Lately, I’ve been putting a lot of thought into what makes an effective content strategy for our social communities. Throughout this evaluation, several seemingly universal themes have emerged that I believe are worth sharing and potentially debating among other B2B (business to business) marketers. Narrowed to five, these strategic imperatives should be looked at as a starting point, or guide, to building a loyal, engaged community through social media:

1) Be fast, and sometimes first. Identify and share content with your communities that is timely. Given that the half-life of most content is roughly 12 hours, you have less than a day before whatever you’re sharing is no longer relevant. In addition, while it’s not always realistic to think you’ll always be the first to promote a good story, it should be a goal nonetheless.

2) Be relevant. Source the most relevant and authoritative content relative to your audience, and continuously evaluate and improve where you’re sourcing that content from. What you share is only as good as your sources, so make sure you’re staying on top of who and what makes great content for your communities.

3) Be insightful. Provide your own unique point of view. Demonstrate originality, and separate yourself as a leader in your category. Your audience will continue to come to you as a source of knowledge if you consistently put out information that brings new or insightful ideas to the table.

4) Be interesting. Represent your organization in a way that shows off its personality. Make sure you are always adding valuable information to an ongoing conversation or that you are starting conversations that your audience wants to join.

5) Be opportunistic. Being prepared to identify and act on relevant and meaningful ways to insert yourself in the conversation. Prepare adequately to be able to act quickly on information that is of value to your audience—essentially, plan for spontaneity.

What do you think of these principles? Do they resonate? Am I missing something? Discuss in the comments.