Do you struggle to know what to post on your business social media? Creating an effective social media content plan that doesn’t take all day to create or require tons of time in content creation is one of the biggest challenges that we see when working with small businesses. That eternal headache of knowing what to post to create engagement, whilst not being too sales-y results in many business owners avoiding the tasks completely, or at least leaving it at the bottom of their to-do list.
But it doesn’t have to be like that!
In this blog, we will share our tried and trusted strategies for creating your social content for the whole year…and you’ll be glad to know that it won’t take forever to get a basic plan into place. So, block out an hour of your time and follow our steps to creating your year in social media.
Why Plan Your Content?
Like any good business, you’ll have plans of action in place that impact your goods, services, and processes and your social media is no different. Of course, it’s about good organisation, being consistent, and spending a little time now to save effort in the long run, but more than that, it also allows you to guarantee that you have something valuable to say every day. This is particularly relevant when something unexpected happens in your business (If the recent past has taught us something, it is that we need to prepare for the unexpected!) A comprehensive social media content plan means that anyone can continue your current posting plan with minimum fuss, should you be absent from the business, or even too busy elsewhere and need to delegate responsibility.
Know Your Audience
The more you know about your audience, the easier it is to communicate with them. Imagine walking up to a stranger and trying to strike up a conversation with them. You have no idea of their interests, personality, or the topics they would like to discuss. Consequently, the conversation may be stilted and short-lived. Now imagine that you know something about that person; their likes, dislikes, where they live, whether they have a family, their work, their interests, and the challenges they face, suddenly, a world of conversation has opened and you’re able to engage with them easily.
Your social media content is no different. It needs to be of interest and relevant to your target audience to engage them and to entice them back for future conversation.
It also needs to be varied. Imagine meeting that person and having knowledge of them but sticking to one topic of conversation. It won’t take long for them to get bored!
So, you know why you should create a plan and you know the “who” of your audience, let’s now move on to the steps you need to create your plan.
Creating Your Social Media Content Plan – Step 1.
The first step is to grab a calendar. A quick Google search will bring up many that you can print off, but you need one where you have space to write against each day.
Now, simply add in any seasonal days that you can create content around. At this stage, we are not worried about creating the content, just putting the “markers” in our calendar. You might wish to mark Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and any religious observances that are applicable.
Creating Your Social Media Content Plan – Step 2.
Now, you should input your events – anything that is happening for you and your business this year. It’s often easier at this stage to sub-divide a piece of paper into quarters and work on a 3-month view at a time. You’ll want to include the proposed launch of new products or services, workshops you have planned, Anniversaries (work and personal, maybe?), any promotions planned throughout the year – Black Friday, Small Business Saturday Cyber Monday, a summer, or January sale, for example.
You might also be planning to attend or exhibit at an industry event or host or participate in a webinar.
Once you have these noted in your quarter view, you can transpose them to your annual plan.
Creating Your Social Media Content Plan – Step 3.
Now our plan is starting to look less naked, let’s add in some national awareness days for good measure. You can access a whole year of content ideas at a number of websites. Our favourites are National Day Calendar and Days of The Year In addition, head to our blog and you’ll find a blog post for each month highlighting the awareness days you can use, as well as content ideas and GIFs and graphics that you can download and use for free!
You’ll find a day to mark everything you could think of, so find a few that work for your business, or even some that are fun. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box here and consider how you could create content around a specific day to suit your business. Select two or three per month and note them in your annual plan, along with the appropriate hashtags. It doesn’t matter if some of the days you choose are international – this is all in the spirit of fun, so don’t overthink it.
Creating Your Social Media Content Plan – Step 4.
Next, we’ll start to look at how you can create content around your business. To start, think of between three and five themes of interest to your target audience. You should, of course, include a theme or two related to your business, but also consider your audience’s wider interests. Example themes might be:
- House Renovation
- Outdoor Pursuits
Your business themes might be related to services or product areas, but it is important when plotting all your themes on your annual plan that you prioritise your business themes over the more general ones. After all, the idea of having a social media presence is to engage with your audience in order to sell your products or services – Don’t forget that!
Depending upon how often each week you decide to post content, you might decide to create content to include polls, memes, thought-pieces, questions, and curated content (see step 5) around these other themes. This is where the “variety” comes into your content – not only in subject area but in format, too.
At this stage, it can be helpful to brainstorm ideas. Set a timer for 10 minutes and write down any ideas you have for content around your chosen themes.
Don’t forget that good social media content follows the 80:20 rule – 80% of your content should educate, inspire, or inform and only the remaining 20% should be promotional. That means only one in five of your posts should be sales posts.
Creating Your Social Media Content Plan – Step 5.
If you’re struggling under the weight of creating all this content, then fear not! This is where curated content comes into play. We use two free tools, Feedly and Drumup to draw together any newspaper and journal articles, blog posts etc. in our areas of interest, then all we have to do is to copy the link, paste it into our plan and write a short introduction. Job done!
Not everything you post on social media needs to be created by you. Sharing other people’s content, especially thought leaders and influencers, can be a quick way of filling gaps in your social media content plan, as well as providing that all-important variety in information, format ad tone that your audience will welcome.
Now, your content plan should include:
- Seasonal events
- Business industry events
- National days
- Themes around your business and wider areas of interest
- Curated content
If you find you still have a few gaps, then how about using Canva to create some inspirational quotes?
It’s important to note that, at this stage, it’s only necessary to have a skeleton outline of what you’re going to post. You might find when creating your plan that you have some amazing post ideas. By all means, plot these into your plan, but the key here is creating an outline of what you’ll post and when so that you can review at the start of each month and flesh the ideas out into post content.
Having said that it’s important that you dedicate and diarise time each month to create your social media content, but with a plan in place, you’ll find that much easier than having to search for inspiration “on the spot” – and you’ll save yourself no end of time, too!
If you would like help with any aspect of your social media, marketing, or email marketing, then get in touch. We offer a full range of services to suit any budget. From full management of your social media to image creation, workbook concept through to creation, social media profile audits or social media training, we are happy to help!