Picture by @thoughtcatalog on Unsplash

The power of social media as a marketing platform can’t be understated. Almost two and half billion people use social media today, and that means that no matter who you are, and what industry you’re in, you’ll be able to find your target audience on atleast one of the many social channels available today.

While social media can be an extremely powerful tool, it’s also important to understand how to do it right. Sure, you maybe able to build a great profile, and craft a great bio for your business, but the cornerstone of all social media activities is the content that you’re going to publish.

Because your success on social media depends largely on the quality of the content that you post, it’s important that you develop a well-rounded content strategy for your brand’s social media accounts. Without a strategy, content creation can often seem overwhelming, and you might find yourself lost, or out of ideas for content pretty quickly. Having a strategy in place can help you ease through the content creation process, allowing you to also focus on other areas of social media marketing better.

Creating a content strategy

1) Establish Goals

When it comes to creating a content strategy for your brand’s social media channels, the first thing you’ll have to do is to clearly define the goals that you want to achieve through the content you create. When you’re setting these goals, be sure to align them to your overall business goals as well.

Establishing goals will do things for you. First, the goals you set will give you direction when you’re crafting content or campaigns for your channels. Secondly, you’ll also be able to measure the success of your campaigns, and make any tweaks to them if necessary, by comparing the results you get with the goals you’d set initially.

Here are some examples of social media goals that you can set for your brand.

  • Improving brand awareness
  • Generating new leads
  • Driving traffic to your websites
  • Selling your products
  • Providing customer support

The best way to set great goals for your businesses is to follow the SMART framework.

Specific: Keep your goals as specific as possible. This will make your goal a lot easier to achieve than setting a vague one, and will give you a better idea of what you need to do to achieve it as well. “Increase sales” is a better goal than “improve business.”

Measurable: Take your goal a step further and make it something that’s clearly, and objectively measurable. This will allow you to track the success of your campaigns a lot more accurately. For example, you could say “increase sales by 500 units.”

Achievable: Make sure that the goal that you’re setting is realistic and achievable. Setting something that is out of your reach will only be setting yourself up to fail, and can further demoralise your team as well.

Relevant: Your social media activities don’t exist in a vacuum. You may want to increase your followers, but how does that tie in with your overall business objectives? Always keep that in mind when you’re setting your goal.

Time-bound: And finally, keep your goals time-bound. Setting a deadline can help you prioritize your plans and keep your team on track.

2) Define your audience

Another thing that you’ll have to do to come up with your content strategy is to define the audience that you’re targeting. This will further help you develop a content strategy that is relevant for you, because you’ll be able to keep the needs of your target audience in mind while creating your content.

The best way to do this is to create a profile for an “ideal” customer. What that means is that you’ll need to create a detailed persona sketch of the type of person you want to target. For example, if you define your target audience as school children, you might do okay. But if you get more specific, and say your target audience is school children between the ages of 13-17 who live in urban areas, have a particular household income range, and are interested in reading sci-fi comics, you’re much more likely to succeed.

Give your ideal customer a name, an age, a backstory, and a nickname. This will help you see them as a real person with real needs, wants, and feelings. Connecting with your ideal customer will help you create content that’s perfectly suited to them.

Some of the information you need for your ideal customer are:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Languages spoken
  • Occupation
  • Income
  • Favorite social media networks
  • Pain points (that you can solve)

Try going into as much detail as possible—your ideal customer should have as much data as you could get from a person over a short conversation. This will help you craft content that is more tuned to the people you’re targeting, and will improve your chances of success considerably.

3) Choose the right social networks for you

With the profile of the ideal customer that you created in the last step, you’ll be able to choose the best social networks for your brand as well. Every social channel available today caters to a different demographic, and you’ll be well served to choose the ones that are similar to the profile of the customer that you’d created.

When you’re choosing the channels, you’ll also have to take a look at the size of each network, and the type of content that you’re going to create. You might also want to consider the bandwidth you have to manage different social channels, though this can be mitigated to an extent by investing in a social media management tool.

For more tips on choosing the right social channel for your brand, check out our guide!

4) Define your voice

One of the most important things you’ll need to do before creating content is to identify your brand’s voice. Think about what personality you want your brand to embody, and create your tone around that. This is important because your brand will need to have a consistent voice while posting on social media, so that it feels like a real, consistent person.

