4 Ways to Constantly Come Up with Social Media Content

When posting to social media networks, odds are good that at some point, you will run out of ideas. Here are a few content-generation techniques to try.

by / July 10, 2015
Utah's Senate Cloud is a centralized hub of links to the state Senate’s official Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and other social media accounts. via Utah SenateCloud

If your job involves posting on social networks on behalf of your government agency, odds are that you will, at some point, run out of ideas. One of the best tricks is to establish an ongoing system for constant idea generation. It’s important that this is something you’re always doing, so here are a few resources and techniques to have handy.

1. Establish Google Alerts

This type of email alert will be delivered to your inbox and allows you to monitor what is being posted online about your city, agency or event. It can also give you insight into what people want to know from or about your community. You can choose any keywords or phrases you would like to monitor. Make sure to put your keywords in quotations, such as “city of ______,” to refine the alerts you receive. Combining this with another term like “ranked best for” or “was voted the best” is a good technique to receive an alert if your agency or city has been ranked by a publication. Use these announcements as the basis for social media posts.

2. Set Up a Facebook “Watch List”

This feature of the Facebook Insights panel allows you to see how other pages are performing. I encourage you to “watch” Facebook pages that your audience is following, as well as similar jurisdictions that are doing exceptionally well on social media. Facebook will alert the managers of the other page that it was added to a watch list, but it will not identify your page specifically.
Monitoring pages on your watch list will give you a bit of data on how well (or how poorly) their posts perform. This is a great way to see what types of content may work well for your page and to get several ideas for your own posts along the way.

3. Cover Events Live

Government agencies are no strangers to hosting events. Whether it’s a council or committee meeting, seasonal event or community activity, public agencies host numerous events all year long. Many times, we stop promoting once we get bodies in the door. However, event coverage is one of the best ways to generate rich social media content. Live-tweet the activities as decisions are made, share photos in real time as citizens participate in activities, and even record a video and upload it directly to YouTube. Make sure to promote an event hashtag so your audience can follow along online. 

4. Convert Single Messages into Campaigns

Generate more content by turning a stand-alone message into a longer campaign. Companies do this all the time, and it can be a great content technique for government agencies as well. For instance, say you want to promote Bike to Work Day. Typically this might involve posting an announcement on Facebook, as well as sharing one or two tweets. However, turning this single message into a campaign might involve separate posts showing photos from last year’s event, reminders about bicycle safety, and perhaps photos of bicycles in front of city hall or the county building.
A little creativity can go a long way in creating a campaign experience that gives you a great deal of content to work with on social media. 

Kristy Dalton Contributing Writer

Kristy is known as “GovGirl” in the government technology industry. She is a former city government web manager who has a passion for social media, technology and the lighter side of government life. Kristy is the CEO of Government Social Media.