Feeding The Social Media Beast

Ever felt a “need” to be active on Twitter? Do you feel guilty for not publishing to your blog for a few days?

Hungry dogSometimes there can almost be a compulsion to keep feeding your social media accounts. Go away for a week and watch your blog plummet down the AdAge Power 150, your visitors fall and your RSS subscriptions drop off. Stop tweeting and watch the online discussion around your brand diminish.

So as a business, how do you deal with that time when you just don’t have any content to post?

Personally, I agree with others who have argued that the volume of content isn’t as important as the quality of content and its relevance to the audience.

So, here are a few thoughts on what you can do when your content well appears dry:

  • Re-assess your content
  • Listen to consumers
  • Converse with people
  • Ask what people want
  • Experiment with new ideas
  • Mine your internal resources
  • Wait for useful content


Take advantage of the extra time you have right now to take a cold, hard look at what you’re doing online. Is it working? How do you know?

Take a look at the kind of content you’re posting. Is one kind working better than another? Is one medium reaching more of your audience than another? Could you experiment with something new? Perhaps there’s a potential source of content that you haven’t yet tapped.


Social media doesn’t have to be all about broadcasting your content (frankly, it shouldn’t). While you’re in this lull, consider placing additional focus on listening. What are people saying about you? Are they discussing your product or company? Are they complaining? Complimenting you? Inquiring? Who is saying these things?

Take the time to reassess where you are against the baseline you set at the outset (you did do that, right?)


This sits nicely alongside your listening. When people talk about you, do you respond? Perhaps now is a time to get the buy-in you need to start. Maybe it is; maybe it isn’t. Think about it.


When was the last time you asked the people who care about your company what they want from you? Have you ever done that? You may be making assumptions. Remember – building strong relationships with customers (and I don’t just mean in an online forum) means making it about them, not just you. Ask for input, and ye shall receive.


One of the great aspects to social media (to online communication in general) is that you can experiment at little cost. Maybe it’s a new promotion; a new contest; a new feature on one of your social networking properties. That means you can test out ideas, stick with what works and discard what doesn’t. Instead of searching for that big idea to kick-start things, consider trying out a whole bunch of small ideas to see what works.


Do you have a content plan? How are you using each of the channels on which you have a presence? If you don’t have a plan for them, consider creating one now.


Just because you work in communications (or marketing, or whatever function you’re in), it doesn’t mean you can’t look elsewhere for help. Whether you’re communicating online or offline, you probably have a wealth of resources right under your nose. Ask around within your organization. Does your customer service, IT or product function have information that you can mine? You don’t know? Ask. Some of your biggest resources may be sitting there just waiting for you to find them.


You want to be heard. You want to build your community; to get results. Remember, though, that people may not want to hear you as much as you want to be heard. Don’t get me wrong – results are absolutely critical, but spamming people when you have nothing to say won’t help you to get those results.

As I mentioned earlier, look to speak when you have something to say rather than for the sake of it. If that time isn’t now, then wait.

What have you done when your company or your client struggles to find useful content? What would you add to the list?

(Image: Shutterstock)

44 Responses toFeeding The Social Media Beast

  • Twitter Comment

    RT @davefleet: Thoughts on feeding the social media beast, and what to do when the food runs out: [link to post]

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  • Twitter Comment

    Lots of good social media tips here: RT @davefleet: Thoughts on feeding the social media beast [link to post]

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  • Twitter Comment

    RT @davefleet: Thoughts on feeding the social media beast, and what to do when the food runs out: [link to post] <--good ideas – Posted using Chat Catcher

  • Twitter Comment

    Thoughts on feeding the social media beast, and what to do when the food runs out: [link to post]

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  • shawn hall
    ago11 years

    Could not have picked a better time to read this. Working on some content right now…Thanks!

  • Good tips here.

    The thing I hate about social media is the way it encourages narcissistic behaviour. Dave provides an antidote to some of this.

  • Three quickies come to mind after reading your 9-11 post: (1) After you’ve had that conversation with friend/reader/client, then write about it.
    (2) Read a book about your subject/industry and either share notes OR opinion OR both.
    (3) Go out to a meeting or exhibit and report on the event . . . that’s just for starters.

    And one thing more, if you are having trouble getting started, just imagine one of the people in your audience and direct your article to him or her.

    Thanks, Dave, for the prompt.

  • Great post — particularly love the points about planning, as I’ve seen so many individuals and organizations jump into social media because they felt they “had” to, without planning their goals for it first.

  • Dave,
    First of all, I really wish people wouldn’t feel so compelled to constantly produce content. As a consumer of content, I get very overwhelmed. I hate to unsubscribe from RSS feeds because I might miss a valuable nugget, but it is a constant struggle to keep up with some of the amazing and thought provoking bloggers such as yourself. Seeing 300 unread items in my RSS reader every day is intimidating. I’d much rather read one amazing post per week (or even per day) than five or six top of mind rambles.

    But, to your question, I agree with the previous commenter about attending industry functions and conferences. There are plenty of round up but it is great if you can pull together some great quotes and buzz from attendees and add your take. I also think it is ok, even for corporate blogs, to invite some guest bloggers from partners, customers, and industry followers.

  • Well thought out advice here, thanks for the guidance! I especially like your point on Converse. When people want to talk, it is only appropriate to respond.

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