One of the things that I hear from people who are hesitant to use social media is that they don’t have anything to say. Usually the people who say this are really smart and just need a little help finding their voice. However, helping build a content-rich community doesn’t always have to be about your own original content. You don’t have to write a whitepaper every time you want to teach something to your readers.
There are a number of tools that you can use to find relevant content that can be used to spark online conversations. You might read an article and write a blog post, or you might simply mention in a tweet with your own opinion added to the end of it. Regardless of how you use the information, here are a few sources that I use for finding content.
- Stumble Upon. This is a browser add-on (free download) that allows you to search through content by “stumbling” onto items that you might like. When you register you tell it what categories you like and then it helps you search the web. You then give thumbs up or down to things you find and it begins to learn your preferences. I use this a lot to find great recipes and unique travel sites based on my preferences of cooking and travel. There are many categories to choose from making it a diverse research tool.
- Twitter. I have a number of people organized into lists who post on topics that are relevant to me. I read through their posts and often discover articles and resources that I share with my community. Conversations are happening everyday and following hashtags can also help refine your search for new ideas and news.
- Google +. This new social media tool is content rich. Many articles are social media related, but if you use the search feature, you can find content on many topics that may be relevant to your community.
- Facebook. While Facebook has a large social (less business) presence, friends that are in your industry often share articles, blog posts or even tales via their status updates. All of this is fuel for the fire of your social media knowledge bank.
- LinkedIn Today. LinkedIn has added functionality in recent months that helps you to discover news stories that are shared by people in your network (up to three degrees of separation). You can also subscribe to certain publications to find stories in areas that you select.
- Feedly. This is a new service that I discovered that aggregates your RSS feeds and suggests content based on what you already like. I have been using this to read several publications that I follow and found it to be very useful.
- Traditional Media. I can’t forget to mention that the websites that you have already been reading (newspapers, magazines, trade journals) are great resources for understanding business and the world that it takes place in.
These are just some places where I find interesting things to read. What are some of your favorites?