Fundamentals of a Successful Social Media Content Plan (and How to Follow Through)
August 30, 2021
Social media offers businesses endless opportunities to increase brand awareness, establish thought leadership, expand authority, and initiate two-way conversations with customers. But despite the benefits, many small businesses struggle with social media content creation.
In today’s marketing landscape content creation goes well beyond simply sharing posts on social media. Successful social media strategies involve planning, developing, curating, and sharing messages that add value to your customer’s journey.
Considering all the options available, it’s not surprising that many small businesses often fail to see the value of investing time in creating content for social media. Many times this is due to a lack of clarity on what content creation is really about and how to leverage curated content to flesh out your posting schedule.
If you’re looking for help creating, curating, and sharing content that produces measurable results, you’re in the right place.
In this blog, we’re talking all things content creation for social media. We will explain how to make a plan for content creation, what it means to curate content, different types of social media content and ideas to make your content engaging and interactive for your audience.
Make a Social Media Content Plan
1. Decide Who Will Manage Your Social Media Content
In all endeavors, planning is the key to success. It’s so easy to rush into something that seems easy on the outside only to realize that the details are more complicated than you think.
We’ve talked with several business and nonprofit leaders who are exhausted and frustrated trying to “keep up” with social media. Nine times out of ten, they were posting without a plan.
Your social media content plan should be scaled to suit your needs. Before creating a plan, it’s best to determine who will be responsible for executing and monitoring the plan. You don’t want to spend time creating a plan that is bigger than your resources can sustain.
Who will you task with creating content, posting, and monitoring your social media strategy? Maybe you have a team you can look to for help.
Maybe you will be doing this all yourself. Or perhaps you are thinking of outsourcing the work to a virtual assistant, social media content manager, or digital marketing agency.
Social media content creation is literally a full-time job. People build entire careers on this specific aspect of marketing. So before you begin, realize that you probably aren’t going to have the capacity to “do it all” and plan to scale your social media strategy accordingly.
It’s crucial that the social media content manager has the capacity not only to follow through on creating and posting content but also has time to follow up and proactively interact with customers to promote engagement.
If you skip this part of the process, your content may fall flat. That would be a huge disappointment and waste of valuable time that we want to help you avoid at all costs.
Whichever direction you decide to go, know who will handle the details so that you scale your plan to that person or team’s capacity.
2. Review Your Customer Personas
Now that you know who will manage the details of your social media content plan, it’s time to brainstorm content ideas. The first step is to review your marketing personas and consider what pain points or questions they may have that your brand could address with valuable content.
For example, if you sell home organization services, your personas may be working moms, empty nesters, or young professionals. Each of these will have varying questions and pain points relative to the services you provide.
What kinds of content would these personas find useful and valuable in their day-to-day lives? Make a list of questions, pain points, and content ideas, then match that info to each persona.
Next, think about where your personas spend their time online. In the example above, Instagram and Facebook seem to be the best places to share content. But if your target audience is B2B customers, LinkedIn or Twitter may be a better place to invest your time.
It’s also helpful to interview your actual customers and find out which social media platforms they use. This information will help you be more targeted when you select which social media channels to use.
Now that you know who will manage your social media, which social channels your ideal customers are using regularly, and what pain points and questions are, you are ready to start creating content!
Develop Social Media Content
As you develop social media content, your personas are your best friends. Keep these customer avatars in mind as you plan and create content that they want to see.
Map Content to the Buyer’s Journey
If you have time, it’s especially beneficial to map your content ideas to the different stages of your sales funnel.
For example, what kind of content should you produce to attract leads to the top of the funnel versus what type of content answers questions customers at the middle of the funnel want to know.
A good rule of thumb is that pain point content is often attractional and should be geared toward the top of the sales funnel. Question content typically gets more traction at the middle of the funnel as customers are comparing and contrasting their buying options. Successful content at the bottom of the funnel could include a special discount or a free trial.
Don’t Forget the CTA
Mapping the content to the stages of the funnel will also inform the call to action (CTA) you choose for each piece of content. Cement this social media content creation best practice into your process: EVERY piece of content you write always includes a CTA. And that CTA doesn’t always need to be “schedule a call” or “buy now.”
A CTA at the top of the funnel could be “like, follow, or subscribe.” At the middle of the funnel, the CTA could be a free side-by-side comparison of your products and services against the competition. Save “buy now” type CTAs for the bottom of the funnel.
Incorporate a Variety of Social Media Content
People respond best to variety. Different forms of content yield different results. For example, a Facebook content strategy requires a different approach than a content strategy for Instagram or Pinterest.
Successful social media content involves variety. As Ash Read at Buffer explains, “People are more interested in videos that relate to their interests and passions or teach them something new.” You can’t just stick to features. Focus on benefits and your customers will respond.
We’re not saying that you have to create videos, podcasts, webinars, TikToks, Reels, SlideShares, Image Quotes, Polls, and more. That volume would overwhelm most small business marketers. But we are saying that you shouldn’t post the same kind of content over and over again. Otherwise, you’re just adding to the noise.
One easy way to create a variety of creative social media posts is to repurpose marketing content. Start with one long-form, in-depth piece of content and break it down into a variety of parts that can be shared across social media platforms. Another idea is using social media themes on different days of the week to keep the conversations going.
If you need help with this, we handle social media marketing for many of our clients and would be happy to answer any questions you may have about how to repurpose social media content across platforms.
Curate Content to Share on Social Media
Content curation is the process of gathering and sharing content from other reliable sources that will add value to your customers’ journey.
This is obviously different from creating content because you’re essentially resharing content from another source. And while curating content may seem easier than creating content from scratch, it still requires its own process in your overall social media content strategy.
Curated content is informational, educational, and entertaining—much like created content. Don’t waste your audience’s time with filler posts that are irrelevant to their day-to-day lives.
Again, this is a good time to check in with your current customers.
Which social media thought leaders are they following that segue with your products and services? What other authoritative voices exist within the scope of your business that don’t compete with but instead complement your content? Those are the kinds of things you want to curate and share.
As you curate content, be sure to keep proper social media etiquette in mind. Don’t ever share someone else’s content as if it were your own. Always attribute and link back to the original source. Tagging the source and linking to their profiles is a nice way to say thanks to the person whose content you’re sharing.
Leverage Social Media Tools to Make Your Life Easier
Finally, here are some of the best social media content creation tools to speed up the process and get back more of your time. These online resources will help you easily create all types of social media posts and inspire engaging post ideas that will help you get noticed.
Graphic Design Tools
Free Stock Photography Sites
Social Media Scheduling and Automation Tools
- CoSchedule (be sure to check out their free headline analyzer!)
- Tailwind (good for Pinterest and Instagram)
- Scoop.it (this is a content curation tool!)
Other Social Media Content Creation Tips
Use artificial intelligence (AI) to generate content for you. There are free and paid options to consider. Here is a list of popular AI copywriting services.
Audiogram lets you create social media posts out of podcast clips. This is very interactive and a great way to add variety to your social media content lineup.
If you’re venturing into TikTok, you may find a third-party video maker helpful, depending on the kinds of videos you’re planning to create.
Podcasting is taking the world by storm. This may be a heavy lift for beginning social media content creators, but podcasting and vlogging on YouTube pack a powerful punch and might be the perfect fit for your target audience.
We Can Help With Social Media Management and Content Creation!
If this post has your head spinning, don’t fret! We can help you customize a social media strategy and content creation plan that fits your schedule and budget. We manage social media accounts for a variety of clients and would be glad to share examples of the work we’ve done to help other businesses grow using social media.