You’ve created your social media strategy and chosen your platforms. Now what?
One of the most intimidating parts of social media for business owners is creating content for their brand. Questions likes, ‘What if I say the wrong thing and I damage my company in the eyes of my customers?’
Or, ‘What if I don’t know as much as I think I do?’ Some even think, ‘I can’t come up with simple water cooler conversation let alone hundreds of engaging, interesting posts a month!’
Don’t get discouraged! You CAN do this.
One of the easiest ways to combat these fears is to shift the emphasis of your content creation. The focus shouldn’t be so much on what YOU should say on social media, but rather on what your FOLLOWERS want to hear.
As in any conversation, listening is important, and the best way to come up with valuable content is to have your audience tell you what matters to them. This will come in handy later when we talk about engagements and other analytics options for social media in a future post.
Developing the right content
As we discussed in a previous blog post, Plan Your Way To Social Media Success, the volume and frequency of posts for your brand should be decided during the social media strategy part of your planning.
This helps provide a good idea of how much content is needed to fill a day, week, or even month. This may sound like a lot at first, but keep in mind that posts and content don’t have to be long or too involved to be deliver value to your followers.
Struggling to get started? Think about what happens when you get face-to-face with your customers. What questions do they ask? What products or services do they like? What results have they seen, and how did you help them get there? What do they like about your company?
Starting at the basic parts of your business and working outwards can make content development less daunting and get the ball rolling.
It also helps to think about content as achieving a certain goal. Good content does one of four things – it entertains (think memes!), it educates (perfect for service-type businesses!), it inspires (retailers, this one’s for you!), and it converts (turning followers into leads, and eventually customers or clients).
You shouldn’t aim to include all of these in each post, but rather to provide a good mix of them throughout your posts. Keep your content engaging, relevant, and fresh.
Still need ideas? We have a list of tools that can help you brainstorm blog post topic ideas!
Social media content sharing
By this point, you have already done your research and identified the right platforms for your business’s social media presence. We discussed how different social media platforms offer contrasting applications and distinctive audiences, so making sure your freshly-created content gets distributed across these platforms is part of your social media planning schedule.
Knowing how various social media platforms interact (like how to link between Instagram and Facebook) and trend (hashtags!) can net you big exposure with minimal effort.
Understanding the audience you’re trying to reach with a particular post can help you determine what platform to use for distribution. Content that features your products and services might be better on Facebook and Instagram – where your buyers are.
But, content that features the benefits of your workplace, might be of interest to followers on LinkedIn – where job seekers and future employees may be among your followers.
Schedule it out
Your marketing plan is complete. Your editorial calendar is sketched out. You’ve thought about content and worked to author posts that fit in the four areas of content development. Don’t hit “Publish” quite yet, though; now it’s time for a little more planning. (Hang in there!)
Before you go ‘live’, a social media calendar is a good idea to consider. While your editorial calendar covered a large amount of time, your social media calendar should be a much shorter view of your social media accounts and the content you’ll be posting to each platform.
Your social media calendar helps identify post publishing timing and responsibility, shows post coverage across platforms, and plans for post-publishing engagements and feedback.
Once you’ve created your social media calendar – USE IT! This can mean writing posts days or weeks ahead of time and scheduling them to appear on each platform you use. If the prospect of managing and scheduling all that content sounds daunting, there are plenty of social media content management platforms available.
We’ll cover a few of these, as well as outsourced management options, in a future post.
Building value with your social media content
The last tip for building content is carried over from the marketing world. Marketers generally believe that 80% of a business’ profits originate with the top 20% of its customer base. That rule has built marketing budgets, customer loyalty and reward programs, and directed spending for relationship-building business practices for companies around the world.
The same rule applies to social media, but the application is a little different. Instead of the 80/20 split being based on the value the company gets from its customers, the 80/20 principle in social media reflects on a business’ content value to its social media followers.
Based on this guideline, 80% of posts should be geared toward promoting interactivity with your followers, while 20% should be action-driven, pushing a follower to convert or make a purchase.
Now that you’ve crafted your content, calendarized and scheduled your posts, and are ready to click “Publish.” Now what? Don’t worry, because social media platforms have your back, helping you measure audience engagements, feedback, and the reach of your posts. In our next blog installment, we’ll talk all things analytics – and the value of your social media efforts.
This post is a part of a six article series on how small businesses can leverage social media for success.
- Coming Up (and Keeping Up!) with Content
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Feel like you need help creating or planning your content? Contact us onlineor call 817-642-9686 to consult with one of Thrive’s social media consultants.