How to Create a Content Strategy for Social Media
In social media’s early days, it was enough to simply post and wait for replies to come streaming in as everyone viewed your content. However, now it's more challenging than ever to stand out among the millions of pieces of content shared daily or even every hour! Research shows that over 4 billion people use social media, and that number is projected to hit six billion by 2027.
You need a social media strategy for the best results for your marketing efforts. And spoiler alert, it can’t be “post every day!” Not only will this approach leave you burned out fast, but it can also backfire on you if your audience finds it annoying and not informative. Let’s look at how to create a content strategy for social media that works for your company.
Set Clear Goals and Objectives
While its array of cat pics, food snapshots, and travel visuals may make you think otherwise, social media is more than a billboard when it comes to marketing, it’s a way to communicate messages with others. You won't get anywhere if you begin posting randomly without a plan or clear objectives. Goals must be clear and have a purpose. You may have heard it before, but SMART goals are key in marketing. Coined by George T. Doran in 1981 in an issue of Management Review, SMART goals are:
Specific - What is the specific goal? Define it clearly.
Measurable - How will you track progress? Use analytics and other data to measure progress.
Achievable - How can you attain this goal? Figure out if you have the ability to achieve it.
Realistic - Is it realistic to set this goal? Decide if you have a chance of meeting your goal.
Timely - What is the end date for the goal? Have a time limit so you can really focus your efforts.
So, breaking it down, let’s start by pretending you’re a company new on social media. You think “Lots of followers equals lots of sales,” so your goal is, naturally, “1 million followers on Instagram.” It’s a bold goal, but is it a SMART goal? It’s specific, sure, but measurable? You can look at your stats, but that’s not enough. Attainable? Not really. Realistic? No. Timely? Did you even state a timeline? This goal doesn't make sense unless you’re a Hollywood celebrity or a well-known household brand.
Let’s revamp the goal and think SMART. So your new goal is “To increase our followers each week by X amount.” Now the goal is specific. You decide to keep a spreadsheet of how many followers you gain each week. Realistic? It could be, based on the deadline. Looking at your current follower track and your competitors, you decide the deadline is six months from your launch on Instagram. Now you’re being SMART!
Market for Your Audience
Your target audience is the group of people most likely to show interest in your product or company. A content strategy must include content that meets your target audience’s needs. If you’re unclear on your target audience, you can start by investigating your competitor. Who are they marketing to? Visit your competitors’ Facebook pages and other social media platforms to view comments. You can examine their followers’ profiles and see what other pages and interests they may follow.
As you research your audience, consider the following in your strategy:
- Who is your target audience?
- Age, location, and other demographics
- Income bracket
- What are their primary needs?
- What pain points can you address?
- What platforms do they use?
You can even distribute a survey to your current customers for more insight, plus see their thoughts on your company and its offerings. If you don’t have any customers yet, try social listening or monitoring social media for mentions of your competitor, relevant keywords, and any concerns users have.
Use all of this information to create a content plan, including what it will feature, the purpose of the content, and the presentation (video, text, photos).
Choose a Platform and Know Who Uses It
Here is where your target audience research comes in handy. Not every platform is for every audience. Thanks to the popularity of TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook, social media encompasses video, text, and image posts. The social media world is now the Wild West, but some people only stay within the confines of a certain platform. If you have multiple social media channels, then you need to tailor your messages to the specific platform and its audience.
Tip: You might not need to use every platform. Some brands and industries may align well with specific platforms over others. Instagram lets you use pictures and text, but TikTok is for short-form videos, which may make it harder to get your message out clearly.
Luckily, analytics offers a world of information about each platform and its audience. Facebook’s largest age group is users aged 25-34, with the largest audience being female users, Instagram and TikTok both skew younger, with users 18-24 the biggest audience. Twitter’s largest audience trends a bit older at 18-29. And finally, there’s LinkedIn, with its largest group of users ages 30-39. Remember these stats when you craft your content to make sure it speaks to the right people at the right location.
Create a Schedule
You’ve decided on a goal, audience, platform(s), and the content. Next, you need to know when to post. Every great social media strategy needs a schedule, whether you’re marketing construction services or restaurant equipment. You must schedule your content within the window of time when your audience is most likely to see it and react.
Facebook and other social media platforms will differ in the best posting times. According to Hootsuite, optimal post windows are:
- Facebook - 10:00 AM PST (1:00 PM EST) on Mondays
- Instagram - 9:00 AM PST (12:00 PM EST) on Mondays
- Twitter - 9:00 AM PST (12:00 PM EST) on Fridays
- LinkedIn - 1:00 PM PST (4:00 PM EST) on Mondays
- TikTok - 1:00 PM PST (4:00 PM EST) on Sundays
While these social media times aren’t foolproof, and people vary in online habits, these are the suggested best times based on social media as a whole. As you build your audience, you can examine your analytics and make adjustments based on your followers’ activity.
Get Your Content Strategy for Social Media Today
If you want to take the guesswork out of social media for your company, look no further. You can save endless research and false starts by contacting a professional marketing company for your needs. Contact us at AHA to help with a precise social media strategy now.