Building a Social Media Strategy: Why You Need a Content Plan
We have all witnessed our share of social media disasters. In a previous blog post, we explained how having a social media policy in place for your business helps prevent negative representation online. However, even if you’ve ensured the rules and guidelines around employee social media use are being followed, there will always be some level of risk.
People make mistakes: spelling and grammar errors; misleading information; inconsistent messaging.
These areas can be avoided if you put in the time and effort that is required of managing your brand’s social voice.
At Bright Blue Wave, we strongly believe that in order to ensure you are implementing the most effective social media strategy possible, you need a content plan.
What’s A Content Plan?
A content plan is exactly what it sounds like – a plan for how to build your content. Your content plan is a structured document that details what you say, when you say it and what channel you say it in. It fits in with your overall marketing strategy, and should be aligned to your company’s objectives and growth tactics.
From there, you can begin to map out all of your social channels, listing exactly what content will be provided and when it will be published online. Your content plan should act as an agenda for your social media strategy; highlighting special events, conferences, holidays or dates designated for spreading awareness. It allows you to determine when to use specific Twitter hashtags, comments for LinkedIn groups, Facebook shares, and the list goes on.
Think of it as your social media story – it helps you develop a strategic theme and ensures you’re capturing all of the points necessary for successful representation of your brand online.
Why A Content Plan?
Implementing a social media content plan into your communications strategy offers a number of key benefits.
1. It forces you to plan.
We’ve previously discussed how small businesses can use social media to turn holidays into dollar signs. St. Patrick’s Day is fast approaching – have you decided how you’re going to take advantage of it to promote your brand?
As a default, a content plan makes you think about upcoming seasonal priorities, industry events, company milestones and so on. By planning ahead, you can develop content that resonates with your followers and fans; no more spur-of-the-moment shares or tweets that disappear into a newsfeed without making any impact.
2. It maintains direction of communications.
Remember, your content plan is an output of your social media marketing strategy. If your number one goal is to bring new customers to your storefront, then you don’t want to be focusing all of your social content on who won last night’s hockey game. Laying out a content plan gives you another perspective on your social approach. It lets you view your social media strategy as a whole, rather than as individual status updates.
3. It ensures you’re answering to client/customer/audience demands.
What day of the week brings the best engagement from your followers and fans? Better yet, what time of day? Do they respond most to written content, images or video? What character count gets the most shares on Facebook? What types of tweets are most likely to be retweeted? These are the types of questions you need to be answering in your content plan. If you want to see results of your social media marketing efforts, you must be thinking advantageously and adapting your strategy to suit audience demands – after all, your customers are the reason you’re online in the first place.