How To Develop A Winning Social Media Content Strategy With a Template
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You’ve probably heard others are driving impactful results, finding partners to collaborate, having customer queries pour in – even making sales – all on social media.
But you haven’t seen any such results yet, have you? Or, chances are you’ve seen an occasional sale but nothing substantial.
Know why? Because you’re posting without a social media content strategy in place.
A social media content strategy narrates what you post on different social channels while determining how to engage with your audience.
All this not only saves you time but also supports your overall social media management efforts.
In short, what you’ll learn today is going to help you drive impactful results on social media.
So without further ado, let’s walk you through each step you need to take to create a content strategy for your business’s social media presence. We’ll also give you a social media content plan template so you can put into action all the theory you read today.
But First: Download Your Free Social Media Content Strategy Template
For a head start, grab your social media content strategy template below:
After you’ve gone through this post, put your researcher’s hat on and fill in this template. It’ll give you a ready-to-execute social media content strategy in no time.
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Social Media Content Strategy: 12 Steps To Take Today
1. Understand Your Audience
Before you get your social media gears shifting, know who you are talking to. This is important so that you can:
- Create content that resonates with your target audience
- Understand which social platforms your audience uses and how
- Figure out when your target audience is active on these platforms
The aim is to develop a basic user persona. Find out details like who exactly your audience is, their user demographics, what interests them, and the language they use.
Revisiting your buyer persona can help answer well over half of these questions. For the rest, consider the following:
- Use Google Analytics to understand audience demographic
Log into your Google Analytics account and head to Demographics to learn basics such as your audience’s age and gender.
Now for some depth, click on Interests, followed by Affinity Categories. This will show topical categories your audience is interested in which is a great help for creating social media content.
And, finally, tap on In-Market Segments to learn the markets and industries your audience searches for.
- Talk to your target customer
Next, hop on to one-to-one chats with your customers. 2-3 calls alone with the right people will give you a good grip on the channels your target audience uses and how they use them (personal purpose or comfortable with interacting/following brands on the specific channel).
- Research the channels your audience uses
If you’re only starting out, you’ll need to understand user profiles of different channels.
Twitter, for example, is primarily, used in the B2B circle (67 percent of all B2B businesses use it). Users don’t hesitate following, even interacting, with brands such as Twitter chats.
Having this basic information will help you narrow down social channels to use – more on this in a bit.
- Use (mainly listen) social channels
Finally, jump on to the channel(s) your target audience spends time on and observe the language and tone they use. Pay attention to how they interact with brands, the hashtags they use, and the questions they ask.
All this observation (technically known as social listening) will get you to grips with how to correctly use a social channel for your brand.
2. Conduct A Social Media Content Audit
Now review and write a list of all the social networks you’re using.
- Which of these channels are performing best?
- Which channels can you add or remove from your strategy?
An essential part of reviewing each channel involves being honest with yourself about its performance. Chances are you might remove a channel that’s performing poorly because you haven’t put in the required effort.
So before you delete a social account, question yourself:
- Am I paying consistent attention to the channel? If not, consider keeping it to try new strategies to make it work.
- Are my competitors using this network and driving positive results from it? If so, what is something that you aren’t probably doing right?
- Do I need to prioritize this channel? Is my audience still here or have they moved to another platform?
As for which channels to add, keep the following in mind: you can’t hop on to every new trending social network.
Giving in to such impulses means you’ll spread yourself too thin. So the best way to move forward? Dig into the demographics that are most active on each channel (see below), then finalize 2-3 social channels for your brand and do them well.
3. Conduct A Social Media Competitor Analysis
Study what your competitors are doing on social media next.
Kick things off by identifying your top competitors. Unsure who your competitors are? Take to Google and search for a keyword that describes your company. Example: time tracking software.
Repeat the same by searching on social media.
This will give you a list of businesses to study. To this end, work out which social channels they’re using (simply visit their site to see which networks they use). Then, review each channel to see which ones are the top-performing ones for them.
Once you have a list of competitor channels that are killing it on social media, start taking notes on:
- The content they are posting
- How they are engaging with their audience
- Whether they’re partnering with influencers or industry experts to promote themselves
When you have the answers to these, document how you can replicate their top-performing strategies your way. Also, identify any tactics you can improve on.
Such a competitor analysis will also help you draft ideas for what you can do differently to stand out from the noise. Can you write more descriptive captions perhaps? Or share more behind-the-scenes content to show your human side and connect with your audience?
4. Establish What Content You’ll Create For Each Network
By now, you’ll be having a solid idea of what sort of content works well on each channel, what content your audience prefers to consume, and what your competitors are doing.
Take what you’ve learned to document the content you’ll produce for each channel:
Text posts. These could be story-led, educational long Instagram and LinkedIn captions or short educational tweets. You can also repurpose blog content to create Twitter threads.
Video posts. These could be bite-sized educational clips, product videos, a video showing your team at work, or one that answers questions customers frequently ask. You can also try branded GIFs for brand awareness and engaging your audience.
What is Biteable? Why would we tell you, when we can show you? pic.twitter.com/rULOqs5e9G
— Biteable (@biteable) November 13, 2020
Images. These could be branded graphics, tweet-sharing Instagram posts – even images sharing customer reviews.
