Your Essential Guide To Social Media Content Pillars
The Importance of content pillars and content themes to keep your social marketing consistent, informative, valuable and on-brand...
The term ‘social media content pillars’ can be heard far and wide across the seven seas of marketing, but if you’ve never really dived deep into content strategy you might be left feeling all at sea. When it comes to your social marketing, content strategy is the pearl in the oyster of your communications. It comprises planning, developing and managing content that can be published across lots of media formats; video, photo, artwork, infographics...the list goes on!
It also refers to covering key topics of your business that you’re trying to communicate to your audience, which we refer to as content ‘pillars’ or ‘themes’. Having a plan as to what these are is integral to your overall strategy as it not only helps your own social media planning, but it also helps your audience’s clarity and comprehension of your content.
Let's take a look at content pillars in more details, including:
So, shall we untangle this knot of social media seaweed together?
What are social media content pillars, and what platforms can they be used on?
In a coconut-shell, social media content pillars are themes that you’ll base your content around. They relate to your business and what you’d like to communicate to your audience through your content...and the best part? There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to content pillars! They are bespoke to every business, so it’s up to you to define and use them as you wish.
Shell-rific advice: whilst your content pillars can really be anything, it’s important that they are
Relevant for your business
Relatable for your ideal audience
In keeping with your brand
For example, one of my content pillars is ‘About Me/Behind The Scenes’ and sometimes surrounds ocean & sea creature conservation and awareness - it’s not the main theme of my social content marketing, but it does periodically feature because it’s ‘on-brand’, it’s something I’m personally passionate about, and my ideal clients will love it too!
The content pillars you choose can be used for all social platforms; LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook...but it’s key to note that you should repurpose rather than reuse your content. What I mean by this is that if you were going swimming in the local pool, you’d need a slightly different kit than if you were going snorkelling in the coral reefs. Each social platform has slightly different preferences, nuances and needs, so avoid re-sharing your content directly from one to another. It can look really obvious, kinda’ lazy and sometimes even unprofessional. So if you’re re-purposing something from Instagram to LinkedIn, for example, rewrite the post in a more platform-appropriate format that is accessible for your connections on there.
How do social media content pillars work with your content marketing?
Content pillars on social media are essentially a framework for you to build your content around. We’ve all been there, reaching for a life-ring amongst the confusion of knowing what on earth to post next. Your pillars will ensure that everything you create and publish is in line with your business’ goals, mission and vision.
Shell-rific advice: adopt the ‘Post With A Purpose’ mantra. Every time you plan a post, be clear on what you want to achieve with it. This could be anything from gaining more followers to attracting bio link clicks, or just connecting with your audience.
A great way to think about your social media content pillars is to imagine them like two parts of an oyster shell, harvesting a pearl which represents your business at the core!
Why do you need content pillars in your social marketing strategy?
There are a number of reasons it’s important to anchor down your content pillars for your social marketing strategy…
Improves the consistency of your content
Strengthens and reduces the overwhelm in your content planning
Acts as prompts for other content ideas
More efficient content planning
Increases audience familiarisation - they know what to expect from you, and that’s psychologically comforting!
Enhances your likelihood of gaining new followers, leads and even sales
Phew! I need to sit down under a shady palm tree after all that…
When you look at the bigger picture (you know, the wider ocean…), having content pillars is definitely advantageous over not having them as social marketing aids! Let’s now have a look at what a set of content pillars can look like.
What does a set of content pillars look like?
Just like shells, content pillars come in all shapes, sizes and forms. There’s no right or wrong way to lay them out, as long as they’re aligned with your mission and what you’re hoping to achieve from your content marketing. I’ve included an example below of my own Aloha Social content pillars for reference, created in Canva - consider this your wave to ride!
From the diagram above, you can see that I have 6 content pillars. This isn’t a golden number, it’s just what I feel is perfect for me and my brand. I have enough content ‘prompts’ with this that align with my business’ mission, vision and goals, so if I’m stuck on what to post about this will always give me a nudge.
How often should you review or change your content pillars?
Like the coastline, your business adapts and changes over time. This is completely normal and natural; it’s how we grow! This means your social media content pillars will change every now and again, too. I coordinate my own and my clients’ social media strategy in line with business quarters; Q1, Q2, Q3 and Q4. Every quarter, I review content pillars along with hashtag sets, mission statements, S.M.A.R.T goals and client personas once per quarter!
Admit it, you’re a little relieved I didn’t recommend this on a weekly or monthly basis aren’t you?
Land ahoy, we’ve reached the end of our voyage through the world of content pillars and strategy. Hopefully this subject has been demystified and you’re feeling more confident to put some pillars in place for yourself. Think of them as your buoyancy aid - if you’re ever in deep water with no idea what to post, just return always to your content pillars.
If you’re in need of some guided support with your content pillars and strategy, you can check out my Wave Power coaching package. It’s designed to help you swim with ease through your content marketing, with your head very much above water. Embark here!