Last week, Part 1 of this post discussed how to implement the basic steps of a content sharing strategy across social networks by focusing on your content marketing goals, employing the Rule of Thirds, using your blog as your content marketing anchor and then by adding third party content curation to your content mix. Most marketers are generally aware of these basic social media marketing strategies and apply them but stop there and don’t apply more advanced sharing strategies.
But there are two more easy steps that you can take in the re-purposing and re-distibution of your content that will further extend your brand, help improve your SEO rankings and increase the ROI on your investment in original content development. They are content syndication and social bookmarking.
1) Content Syndication
Simply put, content syndication is a method by which your content is made available to other sites and on social media channels.
In their simplest forms your RSS feed and Hootsuite are syndication tools that allow you to (collect and) efficiently distribute your content to your target audience. Hootsuite is an example of a more advanced syndication tool that allows you to collect your RSS feeds and social media networks feeds (i.e. from Facebook and LinkedIn) in one place and to then distribute that content along with your original content across that same range of social media channels. More advanced syndication platforms like Medium, Tumblr, and Pearltrees, allow you to organize and collect your content around themes and engage in social networking around that content. So pick a couple of content curation tools that make sense to you for your purposes, and start experimenting with them.
2) Social Bookmarking
Social bookmarking tools allow you to save, organize and manage content and links to various websites and resources around the internet. Social bookmarking is a form of syndication that pushes out your content and provides the opportunity for visitors to discuss it, vote on it or simply even just discover it, based on their search “mood”. Most allow you to “tag” your links in some way to make them easy to search and share. The most popular are Delicious and StumbleUpon. Social news services allow people to post various news items, (aka your content), or links to outside articles and then allows it’s users to ”vote” on the items. The voting is the core social aspect of these tools and the items that get the most votes are displayed the most prominently. The most popular of these types are Digg and Reddit.
Confused by Option Overload Yet?
In this post I have tried to organize my discussion of these tools around the themes of syndication and bookmarking. If you go back to part 1 of this post you will see I used the categories of social networks and content curation to group them there. But once you look more closely, (or if you are a regular user of some of these tools), you quickly realize that many, if not most of these tools can actually fit into more than one of these categories. This is where social media sharing gets very confusing for the beginner, trying to understand the differences in the tools and to try and decide which are the best options for their use. Once you understand that most of them serve a number of purposes, but have one particular niche that they are positioned for, it is easier to embrace this confusion.
There is no question this world of social media sharing is very complicated and constantly changing. New tools appear weekly. The only way to get a handle on it is to throw yourself into it and start experimenting to find the best tools to accomplish what you need to do. If you are just getting into these tools and are simply drowning in all the possibilities, I recommend the Knowem website as a good resource to help you understand the general categories a bit better and to see basic descriptions of over 550 social media networks and tools.
Once you have picked your syndication and bookmarking tools it is time to apply them and get your content, (and any really good related third party content), out there on to the internet. Post your material with links back to your blog and you will start to see two things happens. One, your SEO rankings will begin to rise as a result of these inbound links and two, your site’s organic traffic will begin to increase as a result of this increased exposure of your content. The amplification of your content across the web in now, almost complete.
The final and truly critical stage of social content sharing is to apply the third rule of thirds and engage with your audience on these social networks, where they are encountering your content. This means you must monitor comments and remarks and engage in sincere discussion around them. Respond to questions, ask questions about comments, and generally be positive, present and helpful. This kind of engagement can be a challenge if you have not done if before but throw yourself in and with practice you’ll get the hang of it and actually start to enjoy the opportunity to talk to students, faculty and your wider community.
Social media sharing is a complicated process but it will produce many benefits to your institution. Give it a try and let us know how it’s going. If you are already active in social content sharing, we would love to hear what, in your experience, are the most effective content curation, syndication and bookmarking tools for use in higher ed.