5. Determine Your Content’s Purpose For Each Network
Let’s talk goals next.
Ideally, tie all your social posts to a purpose. It could be anything from:
- Product promotion
- Content distribution
You’ll also need to outline your social media content plan’s overarching goals. These could be brand awareness, social selling (based on a relationship-building approach), customer service, or a mix of all three.
The goals you set here will determine the type of content you’ll create as part of your social media content strategy.
6. Establish Your Brand Voice And Tone
Not only is writing social media copy essential but the way you write it (read: the voice and tone you use) is critical for engaging your audience.
So an important next step is to document how you’ll communicate on social.
Go back to the research you did on your audience and competitors. Look for how your audience talks online to create a brand voice that resonates with them.
You’ll also want to look at your competitors’ tone and voice to determine how you can be yourself and stand out from the crowd – all while resonating with your target buyers.
Now, write down the voice, tone, and vocabulary (‘pooch’ instead of ‘dog,’ for example) you’ll use.
Pro tip: Draft brand engagement guidelines here as well. This is essential so you and your team are clear on how to respond to comments, messages, and any negative reviews/feedback.
For inspiration, see how Innocent Drinks maintains their tweets’ voice when replying to comments on their content:
7. Note Down Copy And Design Best Practices
Having brand voice guidelines ready will help you or any colleague who takes up caption copywriting. So set similar standards for other nitty-gritty details now.
Start with creating guidelines for your social post copy. Decide on:
- Emojis: If you’ll add them and how you’ll add them and which ones are off-brand.
- Copy length: How long should your social post copy be for each network.
- Hashtags and keywords: Which ones to add and how many?
- Writing style and formatting details: Ideally, link your style guide here. Don’t have one? Create basic standards for consistency around spelling variations, using em/en dash, oxford comma, and other punctuation marks.
Next, create guidelines for visual content consistency. Address the following:
- Logo usage: Which variations are okay to use.
- Color scheme for graphics: Which colors to use and in what proportion.
- General or specific style-related guidelines: Use enough whitespace, for example.
- Social media image sizes: The correct dimensions for Stories, graphics, and videos on different social channels.
8. Settle On Team Responsibilities
A social media content strategy is only as good as its execution. And, execution won’t be a smooth-sailing ride unless you clearly define each person’s role in putting the strategy into action.
So the next step? Defining team responsibilities. Agree on:
- Who will write tweets and captions for your social networks?
- Who will design graphics and other visuals (particularly, if you don’t have a designer onboard)
- Who will be creating or polishing behind-the-scenes content that team members submit?
9. List Content Curation Sources And Repurposing Guidelines
Since it’s too much work creating new content for your social channels all the time, two tactics can help: curating content and repurposing it.
Let’s look at content curation first. This involves sharing audience-relevant content from other sources. Curating content helps you in a handful of ways:
- Helps you develop relationships by sharing others’ content
- Fills your content bucket by supplementing content creation with curation
- Puts you forward as a value-offering business instead of a self-centered brand
Good content curation only happens when you source content from quality sources. To add, highlighting trusted content curation sources helps save your time since you’ll know where to look for content to share.
Some tools to help curate content:
- Feedly. Curates content for you based on pre-selected keywords and sources.
- Buzzsumo. Gives you an inside look at content that’s trending on social and is worth a share.
Second, content repurposing. Set basic guidelines here as well that address:
- Which content should you potentially repurpose and on which social channels? (Example: sharing newsletter content on LinkedIn).
- How to reuse content based on your audience’s expectations for specific platforms. (Example: don’t copy and paste, highlight only key takeaways from a blog post in a Twitter thread).
- How to add your call-to-action (CTA). What are some CTAs to explore? Should it come at the start or end? Will you add it in the comments?
10. Set Your Social Media Posting Schedule
Again, you’ll need to revisit what competitors are doing and what your audience expects to get an idea of the ideal publishing frequency for each network.
To get you started though, here’s data on how often to post on social media:
Alternatively, let ReQueue do the heavy lifting. Simply add your social content to the tool and it’ll automatically reshare your posts.
11. Manage Your Social Media Strategy On A Calendar
Put all your plans into a social media marketing calendar so you can post by a set schedule.
Spreadsheets are a great way to start planning out your social calendar. But if you’re looking for something more advanced – visually appealing, collaborative, and easier to manage then CoSchedule’s Marketing Calendar can help.
It can also easily integrate with the rest of CoSchedule’s Marketing Suite. This way, you can assign social media content creation tasks to team members while setting deadlines and preview how much content you’ve in the pipeline.
Here’s more on creating an effective social media calendar to get started with this task.
12. Measure Performance
And, finally: determine Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) based on the goals you set. Then, track them over a defined time to understand how well you’re doing.
Now, for how to track these metrics:
- Use in-built platform analytics. Familiarize yourself with the analytics of each network you use. Here are resource guides:
- Leverage Google Analytics. Log in and select Acquisition, then Social.
This will show you Network Referrals (social channels sending traffic to your site), Landing Pages (the pages social is directing traffic toward), and Conversions (social channels driving the most conversions)
Create Your Social Media Content Strategy Today
That’s all folks. We’ve laid out all the steps to creating a social media content plan. Your turn now: use the template to file all of these details in one strategy document and start growing your social presence.
November 15, 2021