Creating a Content Strategy
Having a content strategy as part of your social media marketing strategy, is vital for marketing success. It’s not quite as easy as pulling up a cute meme or an interesting article that you randomly find and posting it- there's just a bit more to it. If you’re wanting to create a consistent and identifiable brand image on social media and as a digital presence in it’s entirety, having a content plan and schedule is KEY.
Now, I said that it’s not as easy as randomly posting something that catches your eye, but it’s not overly complex or complicated either! But what it does take is some time, some brand reflection, some planning, and some scheduling on the front end, and then you’ll be setting yourself up for success. And today I’ll walk you through exactly how we work with our own clients to create a content strategy that will make posting to social media easy on your end, and effective on your customers end.
So first- it’s not all about selling. We stress this to our customers over and over. The goal of our content strategy is to create a well-rounded social media presence and library of content that is valuable not just to you, BUT even more importantly, TO YOUR CUSTOMERS.
What you post on social media is not nearly as important to you as it is to your followers, your readers, your customers, your potential customers. You’re already sold on you. You need to create value in your content that those folks reading your posts and/or following along will continue to read and follow along, and be interested in the content that you are posting and sharing. That’s how you build rapport, that’s how you get followers to like you and become invested in your business, and that’s how you convert them into customers via social media. Content is a LONG GAME. You can’t expect one great video or one nice infographic to go viral and make it all happen for you. Creating a large library of lots of different types of content that creates value for the customer.
You don’t want to post what you want them to read as much as you want to post what they want to read.
SO. WHAT DO YOU POST??
First- ask them! We did this at the beginning of the year when we were beginning to rebrand Magnolia Marketing Group. We asked our Instagram followers what they would like to see more of! They wanted Instagram stories, behind the scenes info, and social media tips. I wouldn’t have expected those necessarily, and wouldn’t have begun posting more info behind the scenes had they not revealed that to us. So, ask your followers. Poll them. Ask what are you most interested in seeing? Videos? Articles? Live sessions? And once you’ve received answers, test different types of content and check your data. All the platforms have analytics that you can look into and see what posts perform the best. You can see what types of content garner the most engagement. The most shares. The most comments! And then begin using those types of content more and more often.
WHAT TYPES OF CONTENT SHOULD I BE POSTING?
So, first it takes a bit of brand reflection to decide on the voice and the purpose of your content. For instance, Magnolia Marketing Group wants to come across as friendly, supportive, helpful, an expert marketing resource, and inspirational. Every one of our social media posts can be described by one of those personality traits. Start by brainstorming adjectives that you want to describe your brand. And it’s all about perception. If you want your brand to be described as confident, it doesn’t matter so much if you are confident or not, but the content, images, videos, and messages that you share need to exude confidence. Fake it til you make it! But having a good foundation of the voice and personality of the brand will make the next step easier, and create voice and personality consistency from your digital presence to the real life brand persona.
After you've brainstormed your brand personality traits, select your “top 5.” Every piece of content that you share ought to be associated with around 5 things that you want to share about your brand. So, what do you want to share about your brand on social media? Obviously whatever you’re selling- product or service ought to be ONE (see, one, not all!). Perhaps your followers want to know more about you as a person, so maybe behind the scenes or personal story could be one. And it depends what you do! For instance, you may be a non-profit involved in helping battered women. You probably want to share the mission of the non-profit. How people can help. Maybe spotlight a success srory or members of your team. Maybe an inspirational quote. Maybe news articles about domestic violence. You can utilize created content (content you create yourself) and also curated content (content that you use that others have created- just always credit the original source). So this particular non-profit’s top five may be 1)about the organization 2)how to help 3)behind the scenes- spotlighting success stories 4)inspirational quotes 5)news articles or blog posts.
Another example- Magnolia Marketing Group’s top five- 1)inspiration 2)blog posts 3)social media tips 4)behind the scenes- personal side 5)business promotion.
IDEAS FOR CONTENT
1) Images and Videos- they’re a given. I RARELY post on social media period without at least an image. Tweets with images get 18% more clicks, 89% more likes, and 150% more retweets. On Facebook, images get 53% more likes. 104% more comments. 84% more link clicks than posts without images. 120% more total engagement than posts without images, and 180% more engagement if you have a photo album! So posts with images and/or videos should be a foundational piece of your content strategy. Flatlays, product images, images of customers using your product, images of happy customers that have used your service, pictures of YOU!
2) Infographics- infographics are great educational content, and are one of the top pieces of content that gets shared the most. Reading is hard, but looking is easy, and humans process visual information faster than words. We understand content better when it’s paired with images. Create your own or search on google/pinterst for infographics relevant to your brand/industry (and site the source).
3) Interactive content- this is where content is moving. Content marketing in 2018 is less about what you put on the page and more about the experiences you create for the customers. Think quizzes (there are apps/websites for creating your own quizzes!), white board videos, animations and image slideshows.
4) List posts- people LOVE to share lists! List posts, how to posts, what posts, and why posts- these are typically articles or blog posts. Lists and why posts both have most social traction- headlines are magnetic and the readers know exactly what they will be getting.
5) Newsworthy content- give people updated and current information through news stories and industry related articles.
6) User generated content- a customer posts a picture on Instagram wearing your bracelet. You can ask her if it’s okay to use her image and then post it as user generated content on your social platforms! Not only does it give you credibility but it gives the stage to your customers, which typically, they love. Reposting UGC and crediting them in your posts makes your customers feel loved and cared for.
7) Client testimonials- nothing can speak more highly of your products and your services than good customer reviews. And think of a time perhaps that you have not bought a product or service if it had a bad review! Customers have nothing to gain by posting a good review of your business, so it is a great indicator of if what you say is actually true. And other people like to see positive reviews of products they are about to use. Use the quote as copy for your post, use it in an image to make a meme, or record the customer talking about their review or saying the review and make a video to use!
8) Live streaming- Facebook live and Instagram live are valuable tools in reaching your audience. It’s a less produced and more real life version of the brand. People seem to connect with you as a person and you as a brand better through live streaming than other highly produced content.
Other types of content- podcasts, webinars, articles and blog posts.
CREATE A SCHEDULE
Creating a schedule is very simple and makes social media management easy and consistent. Either literally creating a calendar and scheduling out posts, or using an automation tool to schedule your posts for you, you can batch schedule and load content a week at a time so you're not having to post manually on a daily basis for your brand. Having a schedule and a plan for posting actually frees up time and prevents you from being left unprepared when you run out of time or have writers block.
Content strategy creation can take time but you will serve your customers better if you put some thought into creating a valuable experience for your readers with good, rich, valuable content for your brand.