While your overall voice should more or less remain the same, you should also keep in mind that you’ll have to make some changes to them depending on the platform that you’re on. Different tones work better on different channels, and you’ll have to factor in that when you choose your voice as well. For example, a professional tone will work great on LinkedIn, but you might want to sound more casual and friendly on Twitter.

5) Post regularly

One of the most important things to remember is to post regularly on all the social media channels that you’re a part of. Because of the inherent nature of the channels though, you’ll have to consider different posting frequencies for each of them. For example, you’ll need to post a lot more frequently on Twitter than you would have to on LinkedIn.

Here’s the recommended posting frequency for different social channels

  • Facebook: 1 post per day
  • Twitter: 15 tweets per day
  • Instagram: 1-2 posts per day
  • Pinterest: 11 pins per day
  • LinkedIn: 1 post per day

Keep in mind that these are just suggested frequencies, and it’s okay you if you find a different posting frequency that works better for you.

One way to manage your posting schedule is to use a a social media content calendar. Here, you’ll be able to see all the posts that you’ve scheduled for a particular period of time, and you can re-arrange your content so that your profile is somewhat active throughout the month.

With these five steps, you’ll be able to ensure that your profiles on these channels are somewhat active. However, you’ll still need to keep your profile fresh, and will have to come up with different content ideas so that people aren’t bored when they scroll through your page. Let’s look at some things that you can do with your content.

Social media content ideas you can use

1) Create a periodic event

One great way to make your feed appear more engaging and lively is to run periodic events on your channel. You could run either a weekly, biweekly, or a monthly series, and if people like any of the instalments of it, you can be sure that they’re going to be checking freauently for all subsequent ones as well.

On Twitter, you could run a Twitter Chat so that you can engage with your audience in a meaningful way. Pick a topic that’s relevant to your business, and one that your followers would also be interested in, and you should be able to do it well. If you’re interested in learning more about how Twitter chats work, start by participating in some. We run a #ZohoSocialChat where we talk about various topics related to social media marketing. Come join in our chat, or check out this guide to learn more about twitter chats.

2) Run a contest

Running a contest on social media is a great way to boost attention and engagement on your profile throughout the contest period. People everywhere love contests, and so there are very few things that can match the power of running an occassional contest to get more eyeballs on your profile.

However, it’s important that when you run a contest, you have all your bases covered. Here are somethings to keep in mind before announcing your contest to the world.

A prize or a giveaway: When you’re running a contest, you need something to give away to the winners. It’s recommended that you keep the prize as something that is related to your product. Giving away unrelated, but exciting stuff might attract a lot of people, but they’ll be less likely to stick to your brand in the future.

Terms and conditions: Set up a bunch of terms and conditions that you’d like to include in your contest as well. If there are any legal issues to be covered, don’t forget to include them here. Doing this not only ensures that you cover all bases, but also helps your contest look more legit.

Taking in submissions: Finally, you’ll have to decide how you’re going to take in submissions from the participants in your contest. Do you need them to repost your content? Or do they need to generate content themselves around your brand? Or would simply using a hashtag or sharing your post on their stories be enough? Be sure that you ask the participants to do something that can help you to atleast get closer to your social media goals

3. Host an AMA

Initially popularised through Reddit, AMAs are a great way to engage with your audience, and create a sense of community among them. AMA stands for Ask Me Anything, and is basically a Q&A session where your followers can ask you any question they want, and you can share your insights, experience, or even just stories with them.

AMA sessions often get a lot of traction, and can be very compelling for both the host and the audience. While it definitely helps you with establish awareness about your brand, it also gives you the added advantage of being able to understand the concerns that your audience has, and possibly try to provide solutions for them within your product.

Though the concept comes from Reddit, you can do AMAs on Twitter for a limited time period, “take questions” on Quora on specific topics, and use Instagrams Questions filter on your stories to run an AMA there as well. You could even ask members of your team to host different AMA sessions, so that you provide your audience with some variety as well.

4. Host a takeover

If you want to shake things up in your feed, a takeover could be the answer.

