Nearly 20 years after Mark Zuckerberg brought the world Facebook, most businesses and companies recognize the value of a consistent presence on social media. Even if you understand some of social media’s value to your business, if you plan and create your own social media content, you may struggle with consistency. You know it takes repeated time and effort to grow your following, but you just haven’t hit the sweet spot for planning and posting.
Start by having a solid content strategy in place. You don’t even need to have accounts before you plan what you want your social media to accomplish. Do you want to use it to educate your audience? Do you want to solicit feedback on your promotions with your social? Do you want to use your social to sell products or services? Know what you want from it before you start.
Also, remember that social media isn’t going to accomplish something like “grow my market share,” as that’s a business function influenced by multiple factors. No one marketing tool or tactic can accomplish that alone—particularly through time. Before you start, you also want to evaluate your competition.
Evaluate what seems to work for your competitors. Not to copy them, but it provides scope and context for your industry. Improve your social media profiles, which may mean adding a photo, such as your logo, so your soon-to-be-followers have something to put with your name. Don’t be coy and clever in your profile unless your brand and company is coy and clever. Know your audience. (Always the rule in marketing efforts!) Know where they are on social and when they’re on it.
Knowing when your audience is the most active on each platform can help you increase engagement by sharing your content at the right time. Once you have accounts, your chosen platforms can provide insights into who’s following you and your company.
Once you’ve laid the foundation, or adjusted it after you realized you needed a plan, follow these tips for planning your social media content in advance:
Tip #1: Use a Calendar
To start, you’ll want to use a calendar for planning. You have multiple options from which to choose but know that it doesn’t matter if it is a digital toolkit, a spreadsheet, or an old-fashioned calendar on the wall. Know your comfort area and remember you’re aiming for consistency. Having the ability to see your social media plan in action is important and gives you the opportunity to ensure you don’t skip days (or weeks).
Tip #2: Purposefully Choose Categories for Posts
Coming up with interesting and engaging content is much easier if you’re working through a handful of categories. For example, decide on set numbers for posts that are information about your company, specific products, events, and more.
Having your posts broken down into categories makes it much easier to write the copy and come up with any associated links or photos for the post. Or, you can break it down by user-generated content, case studies, live streams or videos, or influencer contributions if you have them. Also, decide which category makes the most sense for your goals and company and use the other categories for variation. Don’t plan to do all the things on all the channels.
Tip #3: Anticipate Your Audience—and Its Needs
You know your industry better than anyone else and you should understand your audience members’ pain points and the reasons they follow you. Plan social media posts that address your audience members’ concerns. Answer common questions, such as issues affecting your industry (supply chain and inflation, anyone?), discuss specific seasonal needs, or provide information that might make your audience members’ jobs easier. Being attentive to the industry and your audience positions your company as an industry expert and builds trust with your audience, potentially creating more sales.
Tip #4: Give Them Something Worth Sharing
Part of anticipating what your audience needs is so you can provide your audience with interesting and relevant content. This is especially true in a B2B environment where you might not want to promote a specific product or service with every social media post.
Look for links across the web with industry articles, business advice, and other related pieces of content (see tip above). Giving your audience members something to share with their audience provides them a reason to continue to follow your page and spreads the word about topics that pertain to their needs.
Tip #5: Embrace video
There’s a guideline to help with the distribution of content that advises social posters to switch up every fourth post. For example, for every three static posts, you should offer the fourth as a video, or some other format such as Facebook Live.
Interactive media is an effective way to connect with social media followers in a B2B niche and provides a snapshot of humanity that you don’t always achieve with just text posts or still graphics. It doesn’t need to be complex, but it should work to get the attention of your audience and re-connect their brains to your brand, company or business.
Why Planning Social Media is Critical
Planning your content is an important part of any social media strategy. Why? Staying organized is key to remaining consistent and seeing success. It’s also tougher to make missteps with posts or content if you’ve done the hard thinking ahead of time.
Social media should be…social and not drudgery. Follow these steps and you can be on your way to more engaging content and consistent interaction with your followers.
Frequently Asked Questions
A consistent presence on social media helps businesses reach and engage with their target audience, build brand awareness, and establish credibility in the digital space.
Start by having a solid content strategy in place. Define your goals for using social media, understand your audience and competition, and then use a calendar or planning tool to schedule your posts in advance.
Look for what seems to work for your competitors in terms of content, engagement, and overall strategy. This provides scope and context for your industry and helps you identify opportunities to differentiate your brand.
Enhance your social media profiles by adding a relevant photo, such as your logo, to provide visual recognition for your brand. Ensure your profile reflects your brand identity and resonates with your target audience.
Understand when your target audience is most active on each platform. Use the insights provided by your chosen social media platforms to identify peak engagement times and schedule your content accordingly.
Planning your content in advance helps you stay organized, maintain consistency, and avoid missing posting days or weeks. It also allows you to strategically align your content with your goals and ensure quality and relevance.
Categorize your posts based on different themes or topics related to your business. This makes it easier to generate ideas and write engaging copy. Additionally, consider using user-generated content, case studies, live streams, videos, or influencer contributions for added variation.