Business owner looking to elevate your company brand? Perhaps you're considering ways to reinvigorate your own personal presence; whichever one it is, chances are you'll want to use social media to help you win the recognition you deserve! With over 3.78 billion social media users worldwide, it makes logical sense to utilise the opportunity, but in such a crowded domain, how will you elevate your pitch to stand out and be seen, and how will you entertain the masses that follow your content?
We've broken down the process of creating a winning content plan into five easy steps. You need a content plan that not only smashes your goals but also engages your audience while elevating your brand. Let's start at the beginning, a very good place to start…
Step 1: Strategy is Everything!
First up, you need to boil that kettle, grab yourself your best pen and notepad (as stationery fanatics, we suggest a cheeky trip to Paperchase) and sit down with yourself. You need to get clear on your goals! What are you trying to achieve by using social media for your brand? Here are a few suggestions to help the old brain box tick over…
o Build a social following
o Engage an audience
o Reach a new audience
o Direct traffic to a website or app
o Start a conversation
Once you've nailed your objectives, the rest starts to fall into place. You can create your content pillars (categories that your content will fall under within your brand personality and values) and start to organise your thoughts by working backwards from your objectives. This will also guide you towards which social platforms will best represent your brand and that you are most comfortable with. Photography business looking to reach new audiences? You've got this! Visual platforms such as Instagram, Pinterest and Tiktok will show off your work whilst broadening your options for influencer outreach, social advocacy and behind the scenes fun times!
Step 2: It's Time to Marie Kondo!
Let’s get organised. Open up your calendar and take a look at what is happening for your brand over the next few weeks. Keep a note of any big events, promotions, sales or offers, PR activity, throwback Thursday opportunities, seasonal celebrations, and upcoming current affairs. It's also very useful to keep your eye on national 'days of the month', such as International Women's Day, Nutella Day, Valentines Day, etc. All of these events form the basis of your content plan as fixed date content (FDC). Planning this in advance will save you a lot of stress on the day and may even inspire you to make the most out of the occasion.
Florist with a packed-out calendar of clients in March? No problem! Mark down the dates of any spring weddings you may be styling, features in the local press, Mother’s Day offers, late-night shop openings or commercial installs. Get the dates written in and let your imagination run wild with ideas, like an IGTV series interviewing first-time mums on Mother's Day, or a time-lapse of styling the top table at a spring wedding reception!
Step 3: Get Creative
Once your fixed date content is in place, this is your chance to lean into your own creativity and passion for your brand. If you have a whiteboard, now is the time to dust it off! Think back to your original objectives and content pillars. Work through your brand's personality and voice to create a mind map of things you'd like to talk about.
Be sure to remember the myriad of different types of posts and functions available across social platforms. Here are a few to get you thinking…
o Instagram Reels and Stories
o YouTube or IGTV Videos
o Conversation Starters
o TikTok Creative Videos
o Informational Posts
o Instagram Slider Posts
Most social platforms respond best to a variety of content, just remember to ensure whatever you plan is true to your brand personality and stays within your values. As you write out your posts within your content plan, keep in mind that not everything needs a sales-specific call to action (CTA).
Work to the 80/20 rule; to encourage engagement, work towards 80% of your content being conversational. The remaining 20% can lean a little more towards encouraging the audience to purchase goods and services or provide information.
Highstreet Boutique in need of footfall? No worries! Behind the scenes videos and Reels showcasing brand new products and offers supported by a podcast cross-pollinating with other local businesses whilst maintaining a few fun and authentic slider posts is sure to grab people’s attention.
We could talk for hours about post types, ideas and content pillars, but we won't bore you! If you'd like more help with social media and marketing trends in 2021, take a look at our previous blog here.
Step 4: A Picture Paints a Thousand Words
Visuals are paramount to a strong post. They are also important on platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest to form initial brand perception by way of your grid or boards. On these platforms, it's important to carefully curate your aesthetic as it acts as the proverbial ‘shop window’ of your brand. Once again, images need to be aligned with your brand personality, content pillars and values. We highly recommend using presets (image filter settings unique to your visuals) to make your images appear more polished and elevate your aesthetic. On many platforms, the visual will be the first thing that the audience sees; it could be the reason they stop scrolling and read your copy! To truly elevate your brand, we recommend considering some professional photography on a seasonal basis.
A Holistic Therapist wanting to raise brand awareness? Let's do it! Get some content and lifestyle photography booked in with a reputable photographer that you are comfortable with. Create a grid of professional, on-brand imagery backed up by a variety of cross-platform posts showcasing your authenticity and thought leadership.
Step 5: The Finishing Line
So, you've nailed down your objectives, created a mind map of post ideas based on your content pillars, and identified fixed date content and opportunities to maximise coverage. You've also carefully chosen your images and videos and got to grips with Adobe Lightroom Presets. Now it's time to get your content plan out into the world! As you piece together each post with visuals and copy, think carefully about what other accounts you can tag; did you collaborate with anyone? Perhaps you were in a particular location? You'll also need to consider a hashtag plan. This is something that can be created and refreshed each month. Hashtags act a little bit like identifiers for the algorithm to categorise your post and optimise the reach. Keep them fresh, branded and relevant! Once you've applied your tags, organised your hashtags and your post is ready to leave the nest, make sure you check your insights for the best time to post it. Instagram and Facebook have very accessible and easy to understand insights, giving you data on the optimum time for your post to hit the platform. Don't underestimate the power of checking this information before you set up weeks' worth of content!
A busy village bistro with a full reservations book? No problem! There are many apps and programmes out there that can help you pre-schedule as much content as you need. Many of these apps will also help you curate an Instagram grid, pre-load video content and suggest relevant hashtags all at the click of a button!
Five simple steps to pre-planning and scheduling your social media organic content from the comfort of your own sofa! Go forth with your notebook and get creative!
Don't fancy doing this every couple of weeks? We get it. Inbox us and the Ouma Team will happily do it for you!