A takeover is essentially handing over control of your brand’s social channels to an influencer, and letting them run your account for a limited period of time. This is a great way for your brand to build a presence, because it’ll expose your brand to the influencer’s audience base, and you’ll be able to make a lot of new connections as a direct result of the takeover.

While a takeover can be potentially great for your brand, it’s necessary to do it right. You’ll need to set specific goals for the campaign, but even more important than that is finding the right influencer to take control of your account. It needs to be someone who’s audience is in the same demographic as your target, and should also be a person whose energy and style of content fits in with your brand image. Once you do that, you can work with your influencer to create a campaign that you can further document, and use as a reference for any future takeovers as well.

For more information on social media takeovers, be sure to check out our guide!

5. Go behind-the-scenes

Another great idea for your feed is to go behind-the-scenes, and give your audience a sneak peek into what your brand is really all about. You could show everyone what a work day looks like, or show off any pre-event preparations that you’re doing, or even just videos of a birthday party at work.

Going behind-the-scenes will instantly make your brand appear more authentic and real to your audience, and can sometimes create a personal feel to your brand’s page. This can make it easier for your audience to connect with you. This will work great on networks like Snapchat or Instagram, where you can add stories showing off what’s going on behind-the-scenes.

The best part about this is that you don’t have to spend a lot of time or effort into these posts. Your pictures and videos don’t have to be high-quality, carefully edited once. This is because the whole purpose of going behind-the-scenes is to establish a level of authenticity to your brand. After all, people want to talk to other people, not faceless brands on the internet.

6. Keep an eye on trends

If you’re running short of content ideas, all you’ll need to do is to take a closer look at the emerging trends in your industry, and you’ll find a lot of things to talk about.

Everyone discusses everything on social media, and you can take advantage of these trends to find a potential problem that people seem to have, and work on how you can help them solve it. The best way to do this is to keep an eye on sites that run on user-generated content, like Quora and Reddit, and then using the information you gain from there to create new content.

Quora is a site where anyone can pose a question, and other people answer them. A simple search on Quora for keywords that are relevant to you will throw up a bunch of questions that people are asking. It’s highly likely that you’ll find something that you can help people with. You can either answer the question directly on Quora, or write a new blogpost based on this question as well. Or you could even choose to do both.

Reddit works like a collection of sub-reddits, with each sub-reddit referring to a specific topic that people want to discuss. There are tons of subreddits on the site, with topics ranging from the extremely generic r/socialmedia, to very niche ones like r/breadstapledtotrees. Each sub-reddit has it’s own rules and regulations that you’ll have to follow, but even a quick glance at relevant subreddits can help you come up with a bunch of post ideas for your social channels.

7. Curate or repurpose your content

Not all content that you share on your social media profile has to be content that you create. You can share news or articles that are relevant to your industry, and that you think your audience will find useful.

Curating content from other sources that you share on your social channels can make your brand’s profile seem more holistic. Your brand will come off as one that is genuinely interested, and a part of the community, and not someone who’s out there just to sell their products. Not only does this leave a good impression on people who are visiting your page, but it also allows you to build connections with the people whose content you’re sharing. Sometimes, a simple share/re-tweet will do, and you wouldn’t even need to put a lot of effort into it at all.

Sometimes, instead of curating content from other sources, you can even repurpose content that you’ve already created as well. This will help you maximise the amount of reach that the content you’ve created will get.

Let’s say you write a blogpost, and then you share it on Facebook and Twitter. Because of how social media works, these posts will not get any attention after a while. To maximise the reach for your blog, you could re-share it with a different copy on the same networks. Your new followers will now be able to read your content as well. You can even share this content to other social channels. Simply take a quote from the original article, make a nice design surrounding it, and you can share it as an image on Instagram or Pinterest as well. If you’re able to do this for every piece of content you create, you’ll soon have a huge repository of social media content that you can share to your followers.

Remember that you don’t have to look at these tips in isolation, but can even do them together. For example, you could run a periodic contest on your page. Or you could go behind-the-scenes at work, and also take questions from your audience at the same time. Doing all of this can keep your feed from looking boring or repetetive, and can keep your audience always coming back for more.

Hopefully, the tips in this blog gave you some ideas on new kinds of content that you can create on your social channels. What do you think? Leave a comment below, and we’ll get back to you ASAP!

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