You want to start creating content on social media but you feel overwhelmed by the prospect. Where do you begin? What tools do you need? How can you make sure your efforts are successful? This book is both an introduction and a help guide for new and existing social media marketers who want to learn how to create great content.
Today, people are bombarded with an overload of information from social media accounts. This can make it hard to filter through content and figure out what is truthful and what isn’t. However, there are content creators who have mastered the art of creating engaging posts that foster conversations between others on their page.
How do you create a social media content strategy?
When you create content for social media that is successful, popular content, you are able to drastically increase your brand reach. Creating and promoting content that people appreciate will attract likes and shares. In order to do so, you’ll first need a social media content strategy.
To begin creating a strategy, you’ll need to know who your audinece is and what they’re looking for on social media. You’ll want to create relevant content that resonates with them. By doing keyword research through a platform like BrightEdge, you can find the keywords to use throughout your social platforms. Before you begin posting, you’ll want to create an intent model and content calendar to plan your posts for the future. Once you’ve tested your content strategy, you can repeat these steps and alter the content to test other topics your audience may be more interested in.
When people promote your content for you, that piece and your brand will then appear on the newsfeeds of all their connections. Great content will help you bring in more followers and will introduce your brand to more people. As your community grows, you will then have an even bigger stage for conversing with prospects and learning about what they want to see from your organization.
Listen on Social Media
On social media, there’s a lot of noise. Brands can get trapped into talking about irrelevant topics and decide only to stick to what they know best—their products.
To venture beyond the constant selling, you must be willing to do things differently. Rather than blasting out the same post every day at the same time, you’ll want to actually listen to your customers.
Jump down the social media rabbit hole to learn more about your followers. Gather information on what they like and dislike about your brand and discover their interests. This is the art of social listening.
To organize your search, you’ll probably want to invest in a tool like Sprout Social. You can monitor specific keywords, identify relevant hashtags, and engage with your brand advocates.
Reports indicate that 71% of consumers who have had a good social media service experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to others. So take what you learn and apply it your customer service interactions.
Moreover, user-generated content is helpful for providing your audience with social proof. Reach out to customers raving about your brand and ask them if you can use their content in your next campaign.
Spy on Your Competitors’ Content
In the world of business, there’s a wise piece of advice for newcomers: don’t reinvent the wheel. Too many times, teams spend their precious resources building something from scratch, instead of revamping a mold that already exists.
Some of the best content research is available for free and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to locate. So, where is it?
It’s your competitor’s social media content. Both of you are attracting and engaging similar audiences, so use their content as a barometer on what may or may not resonate on your channel.
“You can also learn from your competitor’s mistakes—the Facebook posts that flop versus the posts people love, for instance—and hone your strategy to accommodate what appeals to your audience. With competitive intelligence in your marketing arsenal, you’re prepared to amp up your presence and increase traffic back to your website,” writes Sarah Bauer, content director at Navigator Multimedia Inc.
Observe which content types get the most customer engagement. Look for questions asked by followers and never get answered. The goal is to find your competitor’s blind spot and fill the consumer’s need on your social media account.
Of course, spying on the competition won’t give you everything you need. But it’s an effective process to get the content machine moving in the right direction.
Research Past Social Engagement
People are creatures of habit. We take comfort in doing things the same old way. When people recognize something familiar, we move towards it.
This principle holds true for ramping up your social media engagement. Analyzing past trends can offer insight on what customers may enjoy in the future.
Too often, we skip the data available to us. Analytics dashboards make it easier than ever to review social behavior.
For instance, below is a summary of Twitter analytics. It shows the top tweet, top media tweet, top mention, and top follower. You can find similar data on your brand’s account.
Once you gather this data, what’s next? Use it as a guide to craft content with related topics or themes.
It also may spark ideas to repurpose existing content. Share that funny meme on Facebook to your Twitter followers. Ask an influencer in your field to repost your top Instagram post.
Social media is always evolving. So don’t focus on trends from three or five years ago. The past year is good enough to understand what your customers like.
Data is useful for predicting future behavior. Learn how to leverage it to satisfy your customers.
Identify Popular Blog Posts
When it comes to selecting the right content, teams can get antsy. Rather than creating a focused strategy, they start posting any and everything online.
As a result, your social media account looks like paint thrown onto a wall. A few of posts work well, but most of your content misses the mark. Then, you scramble to try again and get the same outcome.
This time around, begin with what you know. And that’s your popular blog posts!
