The 5 Cs: How to find social media content

By Posted in - Curate & Social Media on May 18th, 2020 0 Comments A dog fetching a stick. Text reads "The 5 Cs - How to find social media content".

“Ahem. We’re waiting…”

Our social media channels are constantly tapping their foot, arms folded, impatient for new content.

Or at least it can seem that way.

But how do we keep the posts coming? How do we offer our audiences an endless stream of stories, activities, and opportunities to engage with us?

It’s a significant responsibility.

If we let our channels fall silent, then our audiences’ attention might just wander to our competitors…

Fear not. We’ve got you covered.

Here are five strategies to keep your channels populated with content that your audiences will find useful, usable, relevant and relatable.

Meet the five Cs of social media content.

Not to be confused with the five Cs of marketing, the five Cs of pricing, the five Cs of credit, the five Cs of cinematography, the…

Let’s get started.

1. Creating

Creating original content is the sure-fire starting point.

You can write exactly what you want to serve your goals and audiences, without any reliance on a third party, without any delay. All you need is a spark of creativity.

Of course, creating original content on a daily basis can be exhausting.

But thankfully, there are lots of cures for writer’s block and creative slowdown.

You might draw upon several methods when creating original content for your social media channels. Free writing. Ideation workshops. Boiling the kettle.

You can even kickstart your creativity by using your hands.

In his keynote talk at ContentEd 2019, international author Austin Kleon quoted advice from cartoonist Lynda Barry: “In the digital age, don’t be afraid to use your digits.”

Austin agreed that doodling, crafting, painting, collaging, building, cutting and sticking were sure-fire ways to get your creative cogs turning. He even recommended having two desks: a digital desk for your computer and an analogue desk for your arts and crafts.

If your inspiration is drying up, take a break from your computer one morning. Use your digits. Creative ideas will follow.

2. Cross-posting

You can save yourself time and effort by cross-posting.

Repurposing the same content for a different platform is an efficient way to reach a new audience without using additional resources. It will also delay your inevitable return trip to the drawing board to come up with a fresh idea.

Naturally, you have to tweak the content to respect the nuances of a different platform – length, use of hashtags, image requirements – but that helps keep the content fresh.

Be careful when tagging too. Using the wrong tag because you’ve moved content from one platform to another is a common oversight.

A person’s Twitter username might be spelt differently from their Instagram username, or they might not use Instagram at all. Investigate before you post.

 3. Curating

Out of inspiration?

There’s no shame in that. It happens.

Curating content is a great approach when you’re short on time or struggling for fresh ideas.

Sharing content posted by other users – blog posts, news articles, research findings – will help populate your channels with items of interest for your audiences. You won’t even have to apply much effort beyond pressing the share button.

That said, offering an original introduction to the curated content allows you an opportunity to exercise your own creativity. You can also frame the content around your organisation’s needs, your CTA, your topic of choice.

Best of all, curating will extend an olive branch of flattery and visibility to those users whose work you are sharing.

In return, you gain a social media ally who might just return the favour one day.

Sharing is caring.

4. Commissioning

Get someone else to weigh in.

If you’re low on ideas, low on time, then ask others to bring their creativity to the mix.

You could request user-generated content, enlist an agency to support your campaign, or hand over the reins to an audience member for a channel takeover.

Chances are, they’ll step up and deliver.

Commissioning not only allows you an extra pair of hands, but each pair offers your audience something different.

For instance, a student takeover can provide your audience with authentic peer-to-peer insight into the student experience. This is insight that you cannot create yourself as a staff member.

Equally, a good external agency can offer you a fresh arsenal of original content. They will draw from their years of experience working across the sector, and possibly beyond it.

5. Calendaring

Editorial calendars are a vital tool for a social media strategist.

They help us plan our content weeks in advance, identify periods without activity, and keep stakeholders informed of what we will be doing and when.

But how does calendaring help you find content for your channels?


Firstly, a calendar offers a quick at-a-glance look at your past content. Revisiting your former glories can offer you inspiration for new content. You can even re-post the same content again, albeit with a few flourishes to freshen up the words, and keep those algorithms happy.

Secondly, a calendar will remind you of key dates: events on campus, the UCAS admissions cycle, or international campaigns such as Giving Tuesday. These can offer you timely and topical opportunities to piggyback on a trend, offering you another nudge of inspiration.

Thirdly, a calendar should be shared with your stakeholders. Keep everyone in the loop by using collaboration tools and allow them a degree of access. Invite them to suggest content to fill the voids in your schedule. You will need to vet, you will need to fine-tune, but their suggestions will still offer valuable raw material for your consideration.

We hope these strategies will help you find fresh content for your social media channels. If you feel that your team would benefit from social media training, or a full social media strategy, then we would love to hear from you. Equally, if you need original social media content creating for your channels, or someone to help you manage your channels, then please do let us know.

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