Social media and blogging are the Forrest Gump and Jenny of content creation. They go together “like peas and carrots.” Social media is a great way to drive traffic, especially for new blogs.
Social media is also a great tool for validating an idea that you are working on, or maybe just noodling with.
If you type the words “social media” and “validation” in the same Google search, look out! It is a hot topic these days in relation to self-esteem and mental health. But we’re going to look at it from a different, less personal angle.
As a content creator or blogger, social media validation is something completely different. It’s a good way to find out what your audience expects from you, regarding content. Said another way, it helps keep you from wasting your and their time with content they aren’t interested in.
Or let’s say you have a nugget of an idea about something you want to talk about but aren’t sure which way to go with it. A test run on social media might just help you flesh it out.
Validating an idea has other benefits. It can help you gather feedback from your audience, which is always important. That feedback can often help you improve your product.
It can also help build confidence in your idea. When you know you’re moving in the right direction with new content, it always makes it easier to keep developing it.
Try using these steps!
1. Start with your initial idea.
What was it that first attracted you to this topic? Maybe whatever it was that got your attention will resonate with your audience as well.
Create a quick social media post explaining your general thoughts on the idea, then keep an eye on the feedback it receives. Comments from your audience could give you some guidance on which way to go with further content.
Lack of engagement could be a sign that you need to move on to another topic. But if it’s an idea you believe in, don’t give it up immediately. Try posting the idea again from either a broader perspective, or a narrower one. A different angle may trigger a different reaction from your audience.
Whatever your process for creating content, at some point you have a broad idea of where you think the topic will go. Even if it’s only in your head and not on paper or a screen.
Pick something from the outline and post it on social media. Again, the engagement or lack of it will give you a path to take.
3. Share similar content from another source.
Social media is all about sharing content, whether it’s yours or someone else’s. Find an article, video, or meme that is related to your topic and gauge your audience’s reaction.
Along the same lines, look at the things your audience shares on their timelines. You may find that they are already interested in your topic.
4. Come right out and ask.
Sometimes we “creatives” spend a lot of time trying to be clever, when the direct approach is more effective.
Post something related to the topic you are interested in developing and ask your audience if it interests them. Ask if they would be interested in learning more about it.
5. Use all your social channels.
Don’t just do a Facebook post, send a tweet. Post on your Instagram account, or LinkedIn.
You may find that the topic doesn’t get much traction in one place but does in another. Either way this is good information to have moving forward.
6. Check hashtags.
Hashtags are used to group individual posts around the same topic on social media. Go into the search section of any of your social media accounts and create a hashtag related to the topic you are interested in.
You will instantly be able to see how much buzz there is on the topic. Not only that but you’ll quickly be able to see if the buzz is positive or negative.
It’s important to remember that just because something is important on all of Twitter or Instagram, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s important to your audience. But it’s still information that can be useful to you while making your final decision.
7. Look at the comment section from previous posts.
It’s easy to get busy creating your content, and then moving on to the next idea.
Your audience may already be leaving you clues about what they want. You won’t even know if you’re not checking their feedback.
Never forget that social media is two-way communication. If you’re not engaging with your audience they will likely move on to someone else’s content.
Keep in mind that while it’s important to create content that others are interested in, your blog is about you and your ideas.
You likely started the whole thing because you had a passion about your ideas and you wanted to share them. If you want to write about it, write about it, no matter the feedback.
But the internet is a big place, and with a little work, finding others who share that same passion is something that will pay off for you in the long run.