Create your social media content plan in 10 easy steps

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Social media is an essential channel for every business today. If a few years ago the common questions were “Do I really need Social Media? What’s in it for me? Does it fit my business?”, they were replaced with “How can I grow my business with Social Media?”. And this for a good reason.

According to the latest industry report published by Buffer and Social Media Week, 74% of marketers believe social media marketing has been “somewhat effective” or “very effective” for their business.  

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As marketer, this makes me very excited and also unhappy at the same time.

Because there’re also people who say: “social media is not for any business”. This could be somehow true. But also, they could succeed with social media for their business if they break the boundaries of this kind of thinking.    

Unfortunately, many companies make accounts on social media and are very excited about this at the beginning. And they end giving up if they don’t see immediate results. Other companies keep their presence on social media thinking they need this - even if it doesn’t drive any result to their business.

The missing ingredient here is an effective documented content plan. Because “at the end of the day, your ability to profit from social media will only go as far as your content will take you.” (AdWeek) 

In this post, you will learn how to create an effective social media content plan in 10 easy steps. Don’t panic, on paper could look more difficult than it is in reality 😊!

1. Make an Audit for your Social Media presence

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It already seems complicated, right? Don’t worry! In fact, it’s very easy.

All you have to do is to evaluate your social media presence and make some housecleaning. Here are some questions you should answer during this stage:

  • Which networks are you currently active on?

  • Is your profile on these networks optimized (photo and cover images, bio, URL, etc.)?

  • Which networks are currently bringing you the most value?

  • How is your profile comparing to your competitors’ profiles?

  • Which (and if) social media networks should you consider?

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2. Identify your follower persona

“The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.” – Peter Drucker

You have to be as specific as possible with this part. If, for example, you identify as your target the business owners of small businesses would be ok. But not enough. But if you picture your ideal customer as the business owner who lives in the US, is between 30 and 40 years old, runs a small company with under 50 employees, has an annual income over $60.000, uses Facebook as the main social media network and is interested in outdoor activities, your chances of success increase significantly. 

So, if you want to come up with the highly detailed picture of your buyer persona, you should answer the following questions:

  • Age

  • Gender

  • Location

  • Occupation

  • Job Title

  • Income

  • Interests

  • Pain points (your business will help to solve)

  • Most used Social Media networks

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3. Analyze your competitors

The simplest way to do this is to analyze your competitors’ presence on social media platforms and how they are performing on each of them. For doing this, you should connect to all social media networks and take a look at:

  • What content are they posting: photos, video, posts, infographics and so on.

  • Look at their engagements: comments, shares, and reactions

  • The number of followers

  • The frequency of postings

I know it takes some time, but believe me, it’s well invested time.

Once you’ve figured out how they are performing on social media platforms, you should start to think about your strategy and answer the following questions:

  • Can I share content that is more relevant than theirs?

  • Can I post more frequently than them?

  • Can my posts have more consistency than theirs?

  • What can I do differently from them?

I added the last question because not everything is related to doing things better than someone else. Sometimes, doing things differently makes you stand out from the crowd.

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4. Choose the right Social Media Networks

This is one of the most important parts of creating your social media content plan. So, please take a cup of coffee and read this section very carefully!

As I mentioned at the beginning, not every social media platform is suitable for every business. Each of them was created having some specific goals and acts differently. For Example, LinkedIn is a professional network being used heavily for sharing industry articles and professional content, while Pinterest acts as a search engine based on visuals. Facebook sends more website referral traffic than any other social media network, while Instagram is not optimal for driving traffic to a blog or website.

5. Set your goals and create content that meets them

As like everything else in the business, you also have to set goals for your social media presence. Moreover, they must align with each other and also with your overall business goals.

Here are some examples of common goals of objective you might want to reach:

  • build connections with your potential customer

  • drive conversions

  • establish you as industry expert

  • raise brand awareness

Once you’ve set your goals, it’s time to write your mission statement. It will drive your future actions, so be sure you pay the whole attention to it. This mission statement will make clear what content you will post, and it should reflect your brand identity. Also, it’s important to have your follower persona in mind when you create this statement.

An example of a mission statement could be: “We want to educate our audience about outdoor activities, with focus on camping”. Once you set this statement, it will be simple for you to create and share the right content that will attract and engage your followers.

In terms of content, you should relate to your creativity and the preferences of your customers. But as starting point, here is a short list of what you can post on social media:

  • Blog posts

  • Landing pages

  • Website pages

  • News announcements

  • Videos

  • Infographics

  • Photos

6. Identify your Key Success Social Media Metrics

“If you cannot measure it you cannot improve it.” – Lord Kelvin

It’s time to answer the following questions: how do you know if your social media efforts are successful or not? And how successful are they? I don’t mean just getting more followers, I’m talking about making money. Because at the end of the day, you’ll want your social media presence to help grow your business, right?

Here are the most important KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) you should consider:·  

  • Clicks

  • Likes

  • Shares

  • Comments

  • Brand mentions

  • Profile Visits

  • Active followers

  • Impressions

  • Traffic Data

  • Conversion Rate

7. Find your social media tone of voice

It’s important to know how to talk to your audience on social media if you want to convey the right message.

Voice is the mission statement; tone is the implementation of that mission.

 Finding your voice and tone shouldn’t be complicated. Just analyze how your followers interact with your brand social media. What do they like and share? What do they comment? And if you here, you should also check your competitors’ social media profiles and see how your audience is interacting with them.

Then answer to the questions:

  • If your brand was a person, what kind of person would it be?

  • What kind of relationship do you want to have with your followers?

  • Describe in adjectives the personality of your brand

  • How do you want your customers to think about your brand?

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Then adjust your brand voice and tone accordingly, so you should be able to convey your message better and engage your followers.

8. Create content calendar

According to CMI, “keeping an accurate account of your editorial assets and activities will make you a more effective marketer—and a less stressed one, too.” That’s why editorial calendars are considered the cornerstone of the content marketing plan.

By creating a content marketing calendar, you should:

  • Save time by planning ahead

  • Avoid stress

  • Maintain a consistent flow of content across all your social media accounts

  • Assure that your posts are appropriately timed out during the day

  • Make social media management and creation more collaborative

Once the content calendar created, be sure to share it with your team. This way, it will be easier for them to understand your content efforts and leverage content to achieve the business goals.

You may create it using Google Sheets or using a calendar app, like Buffer Social Media Calendar, CoSchedule or Hootsuite.  

9. Invest in a Social Media Management tool

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The most successful social media marketers have a secret (or maybe it’s not such a big secret anymore): they automate the most part of the posting and sharing activity.

Having a social media management tool allows you to plan your posts ahead of the time and scale your efforts easily. Remember the social media content calendar you created? Make sure to align it to the scheduled posts in your social media management tool.

10. Track, Analyze, Optimize

Even if it seems it’s the last step if creating your social media content plan, it’s also a beginning.

It might seem basic, but testing, tracking, analyzing and optimizing are the foundation of each and every marketing effort. There is no absolute path to success and even the best marketers rely on trials and errors. 

That’s why you should re-evaluate each step of your social media efforts. Let data drive you. If it’s telling you Facebook and Instagram are the most effective social media networks for you, then focus on them and post more content there. If it’s telling you the live videos bring you the most followers, shares, and the best conversion rate, then focus on them. 

A great social media strategy is not set in stone. So, go out, make your researches, set your goals and create a social media strategy. Implement it, analyze it, learn from mistakes and optimize it as you’ll continue to grow your business.

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