How to Create a Social Media Content Strategy

chess pieces representing strategy are positioned in front of a computer where two people discuss social media

If you’re marketing on social media, it’s important to know how to create a social media content strategy. Even though social media can feel like the Wild West at times — with so many content creators shooting off posts and trying to wrangle their potentially worldwide audiences — these platforms have structure. So just like you need to create a content strategy for your print or other digital avenues, you should have a plan for how you approach social media.

Why You Need a Social Media Content Strategy

Social media platforms are fast-moving and heavily populated, so it’s not enough to post occasionally or when you have the time to update your audience. It takes strategic thinking and commitment to stand out. Fortunately, creating a social media content strategy will help you stay consistent and on schedule by ensuring you always know what you need to post next.

Posting on social media is also important because it can extend the reach of your content. Did you just post a great how-to guide on your blog? Share it on social. Just released a great episode of your podcast? You guessed it — share it on social. The more often your audience can find helpful and informative content on your platforms, the more likely they will turn into engaged followers. And not only will you gain numbers, but you’ll also be able to create objectives to help you measure success. For example, you can track how your social content contributes to business conversions like purchases, registrations and appointments.

Setting a Social Media Content Strategy in 7 Steps

While there isn’t one cookie-cutter social media strategy that will guarantee success, there are specific steps you can follow to create a plan that helps your brand and business grow.

1.     Choose the channels that are right for your organization.

First, it’s important to consider which social media platforms are right for you and your audience. It could be unnecessary — and too time-consuming — for you to be on every single channel. Use analytics on your various platforms to see where you get the most engagement from your audience and stick to the high performers.

You can also do a little digging to uncover more about your audience members. Publishing a reader survey, for example, can confirm your audience’s likes and dislikes, what they want to know more about and their awareness of your brand on various channels.

With some research, you can determine which platforms your audience uses the most, then reach them where they are.

2.     Set a posting schedule.

It’s no good for your team or your audience if you’re posting sporadically. Set a posting schedule that is both realistic for your team’s bandwidth and appropriate for each social media channel (e.g., no more than once or twice per day on Instagram, no more than three to five times per day on Twitter). Social media scheduling tools offer guidance on the ideal posting frequency for each channel and can help you stay on track.

3.     Follow accounts and topics that are relevant to your business and your audience.

The word “social” is in social media, so you can’t act as a lone wolf. Choose trustworthy sources to follow that can complement your content and add legitimacy to your account. Consider following:

  • News sources related to your industry
  • Clients and/or customers
  • Thought leaders in your industry
  • Industry trade groups or advocacy groups
  • Your competitors (for research)

4.     Create a social media content calendar.

Now that you’ve determined your posting schedule, organize your posts in a content calendar. A calendar can help you catalog ahead of time all the holidays, observances, events and themes that you know you’ll want to post about. You should also leave room for timely posts and late-breaking ideas, so be sure to update your calendar throughout the year.

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5.     Define your social media content mix.

Try to include a variety of content types in your posts, such as video, polls, articles, images and infographics. It’s also a good idea to share other people’s content — after all, your audience will be more engaged if you’re engaged with them!

6.     Socialize your content strategy within your organization.

Again, social media works best as a team rather than when you act as a lone wolf. Communicate your plans to key stakeholders who can provide content for your social channels so they know how best to contribute.

You should also socialize your posts across your organization and make it easy for people to share your content on their own channels for increased reach.

7.     Set up a tracking system to measure your progress.

It might feel like your job is done when the posts are created and published—but that’s not quite the case. It’s important to measure social metrics (e.g., likes/reactions, shares, comments, reach) to keep tabs on how your content is performing, so you can continue to share what your audience is interested in or make necessary tweaks. And be sure that you have a system for measuring how your social content is impacting your business goals so you’re not mining this data for it to sit on someone’s desk somewhere.

One great way to measure impact is by using tracking, such as UTM codes, to differentiate the traffic your social posts drive to your website or other key digital pages.

Want to Get More From Social Media?

Your social channels are a wealth of information on what your audience wants. Learn to leverage this data to optimize your print programs in our on-demand webinar, How to Grow Engagement with a Digital-to-Print Strategy. Fill out the form below to watch now.

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