In 2023 the difference between high-performing content and content that flip-flops can often be traced back to poor planning. Being well-prepared is especially important for content marketing, which accounts for 70% of all social media marketing. By sharing my process with you, you can see how I help my clients achieve flourishing content and businesses through strategic content planning. Discover them here ⤵
So, you've got a small, local or independent business and you are now looking to introduce it on Social Media in the hope of gaining awareness, enquiries, sales and the rest! That's amazing that you have recognised the importance of having social media for your business - it shows that you know what is important, what you must do to grow your business and most importantly, that you have a vision.
'Getting out there' virtually on social media can be daunting, time-consuming and like being dropped in the middle of the desert trying to find the shade...extremely challenging. This can almost put most people off having social media or using it correctly because this takes up valuable time where it may be needed elsewhere.
Well, fear not, I have four top tips to help you redefine the way you manage your content planning so it doesn't feel like a 'chore' but more fun, essential business task.
Let's dive right in, shell we?
Setting Your Goals
Setting social media S.M.A.R.T goals and aligning these with your business goals aka, your KPIs (key performance indicators).
When I say "know what you want", I also mean you need to ask yourself:
"What would you like your profiles to look like? Find/make a note of a profile you like the look & feel of then use this as a visual guide."
What message do you want your profile to send to your audience?
How do you want to convey that message?
How much time can you dedicate each week to your social media?
Write or type out the answers so that you can use this as a guide to keeping your social media identity and business message, consistent.
A second part of knowing what you want out of your socials is knowing what kind of results you are aiming/hoping for such as enquiries, direct sales (if you are a product / have an online shop), interest, brand awareness, ticket sales, website traffic etc.
This will help you shape your social media so that it is consistent with not only what you want out of it, but also what form of output you would like from it too whether it's revenue or general brand awareness.
Why is planning important?
Never underestimate the power of planning ahead the same way you would if you were planning a work project or task. It's one of the best pieces of advice I could give you because so many of my clients who I train say that they post content on a whim or 'for the sake of posting' which can be damaging to your social media productivity and messaging.
Tips for setting time aside to plan your content
You may be surprised by this but I always advise my clients to plan their content 1-2 weeks ahead and preferably not during your work day unless your day job is a marketing role or like me, you create posts for a living. I believe that creating and writing content requires some 'mental space' to allow the creativity to flow in; otherwise, your mind is preoccupied with non-marketing-related things like invoicing, admin, and stock for example, which would really impact the 'what shall I post about' mindset.
Here are some tips for content planning:
Allow 1-4 hours per week for content planning (depending on how many platforms you manage for your business).
Plan it before you go to bed or an evening - I suggest Sunday evenings because you've had some rest and getting your mind ready for the new working week - plus you can start the week knowing your socials are all planned.
Create 3-6 content themes (aka topics) that are relatable, valuable, and engaging for your audience as well as consistently demonstrate what you do and how you do it.
Be consistent with how much you post, when and what days: if you can only post every other day, that's absolutely but keep it up and you can always increase the amount you post as you get busies or have more to say as long as you are consistent.
Use a tool like Asana, Business Suite, or a note app to map out and even draft your content ready for drafting or copy/pasting content. You can use Meta’s business suite for scheduling ahead of time and drafting on the go!
The main part of this tip is to plan your content at a time when your head is most clear and you have some mental space to come up with some interesting things to post about for the week or two ahead. Aaaaah, that's better, right?
Creating A Catalogue of Content
Now, this is a BIGGY. I know many people feel their content has to be flashy, crisp or stock images, but actually, times have changed in the world of social media. There’s a rise in authentic "behind the scenes" content performing the best versus content that doesn’t represent reality.
If you need to use stock images (though I don’t advise this), I would say use a stock image every third post - otherwise, your audience will find it hard to relate or connect with you, your business or your brand and that's what social media marketing is for businesses: creating trust between you and your virtual audience.
How do you keep it authentic?
Take photos of absolutely EVERYTHING business or brand related each day. Whether it's your cup of coffee with your logo on or a photo of your laptop, people want to know what is really going on behind the scenes including who you are, what you do and how you do it. Even if you aren't using that particular photo on the day, you can store it in a business 'photo album' ready for when you conduct your content planning.
See, it's all coming together now, and quite nicely!
Gone are the days when we just 'post' what we are thinking at that moment in time; now social media is making us work harder but it's all for the greater good.
When you get your social media persona and portray it correctly, the rewards can be great. You see and hear people enjoying your content, sending you messages, and asking for more information about your service/product - and it's all for free!
So yes, there is work involved if you manage your socials yourself, but it doesn't have to be a chore. If it's one thing I aim to do (besides taking the social media weight off business owners' shoulders) it's to inject some fun and light into social marketing - I love seeing business owners enjoy showcasing what they do creatively.
Happy content planning, Islanders!
Content Design: https://www.canva.com/
Finding Hashtags: http://best-hashtags.com/
Content Ideas & Keyword Search: https://neilpatel.com/ubersuggest/
Content Inspiration: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/
Meta Business Suite: mobile and desktop app https://business.facebook.com/
Asana for content planning/brainstorming: www.asana.com
InShot: mobile app for on-the-go image/video editing
Unsplash: royalty-free stock images (be sure to credit photographers if you use their content) www.unsplash.com