Are you always posting social media content at the last minute without knowing why you’re posting it in the first place?
This article will guide nimble business owners (and marketers) through nine steps to consistently post relevant and engaging content for your audience. You will also understand the different types of video and photo content you can publish on social media and the best places to publish them.
In a 2020 B2B research survey commissioned by CMI, 95% of the marketers surveyed said the top content type they use is social media. And the research also shows that a documented strategy is often a key indicator of content marketing success.
Think of this article as a checklist (or a minimal viable strategy) to document your social media strategy so you can support your business goals.
Armed with this knowledge, you will know how to start increasing your brand awareness, leads, and sales.
In the words of marketing master Seth Godin, “Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell.”
Let’s dive in, okay?
1. What are your business goals?
There are two types of goals:
Let’s focus on nonquantifiable goals first.
It’s easy to compare your social media content to other people’s:
- How come they have more followers than I do?
- How can I get as many likes as they have?
- Why do they always generate more comments than I do?
It’s easy to get lost in the comparison game
But it’s not worth it. I know. I’ve been there, and it stinks.
Comparing your stats to someone else’s stats won’t propel your business forward, so you need to change how you think about social media. You don’t know what other resources people have, you don’t know what their goals are, etc.
What changed my framework was when someone asked me, “Why do you care about comparing your metrics to someone else’s metrics?”
I replied, “Because everyone else cares about it; that’s what you’re supposed to do, right?”
Then one day I asked myself: Why do I want to be on Instagram?
I’m on Instagram to build trust with potential clients
Building trust is an example of a nonquantifiable goal. Instagram allows me to showcase my work and portfolio for clients so they can feel comfortable about using my company’s services.
As a small-business owner, you wear many hats.
And with so many social media platforms to choose from, the question is, which platform will help you move toward your goals? Pick one and stick with it for at least one year.
2. What are you measuring (and why)?
Now that you’ve answered why you’re on social media, we can talk about quantifiable goals.
Quantifiable goals are easy to track because they’re number based.
- Increase sales by X
- Increase web traffic by X
- Increase followers by X
- Increase conversion rate to X
There are many stats to choose from—don’t get overwhelmed by them.
The CMI 2020 research survey indicates that 83% of B2B marketers surveyed track social media metrics to measure their content performance, including shares, followers, views, and likes.
You need to focus on the few stats that are meaningful and helpful to growing your business.
Begin by picking one or two stats. See how those stats affect your business over six months to one year.
Here’s an example
If you pick followers as a measure, and your goal is to generate more sales, will more followers generate more business? You won’t know until you try.
Most likely, you’ll experience one of three results:
- Increased followers and increased business (make no content changes)
If you attract more followers, that’s a strong signal that you’re posting interesting and engaging content. As you increase your followers, you increase the odds of generating leads, and eventually sales.
- No increase in followers but increase in business (make no content changes)
If you discover that you are not attracting more followers over time, I would suggest that the content is not resonating with your audience, thereby diminishing your odds of generating new leads.
- No increase in followers and no increase in business (make content changes and/or measure differently)
If the last result occurs, then change what you’re posting (or keep posting the same type of content and measure differently). Don’t try to outsmart an algorithm just to increase a metric; focus on what matters most to your business.
3. What makes your business unique?
Any business needs to know what makes it different and unique from other businesses. This same concept applies to social media as well.
Here are some questions to help shape your social media postings.
Who are you?
- Are you an introvert? An extrovert?
- Are you happy being the face of the company?
- Or, would you rather work in the background?
- Do you need (or want) the personal notoriety?
- Are you serious? Do you like to joke around? A little bit of both?
- Do you want to highlight your hobbies? Your volunteer activities?
- Are you comfortable using your iPhone to create content?
As a company, what do you want to highlight?
- Do you want to showcase how nimble you are?
- Do you want to show off the size of your team?
- Do you want to highlight your location? Does it even matter?
- What is your company’s culture? Serious? Relaxed and casual?
- Is your company socially conscious? Can you show how you give back to the community?
- Do you partner with other nonprofits?
Don’t worry, there is no right answer. People have successful businesses using different approaches. If you don’t feel natural and authentic posting a type of content, then don’t do it.
Post what feels authentic to you and your business. Your customers will know if you’re authentic or not.
“When we create something, we think, ‘Will our customers thank us for this?’”
— Ann Handley
4. What resources do you have available?
You’ve established your business goals and the metrics you’ll use to measure those goals. Now, it’s time to be honest with yourself about the resources you have to commit to social media.
It comes down to three choices related to time, money, and people:
- How much time can you (and/or your team) dedicate to creating and posting content?
- If time is tight, can you afford to hire someone or outsource the work?
- If you can hire someone, what will they do: create content, post content, or both?
No matter which road you take, the most critical factor in all this is consistency.
Come up with a plan and be consistent about it.
5. What are the more popular content types?
Since there are many types of social media content to choose from, pick one or two types that fit your personality and resources best.
- Case studies
- Landing pages
- Email campaigns
- User-generated content
Even though you might not be skilled in a category, you can still create content in that category by matching the resources you have available.
6. Where does your content live?
The answer is simple: your content lives where the audience lives. In a perfect world, you would want to be on every one of the social media outlets.
But since that isn’t realistic …
Based on your resources, pick one or two outlets where you think your audience will discover your content. In other words, you don’t want to post your content on an outlet if your audience isn’t on that outlet.
- Your website
- Other websites (news sites, etc.)
7. How do you create your content?
Like everything else in the social media realm, you’ll run into a lot of options when it comes to creating content for your brand.
Here are six common ways to get your content out into the world.
- Do it yourself
- Seek out user-generated content (content freely created by fans)
- Hire an influencer (paid content from influencer)
- Hire a freelancer
- Hire a production company
- Hire an employee
It’s easy to get confused about what types of social media content to post. And it’s just as easy to post social media content at the last minute without thinking about why you’re doing it.
Use this checklist to review and document why you’re posting your social media content in the first place.
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