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We all know how important it is for professionals and business owners to show up on social media in this digital age. The pandemic has also shifted our customers attention online more. Thus, showcasing our leadership expertise and products via regular knowledge sharing online is the best way to capture attention. Developing a consistent, informative, relevant and valuable contents, highlighting the benefits of your brand are key elements to getting followers and brand advocates.
However, solo and small business owners who use social media platforms for their marketing and branding will attest to the challenges of having to produce regular social media postings. It gets harder and much more disciplined to post daily and multiple times not only on one platform but over several different ones. In order not to end up in a nail-biting situation and cracking a last-minute post blindly, having a structured content plan will be helpful.
What is a content plan?
A content plan consists of regular themes or types of information that we intend to roll out on our social media platforms. The plan gives a clear idea for content curators to plan the copy and the complementary images, videos, graphic designs, and infographics that aim to either educate, enlighten, engage or inspire.
As a digital marketing agency offering social media management solutions for solopreneurs and micro small business owners, we develop a system of content development and planning for about two to four weeks in advance for our clients. However, depending on the intensity of postings, we may need up to 3 months of advance content planning. Advance content planning is a proven strategy that helps us have an overview of how our content marketing posts will be over a period of time. It also helps us to manage our process more effectively and efficiently.
Tips to getting you started
If you are starting out on your social media marketing, here are several content planning tips to help you get started.
1. Set marketing goals
An effective content plan must have a marketing goal. Decide on whether your business aim is to achieve:
Increased brand visibility
Establishing your leadership and thought expertise
Reaching a new market or client
When you know what your objective and who your target audience are, you will find it easier to create copy that matches these attributes. Having decided on the goal, identify which stage of the marketing funnel you are creating the content for. This will determine the types of content for appropriate platforms.
2. Conduct research
The fundamental function of social media marketing is to provide information that will help solve your clients’ problems. Ask yourself the kind of information your clients may need, how they consume their content and also the style of content that will attract them. One good practice is to scroll through Facebook to see what people are asking or discussing and sharing. Look at Pinterest and Instagram for trending posts or Quora on the list of questions people seek answers for.
3. Determine content types
There are various types of content to meet your target audience’s needs. This can include company’s information and history, why your products and services are the best in the market, your thoughts and views on a certain topic, tips and tricks, quotes of the day, sharing a story etc. If need be, plan advertisements to push your product and services promo as well as fun posts to attract readership. Besides text copy, consider other content elements such as video, podcast, presentations, and infographics to grasp the information better.
4. Draft copy and develop graphic designs
After determining the types of content that are suitable for your various platforms, start drafting on a word document first before transferring them into your calendar. While some posts do not need additional graphics, having them does help in the aesthetics. Use free software such as Canva and Crello, where they have many templates for you to choose from.
* Repurpose content –While you can craft one topic for all platforms, repurpose them in different ways. For example, if you are posting on the importance of eating healthy, a text with an image of a salad dish may work better. The Instagram post can be a poster design of 3 healthy food snacks. For LinkedIn, you may need to give a little more research based info about the trends of eating healthy.
* Plan and schedule posts – Decide on the frequency of your social media posts. While Twitter and Instagram require more frequent postings, it may not be so for Facebook and LinkedIn. Observe your engagement patterns and test by posting during different times. Take advantage of hashtags in your posts as well to increase more exposure especially to those who are following them. I would say between two to seven hashtags are good for each post.
For scheduling, you can consider some using a free app called Hootsuite to post your social media content for Facebook and Instagram. Alternatively, you can also do it on your own manually on both platforms. The best part about scheduling early is that it saves you time and lets you focus on other aspects of the business.
A content plan aims to help you plan better. Remember, it does not have to be cast in stone and adjustments can be made depending on your goals and needs of your target audience. Don’t lose the chance of giving your brand a boost with consistent posting and if you need help with this task, consider a digital marketing agency that can help you plan, push and manage your social media posts.