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Set Up Social Media to Give You Great Post Ideas

This guest post is by Douglas Lim of The 10 Habits of Highly Effective Social Media Marketing People.

Finding articles and ideas for blog posts is an important skill for bloggers to master—and one that can now be leveraged through the power of social media.

High-quality content is tweeted, liked, bookmarked, and shared around. That’s why social media is fantastic for sourcing great content: we know even before we look at it that it’s probably of high quality, since people are sharing it with their friends and followers.

Spend just five minutes setting up your networks of choice to send you great content, and you’ll have no trouble translating and leveraging that inspiration to create your own blog post ideas.

Twitter

One of the nice features of Twitter is that it gives us the ability to create Lists of Twitter accounts.

For example, you can create a List, call it whatever you want, and then add to it all the Twitter accounts that tweet about a particular topic. It could be thought leaders in your field, or it may list brands that regularly write about your topic.

When you load that List in Twitter, you’ll only see tweets from thosepeople—it’s a perfectly curated suite of informationon your topic. Even better, Twitter allows you to subscribe to other people’s Lists. So you can get the benefits of someone else’s work—look especially to the Lists of thought leaders in your field, who know other people who provide great information.

Twitter lists

To create a List, simply go to your Twitter homepage and click on the head-shot icon as in the image below. To complete your List, follow the prompts as directed.


Facebook

Facebook is another fantastic social network for sourcing great content. Similar to Twitter, you can create an Interest list and include Fan pages in it. Then, you can view that list and only see page updates from Fan pages you’ve included.

Many brands are now on Facebook, so you can source some great information. To create an Interest list, go to your Facebook home page, and on the bottom-left side click on Add interests, as in the screenshot below.

Add interests on Facebook

Next, click on Create List and follow the steps to create your curated list.

Facebook list

Google+

Google+ also allows you to curate social content through its Circles. On Google+ you can create a Circle (of friends, colleagues, thought leaders, etc.), adding Google+ profiles and brand pages to that circle. Then, when you need inspiration for a post, go to the Google+ home screen, and choose only to view a certain Circle by selecting that Circle’s tab.

Google+ circles

LinkedIn

This is one of my favourite places to hang out and access great content. If you navigate to your LinkedIn home page, you can click on “See all Top Headlines for You” as in the screen shot below.

LinkedIn headlines

Here, you can customize your news according to what you want to read. You can follow industries such as Accounting or Entertainment, or sources such as CNN. LinkedIn will also send you email containing content from these various sources.

The great thing about these top news stories is that they are also tailored to you on the basis of what your connections, industry peers, and the wider professional audience are reading and sharing on LinkedIn. I have found that, with LinkedIn, you get a different spin on the content that’s shared, because most of your connections on LinkedIn will be professionals. This means you can find some real gems that you would not normally have found through Twitter and Facebook, which tend to have broader market appeal. I highly recommend LinkedIn.

Pinterest

At the time of writing, Pinterest doesn’t offer filtering of boards. But what you can do is set up a separate account, search for your blog’s topic, and subscribe to their boards through that account. Then you can view all their pins in a focused way.

Paper.li

This is a really fun way of tying all of the networks we’ve just talked about together. Paper.li is great for pulling in content from Twitter, Facebook, and Google+, as well as YouTube and your RSS feeds. Paper.li displays all your selected content in a newspaper-style format; you can also find other people’s papers and subscribe to them.

Curating inspiration

There’s lots of great content that’s constantly being shared on each of the different social media channels. This information will hopefully assist you with sourcing and organising this information so you can curate and share the most relevant content with your followers—and get great inspiration for posts on your blog. Best of all, it’ll only take you a few minutes to set up!

If you have any suggestions or other great curating tips and ideas, do share them below in the comments section.

Douglas Lim is a social media marketing and search engine optimization evangelist. He is also passionate about business and owns his own web design company servicing thousands of clients. Douglas regularly writes about these topics on his blog at The 10 Habits of Highly Effective Social Media Marketing People. Alternatively you can find him living on Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn or Facebook.

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Comments

  1. Mia Orantes says:

    Great article Darren! I was just discussing this yesterday at a Social Media seminar that I hosted. We were specifically discussing ways the busy business owners who don’t outsource their social media management can auto-generate content for Twitter specifically. However, that conversation led us to how to use social media to get ideas. I am a huge proponent of paper.li.

  2. Samuel says:

    Excellent article. That is what I can say. Social media does in fact you give me ideas. The twitter lists can be such a time-saver to get things going in your brain.

    Finding right ideas is important, and getting the right ones too.

  3. I consider LinkedIn as an awesome professional network that can really help me find those who are experts in my line of work. I can follow those who really know stuff about being an SEO reseller, and those who are updated with the latest updates in the world of search. Not only can it give you a lot of post ideas, but it can also help you take a step closer to being considered as an authority of your niche.

  4. Ben Troy says:

    I’ve been using Pinterest periodically for a few months. It’s a fun way to curate pictures and ideas.

    For example, I have a board called “Products I Like.” Anytime I see a creative product or product idea, I pin it on that board. I find it’s good way to get the creative juices flowing.

