Social media constitutes a significant proportion of the global content marketing ecosystem, and we all have to agree that the kind of impact it leaves on the network of millions of followers is unmatched.
But, have you ever wondered what really goes into building a solid brand presence on social media?
What exactly takes a brand to start ‘trending’ everywhere?
Is it a sequence of sporadic updates or business insights on every channel, or a carefully crafted social media strategy that actually helps brands build a strong presence?
Most definitely, it's more than just showing up on every platform and giving a quick informational update. In this guide, we're going to dig-deeper into the specifics of a well-thought-out social media content strategy.
Remember, what we see on the surface usually has a lot of work going on right underneath. So, instead of blindly inheriting your competition’s social media mantra, you should follow this 5-step guide to formulate an effective and actionable social media content strategy for your business.
Identify your Marketing Goals
Having the key business objectives in mind will give you a clear understanding of the type of content that will best serve those goals. For this, you need to dig deeper into your core brand values and audience preferences. Remember, the more specific your marketing goals are, the better and sooner you will be able to formulate a social media content strategy to meet those goals.
The top marketing goals can be - increased brand awareness, lead generation, customer engagement, brand proliferation, or increased web traffic.
Now, each of these marketing goals will need a different content type or a combination that will help drive maximum customer engagement.
For example, suppose you wish to simply increase brand awareness, in that case, you must follow influencers and get them to share your interactive written and visual content, hold contests, repurpose blogs, and ask more questions to keep the interaction going.
However, if your marketing goal is to convert more sales, then the strategy must incorporate actionable posts with a CTA (Call to action) that directs people to the landing page or the next part of the marketing funnel, where they can decide whether or not they should make a purchase.
Plan your Social Media Content Strategy
Don't worry, not every audit needs to be overwhelming and tedious. A proper social media content audit helps you
- Zero-in on the top-performing content structure and type.
- Gives you a better understanding of your target audience and their needs and preferences.
- Lets you recognise the brand voice that resonates with the target audience.
- Helps you identify the platforms your content needs to succeed.
Social media analytic tools will help you gauge the traffic that is directed via social media channels. The content quality can be analysed with the help of specific metrics such as page views, average time spent, bounce rate, and conversion rate.
The performance of your content can also be judged by the sudden increase or decrease in the number of new followers every time you post something on a social media site. Another vital thing to analyse is the top-performing social media channel for your brand.
As we mentioned earlier, it isn’t important to stay active on all social media platforms, the right channel is the one that communicates effectively with your target audience.
Remember, your audience began following your brand for a reason, and in order to keep succeeding, you must learn to identify those reasons and stick to them. For example, customers value a consistent brand voice, therefore sticking to a unique brand tone will help you build your target persona. Choosing relevant, authentic, and the right content format is another driving force for followers.
Build a Social Media Content Calendar
Rising above the extremely tough competition and getting your audience to like, comment, or share isn’t as easy as one might think. For this, you need to understand where to post what content, and at what time. No matter how good the content is, if your target audience isn’t active on the platform at the time, it will be a complete waste of your time and efforts.
And this is where a social media calendar becomes important. With a social media calendar, you will always know what to post, and there will be no last-minute scouring of trending topics involved.
It lets you schedule posts months in advance and allows you to evaluate different strategies to identify what resonates the most with your audience. While some experts suggest posting as regularly as possible to stay ahead of the competition, others recommend sticking to disseminating only quality information for maximum visibility, at specific times of the day.
Every platform has its own criteria, and it must be factored-in while formulating an effective and actionable social media calendar. Here are some suggestions based on recent studies on how to post on social media for maximum reach and visibility.
- Facebook: 1-2 times per day
- Twitter: 3-10 times per day
- Instagram: 1-3 times per day
- IG Stories: 2-5 times per day
- LinkedIn: 1-2 times per week
Formulate a Content Distribution Strategy
The next most important step is formulating an excellent content distribution strategy. To reach a vast network of millions of followers, you need some amazing tips on how to amplify the content on social media platforms.
For this, you need to recognise whether or not you are sharing your posts at the right time of the day when your audience is active on the platform. If you're repurposing an article at the same time it goes live, you're missing out on reaching your target audience; therefore a strategy for this is a must.
The second way to maximise reach is by utilising hashtags on Twitter or Instagram. Hashtags help you reach people who follow a specific trend or interest, even if they don’t follow you. On LinkedIn and Facebook, you can distribute content in the most relevant groups.
Sometimes, engaging and intriguing content is enough to encourage the audience to share your post or tag the network, so you need to make sure that you don’t follow a plain content approach. Adding humour, questionnaires, and interactive visuals makes it more engaging and relatable.
There is no cookie-cutter strategy of content marketing for social media, which means you will have to constantly adapt to the evolving customer needs and preferences in order to accomplish your marketing objectives in the long run. For this, you will need a continuous assessment of your social media content. Once you start tracking your content on social media with the help of analytical tools, with a complete understanding of social media metrics against your marketing goals, you will be able to better identify the content gaps and optimise your strategy accordingly. Some of the most important social media metrics that you should keep an eye out for are:
- Awareness: If your marketing objectives are focused on brand awareness, then impressions and reach are two important social media metrics to track. Impressions are the number of times a post shows up in someone's profile, and reach is the potential unique viewers a post could have, which is usually a summation of your follower count and the followers of the accounts that shared your post.
- Engagement: Engagement can be assessed by the number of likes, reactions, comments, clicks, and shares your content gets on every platform. It determines how actively your audience is involved with your content. Organic mentions like @brandhandle as a part of any reply or tagging on Facebook or Instagram also indicates good brand awareness and customer engagement.
- Return on Investment (ROI): The return on investment is measured with conversions and referrals that are mostly applicable for companies with websites or e-commerce platforms. Referrals are how a user lands on the website and can be located under source/medium on web analytics. Conversions, on the other hand, are recorded when someone makes a purchase from your website. Conversions made via social media channels are called social conversions.
Clearly, there is no one standard strategy for content marketing on social media. There are 101 content marketing tips on social media, however, what works best for someone else may completely fall flat on your social handles; therefore formulating a unique content marketing strategy to social media is of prime importance.
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