Did you know more than 2.2 billion people actively use social media? That’s about 30% of the world’s population! It’s not surprising that almost every company in the world is trying to leverage social media to interact with its audience and build a social brand. More than 70% of the 5,000 marketers surveyed by Salesforce said they planned to increase social media spending this year. But the fact is that a very small proportion of businesses are using social effectively.
Consequences of NOT Having a Social Media Content Strategy
Most of the businesses (particularly SMBs) try to hit the ground running and dive into the social media waters without knowing its depth. They don’t plan ahead or “strategize” before they make hasty social media profiles and start posting. Such an approach may not only be ineffective and building a community and stirring engagement, but also runs the risk of doing more damage to the business than good. You may notice that your content is not getting as much attention as you need, and your efforts appear to be a waste of time. Having a strategy can prevent this situation.
7 Steps to Engaging Social Content
There’s no need to worry if you have already ventured into one or more networks without a good content strategy and are realizing that “this is not going anywhere”. The following steps will help you fix and optimize your current social media presence and/or build a social media strategy from scratch.
Step 1: Select Your Networks
Have you selected the right networks for your brand/business? For instance, LinkedIn is an almost must-have for B2B or professional services companies. Facebook can be indispensible for any business. Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit, Tumblr, each has its unique users with distinct preferences and online behavior. You should know which particular networks are right for your brand. Hint: Watch what your competitors are doing.
Step 2: Plan Your Goals
Get hold of your data and see where you stand today, and where you would like to go. Set measureable and time barred (SMART) objectives for the number of followers, engagements, reach, and other metrics pertaining to social media. You may start by having annual goals, which you can break down into smaller milestones to be achieved monthly, weekly, or daily.
Step 3: Understand Your Target Audience
Much of your success with social media marketing is going to depend upon how “engaging” your posts are. That’s why you must know the interests, attitudes, opinions, and behaviors of your target audience. What are the issues and topics in your industry that would most appeal to your customers? What are the areas that you should avoid venturing into? Research your targeted networks for different topics pertaining to your business and see which ones are receiving the most attention.
Step 4: Select Content Mix
You may need different types of content for different social networks. Picture, and lately videos, are the most trending type of content on Facebook. Twitter, Instagram, and other networks have their own peculiar content types and audience behavior. Then, the content is also going to depend on your business and your brand’s voice. When you know what type of content you need, it’s just a matter of creating or curating it.
Step 5: Make a Content Sharing Plan
Unless you can afford it, there’s no need for you to create all the content (or even most of it). You can just “curate” content from different sources (news, other social media pages, blogs, etc). The important thing is to know in advance where you are going with the content that you’re sharing. For this purpose, you should have a list of topics, a collection of material, and the dates and times of posting.
Step 6: Know When to Post
Should you post twice a day, daily, once in two days, or weekly? The inadequate answer is that “it depends”. If you can share some compelling stuff that receives high engagement and is shared widely, it may be enough to post just one or two updates a week. It’s more about the quality than quantity. It is also important to know when most of your followers are signed in. For Facebook, you can see this information in the Page Insights under the Posts tab. Tools such as Tweriod and many others can tell you the best times to post on Twitter.
Step 7: Track and Evaluate
It is crucial that you track the analytics that the social networks offer and continue refining your social media strategy to expand your reach, likes, and engagements. Be on the lookout for the topics and posts that perform better than the others and focus on those topics for your future updates. Respond to the comments and reply to the messages. Thank people for recommending or mentioning your brand.
The purpose of your social media content strategy should be to build a community of your loyal customers who virtually act as your brand ambassadors and spread a positive word of mouth about your business. With a little planning, you can make your content irresistible and turn social media into a big source of traffic and customers for your business.