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One of the biggest goals of having and using a social media site is to foster and maintain relationships with those in your networking sphere. Yet one of the most difficult tasks of maintaining a social media site is determining what kind of content to share.

Sure, you have a general understanding of what those around you want from your type of business or niche. But that doesn’t necessarily equate to what they want to read about on a daily basis, or share with their family and friends. If you’re a plumber, do they really care about an efficient toilet every single day of the week?

And that’s where the challenge lies.

When you build a relationship with someone, it’s usually because they trust you as a person, as a company. You have knowledge and skill that makes you trustworthy.

But if you run into them in a social setting – dinner at a restaurant, for instance – you wouldn’t discuss plumbing all night.

There is a fine line between proving your expertise with some of your content, and using social networking sites to build your relationships. Here’s how you do it.

Content Via Your Expertise

The base of your content should always be about who you are. You should use it to build your expertise in the eyes of your reader. But that doesn’t mean it has to be boring. Your niche or industry has many aspects to it. You don’t have to stick with generic titles and stories to prove your expertise.

The plumber can talk about low-flow toilets and tankless water heaters, but people will only handle so much content built around these topics. Yet a plumber’s expertise builds into many different areas he can share. What about tips for spring cleaning? How about reducing your water consumption? How about sharing the cleanliness of drinking water? Those are things that people care about at one time or another, and its all something that’s bound to get him noticed over time.

Find The Exciting In Your Industry

Did you know there is a World Toilet Day? Yep, most people probably don’t. Yet every year it’s celebrated in November in a variety of ways. The ultimate purpose of the non-profit behind the day is to improve sanitation worldwide. There are events that help teach that facts, and share statistics in funny ways.

Finding things to share on social media sites

Think this could make a plumber’s social media content a little more exciting? And possible give people a reason to share the content too? Yep, I think so too.

Listen and Share

Your first few posts (or tweets or shares) probably won’t get a lot of traction. But over time, you’ll start to see some are shared more than others; some have more comments than the next. This is how you find out what people want from you. The content that pulls people in, that creates conversation, and that keeps them coming back is where you should spend your energy with creation. And to be honest, this is an inexact process.

If someone loves something and you gain a lot of traction on a Monday at noon, the same content might die with no eyes on it at 4pm on a Thursday. It all depends on timing, and the right people seeing it in the right context. That changes all the time. What works today might not work in the same way tomorrow. But the important thing is to realize the more you stick with it, the more noticed you’ll be. Use trends and follow what people say and share. But remember, it’s an in exact science. If you want to share something, do it.

Finding The Content

Understanding the fact that you need content to share, and actually creating content regularly are two separate things. You may be excited about the possibilities, until you try and come up with your own content. You can’t create your content out of thin air. Where will you find the motivation and the inspiration?

The more sources you have for information, the more you’ll have to share with your audience. This isn’t all about you; it’s about giving people a reason to follow and connect with you. Likewise you don’t have to create the content all the time. Finding it and sharing it is an art form in itself.

You can find content in a variety of places. Make sure these resources are a part of your daily/weekly viewing habits:

Industry sites: What are people talking about on the major sites within your industry? Look to trade publications, industry resources, and the major companies that may even be your prime competition.

YouTube: What videos are most popular right now? Can you use them to tie in to your own company to make a point? Can you take their ideas and build it into your own video?

News outlets: What’s happening in the world? What are people talking about? How can you link what you do to what’s happening right now?

Twitter/Facebook/Google+: What are others sharing? Stretch beyond your clients and friends. Watch what your competition is saying. How about non-profits associated with your industry (remember the World Toilet Day).

Remember, everything you do online speaks to your brand. It builds your trust. It shows your consistency. It builds your expertise. The important part is consistency, and always thinking about how you can strengthen your relationship with those around you.