  5. GjiVan says:

    Thankx for this post Dougles. Mostly I use LinkedIn and twitter to know the latest trends of what people are searching. I haven’t personally tried g+ and Facebook for this reason. After reading this post, I think I am gonna try them too.

  6. Argie says:

    This Article is awesome, I agree to the writer that through social media you can find new ideas and techniques on how to create a very nice article. As I observed now a days most popular article in the internet are being shared, liked, tweeted and bookmarked by the reader.

  7. Geoff says:

    Great article about Social Media and ways to source ideas for posting. I find the Google reader a fantastic tool, but it is limited to those sites that you have already found, so doesn’t give you exposure to new bloggers or those you haven’t stumbled across yet.

    Love your site keep up the great work.

  8. I’ve found Twitter offers a lot of inspiration for me; so I don’t get inundated by all the information floating around, I created lists; just like you suggested and I visit those to see what my interest groups are talking about. I haven’t done the same for Facebook but seeing I’m on it so much, it seems like a good idea.

    I also check Google’s News headlines just to keep my pulse on things.

    Thanks for the great post; it is really helpful, as usual.

  9. Tash Hughes says:

    I certainly use Twitter lists but haven’t really tried those others. However, I do find that the questions in LinkedIn (and their respective answers of course) can be great for generating ideas, too.

    A search for a specific hashtag term in twitter is another way to see what people are discussing on your topic area to get ideas.

  10. Lee Ka Hoong says:

    Frankly speaking, I never think about it before, I didn’t get blog post idea through social media, and I think it’s good to try from today. I used to get some blog post idea from various ways, such as Google suggestion feature, Q&A sites, forum, and etc.

    I believe that Facebook would be good because I believe that most of the people spend more time on Facebook than other social media, and they spend more time in asking questions and sharing experiences in Facebook, so that would be great to get some post idea there. It’s my 2 cents. :)

    Great sharing Douglas!

  11. Hi Douglas,

    I like using Facebook Groups for inspiring blog post ideas. So many high energy, like-minded entrepreneurs sharing good, usable content.

    Ask to join a group and share your content. Read other’s content, generate ideas, put your twist on the work and prosper.

    Check out a few ning networks as well. Homebasedbusinessprogram.com contains a handful of content rich, home biz specific blog posts which can inspire you to pen your own content. Be patient; sift through the spam and you will find some real gems.

    Be open to ideas in each moment. Sometimes people get attached to various inspiring sources, such as social media, etc, but in truth, you learn something new throughout the day if you are open to experiences. Simply observe and apply these lessons to your business or blog. People dig these real world analogies as most of my “offline experience” posts are wildly popular.

    Thanks for sharing Douglas!

    Ryan

  12. Hi Douglas,
    I think social media can be a great tool for bloggers and website owners as well. But it has to be used in the right way or it won’t produce the desired results.

  13. Hi Douglas,

    Thank you for mentioning Paper.li. We find it a really valuable tool for keeping abreast of the latest and greatest as well.

    Thanks for reminding us what a valuable resource Facebook is for tracking interests – not just posting. I am going to tweet this post out to the community to share your valuable tips and then go and fine-tune my interests!

  14. great article.

    one of my niche sites is focused on a specialty designation in the education field. the requirements vary for each state.

    several questions come in daily on the facebook page and twitter stream. in addition, check google analytics to identify searches users are putting in.

    this is invaluable information that has helped me crank out solid content that addresses exactly what people are looking for

  15. I would definitely agree with you; social media is a great place for people with the same interests to share ideas. Compiling information to share with others also establishes credibility. Every blogger has sat at the keyboard searching for ideas and we sometimes forget about these great resources!

  16. Dippin Slash says:

    Harnessing the power of social media is a great help in blogging. Not only by having great post ideas but social media channels drive great traffic to blogs when done properly.

  17. Great post. I hope someday I will write for you.!

  18. john lee says:

    Nice post. It helps me a lot.
    i have used several times social media for this purpose.

  19. Joi says:

    With 12 websites/blogs, I find that it’s necessary for me to focus primarily on just a couple of the social media giants. If I were to attempt to master each, I’d never have any time for actual writing, updating, or tweaking my site.

    Social media is kind of a two-edged sword, isn’t it? I know a lot of people who used to produce really great content and have vibrant, vital blogs – but now they seem to put their best stuff on Facebook or Twitter. Sites they don’t even own.

    On the flip side, social media is where everyone’s at! We have to go to the places where crowds gather to let them know we exist.

    As you can see, I’m still struggling to strike that balance! Great article, it’s given me even more to think about!

  20. Sean A says:

    Thank you for this great insight into the true
    power of social media. Simple little ideas from
    some of the most effective special media sites goes
    a long way.
    Thank you
    Sean

  21. Thank you for these tips. I haven’t checked out Paper.li never heard of it but will now.

  22. Anneliz Hannan says:

    Great tips here Douglas. I don’t know how I could keep up with the pace of information on the various sites without my lists. I utilize all of tips you have outlined with the exception of the Paper.li and that is only because my lists have worked out well for me so far. Management time is key.

    All of these sites are fantastic for developing content ideas. I agree that Pinterest is a getting a bit more difficult to filter but that is due to my increase in following more people and boards. I think your idea of setting up an additional account for blog topics would work well.

    Thanks