While these days you can’t deny that content is king, sometimes the hardest thing is getting it right and consistent. Too often companies are jumping on to their Facebook page to post updates on the fly without any forward planning, leaving the page looking like a dogs breakfast. This is a good reason why companies need to strategically plan their social media content. Having a plan creates a solid foundation for long term success. Here’s 4 basic steps to help get you started on your content plan.
1. Set Objectives
Start by asking why is your brand on social media. There’s always a benefit for having a Social Media presence, you just need to understand what it is.
Also understand what social media channels you are, or will be using and why. Make notes using these headings as a guide to explain the why:
- Current status
Responses to these may change as you move through the proceeding steps, but this will help get the ball rolling. It’s important to be able to answer these questions for any social media related strategy planning.
2. Create the Narrative
Marketing these days are no longer about selling to your customer, it’s about telling a story so the consumer can connect and relate to your brand.
Here’s some questions to ask yourself to get the complete picture of your brand’s story:
- Who/Where/When/Why/How did the company or brand start
- Who/What/Why changed since it started
- Who/What/Where/When/How do you sell your products or service
- Who/What/When/Why were special milestones achieved
- What do others think of your company or brand
- >>(Insert extensive list of questions here)<<
If you can’t answer them, the boss or long time serving employees are the next best candidates. Note: beers often help start the flow of information.
Now you need to take this material and mould it into a narrative worth sharing.
3. Understand Who Will be Listening
When creating your brand’s story, keep in mind who will be listening on the other end. There’s no point creating content if it’s not relevant to your reader.
In most cases, people following you on social media will be your customers. You should already have enough understanding about your consumer demographics to know their characteristics and what interests them. Keep these a list of top of mind so you can refer back to them and ask “is this relevant and interesting to my reader”.
4. Know How You’re Going to Say it
An important, and sometimes missed part of a content strategy is defining the way in which you’ll communicate. Here are some elements to help guide this process, remember to keep in mind who you are talking to and why.
- Tone – do you want to come across happy, light and fluffy or serious, to the point and educational
- Language – will your content be simple or advanced
- Vibe – what impression do you want the user to walk away with
When it comes to defining a brand or company voice, I really strongly encourage companies not to use mascots. As hard as it maybe, try to think of all consumers as intelligent – Mascots don’t exist and don’t sit at desks writing Tweets or Facebook posts. A Social Media fail I always refer to regarding mascots is Mortein’s “Kill or Save example Louie the Fly”.
5. Plan Your Content
Funny thing with a content plan, you need to plan it first. This will stop you from going into an update frenzy where nothing is consistent with what you’ve defined in the previous steps.
There’s lots of ways how you can write your content plan. A simple way to get open a calendar template in excel. List each social media channel you’ll publish to against each date and write notes about what post you’ll make. Use dates to reference industry or pop-culture events, scheduled marketing promotions and product launches. Write what type of content (reference of content types below) you use. Eventually you’ll being to see a visual representation of what will appear where and when, e.g. 7th March I’ll upload an image to Pinterest for World Appreciation day for Water – to appear on Pinterest.
Here’s some tips during content creation:
- Ensure it’s useful, helpful or engaging
- Check it reflects what’s been defined in previous steps
- Messages are consistent but offers variety to the reader
Always try and think of different content to provide your community. Here’s a list below to remind you the vast array of content you can publish:
- Marketing material
- Photos submitted by users
- General images
- General Text
- Quotes or facts
- Company/product/service related updates
- Text supporting marketing activities
- General text brand related
Remember that it’s ok if you don’t have content scheduled for every day. I’m often finding by content is reactionary to what’s making news and headlines.
The key take away from this is that you’ve made a start on defining your content strategy. Doing this will ensure all content moving forward is consistent and reflective of your brand narrative, an important part of a successful Social Media strategy.