Social media is a gold-mine for any business at the moment. This is especially true for businesses that cater specifically to young people. Social media is the best place to find a gathering of young people, and the nature of engagements found there makes it easy to sell goods or render any sort of service. Little wonder every business is leveraging social media to improve engagements and turnover.
Social media comes with its unique challenges. Firstly, there is the problem of navigation. A lot of people do not know how to navigate the various platforms that exist. Although the multiple platforms are easily navigable, there are subtle differences that exist between them. To make optimal use of each space, one has to learn the ins of that social media platform. That can be tasking, especially for business owners who already have to grapple with keeping their businesses afloat.
Also, there is the problem of the congestion of the social media space. Due to the unregulated nature of social media, everything goes. While this can work to one’s advantage — lack of censorship allows you to advertise anything — it, however, makes the space congested. It takes a great deal of effort for one to be recognized and heard above the ‘noise’ going on in the social media space. A lot of businesses make use of social media. Sometimes, you may find even businesses similar to yours. Hence, not only do you have to stand out from the general congestion of social media, but you also have to make your brand distinct from the competition.
Finally, there is the issue of the lack of content. A lot of marketers do not know how to fashion out content to promote their brand. This arises either because of a dearth of innovative ideas, or a lack of intuitiveness concerning current trends. This last problem is vital because once the content is fixed, every other thing falls in place. No matter how engaging or dedicated a marketer is, if there isn’t good content being put out on social media, there will be little engagements. It is this problem that this article seeks to solve.
Here are the best practices for planning your social media content:
1. Know your audience
This is the first step in planning your social media content. The plan should be to tailor your content to suit your specific audience. For that to be possible, you need to know for whom the content is. When you don’t know your audience, you cannot give them what they need. If that is the case, you will be wasting your time and effort.
To learn about your audience, you need to go back to the drawing board. Who is your target audience? Are they teenagers, divorced moms, etc.? Then you need to turn your attention to your current customers. Find out why they have stayed with you the entire time. Also, find out the common thread between them.
2. Choose the platform that works for you
As stated earlier, there are a lot of social media platforms out there. However, it is not an effective strategy to focus attention on all of them. You have to find out the one which particularly works for you and stick to that. Before you settle on any, you have to research their demographics. Consider who makes up the bulk of their subscribers and if they match your target audience.
3. Make use of a Social Media Calendar
In planning your social media content, a social media calendar does you a world of good. Calendars make it easy for you to know what to post and when to post. Planning makes sure your schedule is uncluttered, and thus you’ll have spare time to focus on other things. It will also help you monitor everyone on your team. You can track deadlines and follow the work put in by everyone. Having a social media calendar is a strategic way to put out regular and engaging content.
4. Pay attention to engagements
You should continuously strive to keep your audience engaged with your content. Thus, in planning your social media content, you have to factor in strategies to increase engagement. One smart way to do this is to ask questions. Whatever platform that you make use of, whether Facebook or Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn, questions always improve engagements. You have to be thoughtful about the questions you ask. They have to relate to your brand. You can ask themed questions too. If you have a specific day that you ask the questions, your audience may even begin to anticipate them.
Also, you can share behind the scenes content with your audience. This works very well with Instagram. Letting your followers into your inner circle is an excellent way to drive up engagements. It is also crucial that you make use of visual content because those are more engaging.
5. Factor in the competition
In planning your social media content, you have to know what the competition is doing. Of course, the idea is not for you to copy or imitate them; it is, instead, to give you a sense of what your competition is doing. It will help you better strategize and plan your content.
For instance, if your competitors have more engagement than you, you may want to consider why that is the case, and make adjustments accordingly.
In checking out the competition, you also have to consider what is being said about you. You can contact influencers and other stakeholders in the industry. Ask them for an unbiased assessment of your brand and recommendations on how you can improve. Knowing what is said about you, will reveal areas of weaknesses and strengths, and thus position you to do better. You should also know what is going on in the industry, generally. Keep tabs on current trends and new developments. Make sure that if there is anything new happening within your space, you are aware. Also, strive to keep your audience up to date. They should know and trust that if there is any development, they can count on you to educate them.
6. Cultivate a brand image
You should have a social media tone that your audience can get familiar with. Do you want to have a formal or playful tone? Do you intend to make use of a lot of images or text? Etc.
People always assess you by how you appear online, the things you say and your engagements. It is vital that whatever image you project is deliberate. Cultivating your brand can be as simple as being intentional about the choices of words and phrases with which you make posts.
7. Stay consistent
Consistency is non-negotiable while planning your social media content. Your audience should know what to expect from you and when. You should strive to be consistent in your brand image and your values. As explained above, there should be a level of predictability with your brand image. People will be more inclined to engage with any business that they can relate with, and which solves their needs.
Furthermore, your brand values should remain unchanged. If you are committed to providing a certain standard of goods or services, stick to it. Do not make compromises even when you profit from such. Your audience can always tell when you depart from established brand values. Try to be as consistent as possible.
Finally, staying consistent will entail replying to every comment on your post. This is an effective strategy that is often overlooked. When you do not respond to comments, you give the appearance of being lazy. You also send the signal that you are not interested in what the person has to say. Your response can be as simple as a ‘Thank you,’ but that may suffice.
You have to understand that it will not be a smooth ride. You will experience bumps, and the results may come in trickles instead of in a rush. A commitment to seeing the process through and determination are the key elements you need to be successful. In applying these principles, you should aim to build trust with your audience, and that does not come easily. It will take time before people begin to trust you, so you have to be consistent before that happens.