

If you have a product or service, the ultimate goal of your page is to sell it. However, if your posts are all sell, sell, sell that’s going to put a lot of people off.  The only person it might be interesting, or relevant for is probably you.

Instead, you need to think about who your target audience is and what kind of thing they might be interested in reading about.  I say target audience, rather than your page’s actual audience because if these don’t align you need to look into why.  (Possibly that the content is resonating with a different group of people.)

For example, at a very high-level, my audience are likely to be parents of young children, or pregnant women.  The articles I share tend to be about pregnancy, or parenthood.  Looking at the age and gender of my followers (below), hopefully I have this right.

If you want to see the demographics for your audience, you can do this on the Insights section of your Facebook page, by looking at ‘People’

Facebook demographics

This shows the demographics for my Facebook page

You can also get an idea of what your followers like by checking out the performance of your previous posts.  (Go to your page and click on Posts.)  This breaks down reach (how many people have seen it) and engagement (likes and clicks).

Facebook post performance

The performance of some of my previous posts

Of course, you can, and should, share information about your product or service (after all, that’s the reason for your page to exist!), but aim for this to be around 10% of what you post.

I wrote an article all about social media posting earlier this year.  To save repeating it all here, head over and give it a read.

My top tip for finding great content – Feedly

The first tool I want to share is Feedly.  It’s an RSS feed aggregator, which basically means it can pull together all the feeds (and blogs, etc) you want to follow.

I love it because:

  • It’s easy to set up and you can keep adding to it as you find new people, or feeds that you want to follow.
  • You have the ability to mark articles as ‘read later’.  (I use this for content that’s not timely, that I want to keep for future.)
  • It’s free! (Everything I’m outlining below is free. You can upgrade to a paid plan for more features.)

Once you’ve set up your account, you can select ‘Add Content’ at the bottom left of the screen.  This gives you a few options.

Feedly add content

If you know what sources you want to follow you can just add them in.  i.e. by typing in the name of a blog you follow.  You can also choose from hashtags (i.e. #babysleep) which will bring up some suggestions.

If you’re looking for content in more than one area, you can set up multiple feeds (basically, headings to organise your content under.

You’d then click on your feed to see all the articles, with the most recent at the top.

Feedly article list

I also like these little icons, that show you when a story is really popular:

Popular article on Feedly

This article has been shared 500+ times

There’s also an app, so you can use it on-the-go if that works for you.  (I prefer the desktop version – but that’s just a personal preference.)

Now you’ve got your content, when should you post it?

I shared this before, but it’s important enough to repeat.  You need to check that you’ve scheduled your content for when your audience is actually online.

Here’s how to actually do this:

Facebook

Go to your page and select Insights > Posts.  

When your fans are online

You can see the time of day your fans are online (which will help you set your schedule).

Time Facebook fans are online

Post types

You might also find it useful to see the average reach of different post types.  I can see that, for me, photos get more reach than links.

Facebook post types

Top Posts from Pages you watch

A really cool (and I believe, fairly new) feature is the ability to ‘spy’ on your competitors posts. Just add their pages and you can see how well their posts are performing too.  

You can only see posts from the current week – but you could use their high-performing content on your own page, as it will give you an indication of what’s popular.  (Assuming their audience is similar to yours.)

Instagram

Instagram doesn’t appear to give you the option to do this.  From the research I’ve done, it suggests that the best times to post are to catch people early (a lot of people check their feeds first thing) and in the evenings.

Apparently, if you look at the general statistics, the maximum number of people are online on a Wednesday evening (compared to other weekdays).

Twitter

I couldn’t figure out how to do this on Twitter (as it’s not in their analytics). Fortunately, this article helps to explain how to determine the best time to tweet better than I can.

A key point however, is that Twitter moves so fast that it can be good to schedule the same tweet to appear at scheduled intervals.  This also helps capture people in different time zones.

As you don’t want your Twitter feed to become boring, repetitive, or spammy, I’d suggest perhaps scheduling non-time critical tweets in a few times, over the period of a week.  I.e. perhaps a Monday morning, Wednesday evening and Saturday afternoon.

My top tip for scheduling your posts – Buffer

The second tool I’m using is Buffer.  I love it because:

  • It’s super-easy to set up and use.
  • You can link your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest
  • You can add articles to buffer from your browser, or on your phone (once you have the app installed.)
  • It’s free!  (Everything I’m outlining below is free. You can upgrade to a paid plan for more features.)

To get started, you just need to create an account and choose the networks you want to add.

Using the insights we have about the best times to post, you can set up your schedules for each network. (To do this, go to Settings > Posting Schedule.)

Buffer posting schedule

Once you’ve done that, you can use the content page to create your content.  Buffer will automatically fill out your schedule, but you can easily move posts around by dragging and dropping.

Buffer add content

You can then look at the Analytics tab to see how your posts are performing and tweak your schedule, or change the type of content you’re sharing if needed.

Buffer Analytics

One of my favourite features is that there’s a browser extension, so you can an article into your schedule, as you find it.  There’s also an app, which I use for Instagram mainly, as most of my photos are on my phone, so it makes sense to use that to create them.  

A small variation when using Instagram

While on the subject of Instagram, it’s worth mentioning that Buffer doesn’t post to Instagram for you (as it does with the others). Instead, it will remind you, at the scheduled time, that you have a post.  You then need to open the post and ask it to share to Instagram. It opens up the app (check you’re logged in with the right profile, if you have more than one), puts the photo in and copies the text to your clipboard. So all you have to do is edit the image, then hit paste.

Adding an Instagram post using Buffer

Oh – and what’s really cool is that Buffer and Feedly are linked.  If you see an article in your Feedly that you want to Buffer you press the icon and it adds it to your schedule.

Feedly add to buffer icon

So, there you have it.  It might take an hour or two to set up – but then you’re all set.

Do you have any other insights, or time-savers to share?  Comment below if so!