7 Steps to Creating a Social Media Content Plan
Now you have set up your social media channels, it is now time to put together a plan. Follow these 7 steps to get you on your way.
1. Identify Target Markets
Understand who your ideal customer is and how they move from awareness of your brand to buying from you. In this day and age people are looking for a customer ‘experience’ so what experience are you offering? How do people ‘feel’ when they interact with your brand? Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. What do they think about when researching a product or service in your category? What is the final question they ask before making a purchase? Your business can build trust by answering questions and providing valuable content.
2. Define a goal
What do you want to get out of your social media efforts? Without a goal you can’t assess whether your plan was a success or failure. Typical goals include:
Build Community – You want to build your followers of your brand. This may be measured by numbers of likes, engagement with posts and videos, questions posted and shares.
Increase Brand Awareness - The biggest reason business use social media is to build brand awareness. The average person will spend close to two hours a day on social media, which is why brand awareness is a key goal for businesses. This can be measured through number of followers, impressions, mentions and shares, new followers etc.
Boost Engagement - Engagement is the second most important metric businesses use to measure social media success. Boosting engagement helps you build brand trust, recommendations, and perception online. Engagement is particularly important on Facebook and Instagram because these platforms prioritise posts with higher engagement, showing them in the feed before posts with less engagement. Engagement is measured by the above metrics as well.
3. Choose the Right Social Network
Targeting every social network without looking at each platform’s demographics probably won’t provide the results you’re looking for. Before deciding which platforms to invest your time in, you need to do some research to find out which social networks attract your target customer. Focus on two key areas: network demographics and reciprocity across platforms.
For example Facebook has over 1.86 billion monthly active users. According to a Pew Research study from November 2016, 79% of online adults use Facebook. The breakdown by age is 18-29 (88%), 30-49 (84%), 50-64 (72%), and 65+ (62%). From a gender standpoint, a higher percentage of online women use Facebook (83%) than online men (75%).
Facebook users watch more than 100 million hours of video content on the platform daily. Since the launch of Facebook Live, there has been a 700% growth in video views, with people spending 3x longer watching live video than they do recorded video.
Twitter has 319 million monthly active users. According to the Pew study, 24% of online adult men and 25% of online adult women use Twitter. Eighty percent of Twitter’s usage is through mobile.
Per Statista, 22.5% of Twitter users in the United States are between the ages of 25 and 34. The next largest age groups are 35-44 at 19.5% and 45-54 at 17.9%.
LinkedIn is still the B2B social network leader, LinkedIn has 106 million monthly unique visitors. The network has members in 200 countries and is available in 24 languages. According to the Pew study, 31% of online adult men use the network versus 27% of online adult women.
Forty percent of users check their account daily, and two new members join the network every second. More than 1 million LinkedIn users have published long-form content on the platform, and 160,000 long-form posts are published each week.
4. Research your Content Topics
Once you’ve decided which social networks to focus on, it’s time to plan your content. The content you create needs to be specific, relevant, and unique, and not all about “you” as a business.
Focus your efforts on creating content that will engage your target audience and develop a reputation as a ‘thought leader’ or ‘expert’ in your industry. People will then learn to trust you and look to you for the best solutions.
5. Plan Your Content Calendar
You have completed your research and are now ready to start creating content. Decide on the target market the content is designed for and choose topics. Try to be specific with topics relating to your industry.
Each post should take the format:
Introduction: pose an interesting fact/statistic.
Body: divide the information into bite-sized chunks.
Conclusion: summarise the topic.
Call to action: download a free guide or fill out a contact form, for example
Once you know what content you want to create, you need to create a content plan. Columns might include Month, Publish Date, Title/Description, Due Date, Type of Content (blog post, video, infographic, etc.), Target Audience, Distribution Channels (Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, company blog, etc.), and Keywords.
Once you know what you’ll be writing about and when, as well as where you’ll share it, start developing the supporting content you’ll publish on social media.
6. Build Trust with your Audience by Engaging Consistently
Social media is about more than just publishing content. To establish yourself as a thought leader and trusted resource in your industry, you need to engage in conversations. The more open you are and the more you use social media for customer service, the more likely your audience will feel safe. This puts them one step closer to purchasing from your business.
On average, it takes nine “touches” before a potential customer will buy from your business. With this in mind, think about ways you can use social media to shorten the process and turn a potential customer into a paying customer.
7. Measure your Progress and Make Adjustments Where Necessary
Measuring your success is the final step in your social media plan. You need to know if your efforts are delivering results for your business. Let’s break this down into three areas: conversion, reach, and engagement.
Conversions help you determine whether you’re driving sales from social media. If you’re not, you’ll need to change things.
Reach is the number of people you have had an effect on with your content. This metric helps you gauge how well your social media content is resonating with your target audience. Here are some ways you can assess reach:
Connections on LinkedIn
Followers on Twitter
Followers on Instagram
Likes on your Facebook page
Finally you can look at engagement metrics to see how many people are interacting with you online. Here are some metrics to measure:
Clicks on social media posts
Retweets and mentions
Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn shares
Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn comments
According to Statista, the number of worldwide social media users has reached 1.96 billion and is expected to grow to 2.5 billion in 2018. The question is, what are you doing to stand out from the crowd?
Putting together a social media plan can help you increase engagement and trust with your target audience, and help your business thrive.
(source: Social Media Examiner www.socialmediaexaminer.com )