Updated: Oct 20
For millennials in business it’s a no-brainer that prioritizing social media content is now fundamental to building a business. While the number of social media users continues to grow, not everyone running a small business knows how to use it to their advantage. Stick with me for an in-depth look at creating social media content for your business. Here’s what we’ll cover:
The Benefits of Having a Social Media Content Strategy
Who Are You Creating Content For and How to Serve Them
How to Create a Social Media Content Calendar
Social Media Content Ideas 2020
How to Plan Social Media Content
Don't Underestimate Pinterest
Designing Your Social Media Content Style
How to Design Your Social Media Content
Social Media Content Creation Tips and Tricks
THE BENEFITS OF HAVING A SOCIAL MEDIA CONTENT STRATEGY
1. Social Media is Free to Use
Creating social media content is the easiest and most effective way to build brand awareness and the best part is IT’S FREE. But if you aren’t carving out time to create a quality social media content calendar for your business, you’re not capitalizing on this valuable service.
2. It Allows You to Build Brand Awareness
Through content creation and regular posting, you will connect with your audience, build their trust and keep your business top-of-mind.
3. Grow Your Audience and Your Business
People don’t just follow people, they follow hashtags. Use hashtags that are relevant to your content, your industry, and your target demographic to attract new followers. Having a social media content strategy will allow you to engage the growing audience you earn through hashtags, further building brand recognition and hopefully turning followers into customers or clients.
WHO ARE YOU CREATING CONTENT FOR AND HOW TO SERVE THEM
Understanding your audience will determine a) which social media platforms you should be using, and b) what type of content they value.
If you haven’t already, create an ideal customer profile for your business. This will help you better understand your business from your customer’s point of view. When you put yourself in their shoes it reframes how you approach your content strategy.
Try and create two to three profiles for the type of customers your business is marketing to.
Your ideal customer profile should cover:
where they live
Feel free to customize the criteria on the profile. You want to be as specific as possible to get the best grasp on who your ideal customers are. This tactic helps you create content that aligns with their needs and values. Give them names and keep these profiles on hand throughout your business development so that you can always refer back to them and ask, “Would this type of post resonate with Sam?”
What Social Media Platforms Do They Use?
Once you understand your ideal customer profile, you’ll want to decide which social media platforms they’re likely using and create content tailored to those platforms. Each platform is a bit different from the next. To give you better context for each platform, check out Hootsuite's latest social media statistics.
How Do They Engage With Social Media Content?
Your ideal customer profiles will help determine the type of content they value most and how they engage with it.
If they’re looking for coaching, try video posts
If they want content they can easily share with their own followers, use beautiful visuals or quotes
If they want to be up to date on your latest product line, show them product shots with a product tag that takes them right to your shop
HOW TO CREATE A SOCIAL MEDIA CONTENT CALENDAR
How can you create a worthwhile content calendar? Start by looking to your competitors for the type of content they post. What type of posts get the most engagement?
Think of the type of content you like to see in your feed. How can you develop similar content for your own business that your audience will appreciate?
Avoid creating throw-away content. What I mean by this is content that has no value. While you may be trying to post anything to ensure you’re posting regularly, you run the risk of posting a lot of useless content that will lose the interest of your followers.
Prioritize engaging content. Start your captions with a question that will entice them to read more. Provide them with useful advice and tell them stories about you or your brand. This helps you build an authentic connection with your followers.
The goal is to create content that your followers will look forward to. The more effort you put into creating your social media content calendar, the more value you can add through each post. This will generate brand loyalty and trust among your followers.
SOCIAL MEDIA CONTENT IDEAS 2020
get personal: tell stories
show behind the scenes and sneak peeks
offer advice or useful tips
talk about things you’ve learned in your industry
show your workspace
celebrate your staff, your community or your clients
promote products and show people using them
share client testimonials
showcase before and afters
run contests and giveaways
partner with another business for cross-brand promotions
reference national day calendars for unusual holiday posts
This is just a start and will vary depending on your industry. Use these ideas to help shape your own content calendar.
HOW TO PLAN SOCIAL MEDIA CONTENT
It’s ideal to carve out time once a week or once a month to plan your social media content. I personally work on a week by week basis but always have the month in mind for things like upcoming launches or client projects I’ll want to share that are nearing completion.
Do you set weekly or monthly goals for your business? When planning your social media calendar, what content can you create that will directly influence this goal?
If you’re launching a new product, for instance, you can create some content leading up to that. Build some hype, share some behind the scenes of production, post a video of yourself talking about the product and why you believe in it.
If your business has a blog, have some social media post templates designed for you so you can share pull quotes from your blog and link back to your website.
Create a social media content planner for yourself.
