Creating a content strategy for social media

headerThe rise of social media over the past decade has had many businesses big and small joining the fray. While some have built their businesses entirely off the back of their social efforts, others have struggled to make their social media goals more than “get more likes” or “make it viral” like the “ice bucket challenge”. Social clearly has a place in digital marketing, and one of the main reasons is that it fits seamlessly into where your consumers already are spending their time. This has potential upsides to a multitude of business metrics such as brand building, lead nurturing and customer support. Creating a new plan from scratch may seem like a daunting task, but in reality, it just takes a bit of preplanning work. Here’s how to begin.

Start with the spring cleaning

The first step is to take stock of where you currently are with social media. Many businesses have signed up to several of the social networks that have popped up over the years ‘just in case’ they became the next big thing. Make a list of these and the person who controls that account, who may be in fact, nobody. The next thing to do is to confirm that these accounts are registered to an email at your company domain, not a previous intern’s personal Gmail account. Other relevant things to include in your list are things like numbers of followers, engagement level, and budgets associated with each account. These would help you to make a decision on which of these channels you should keep, and invest resources into.

Create actionable goals that connect with business objectives

When it comes to goal setting on social media, there are two extremes – settings goals like “make it viral” or “get more likes” falls into the social for social’s sake category, the other being “How much sales does social get me?”. The right answer lies somewhere between the two, leveraging the unique strengths of social media to bring you closer to your business goals.

For example, if a key goal of your business is to provide superior customer service while keeping costs under control, social media channels like Facebook and Twitter are uniquely positioned to not only help address these needs but also potentially cross and upsell customers into creating a new revenue stream for the company.

Creating a workable content plan

Social media only works if you do – and here is where the real work begins. Whether you’re fortunate enough to have a team dedicated to social media, each channel needs to have an owner, even if it’s the same person. Each channel is different, and so your editorial calendar should reflect that as well. Some posts can be planned some ways in advanced, such as those promoting an event or campaign, but others may be ‘soft’ enough to be bumped by something more timely that just happened.

But that’s not everything, you can segment your audiences by your social media channels. For example, Snapchat tends to skew younger than Facebook and LinkedIn tends to be more professional as compared to your fans on Instagram. Each segment might need a different flavor of messaging, or if it isn’t relevant at all, you may decide to drop that altogether.

Ultimately, though, the metrics you identified previously should be tracked to see if the resources you’ve invested into social media are making the returns you’ve hypothesized about. This gives you the opportunity to course correct to find a course of action or a channel mix that gives you better bang for your proverbial buck (even if it is just in terms of time spent).