This article was originally published in the Bookmark Blog
Having an online presence, especially on social media, is crucial to the success of any business; more crucial is using social media presence to create loyal customers.
Carefully crafting a thought-out strategy for your social media content can really help you in that regard. The following tips will guide you in creating an effective social media content strategy for your business.
How To Create An Effective Social Media Content Strategy
Define Your Social Goals
It’s very important to know what you want to achieve from posting on social media platforms.
Create success metrics for both your overall content performance and for individual pieces of content.
Overall content goals are typically goals aimed at increasing your follower or fan volumes and content engagement rates. In addition to these simple goals, you should set more specific engagement goals for your social media campaigns.
Set goal amounts for the number of new leads you generate. These can be an increase in clicks to landing pages. By using UTMs to track social media content, you’ll be able to check in Google Analytics how many people have interacted with your landing page.
Under the “Acquisition” section in Google Analytics, choose “All Traffic,” and click “Source/Medium” to see visitor traffic information. Click on the source and medium you’d like to see, and you’re able to view how many people viewed your website. Enter a secondary dimension of “Landing Page” and you can see more detailed information about how many new users you got, how long people viewed your landing page for, and how many people bounced. If you have goals setup in Google Analytics, you can also see how many people completed them.
For example, if your landing page is requesting email newsletter sign-ups, you should create a goal for sign-ups, so you can track how effective your social media campaigns are.
You should also set website referral traffic goals. By checking your Google Analytics dashboard, you can check referral traffic under the “Acquisition” section. Got to “Social,” and click on “Network Referrals,” and you’ll get a good sense of how many visitors came through which social media channels. Here, you’ll see the amount of website sessions, page views, page views per session, and dwell times you’ve gained from your social media. These numbers should influence how much time you spend creating content for each channel.
Lastly, when creating goals, create individual content goals as well. If you’re overall goal is to generate an increase of 25 per cent referral traffic by next year, also create a goal for one piece of content that corresponds to your overall goal. For example, set a goal for a case study you publish to drive 100 website visits over the next 3 months. Upon adding these individuals goal together, you’ll build a foundation to achieve your overall goal.
Hone Your Brand’s Identity
Social media offers great platforms to reinforce your branding. However, you won’t get far if you don’t know what your brand’s about.
Just as your company newsletters tell others what your brand is about, so too does your social media messaging.
Although, creating a brand guideline can be a lot of work for a small business owner. In order to save you time and pain, think of your brand’s most effective social media channel and focus most of your messaging towards it.
When you have a clear view of the type of user you’re interacting with and narrowed down the platform, you can design your copy that’s most relevant to them.
At first, focus your effort on tackling the largest pain points around your product, service or market niche and educate users. Fifty-nine per cent of social media users wants posts that inform. From this point, depending on your brand, you can begin to create entertaining, inspiring, or actionable content to help you determine what works best from your audience.
After conducting a few tests, you’ll find certain posts gain more traction than others in terms of their engagement. Keep these in mind going forward. Successful posts should be repeated in successive intervals to drive growth. At the point when you’re receiving good engagement, showcase a new product or service or provide users with a discount post.
Repeat this process for all other social media accounts, without straying too far from your established brand topics.
Later in this post, we’ll cover the 5:3:2 rule, which can help you find your business’ unique voice.
It’s necessary to determine how much you are ready to invest in your social media efforts. This brings us back to how much traffic each platform is bringing to your website. If you find Facebook is over-performing and Twitter is under-performing, you’ll have to decide how much time you’ll spend creating content for to each platform.
This comes in question for marketing as well, when you decide you want to pay to promote a post. For example, you can pay to promote your posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You’ll tend to put more money towards your best performing platform. That’s a no-brainer.
Weekly and monthly content calendars will help you plan your time effectively. There are many different kinds out there. Find the one that works for you. We recommend using Hootsuite’s social media templates.
Analyze Your Content
Just scheduling your content and answering comments isn’t enough when it comes to creating a great content strategy for your social media.
You will need to pay more attention to how your social posts perform on various platforms if you want to be successful.
Keep in mind that most social networking platforms provide insights and analytics for business pages. You should analyze them on a regular basis in order to fully understand what is popular and what is not.
This will help you optimize your online content by seeing your key metrics increase.
Always Monitor Your Content
When it comes to social media, you need to actively engage with your audience every day. An important part of having active social channels is replying to all questions, feedback, comments, and even starting your own conversations.
You should always know there is no interaction that is too small. Appreciating someone for retweeting or sharing your content, for example, could possibly earn you a great loyal follower.
Research Before Posting
Taking the time to research, before posting social media content, will greatly help you to successfully reach your audiences with the right content.
Researching Your Competition
If you’re starting out, you’re competition is who is already in the space you want to be in. They’re bigger fish and are more than likely going to have a good social media presence.
Find your competition on social media, respective to your business type, and round them up into the top 5 who are using social media the most effectively. You will use them as a source of inspiration.
Examine the types of content they produce. Ask yourself, “what topics are they covering? Who interacts with their content? Do those who interact with their content align with your target market? Is there a content gap you can fill?