You’ve already done the hard work, and you know customers benefit from the content. Now, it’s up to you to share it with the rest of your followers.
If your website is connected to Google Analytics, you can locate your most popular posts in a few seconds. First, login to your account. On the left column, click Behavior, Site Content, and then All Pages. For primary dimension, click Page Title.
Be sure to adapt each post to your desired social channel. You may have to tweak images, headlines, or even create a cool Twitter thread.
Do what’s already working. Start with your greatest hits—your most popular blog posts.
Ask Customers Directly
As small business owners, it’s easy to get stuck in your own head. Your team is pondering day and night to figure out what content will intrigue your fans.
However, it’s important to realize that you don’t possess all the answers. And to reach a solution, sometimes the best option is to ask your customers directly.
That’s right! If you want to know the types of content that really excite customers, get their feedback.
“Can direct outreach really be beneficial in getting feedback from customers? Absolutely. Understanding your customers is often as easy as talking to them directly. This direct outreach can also help fill in the gaps that less personal forms of feedback tend to create,” states Gregory Ciotti, a writer, marketing strategist and alum of Help Scout.
Depending on your company’s resources, you have a few ways to collect customers’ feedback. You can try sending an email requesting responses to a few questions, connecting with them on social media via direct message, or if you really have time, pick up the phone and call customers.
Inquire about their interests and what problems are plaguing them at the moment. That way, you can post social media content that fits their needs.
Types of Social Media Content to Create
Written posts, blogs, articles, guides, and more
Advantages: These articles demonstrate your company’s knowledge and expertise, which can help build your credibility and reputation.
Disadvantages: There is a lot of blog content out there, so competition is thick—and you need a lot of creativity to create new topic ideas. Writing also takes a lot of time to generate content ideas, especially if you’re explaining complicated concepts.
How to produce: To help you think of compelling content, look at trending searches. This will give you insight into the questions people want answers to, which can spark ideas about what to write about.
Best platforms: LinkedIn and Facebook are perfect for these types of content, especially when it comes to articles that are 1,500 words or longer. You can post the whole piece, a short snippet, or a link to the piece. Twitter is also a great bet, but the limited character count means you can only include a link and small quote, which still can drive traffic to your website.
Pro Tip: Embrace the content calendar. Your content calendar is a framework for the ongoing story you want to tell about your business and what content to share. When you take a holistic view of your social media or email marketing output, you can turn ideas and broad strategies into an actionable plan that can be tweaked as you learn more about what works best.
Use our content marketing editorial calendar to visualize when and how you connect with your audience. The calendar displays your scheduled and completed marketing emails, social posts, postcards, and digital ads. You can filter your calendar to display your marketing for a specific audience or all audiences.
Electronic books (eBooks)
Advantages: An eBook tends to be longer and more detailed than blog posts, which helps showcase your industry expertise. Far fewer businesses take the time to produce an eBook compared to blogs, too, so you avoid that heavy competition.
Disadvantages: Not everyone wants to read a whole eBook, and they take a lot of time to produce and find content that will appeal to your target audience. While they can help generate leads, people don’t always actually read them.
How to produce: An eBook is basically several blog posts compiled together as chapters from the same category. You’ll want to choose your best content or even hire a professional writer with experience writing eBooks.
Best platforms: Users come to LinkedIn to connect with colleagues and learn relevant information about their job or other interests, which makes it an ideal network to share an eBook. Facebook and Twitter are secondary options.
Links to external content
Advantages: If you don’t have time to finish a blog post or your writer is on vacation, you can always link to relevant articles, resources, and websites from other sources that you trust. Industry leaders are also excellent resources for content.
Disadvantages: When you link to content that you haven’t created, you’re effectively opening a door to another business’s social media experience. Readers may even find the other source more informative than your page. Content curation is a good digital marketing strategy to use on social networks, but it also can be time consuming. It is important to check your social analytics to be sure that curated content is engaging and effective, and not to stop your own content creation process.
How to create: Research different blogs using keywords similar to those on your website. (Keywords are words or phrases commonly searched on the internet.) Make sure to read every post and click around on the website, too. This will ensure you don’t share an article on social media accounts from a site that could negatively represent your brand’s views.
Best platforms: LinkedIn and Facebook are great marketing tools for any type of written content, even if it’s just links to the content. Twitter is a secondary option.
It is becoming more and more vital for social media users to develop a clear understanding of how content creation on the various forms of social media differ, and the content creation application available online can be used for this purpose. A social media content creator works well with the process of creating a piece of digital media.