Do you think your social media content strategy is lacking even after several rounds of coffee and brainstorming sessions? It’s possible you haven’t started with mapping your ideas on paper. Perhaps you forgot to factor in the prevailing social media trends? And did you audit your networks’ past performance?
There’s a lot of work that goes into planning a social media content strategy. So a hailstorm of questions that I’m asking might confuse you. However, if you start smart and take strategic steps, you’d find yourself at a happier place with a ready to execute social media strategy by your side.
So how should you start? We’ve outlined exactly what you need to do to draft a social media content strategy in this post. We’ll also look at some of the fads that are here to stay and how you can adjust your strategy according to them. By the end, you’ll have the blueprint to move forward.
Let’s dig in. Shall we?
Start with Setting Goals
As with any other plan, start with outlining your goals for social media. What do you want to achieve this year with social? Do you aim to maximize brand awareness or are you planning on boosting conversions?
The right way to set your goals depends on what you’ve achieved on your social channels so far.
For instance, if you’re only getting started, you might want to focus on increasing brand awareness and developing authority in your field. Work on boosting your engagement and building relations with your target audience. At least for a quarter. Then go on to tweak your goals.
If you’ve been around social for some time, you can set different goals such as maximizing conversions via social media or polishing your social listening strategy. Either way, grab a paper (or open a document) and write those goals down.
Flesh Out the Details
Here comes the part where you squint your eyes and think clearly. How will you achieve the goals that you’ve just set?
Start with a social media audit. Study your social media profiles and see how well you performed.
The key here is to get the answers to the following:
⦁ Which of your social networks did well in 2019? Why do you think others didn’t deliver?
⦁ Which content performed the best and what fell flat?
⦁ Did you organize any campaigns? For example, did you plan giveaways or participate in Twitter chats? How well did it all work out in the end?
Once your analytics answer these for you, start making decisions. See what worked. See what didn’t. Answer the whys. Either work out how you can improve your previous strategies or eliminate them from your plan if they didn’t work at all.
Analyze, Understand, and Improve Your Social Strategy
Stack your key social metrics against those of your competitors and make targeted steps towards social media success.
Ideally, continue with tactics where your audience’s response was good. Let’s say, you joined a couple of LinkedIn groups and learned they help you grow by encouraging better relationships with your target audience and increasing your followers. What now? Either join more groups where your audience is present or create one.
In short, choose what to replicate, what to tweak, and what you’d like to add to your social media content strategy for 2020.
Lay Out Your Social Media Content Strategy Plan
By this point, you will have a good idea of what you need to do as part of your social media strategy.
Next step? Start dumping your ideas on paper. Or use a whiteboard and start brainstorming. All the plans you’ve in mind for your social media go over here. Make sure you put your goal on top of this paper/board so you don’t deviate from it.
On one side, list down what tactics you plan to continue implementing from 2019. On the other side, jot down the lessons you’ve learned such as why something didn’t work or your major takeaways from a holiday campaign you planned.
Use the rest of the space to dump your ideas. Here’s what you can do:
⦁ Take inspiration from others in your industry
⦁ Or try out what you saw someone else doing outside your industry to introduce something new
⦁ Ask your audience what they’d like to see more from you
1. Incorporate stories if you already haven’t
This is your wake-up call for using stories on social if you already don’t. Both Facebook and Instagram boast a vast number of users who watch stories with 500 million daily Facebook story users (2019) and 400 million Instagram daily story users (2018). No wonder, stories are among the leading trends of this year.
Use these stories to share behind the scene content, promote time-sensitive discounts, promos, giveaways, and deals, share user-generated content, and more.
2. Work more on video content
In case you’ve missed this – video marketing is big. With brands like The Goulet Pen Company has grown with a solid video content strategy. But does this mean you need to start a YouTube channel? Nope.
You can always create and upload videos to other social channels. And, you also don’t need to worry about what content to cover. Simply repurpose your blog posts and you’re all set. Or record interviews like the Founder of TrackMaven, Allen Gannett, does.
3. Rethink social networks you use
There’s more to the social horizon this year with networks like Snapchat and TikTok growing at breakneck speed.
