It’s a known fact that social media plays a crucial role in any marketing strategy. Today, it’s safe to say that an overwhelming number of marketers consider using social media to build a following and understand that social media is a strategic must-have. The challenge they all must deal with is how to plan your social media content.
Social media can be a tough row to hoe as the rules, target audiences, value propositions, and opportunities differ greatly from one channel to another. The one thing that can help you overcome the fear of failure on social media is creating a channel plan for social media marketing ahead of time.
Planning your social media content in advance is well worth it. It allows you to direct your actions and figure out whether you’re doing well or failing. The more concise your plan is, the more successful your execution will be.
Here is why creating a winning social media plan is the best way to go:
- It helps you keep a consistent schedule and maximize engagement.
- You can easily create time-sensitive content in advance.
- Having a content marketing calendar for social media allows you to get back to the updates you published and analyze your posting frequency and rhythm.
- You’ll break out of your social marketing silos and make a whole team become involved in the process.
In this article, you will discover six effective ways to plan your social media content ahead of time.
1.Examine Your Current Social Presence
Before building a stable social media strategy, take a quick look at what you’ve already done and achieved. When conducting your social media audit make sure to figure out the following things:
- Which social channels are adding you the most value?
- Who is connecting with you on social media?
- Are your social profiles optimized?
- What’s working well and what’s not?
- How do your social profiles compare with those of your competitors?
Once you get all this information in one place, it will give you a clear picture of what goals your social accounts serve. In case the goal isn’t clear, you have time to reflect on it.
I really love the saying from one of my clients, Michele S.Mirman at Mirman, Markovits & Landau, P.C.: “First, know yourself, your team, your brand, and your target audience. Then, start innovating. This is the best way to keep your strategy on track and focused.”
While auditing, you can discover some impostor accounts that use the names of your products or your business name. That сan hurt your social presence and the brand itself, ensure to report them. To build trust and credibility among your fans and followers, you should verify your accounts on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks.
2. Do competitor analysis for social content
Competitive analysis helps you better understand what your competitors are doing well, what topics and content formats they are covering, and which ones they are covering not comprehensively. By knowing this, you can easily figure out what’s expected in your niche and reveal content gaps.
Tracking your competitors can give you great opportunities. For instance, some of your main rivals are too active on Facebook but don’t put a lot of effort into Instagram or Twitter. So, you can take advantage of these social channels where your target audience is neglected, instead of trying to pull fans away from this competitor.
Social listening is a great way to keep track of your competitors. To these ends, you can use Mention for monitoring competitors and social listening. By tracking specific competitor accounts and relevant industry keywords, you can identify a certain post that really does the trick or identify any changes in the way these channels are used. Ensure to keep a check on this information and use it to measure your goals and plans.
3. Create Your Social Media Content Calendar
Creating and sharing great content is crucial, but it’s also important to have a plan in hand and know when you will share this content to get the most impact. This calendar should include the dates and times at which you are going to publish your content on each social media channel. It is a great place to plan any kind of social media activity, ranging from video and images to blog posts and case studies.
The calendar helps you space out your content appropriately, break down for each week or month which topics need to be in the highlight, figure out which content formats and social networks you will use to distribute your content and publish at the optimal times.
The most important thing about it is to ensure that your calendar meets and supports your business goals. Developing different types of content in your calendar allows you to maintain the ratio that you have planned. For example, this might look like:
- 45% of social media content informs, entertains your audience and drives traffic to your blog
- 30% of social media content directly promotes your brand or services and turns visitors into paying customers.
- 15% of social media content shares stories and content marketing ideas from influencers in your niche.
- 10% of social media content includes posts about your brand, your team, and your activities.
Once you have your calendar set, you will have a clear understanding of social media activities in advance and identify any content gaps in your calendar. You can establish the right format, language and tone of your social media content types rather than creating them on the fly. Don’t try to make your content calendar complicated. The main idea of it is to make things easier for you and your team. Keep it simple and comprehensible.
