Effective Content Planning for Your Social Media

by | Content Marketing, Social Media

Effective Content Planning for Your Social Media

The content you post on your various social media platforms shouldn’t be a random event. Without careful planning, your content may be a waste of time and energy. Yet random posting happens all the time.

If you aren’t sure what photos to use on Instagram or what message to send out in your TikTok videos, it can be challenging to create regular content. That’s why effective content planning includes building a strategy you can use throughout the year.

How To Create an Effective Content Planning Strategy

Step 1: Identify Your Goals

Building an effective content schedule involves defining your goals first. What do you hope to accomplish with your social media posts? Common goals include:

  • Increase brand awareness
  • Sales or lead generation
  • Community engagement
  • Grow an audience
  • Increase web traffic

Before you say “all of the above,” think carefully about what would benefit you most right now. If you are brand new to a social media platform, your top goal may be to grow an audience. If you have a large following, being more concise in driving sales may be your top priority.

As you dig deeper into where your energy should be, you can start discovering what your target market wants. Being too broad can leave your viewers confused. Narrowing down your approach creates an on-target brand and allows people to engage more with every post you create.

Step 2: Study What Content Works in Your Industry

If you haven’t taken the time to become familiar with your competition, spend some time browsing through their social media content. This can provide clues as to how their prospects, clients, and fans engage with them. Jot down notes as you search: What do you like? Are there ideas you can use for your company? What other ideas come to you as you search?

You can also find other brands outside your industry to use as a model. Sometimes your best ideas come from other brands you love.

The internet is filled with ideas. After researching, create a topic list of different post ideas you could easily put together for your own company. As you brainstorm, don’t think. Just write. You can always prioritize ideas later.

If you’ve been using a social media platform in the past, you can refer back to the analytics for previous posts. Most analytics programs will measure things like views, engagement, and performance. What have your viewers preferred in the past? You can use this to give them more of what they already like.

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Step 3: What Do You Want to Say?

When some brands sit down and build a content strategy, they discover their past posting history isn’t on target and isn’t getting them what they want. Once you’ve established better goals, you can use that to refine the posts you create in the future.

Previously, you might have posted all kinds of messages, depending on what happened during the day. Once you refine your strategy, you might discover your goal is growing an audience. Your new goal will help you develop content that leads more people to like your content, follow your account, and possibly sign up for your lead generation content.

The further you dig, the more succinct you can get with your messaging. Keep in mind why consumers unfollow brands:

  • Irrelevant content
  • Too much advertising
  • Too many promotional posts
  • Talk of politics or social issues
  • Lack of follow-through on engagement
  • Poor customer service

Do you see yourself in any of these?

Step 4: Brainstorm Content Ideas

A successful content marketing strategy includes both original and curated content. You don’t have to spend all of your time on content creation. When done right, you should be able to accomplish an entire week’s worth of content in a short timeframe.

This is where content themes can help you develop quickly. Monday motivation, Tuesday tips, Wednesday wisdom, and other broad themes can help you narrow down the focus of how you post. It should be relevant to your audience and relate to your overall goal.

Start by developing a succinct structure for how you post each week. If you can manage one post a day, start there. On weeks you have more time, you can get more creative with the information you share. The key is to ensure you stick with a plan. Then test to see what your audience likes.

The more involved you get with this process, the more ideas will start to bloom. You can try out new things, analyzing what works.

Step 5: Develop a Posting Calendar

As you start to learn what works, you can take a big picture approach for giving your audience more of what they love.

There are many content management tools on the market today that give you calendar layouts to see how your content will show. But you don’t need a sophisticated tool—even a paper calendar can help you monitor your content schedule.

In addition, don’t be afraid to repurpose content across various platforms. Just be sure to use it in a way that makes sense for each social media account. Instagram is visual. X (formerly Twitter) is snippets of text.

If you have a large organization, you can create a content calendar based on different departmental needs. A plumber on the job can provide photos or videos of recent projects. The sales team can answer frequently asked questions from the customer base. Collaborating can create a more well-rounded strategy and make it easier on your entire team.

Step 6: Distribute and Promote Your Content

A social media strategy reaches beyond content planning and posting to channels. A successful social media strategy involves actively distributing the content to maximize your exposure.

This means working all of your channels together. If you actively blog, share buttons can encourage distribution. If you create thought-provoking content, it can encourage your audience to engage.

Individual platforms have their own rules of engagement. X, TikTok, and Instagram allow your content to go farther when you include relevant hashtags. On LinkedIn or Facebook, joining groups can help you reach larger groups.

Step 7: Measure Your Results

The last step to any content marketing strategy is to ensure you’re getting results for all of your efforts. Tracking is vital to ensure you’re getting the most for your marketing dollars.

There are a variety of tools that can help you track and analyze your data. You’re looking for:

  • Impressions—how many times people see your content
  • Engagement—reactions, comments, clicks, and shares
  • ROI—conversions and referrals

The more you understand your metrics, the more you’ll understand what works and what doesn’t. And where you should put your efforts the following month.

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