Did you know that 76% of internet users access social media for product research? Your target audience is likely part of that population.
In recent times, social media (especially platforms like LinkedIn) has proven to be an excellent avenue for companies to build credibility, turn strangers into raving fans and drive revenue.
However, without a clear-cut strategy, you’ll find that your social media efforts won’t deliver the desired results because you;
- lack direction,
- aren’t consistent.
It doesn’t matter if you’re new at social media marketing. Everyone once was. In this guide, I’ll show you the exact framework you need to develop a winning social media content strategy that will take your business to the next level.
What is Social Media Content Strategy?
A social media content strategy is an action plan that guides how you engage with your audience across different social platforms.
It dictates the;
- and when of your social media management efforts.
Every social media platform is different
The pattern of engagement that works for Instagram (as a casual visual platform) may not necessarily work for Twitter, which is primarily character-based, nor would it work for LinkedIn, where professional networking is favored.
Therefore, your social media strategy must be tailored to the particular platform you want to excel at.
Why is a Social Media Content Strategy Important?
It saves time:
Content production and distribution can be a long, tiring process. Imagine how much more difficult it would be if you had to come up with new ideas anytime you felt like posting.
Having a documented content strategy gives you a clear direction on what’s next, saves you from last-minute brainstorming sessions, and allows you to focus on producing interesting content that customers need.
It ensures consistency:
Posting random content whenever you feel like it is the fastest way to dampen an audience’s interest. They’ll pivot to your competitors that consistently appear in their newsfeeds.
A documented content strategy ensures that the social media manager publishes content as and when due.
It helps you to track results:
Many social media managers find social media reporting a tiresome aspect of content marketing, especially when they don’t know what metrics to track.
However, a clear-cut content strategy helps you identify the important data points that align with your business goals.
Startup X has one goal this quarter—brand awareness. Therefore, their social media team will track and report on: reach, impressions, and audience growth rate.
Tracking those metrics that relate to your business goals shows you if your content strategy is working. It also gives you insights into areas that need improvement.
Create a Foolproof Social Media Content Strategy in 7 steps
(1) Set S.M.A.R.T goals
Before creating your first post, you should know the results you want to achieve by being active on social media. Without setting goals from the outset, it might not be easy to track the effectiveness of your social media strategy.
Your social goals should be;
- Specific: a specific goal answers the questions of what needs to be achieved, how to achieve it, and who is responsible for it.
- Measurable: quantifying your goals helps you track progress.
- Attainable: your social goals should be realistic by industry standards.
- Relevant: set goals that are in line with your overarching business objectives.
- Time-bound: set a timeframe to stay focused while implementing the social media plan.
(2) Research your audience
Having outlined your social media goals, the next step is getting a glimpse into how your ideal customers use social media. Find out what platforms they prefer and the kind of content they want to see on your social media channels.
When you consider customers' wants when creating your social media content strategy, it’s easier to produce helpful content that garners engagement.
(3) Choose the right social platform(s)
As a startup that’s just trying to find its feet, your social media budget might not be as robust as your competitors’. This means you’re probably working with a small team and cannot be everywhere at once.
From your research, choose the platforms you think would yield more ROI in your set time frame. While Facebook would be a great starting point for B2C companies, your B2B startup might benefit more from LinkedIn.
Choosing the right platform at the initial stage should not limit you from branching out when your social media efforts start yielding results.
(4) Select & plan for different engaging social content formats
OptinMonster opines that “no single type of content will appeal to every visitor.” Therefore, varying your content formats to accommodate more people is only logical.
Content types such as live streams, case studies, user-generated content, and contests keep the engagement going on socials. Allot a day for each content format and how often you’d publish them to maintain balance on your page.
(5) Create a social media calendar
Hootsuite defines a social media calendar as “an overview of upcoming social posts organized by date.” It outlines specific details on the day-to-day management of your social media channels so that no one is ever confused about what to do next.
Working with a calendar significantly improves your consistency because there’s a set date and time for each post to go live.
You can create a calendar with your preferred social media management tool. But if you don’t have the budget for it, simply work with Google Calendar or a spreadsheet.
(6) Produce, Publish, & Promote
At this point, you have put everything in place to guarantee your success. But a social media strategy is useless if you're not actively creating content. Make your followers anticipate your posts by consistently creating entertaining, helpful content.
Regarding content distribution, there are numerous ways to promote your work and spark conversation about your brand. Ask questions at the end of each post to encourage engagement, use hashtags, and partner with social media influencers to maximize your reach.
(7) Measure results consistently.
The final step in this process is setting up metrics tracking on your social media to measure your results over time. Most social media apps break down your engagement in the Post Insights sections.
However, tracking these metrics separately on each platform might be counterproductive. I recommend social media management tools like Hootsuite, Buffer, Mention, and Tailwind if you’d like to get your analytics in a unified dashboard.
In the age of information overload, it's easy to get lost in all the “tips and tricks” for building a large following on social media. But an effective content strategy is your roadmap to success on any platform.
An effective strategy helps you tune out the noise and focus on what’s important to your customers. Thankfully, there’s no cookie-cutter technique to appeal to your target customers.
You can follow various processes, and the great thing about a strategy is that you can tweak it anytime. How do you communicate with your audience via social media? Let us know in the comments.