In March 2019, Snapchat reached 75% of the 13-34 age bracket in the US. But that’s not all. The photo giant reached 90% (!) of all the 13-24 in the country. TikTok, on the other hand, reaches 41% of teens and young adults within the age range of 16-24 throughout the world.
But jumping onto both these networks isn’t what we’re suggesting. Instead, thinking if joining TikTok or Snapchat is worth it for your social media content strategy 2020 should be your goal.
⦁ Determining if your target audience uses these platforms
⦁ Understanding what is prevailing in your industry/niche
⦁ Learning from examples – will follow so and so tactic work for your brand?
4. UGC is spiking
User-generated content (UGC) is authentic. It contributes to social proof, helping you convince leads to turn into prospects. Besides adding it to your social media content strategy also means you’re at a better place for engaging with your existing customers.
It’s best you plan a campaign around it like WayFair does:
5. Pair up with authentic influencers only
Influencer marketing has been trending for a long. But there’s a subtle shift in focus here.
Don’t collaborate with any influencer. Instead, aim for working with micro-influencers in your niche. These are people with small but engaged communities in social spaces, who your audience is more likely to trust than an influencer who promotes just about anything.
The Senior Social Media Manager at KoMarketing Associates, Anastasia Warren, advises, “Look into industry event speakers or ambassadors to see who your target audience is paying attention to on social media and on the floor at industry events.”
Reach out to them and collaborate away!
Other Factors to Think About as You Plan Your Social Media Content Strategy
Let’s take a break here and recap – you start with setting your goals and outlining steps to reach those goals. A social audit will give you a picture of what has worked and what hasn’t so far so you can alter your plan accordingly. Then, you see what’s hot and decide trends you’d like to pursue.
But that’s more. Before we talk about the next steps, you need to pay attention to the following two aspects:
1. Social media posting time
If you’re new to social for your business, you might want to check out the available research on the best times to post on different social channels. Keep testing which timings get you the most engagement to learn when your audience is most active on social.
On the flip side, if you’ve been around social for some time, tally the times your audience was most active from last year’s analytics and plan posting times accordingly.
2. Social media posting frequency:
Alongside deciding when you need to post, also question how often you should post. Posting infrequently can make you easy to forget. It drops your engagement too. As in the previous case, check out what the latest studies say about posting frequency if you are new. Or, decide what suits you according to your audit results.
3. Your brand voice:
Lastly, ask yourself – does your social media content strategy align with your brand voice? Did the posts that didn’t do well on social failed because they didn’t reflect your voice? Whatever you plan, make sure it reflects your voice. Having a consistent brand voice is a surefire way to win your audience’s heart.
My favorite example of brand voices is Innocent Drinks. They don’t necessarily talk about their products in each post. But they have a distinct voice that reminds me of them every time I come across their social content.
FRIDAY TO DO LIST:
1. Think about the weekend
2. Think about doing some work
3. Think about the weekend a bit more
4. Repeat until 17:30
5. Realise you haven't done any work
7. Take a deep breath
8. Decide it can wait till Monday
— innocent drinks (@innocent) February 7, 2020
Putting it all together, we have the following three points:
⦁ Plan unique content that aligns with your brand voice
⦁ Aim to post consistently and when your audience is most active
⦁ Decide how many posts you’d make on each of the social networks you use
Build a Social Media Calendar
By this point, we’ve talked about auditing your social accounts and introduced important social media trends worth trying. What’s next? Visualize your plan with a social media content calendar.
At the end of the first step, you’ll have planned your next moves. Now put those down in a calendar. You can always build a social media calendar. But you’ll only waste your time considering you can fetch a template and customize it as per your needs.
Either way, the goal is to plan your social content according to holidays and events popping throughout the year. You could plan a discount around Mother’s Day or you could create a hashtag around the holiday season.
Here’s an idea – Melanie Deziel, content marketer and author of The Content Fuel Framework hosted a book giveaway around the Random Acts of Kindness Day on Feb 17:
I’m celebrating #RandomActsOfKindnessDay with a book giveaway, but I need your help.
Tag someone you think should get a signed copy of “The Content Fuel Framework” and share why.
