For entrepreneurs, small businesses, nonprofits and even growing mid- to large-scale companies, social media can be a daunting undertaking if you don’t know how to develop a strategy and plan social media content. By now, most all companies have an idea about their place on social media, but executing is a totally different ballpark. Between static images, videos and “going live,” knowing how often, when to post and what to include in your content can be overwhelming.
Don't just start posting; have a plan!
We recommend planning ahead by at least one month. In some cases, you may need to plan in two-week increments or two months at a time. Using a social media content schedule will help you stay one step ahead of the game on all of you social channels. This means writing content, taking photos or creating graphics, shooting videos, setting up sponsored posts and planning what dates and times certain posts should be published. Planning ahead not only allows you to cover all your bases during the month, but also helps you deliver content to your audiences at appropriate times and when analytics show they want to see content from you. Even for in-the-moment posts or live videos, putting those on the calendar to block off time will help you stick to your social media plan. There is still great value in off-the-cuff and unplanned posts to capture authenticity.
In addition to planning and scheduling out content, strategizing about the type of content and when best to post certain types of content should be considered. For example, you may find that posts about new arrivals to your children's boutique perform better in the evenings when parents are home and have tucked the kids in bed. Or, a featured coffee beverage post may do well very early as people are planning how to start their day. Studying social media and web analytics will aid in understanding what types of content do well at certain times. Once you launch your planned social media calendar, spend at least two to three months looking at what works best. You won’t know from a week’s worth of content! Look at trends over a longer period and even on holidays or sales seasons to determine your best approach.
Bring social into real life with engaging in-store and online strategies.
We know that social media gives us the “perfect” look at people’s lives and only scratches the surface of what life is really like. In the same way, business social media accounts tend to promote the best of what your company has to offer. And rightly so. But using social media as a tool to give people a deeper insight into what your company is all about and showcase the resources available to help make purchasing decisions is a home run strategy. For example, demonstrate on social media how helpful your employees can be when a customer comes in to shop. Using content that highlights your team’s “we can help!” approach to customer service in static and video posts will encourage loyalty.
One of my favorite online features is a real video demo of a product on the order page. When I’m shopping for shoes online, being able to see a real person walk around in that shoe is a huge benefit. If you’re doing something similar, point it out on social. That shows what you are doing to assist customers in making the best purchasing decision. If you are a business with local storefronts but also provide online ordering with shipping or delivery, add a mix of content that highlights the benefits of shopping in-store and online as well. Customers may see that they can get expert help in-store but can have their order delivered there after.
Photos and videos are key, so go live and save some time!
As mentioned previously, go ahead and plan out time to do live videos, especially for special events or big announcements. Some live videos may feature a quick product or service overview and some may require a more planned out, scripted approach. Focus each month on services or products that are relevant to that month or sales season.
According to Buffer’s State of Social Media 2019 report, 36.7% of businesses reported posting videos monthly, with 24% indicating they post video content weekly. Video – recorded and live – will continue to be a major factor in social media. If you write blog content for your website regularly, consider channeling a topic into a live video and save time by talking to your customers on social rather than spending an hour or more writing a lengthy post! It will be more engaging and may earn more views. It will also help you build a more personal connection to customers by showing who you and your employees are and will display your expertise. Recording ahead of time and posting at an appropriate time can be a great strategy and timesaver as well. Things like bigger announcements or more complicated explanations may need to be recorded and edited ahead of time to ensure your customers hear what you need them to know.
The key is to develop a content schedule that blends a perfect mix of business, culture, resources and sales-driving strategies into one seamless plan that reaches all of your audiences on the right platforms at the right time. If you can navigate a comprehensive and planned out monthly social strategy, your customers will notice and you’ll see your reach and engagement start to soar.