Maybe the framework looks something like this:
2x personal stories
discuss a personal or professional win
talk about your process
1x multi-frame educational piece
1x client success story
1x photograph of your shop/your office/your desk
1x quote from your latest blog
1x promote a lead magnet you created for your audience
That’s seven posts for the week. Maybe each week follows a similar framework or you swap out a few of the content ideas each week. Perhaps you choose one day of the week that always features a particular type of post that your audience can look forward to.
Look for opportunities to direct users to your website without sounding too salesy. Promote content that will provide them value. Deciding what you’ll post is just the first step. The second step is creating the content.
Choose one day of the week that always features a particular type of post that your audience can look forward to.
DON’T UNDERESTIMATE PINTEREST
While Instagram and Facebook tend to be the main focus for most content creation, Pinterest is an invaluable social platform not to be overlooked.
Pinterest is more like a search engine than a news feed. While on Instagram and Facebook your posts will appear in your audience’s feed for maybe a day, on Pinterest your pins have an engagement-generating life span of years. This means, anytime someone searches for keywords related to your content, it has a chance to appear.
Not to mention the fast growth and audience reach. As soon as someone pins your content, it starts circulating in front of their followers. If it gets pinned again, your reach expands again and the growth is exponential.
in the last month alone, I’ve started being more active on Pinterest and now it makes up 41% of my website traffic. All of which is to say, be sure to factor in Pinterest into your social media content strategy!
DESIGNING YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA CONTENT STYLE
Part of your social media content strategy should be how your content will look visually. To maintain a strong brand identity, strive for consistency in the type of imagery you feature, the colour palette you use and the tone of voice behind your captions.
With Instagram for example, you may want your feed to have a visual unity to it. This can be done through the order your content is posted or through a colour palette that ties everything together.
For instance, I alternate my instagram posts with dark and light content. I do my best to carry colours from one post to the next so that they connect as a collection. As a designer, this approach makes sense for my brand.
When determining what creative approach you should take for your content, keep your audience and your business goals in mind. Maybe your content is mainly product shots, maybe it’s people, places, statistics, quotes or videos. Finding that perfect harmony between what you post and how you post it is why your initial strategy is so important.
Always be asking yourself, will my audience find value in this?
HOW TO DESIGN YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA CONTENT
Do It Yourself
If you are creative and have the time to spare, there are plenty of resources out there that will allow you to create content yourself for free. Source images by using free stock photography from websites like unsplash.com or RawPixel.com and create visuals with design platforms like Canva.
Hire a Photographer
If you want high quality original content, it may be worth budgeting to do it right. Depending on your content strategy, you may want to hire a photographer to do a photoshoot with you or take product shots.
Subscribe to a Stock Photography Service
If you don’t need your own custom photos, you can also pay for a photography subscription service like Styled Stock Society to provide you with high quality, instagram-worthy photos. Check out my full list of creative resources to elevate your brand online.
Hire a Graphic Designer
Hire a graphic designer to create original content with your own photos or stock photos. If it suits your content strategy, you may consider hiring a graphic designer to create custom templates for your social media posts that you can plug and play with your own content.
Create custom content for your social media feed using product mock ups. Do you host a podcast? Did you just launch a new website? Are you offering an upcoming online course? Product mock ups can turn nearly anything into captivating visuals. You can DIY these if you have Photoshop, but a designer can easily create and customize these for you.
SOCIAL MEDIA CONTENT CREATION TIPS AND TRICKS
Create a Business Account
Set up your Instagram and Facebook accounts as business profiles. These platforms have built in features for businesses that allow you to track stats on your audience, engagement, and activity.
Create Hashtag Lists
Have different hashtag lists on standby that are geared towards specific content you post about. Include 30 hashtags for each one and strive to have a few hashtags that are popular (300K – 1M posts), a few moderately popular tags (80K – 300K), and a few niche hashtags that are specific to you and your business. Not sure how to find the right hashtags? Look to others in your industry to see what creative hashtags they use.
Create and Engage
If you have trouble writing engaging captions for your content, consider hiring a copywriter. Use emojis to break up the content, ask questions to encourage your followers to leave comments and be ready to engage with them. You should strive to respond to every comment that is left on your posts. Keep the conversation going and grow your engagement.
Use a Social Media Scheduler
Use a scheduling software to post your content calendar. I use Later, it works perfectly for my business. There are countless others out there from Hootsuite to Tailwind and many many more. Some are free and others may require you to upgrade depending on the nature of your social media calendar.
Schedule Your Posts at the Right Time
When you choose to post your content will affect how your posts perform. Try to imagine what times during the day your audience is most likely using social media? During the week, evening posts tend to perform better. On the weekends late morning to mid-afternoon are generally peak times for posting.
It can take some serious time and effort to get started and find your flow but once you do, you’ll be happy you did. Keep creating content, pay attention to how your followers respond to different posts and tweak your content as you go.