To build a social media calendar, you can do this by using a spreadsheet or social media management tools to prepare and schedule your social messaging ahead of time. Anyway, both ways can be effective because it helps you save your time, make your social media creation process more collaborative and keep a constant stream of social media updates across different channels at the right time.
4. Find Inspiration From Others
If you want to make your brand stand out from the crowd, you need to find some inspiration from other businesses, brands or campaigns on social media. The best way to do that is to find any successful social network stories on Facebook or Instagram. They usually provide a lot of valuable insights that you can use for your social networks.
Another way is to find out some high-profile campaigns, accounts or Facebook Awards winners for brands that are on top of your social media game. Moreover, if you have some favorite brands that you follow, you can check out what they do to engage with people on social media. Notice that staying consistent is essential for your fans and followers to better understand what to expect from your brand.
You’d be surprised but you can get inspired by your followers. Monitor what your target customers are talking about online and learn more about their needs and wants. Moreover, you can ask your existing followers through Facebook live chat app what they want and expect from you. To do that, you can easily integrate Tidio with Facebook Messenger and deliver what they ask for.
5. Plan ahead of events, audience trends and launches
If you are aiming for some events or launches for the forthcoming year, make sure to plan them ahead of time and add them to your social media calendar. Figure out the most trending topics and current events that can present timely distribution opportunities. For example, you can consider holidays, conferences, annual events, new product releases, and major cultural events.
Anything that you think can be a great fit for your social media calendar. You can also take into consideration audience trends and consumer preferences. For instance, live video streaming consumption, popular memes, consumer behavior in chatbots, and many more. Try to capitalize on these controversies or algorithm changes where you can reconsider their value to your brand. Doing so, ensure to develop the content strategy for these events and moments.
6. Test, Analyze and Optimize Your Strategy
As the saying runs, you can’t get success with what you don’t evaluate and using easy-to-understand analytics tools is the first step in your successful social media marketing strategy. The earlier you understand what works on your social media channels, the more insights you will get to go forward and make changes where necessary.
It seems basic, but tracking results, analyzing your data and adjusting your strategy is crucial. Even if you can’t get it right on the first try, don’t stop and keep tracking. Let the data drive you.
Make sure to define the KPIs that you rely on to measure your social campaigns. Don’t go into the analytics tools if you don’t know what you want to measure – that’s a total waste of time!
If you know what to measure, you can use advanced web analytics tools like Finteza to get data on user behavior and provide insight into your content marketing conversion funnels. The tool will start collecting and showing data right away from social media. You can clearly see how well your traffic sources convert, how your social media users interact with your content and ads, and where they come from and which devices they use.
To get more accurate results, you can use UTM parameters to monitor your social visitors and figure out which social posts drive the most traffic to your website.
Surveys and quizzes are also a great way to see whether your strategy works or doesn’t. Use Survey Anyplace to ask your customers, email list subscribers, and website visitors what they would like to get more from your brand, and whether you’re satisfying their wants and needs.
Tracking these data, you can easily see whether you’re getting results from your effort and re-evaluate your strategy. It’s constant work that you should do on a regular basis.
Useful Tools For Organizing a Social Media Content Plan
Having a great plan in hand, the next step is to coordinate and automate your social content marketing. Here are some free and paid tools that help you get your messages out there efficiently:
- SE Ranking SEO Software – All-in-one tool, great for scheduling social media posts in advance, controlling all SEO activities from the same platform, sharing it with new team members and using smart reporting tools.
- Google spreadsheets – Simple-to-use way to organize and track social media content.
- CoSchedule – Powerful way to view your social content plan daily, weekly, and monthly.
- Buzzsumo – Useful for identifying influencers based on your topic and connecting with them to amplify your content.
Hopefully, the tips and tools mentioned in this post will help you build a social media plan that works well for your brand and get the job done. Make sure that social marketing success doesn’t happen overnight. But defining long-term objectives are effective and well worth the time. Now you have everything to come up with the right strategy for your business.
Get more insight on how to effectively create and plan your social media content, check out this great infographic from ClearlyPR.