We’ll pick a few winners tonight! pic.twitter.com/x3vq7SjG5q
— Melanie Deziel (she/her) (@mdeziel) February 17, 2020
Once you have your plans in the calendar, you’ll have a visual idea of how your social is going to look for 2020.
Remember, you don’t need to complete it down to the bones today. But you need a master plan before you go about planning social media content on a quarterly basis. Put simply, sketch out a skeleton for your social media content strategy for 2020. Then flesh out the skeleton on a quarterly basis.
Pro-tip: consider using a project management platform to help you better plan your content calendar and stay on top of things.
Next off – make yourself an engagement plan.
Social Media Calendar for Digital Agencies
Organize all your social posts and visualize your client’s social media content plan with an interactive Content Calendar
Highlight Your Step to Grow Engagement
I can bet your social media won’t go anywhere even if you’ve high-quality visuals and a good copywriter by your side. Why? Glad you asked. Because there’s no better way to get into your audience’s radar than by engaging with them.
An old study also confirms this. According to it, over 30% of people unfollow a brand if they get an automated message. And, 45% unfollow if they see a lot of self-promotion.
Don’t sweat though. Engagement can save your day. An active presence on social media tells users you’re available to chat or solve a query they may have. Your presence (and subsequent engagement) also shows your business’s human side. Hence, your odds of getting into your followers’ negative light go down.
So it makes sense you need a plan to engage by your side, right? Note it down and then make a checklist of what you need to do on a daily or weekly basis. The rest of your social posts can go out with the help of a social media automation tool (hint: ContentStudio can help).
Here are some social media engagement tactics to add to your plan:
1. Post engaging content
Our brains love stories. Tell them. Take Dunkin Donuts for example:
Another tip – ask questions. Share an experience or a lesson you learned, and then ask your audience to share their thoughts on it.
Lastly, post-behind-the-scenes content on social. Again, this type of content shows your brand’s human side, which works wonders in attracting like-minded people.
2. Focus on the community-building aspect of social
Another great way to engage with your audience is by joining communities relevant to your field. In 2020, the focus on private conversations is only going to deepen. In fact, Facebook’s Co-founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg has been pretty clear about it, “the future is private.”
You have two ways of moving forward. Either join communities or make one yourself. Here’s how:
⦁ Join Twitter chats
These are (typically) hour-long conversations between like-minded people who discuss a select topic by answering questions that a host tweets. Participants are free to join in using a specific hashtag.
For instance, social media enthusiasts group together virtually to discuss social topics (including trends, time-tested strategies, and latest news) with their host Social Media Examiner on Wednesdays at 1pm ET/10am PT. All participants used the #SMEchat tag.
You can jump into Twitter chats in your field. Find out chats relevant to you here.
You can also host your own Twitter chat. A case in point is Green Rope, a CRM company that has recently launched its #CoolerChat.
⦁ Join social groups
One of the best ways to engage with your niche audience on Facebook and LinkedIn is by joining groups or creating one. Again, be sure to join only groups where your audience is or create a niche-specific group. Either way, start by engaging and offering value in the group.
For instance, a B2B agency, Skotidas created and grew its LinkedIn group, Social Media Lead Generation, which has become a source of consistent leads for them.
⦁ Create a hashtag that unites people
Lastly, you can also unite people using a hashtag. A word of caution though – not everyone can pull this off. Your product or service needs to be phenomenal, of course. It’s only then that people will post about it on social.
A case in point is Trello engaging with their customers and encouraging lots of user generated content with their WhereITrello hashtag.
Outline an Action Plan for Tracking Results
Last but an important aspect of developing a social media content strategy is deciding which social media key performance indicators (KPIs) you need to track and how often.
Ideally, keep away from vanity metrics like follower count and keep tabs on engagement-related indicators like comments and shares. Some worthy KPIs to measure are:
⦁ Likes and shares
⦁ Brand mentions
Don’t forget to decide when you’d check your metrics – monthly, quarterly, etc.
Are you ready to rock your social media content strategy? Hopefully, with this post, you’ve an action plan moving forward. If you still have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments.
Masooma Memon is a pizza-loving freelance writer by day and a novel nerd by night. She crafts research-backed blog posts and articles for small businesses and app companies who aim to employ quality content to educate and engage with their audience.