How Important Is Owned Social Media Content?
Owned social media content is everything!
Without your own content i.e. articles, graphics, images, and videos created and branded for your business, you are doing someone else's marketing job for them. Instead of promoting your brand, you are promoting someone else's brand.
Not to say you can't share curated content at all!
There is a place, and time, for everything, and that includes sharing articles, pictures, videos, and infographics that you know will resonate with your audience, yet created by someone other than you or your team.
However, in order to grow a brand, a business and create an online footprint, each business has to first and foremost create their own content. As social media managers, we are not only tasked with the distribution of content to social media channels, we often need to create it!
Unless you are an in-house social media manager, one of the hardest things we as social media managers are up against is getting good, usable social media content from our clients. When it is not feasible to go to the client each time photographic or video content is needed, a system is needed to secure terrific social media content from your client, time after time.
In this article, we will focus on the relationship between marketers and clients as it pertains to securing content for social media.
- learn what type of social media content is unusable and find out what mistakes most business owners make when (first) attempting to get content for social media
- how to get the exact content you need each and every time
- gain ideas for systems to set up so clients can easily transfer content files to you
What Does Unusable Social Media Content Look Like?
Things can get ugly!
Business owners might have the best of intentions to provide you with content for social media. Often though, what you need and what they provide is miles apart!
Here is what unusable social media content looks like.
Content Sourced From Questionable Sources
“Just use images from Google”
Would you, if your client told you to?
No! Of course not! You can not use any random image found online. You can not use images on your social media you haven't paid for or you do not know the origin of. You can and most likely will be sued.
“Can you just work your magic and make it look better?”
If the image is low resolution, it can not be blown up and be used for print advertising or on a website without converting the images first, creating more work for you. Those low-resolution images don't work well on social media either and will look grainy. They can be used in a pinch, but why would you? Skip these and try again.
Images w/Random People
“They won't care I took their picture”
It is imperative that all people in images you use for marketing purposes have signed a waiver. For example, pictures of people eating in your restaurant should not be used for social media marketing without their consent. You need a signed photo release for each person and keep these on file.
Unintentional Partial Nudity
“It doesn't look bad, she looks hot”
Hot or not, if there is unintentional partial nudity because of poor photography skills, do not use the images.
“If you squeeze your eyes, you can make out the dog in the distance”
Unintentional blurry pictures aren't good for anything but to slap a quote on. If you have time to edit, you could salvage some blurry images, but again, why would you do that extra work? Instead, teach a few simple photography techniques.
“It was snowing, I took a picture of the parking lot”
When you don't really know what you are looking at, don't use the picture, unless you are looking for more images to add quotes on. (see ‘Blurry Images') The intent or focus of the picture should be clear in order to use it on social media as-is.
A Set of Similar Pictures
“I took tons of pictures. You can use all of these right?”
When a client sends you twenty pictures of the same car from the same angle, shot at the same time of day, the only thing to do is pick the best one and delete the rest.
“I forgot that tripod stand you told me about. It's not so bad, is it?”
If the video is shaky and bad quality and not even video editing can make it look decent, scrap it.
Video Interview w/o Sound
“Oops, the sounds quality is bad, but we look good”
Unless you want subtitles only and add some music, an interview without sound needs to be reshot.
Getting The Exact Social Media Content You Need From Your Client.
There are two things that need to happen in order for you to get the social media content you need from your clients.
Education and Communication.
Educate your client about social media content and how and when to create it.
- how to take pictures – use a lightbox, take close-ups, selfies, do group shots, explain phone features
- when to take pictures – at events, when unboxing, at client meetings, with happy customers
- how to take good video – use a tripod, search for good lighting, use a mic
- when to take video – at community events, at tradeshows, when meeting with clients
Communicate the exact content you need and when you need it.
- evergreen content (I call these ‘branded stock photos')
- seasonal content
- specific images (topic)
- specific video (length and topic)
Send your client updates on the content calendar you are creating a few months out. Ask them for ‘pictures with red for Valentine's Day' or ‘Patriotic Products' for Independence Day, and follow up with a specific date of delivery for said items. Knowing when their community events are (put them on a calendar) can help you serve them with a quick email reminder of the specific content you want from them for that event. Consider creating an ‘event content list' for your clients to refer back to!
The clearer you are about what you are looking for, the more likely you are to get what you need!
How To Best Share Content Files Between Computers and Smartphones
Last but not least, you might need to teach your client how to send you their content.
It might be a good idea to have several systems in place. From my experience, I know that not all small business owners are tech savvy. Depending on what your client’s favorite mode of communication is, you might want to consider letting them choose their favorite file sharing system.
Personally, I do not have a one-size-fits-all system*.
If I am successful in teaching a client to create social media content, my goal is to make it as easy as possible for them to share these files with me.
Here are a few ideas for success file transfer systems.
For content taken with Smartphones, a client may send short videos and images via
- text messaging
- Whatsapp or Voxer
- Slack channel
- shared DropBox folder
For content taken with HD cameras, a client may send large files via
- shared DropBox folder
- Google Drive
Each file sent needs to contain a description of the content. You need to know ‘who, what, when and where‘ as you might need to store images for later use. The last thing you want to do when you are ready to post is to go back and ask!
*The only ‘rule' I have is that each client sticks to whatever system they pick!
Additional Social Media Content Issues To Watch For!
As you work with (new) clients, here are some other known content issues to watch out for.
A forwarned person is forearmed!
Clients have been known to
- go rogue and post randomly, messing with your content calendar
- demand certain posting times and days, not deferring to you the expert
- micromanage every post, not trusting you with their brand
- not look at your content calendar but then want you to edit everything after the content has been posted
Try to prevent some of these issues by being
- clear in your scope of work
- precise on what you need from your client
- confident in yourself, the social media expert that you are
Educate and communicate. Rinse and repeat!
Do you have a system in place to receive terrific social media content from your clients? Do you have a tool you absolutely love that makes this process easier?
Let's hear it! Please leave us a comment so we can all learn.
I am a Certified Social Media Manager, Strategist, International Keynote Speaker, Organic Specialist and Agile marketer! Blogging is my creative outlet. Running, hiking and skiing are how I recharge. You'll recognize me on stage and online by my always present orange glasses, a nod to my Dutch heritage.