More than 1.7 billion people use Facebook daily. Throw in Instagram, TikTok, and a couple others, and you see that social media’s audience is nearly all encompassing.
It makes sense that marketers have to be on those platforms in order to take advantage of that massive audience. But what are the key qualities of a social media content strategy?
Whether you’re a huge brand looking to keep yourself at the top, or a smaller company looking to move up, you need to make sure your content strategy is top notch.
With the right strategy, you can dominate on social media and avoid losing money on inefficient marketing. How do you know if your strategy is stellar? Here are the tell-tale signs:
You know your audience
The very first factor that can differentiate a great social media marketing strategy from a mediocre one is how well you know your audience. Audience is key for any marketing endeavor. You can’t possibly be selling your products to anyone if you don’t know who they are and what they could want or need from you.
Ask yourself these questions:
Do I know basic demographic information about my audience?
Do I know the intentions behind the purchase?
Am I aware of specific purchasing patterns?
Do I know the reasons behind customer churn?
Do I know my audience’s adjacent interests?
Do I have a customer journey map?
Do I have detailed customer personas?
If you answered yes to all of these, you are already on your way. If you didn’t, a unified marketing platform like Socialbakers could help you answer these questions and create a marketing persona that will help deliver results.
Overall, to make sure you know everything about your customers there are two key steps: gather data and analyze it.
This may sound easy in theory, but it gets progressively more complicated as you start analyzing data. At the very least, you’ll need to learn all the basic information about your audience.
Social media platforms and Google Analytics can help cover that as you’ll be able to learn a lot about your audience, and advanced website analytics will show you the path that your customers make before the purchase. This will help understand what content converts better.
You know yourself
We’re living in a time of content overload and it’s hard to find something valuable and memorable. If you want to be sure your social media content marketing strategy is going to work, your brand needs to be something that the audience can remember and identify.
The basic elements of brand identity, like having a recognizable logo and brand colors, are important, but you also have to work on perfecting a brand voice. This is the most important thing for content marketing, on social media or elsewhere.
Is your brand fun and flirty, or more buttoned-up? Are memes the best way to communicate with your audience?
If you have a unique tone and style that you use consistently, it’s going to be much easier for you to be recognized.
You have clear, measurable goals
While creating outstanding content will help bring visitors to your brand, it’s the content strategy that turns those visitors into customers. If you start creating content without having a set of goals in mind, you’re setting yourself up for failure.
Without measurable goals, your content campaign is just a creative effort that has nothing to do with business. You’ll guide your content creation efforts with what feels right, not what’s good for growth.
So, if you know exactly what kinds of results you want to see when the campaign is over, your social media content strategy is probably going to be a success. If not, you’ll have to figure out your goals.
Most goals should be centered either around increasing sales or increasing brand awareness. Whatever path you want to go down, make sure that you don’t formulate your goals simply as “increasing sales”, but rather have clear sales targets stated at the beginning of a campaign (e.g. Open 10% more leads than previous campaign).
The best way to establish and monitor those campaign goals is with a marketing platform like Socialbakers, which allows you to easily manage your overall content strategy across multiple social media platforms.
You know the competition
No matter how good you are at creating social media content, you can’t start a content marketing campaign without researching what your competitors are doing.
This is a very important step in preparing a social media content marketing strategy because it lets you learn from the successes – or mistakes – of others. Look up your biggest rivals and perform a social media competitive analysis that provides insights on their content marketing strategy.
It may be impossible to judge some aspects of their content marketing strategy, but at the very least you’ll be able to understand the general direction they’re taking and see the top-rated posts.
That said, you need to know what your competition is doing but not blindly mimic their strategy. Take the best bits of it and make it even better when you set out to implement it.
You understand the platforms
Running content marketing campaigns on the biggest platforms like Facebook or Instagram is a no-brainer. However, to have a really successful content marketing strategy, you need to knowingly choose other social media platforms that you want to invest time and resources into.
First off, ask yourself, is your target demographic using that social media platform? Instagram is mainly populated with people under 35, and Snapchat is another great fit for teen audiences.
LinkedIn’s audience skews older and more professional while Pinterest is really strong with female audiences. And then there’s TikTok, which is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms and has many brands using successful strategies that you can learn from.
If you’re able to make a survey of your clients and find out what social media platforms are most popular with them, that’s the best case scenario.
