Creating a Content Strategy for Social Media
Content makes the social marketing world go around
Your Social Media Content Strategy should flow naturally from your Social Media Strategy and objectives. Ask yourself how you can use content tactically to achieve broader social media objectives. For example, if a social media objective is to increase brand recognition with millennials by 30%, your content strategy could specify a posting rate for snapchat, and include plans for influencer takeovers of Instagram Live – giving you more opportunities to connect with your target market.
In addition to supporting the social media strategy, your Social Media Content Strategy should also support and align with your organization’s general Content Strategy, provided one exists.
There are 4 key components of a Social Content Strategy: Research and analysis of current content reception and strategy, your target audience identified by platform, a list of content-specific goals and objectives, and plans for the distribution of your content.
Research is the key to understanding what content will resonate with your audience. Begin by looking at your Social Media Audit, and then use network-specific tools such as Facebook’s Audience Insights and Twitter Analytics to identify your audience demographics by network. Remember to treat each network’s following as a unique audience, as your Instagram audience may be very different from your following on Twitter.
Next, analyze the reception of previously posted content. Find specific examples of the best performing posts, and create a list for each network. This will help you identify the types of content and supporting copy that are succeeding on each channel. Maybe your top performing content on Twitter is educational “how-to” posts, but your Instagram followers engage more with inspirational posts. Tailor your content strategy to what is successful on each network, and don’t assume that one size fits all
To dig even deeper into content performance, reach out to your audience directly. Consider posting polls to ask what types of content your audience would like to see in the future. For example, if you run a weekly Twitter chat, you could post a poll asking what your participants would like to chat about next. The results will not only provide you with great ideas for content, but also with insight into your audience’s needs.
Working in close collaboration with content creators in your organization, such as your copywriters and marketing team, is important for achieving social media objectives. Be sure to share insights on content performance early in the content-creation process, so it influences the content being created. This will in turn provide the social media team with shareable material more likely to resonate among target audiences.
Next up is competitive analysis. Looking at what your competitors are posting can be a great source of inspiration – just be sure not to copy. Look closely at the types of topics your competitors are covering, and which ones they aren’t. Is there an opportunity for you to fill a content gap and gain a niche?
Having researched your target audiences, and identified popular content, it’s time to set some goals. When creating goals, it’s a best practice to set overall content performance goals, as well as more specific goals for individual pieces of content. For example, an overall social media objective might be to increase traffic to a landing page from Facebook by 20% in Q1. A corresponding content goal could be share 10 whitepapers in Q1 that generate a total of 3000 click throughs to that landing page.
The final piece of your content strategy is your plans for distribution. Consider what types of content you’ll be sharing on which networks, and how often. When choosing what to post where, look back to your Social Media Audit and your specific content research, taking into account what types of content have performed best, as well as upcoming and current content trends, such as live video. While your content may change based on network, it’s important that your overall tone and brand voice remain consistent.
Next, create a guideline for the pacing of your content distribution. The frequency in which you choose to post should be tailored to your organization. We recommend that you test posting frequency for each of your networks in order to determine what works best for your brand. For example, if engagement consistently decreases after your third daily Facebook post, that could be an indication that 2 posts per day is ideal for your audience. Make sure that you’re considering frequency on a per network basis as engagement thresholds are guaranteed to differ.
Your content distribution guideline will be a valuable tool when you begin working with monthly and weekly content calendars. By having pre-set goals for the number and types of posts you’ll be sharing per day, you can begin charting out your content calendars in advance of having specific copy drafted.This will help you determine how much content you’ll need to curate, or create from scratch, to support your goals.
As with all strategy documents, ensure you’re creating them in a way that provides value to you and your team. Creating these documents isn’t an academic exercise – they should be something you can continually look to for guidance, not created and then forgotten. We recommend that your strategies are saved in a digital format that will be functional and accessible for your entire team, such as a google doc, and keep a copy bookmarked in your browser for easy access.