You should be asking yourself how you can make your business stand out against your competition, while still serving customers like theirs. You may find some surprises like customers outside the scope of your targeting that need your products and services or content gaps you can capitalize on and use to better serve your audience and your competition’s.
If you come up with a great piece of content, reply to competitor posts with further information on a topic they cover; thereby, helping audiences learn more and, simultaneously, becoming aware of your brand.
Create a Customer Profile
If you’ve previously posted to Facebook on your business page or group, you’ll be able to conduct an audit of your audience.
Use Facebook’s Audience Insights to find the most engaged users by their demographics. This is the first step in helping you to form a idea towards creating your customer profile.
Keep in mind, every platform has a different subset of your audience. You may have a customer profile in mind; however, you’ll find variations of your ideal customer on different platforms.
This is especially true for users on Facebook and Twitter. Most Twitter users are on mobile devices; whereas, Facebook has large dedicated users on PC and tablets. Something as small using a different device creates a gigantic difference in who interacts with your posts, how long you have to get their attention, and how you approach your messaging. Consider separating audiences by device categories as well.
Speaking of Twitter, you can use Twitter Analytics to understand your audience demographics better.
Your job in researching your customer profile is to look at who engages with your content the most. Find your best performing posts on each platform (Facebook and Twitter) and create lists detailing age, gender, location, and any other demographics you can conceive to better understand your supporters. In addition, take down the type of content and its focus topic as well. This will help you determine which topics and content types work best for your audience.
The least looked at aspect of social content strategies is content distribution.
Content distribution is everything related to how you share the content you’ve created with your audiences. As there are multiple social media networks, each with its own benefits and set-backs, so too should your business have individual strategies for each social platform.
For Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, you’ll have to decide what content will be shared and how often.
If, for example, you’re sharing educational content on all your social media accounts, but find it works only for Facebook, you’ll need to study your audiences on Instagram and Twitter to find what works best.
Look at current content trends among your competition and top brands on each platform. Try to replicate the content types they’re creating with your own unique spin. Remember, each platform will have different kinds of content that performs best; however, your content should have a consistent brand voice on each social network that ties them all together.
In terms of finding out how frequently you should be posting, you’ll need to test it for each network. We recommend posting consistently each day, multiple times. If you post multiple times a day, you can determine at which point during the day generates the most engagements and how many posts per day have optimal engagement before they decrease. If you find one post a day garners a good amount of engagement and views, but a second does not, it can be an indication that one post a day is enough.
This will be different for each network, but generally speaking, Facebook can be posted to a couple of times a week, where Twitter and Instagram can be posted to several more times.
Once you’ve distributed your content for a month or two, you will get a better sense how frequently you should be posting to each of your social media accounts. At this point, you can create a distribution strategy to help you work with weekly and monthly social content posting calendars. These will help you know how many types of posts you’ll need to reach your goals on each platform.
The 5:3:2 rule is a classic template to take from in order to better create social media content.
All of these numbers belong to a category. The five belongs to posts centered around curation, three belongs to posts you’ve created for your audience, and two belongs to posts that are fun in nature and humanize your brand.
For every 10 posts you create, you should use this formula for better engagement rates. This is because they focus on your audience.
By focusing half of your posting to content curation, you’re creating a culture of community among similarly related niches and your own. By providing curated articles to your audience, they begin to trust you’re looking to help inform them of the best purchase decision, rather than selling to them. When a customer feels your business respects their autonomy, they’ll be more inclined to purchase from you.
Three posts are centered around content you have created for you audience. This can be anything from educational articles, to more practical “how-to’s,” and promotions.
Lastly, two posts are dedicated to humanizing your brand. Corporations spend billions creating a face for their brand. It doesn’t have to be that hard. With social media, start posting images of the people behind your business. Use company outings, celebrations, and work events to show how your brand is more than just a product or service.
Rewarding others with recognition is a great tool to influence those who follow your brand. Try posting customer success stories as well.
Social Media Goal Tracking
Every social media content campaign needs to be tracked. You need to measure how effective your efforts are; otherwise, you’re shooting messages in the dark.
On Facebook, you can track your business’ Likes, audience demographics and activity, and Shares.
To find your number of business page Likes, go to your business page and click the “Insights” tab. From there, click “Likes.”
In the overview, you’ll be able to see your total Likes and increases and decreases of Likes over time periods.
In order to find your audience information, go to Insights, click on “People,” and then click on “Fans.”
Here, you’ll be able to see various demographic information of your fan base.
Go to your Insights and click “Posts” from the navigation. Go to “All Posts Published” and click the right drop-down menu to see Reactions, Comments, and Shares.
Here’s you’ll find overviews of previous post engagements.
On Twitter, you can track your Followers and Replies.
You can access your follower count on your Twitter account page. If you want to view follower trends, go to Twitter Analytics. To access it, click on your profile at the top right and choose “Analytics.”
You can also analyze the number of replies your tweets receive by visiting post reply counts in Twitter Analytics. You have to click the “Tweets” tab and you can see individual tweet replies.
Twitter allows you to see your engagement rates over a 28 day period to determine if they are increasing or decreasing.
Remember, creating a social media content strategy is more than just posting. First you need to define your goals, plan content around those goals, and track success metrics, so you can continually get better results.