You understand the workflow
Creating content for social media marketing is a creative endeavor. But it’s not as if you’re a creative genius who can take four years to create a masterpiece.
Working with content in social media means tight schedules, constant deadlines, and analyzing your mistakes to improve in the future.
Since making it big on social media means posting amazing content regularly, a great social media content strategy includes a planned workflow. There’s no magic formula for a content pipeline workflow, but any plan is better than just trying to make something decent to fit the deadline.
If you and your team know exactly what they need to do and when, you can be confident that you’ll deliver in your marketing strategy. If you’re just trying to wing it, it may be best to get back to the drawing board and create a procedure.
Jacob Grant, Head of Content at Ivory Research, recommends to start with creating an editorial calendar. Hold a meeting once a month where you discuss ideas that you can turn into content and plan out each post that you’re going to be creating the next month.
Then, you’ll need a checklist of all the things you need to do for a well-performing post. This may include fact checking, proofreading, passing the post on to another employee for editing or content curation, and scheduling the time where a post can perform best.
Luckily, platforms like Socialbakers make this process a breeze with easy team approvals, scheduling across multiple platforms, and even content inspiration for when your brain feels stuck.
You know how to combine content with sales
Posting content on your social media page without having an integration with the sales department makes you just a blogger, not a business. While creating content is mostly a creative job, you should not forget to incorporate that creativity into your sales process.
If you have a clear understanding of how your content marketing efforts on social media improve your sales funnel, it’s another sign that your content marketing strategy is solid.
What if you have no idea how to do that? The easiest step is to do great content pieces that introduce your new products or services. That’s a no-brainer if you own a fashion brand. You just create great photography that shows your products in the best light. If you own a company that doesn’t have a physical product, it may be harder, but not impossible.
Another good idea is to include CTAs into your content. Linking to your website is a good tactic as well. Facebook lets you do that on any post, while Instagram only gives you one link in the bio, so you should use it wisely.
A tactic that may not lead to direct sales but helps to guide people down the sales funnel is creating content specifically for leads who are close to a sale. Unlike content that is created to get more traffic, this content explains how to use your products better. This may be what a lead neads to become a customer.
You know the content distribution channels
No matter how great your content is, it’s safe to say that it won’t be noticed if you don’t put efforts into promoting it. Sure, there’s always a chance that your piece may go viral, but making something go viral isn’t an easy task. Having your social media account grow slowly but surely is a more reliable idea.
Do you know exactly how you’re going to expose your target audience to your amazing content? Great, this means you have a vision for your social media content strategy.
If you don’t, start with the basics. The most basic way you can expose people to your content is to pay for ads. Run a paid ad campaign that’s focused on bringing you traffic as opposed to leads. Make sure that you put your best pieces on paid promotion, this way you maximise the benefits you’re getting for the price.
Promoting content in collaboration with other content creators is also a good idea. Having your content reposted by an already established social media account can give you a sizable boost in followers.
These two strategies are great, but nothing beats word of mouth on social media. Come up with a user-generated content campaign, and your social media page may very well go viral after a good campaign.
Improvement is part of the plan
The most important thing in any strategy is being able to change it when you see it’s not working.
When you start implementing your strategy, it’s important that you measure every bit of performance and analyze it. Despite how hard you worked on creating a social media content strategy, if it’s not working as intended, you have to be willing to adjust as needed.
This point is a fair bit more complex and important than the rest on our list. It’s not a checkbox that you can tick off and be sure your strategy is stellar.
Making improvement a part of your plan takes constant dedication and constant work on your part. It also requires you to admit your mistakes and improve the plan that you thought was perfect.
But all that hard work comes with a benefit. Without mastering analytics and improvement, any social media marketing strategy is mediocre at best.
Content creation is far from the only thing you’ll need to succeed on social media. Understanding what is a social media content strategy, creating one that capitalizes on your strong sides, and improving it when you see it underperform are integral to being truly successful.
Follow this checklist to make sure your social media content strategy has all it takes to make your social media profiles catch up to or surpass the competition.
Don’t forget the biggest tip on the list and scrutinize your campaign’s performance, and always strive for perfection. This will make sure that you can achieve far more than with the rest of the tips combined.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on socialbakers.com. Any statistics or statements included in this article were current at the time of original publication.