For those that are new to the entrepreneurial scene, your social media content strategy is going to be one of your first steps towards building your brand.
Keep in mind that this is not the first thing that you should do. You won’t be able to clearly define your social media content and strategy until you have figured out your ideal client, set up your website, and decided on an overall aesthetic for your business.
It’s no secret that social media is a necessity. If Wendy’s knows that they need a lively Twitter account to sell their burgers, then it goes without saying that any new business also needs to formulate social media into their marketing.
The thing that most people get stuck on is where to begin their social media journey. There are so many platforms, and the ones you decide on are imperative to your business. And that’s because there are actually better social media platforms to use depending on your industry.
For example, if you’re an author and decide to use Facebook over Twitter, that could really hurt your career. Twitter is a gold mine for aspiring writers because it’s a great place to connect with readers, fellow writers, and even industry professionals.
And that brings up the question: How many social media platforms should I be on?
I’ve talked about this before, but in my opinion, 3 is more than enough. And you should make one of your social media accounts your main priority.
So how do you choose? And once you do, what do you post? And how can you grow your social media audience?
Social Media Content Strategy For Beginners
I know that social media can seem intimidating. And I know there is a ton of conflicting information out there so it’s hard to know who to trust.
I have been consistently researching social media strategies for a decade now. And let me tell you— if you’re not actively keeping up with the algorithm changes and what content is “in” this year, you run the risk of falling behind. And that makes it difficult for your social accounts and your brand to grow.
Just three years ago, posting every day was a must for your social media content strategy. Today? Not so much. Video ten years ago was not nearly as popular as it is today. And don’t even get me started on hashtags!
Should you use them? Should you not use them? How many should you use?
I’ll try to answer as many of these questions as possible in these next 5 steps.
5. Narrow Down Your Social Presence
You can’t and shouldn’t be on every platform. You’ll spread yourself too thin, and you won’t be able to learn how each platform works in its entirety. And that means you won’t know how to grow.
So, choose 1-3 platforms to be active on. Pick one as your main hub. If you’re a B2B company or you’re looking for investors, LinkedIn should be your focus. If you’re looking to be an influencer in your industry, then you need to make YouTube or Instagram your priority.
According to Search Engine Journal, The 7 Biggest Social Media Sites in 2020 are:
So I recommend creating handles for 3 of these. Once you narrow down where you want to be, it’s time to research those platforms to see how they work.
Here are some things you should know:
Instagram: Rewards users who use video content like IGTV and Instagram Stories. Hashtags are very important and you should use 10-30 per post. You can start using less as your account grows but honestly, the more you use, the faster your account will grow.
Facebook: In recent years, the use of hashtags on Facebook has been diminished. However, as of June 2020, Facebook is encouraging its users to start using them again like you would on Instagram.
Facebook is also a little weird about links (external links to places like your blog, YouTube, etc), so try posting your links in the comments instead.
Pinterest: This is a search engine, just like Google. However, you can use it to “engage” by repining other users’ pins. Pinterest, like these social media platforms, rewards users who are active and social. Try Pinning ten times a day. You also need to use SEO keywords in your title, description, and on your Pinterest boards.
Pinterest is also great for increasing traffic to your blogs and YouTube videos.
4. Map Out Your Posting Schedule
Do you have your social media platforms picked out? Great!
Now, sign up for each one and make sure you’re using the same handle (i.e. @clairebahnbranding). This will make it easier for people to find you across different social outlets.
Once you’re signed up, it’s time to create your posting schedule. Your social media content strategy hinges on how consistent you are on each of these platforms. And I can tell you based on my own experiences and those of my clients, that lack of consistency can really take a toll on your personal brand.
I know you’re probably wondering, “How often should I post on social media?”
This depends on which platforms you’re on. As I said, it’s no longer vital to post daily on social media. Instead, you want to engage daily (more on that in a minute).
Posting daily may actually be hurting your social media accounts. Think about it: wouldn’t it be a bit annoying if your customers called you every single day? You want to show up for people, but showing up multiple times a day can be tiring.
And, honestly, your content can even become a little boring.
Obviously, this will be different depending on which platforms you’re using, but it’s something to keep in mind. And like it or not, your posting schedule should be different for each platform.
Pro Tip: Make your posting schedule realistic. Don’t commit to posting on each platform every day if it’s not something you can keep up with long-term.
Once you know your posting schedule, it’s time to learn about SEO keywords and hashtags.
I have an entire blog on SEO on social media that can help you understand how and why monthly hashtag research needs to be a part of your social media content strategy.
3. Create Branded Social Media Templates
Now that you know when and where you’re going to be on social media, it’s time to come up with content that will get your personal brand noticed.
Incorporating branded social media templates like this one will help your business in two ways:
1. It will make your brand recognizable.
At this point, you should have chosen your brand logo, fonts, and color scheme. These types of branded social media posts should incorporate your brand aesthetic, making it instantly clear that your business made this post (without your audience having to read the fine print).
2, It makes your content shareable
I use these type of posts to give tips or inspirational quotes. Because your social media presence is heavily reliant on how often your content is saved or shared, it’s important that you create content that resonates with your ideal client. When it does, they will feel inspired to share your tips or words of wisdom, thus exposing you to new audiences.
This is how content goes viral.
I create my branded social media templates using Canva. It’s extremely easy to use and it will really decrease the time you spend on curating your monthly social media content strategy.
Once your template is made, you just need to change the text for each new post. How often you use these templates in your posting schedule is up to you. Just to give you an example, I post this type of content every other day on my Instagram, but only once or twice a week on Facebook.
2. Automate Your Posts
Congratulations, you’re almost to the finish line!
If you’re at this step, your social media content strategy from here on out will be a breeze. Once you have your key social platforms picked out, your posting schedule in place, and your branded templates are made, all you have to do every month is create and automate your posts.
I only spend about half a day every month brainstorming, creating, and scheduling all of my social media content.
There’s been some debate as to whether or not automation for social media posts hinders your reach. As long as the app you’re using is approved by the social media platform, you’re good to go!
For example, Later.com is a Partner with Instagram, which means they have permission to use their API. The API, to put it simply, is access to Instagram’s algorithm. Later and all its users are allowed by Instagram to auto-post to their platform, meaning your posts will not be “punished” in any way!
Here are a few third-party apps that are approved by the major social media platforms:
- Later: Instagram and Facebook partner. You can also safely schedule your Pinterest pins since Later officially became a part of the Pinterest Marketing Partner Program.
- Hootsuite: This scheduling app has alliances with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Pinterest, and Google+. This means Hootsuite is a safe and reliable tool for you to schedule all of your social media content in one sitting.
- Creator Studio: This is the in-house social media scheduler for Facebook and Instagram. You can use this to automate your social media content on both platforms by day, week, or even for a full month.
1. Utilize The Majority of Your Time For Engagement
The number one question all new business owners have about social media is how to grow their following.
I get it— I used to ask the same questions.
First, it’s important to remember that your follower count is considered a vanity metric.
An account with 20,000 followers does not equate sales. Likewise, an account with 20K followers and 100 likes, no comments, and essentially no interaction is a huge red flag for brands and investors.
This makes it appear as though your business has purchased followers or used some other black hat marketing technique (follow-for-follow) just for the sake of looking important.
This will instantly label you as untrustworthy to your customers and to companies. This will hurt your sales, your credibility, and even opportunities such as speaking engagements.
How to Grow Your Brand on Social Media
Okay, now that we have that out of the way, there are still plenty of authentic ways you can build your following. Besides having a branded social media content strategy, you want to spend most of your time on social media engagement.
Social media was built to connect you to like-minded individuals. If you’re not taking the time to talk to your audience, why would they take the time to read your captions, watch your videos, read your blog, or buy your product or service?
And if you’re considering buying bots to do this engagement, just know that most people can spot a bot comment from a mile away. Again, you’re hurting your reputation. Just don’t do it.
What you need to be doing is set aside 15-30 minutes per day engaging with your followers, relevant hashtags, and other industry leaders. This will boost your following more than posting every day or having a piece of content go viral.
Not only that, but by consistently engaging with your ideal client, you’re creating a community of people who will like, know, and trust you. This strategy usually guarantees that your audience will reciprocate the engagement by watching your IG Stories, comments on your posts, and liking your content.
I’ve always said that it’s better to have 200 real fans than 20,000 non-fans. 200 engaged followers are more likely to boost your sales (and your brand) than 20,000 fakes followers.
If you’ve come this far, then your social media content strategy from now on will be a seamless process. With these standard steps in place, you’ll be able to spend just a few hours a month creating and scheduling your brand’s social content.