Let’s say you’ve already determined what social media platforms are the best for your specific business, you’ve created your chosen social media profiles, and you’ve optimized each social media profile or page in every way possible.
The next step after that – and forever into the future – is figuring out what type of content you are going to post to your chosen social media profiles. While content itself is limitless, there are 2 main ways to approach how you’ll create a plan for your social media content.
2 Ways to Approach Creating a Social Media Content Plan
Before we dive into the 2 approaches to your social media content, let’s cover what you need to have – or at least have decided on – ahead of planning your content.
- Your brand’s voice as this will directly impact the copy you are writing for all social media posts, and if things like emojis will be incorporated into your posts.
- Any dates for upcoming promotions or events happening online, in-store, or in your local community
- A list of other marketing and advertising tools and tactics you’re also employing as part of your overall marketing and advertising strategy.
With that being said, let’s take a look at how to approach your social media content planning from a content topic approach and from a “driven by offline” approach. Here’s what each means.
Creating a Social Media Content Plan by Topic
When planning your social media content, you may plan by week, by month or by quarter. It’s not necessary (and, in fact, I’d say it’s discouraged) to plan content for an entire month or more at one time. News and viral posts quickly get old, and social media platforms can change their rules over night.
If you want the best relevant, timely, and engaging content possible, you need to limit your advanced planning and scheduling.
When Social Media Content is Driven by (Pre) Determined Topics
Start by asking yourself what general topics make sense for your audience. You can’t be all promotional all the time on social media, so you need to plan to post or share others’ articles, images, and videos as part of your social media content mix. But what is key here is deciding what those general buckets of topics are that are relevant, complementary and interesting to your business and client type. Here are a few examples:
- Real estate agent – In addition to promotional posts when you’d share your listings, you could also share content about mortgages, buying, selling and home staging info and advice, DIY home projects, interior and exterior maintenance tips, interior design ideas, local news and events, and even the promotion of other businesses that relate to yours (home inspectors, termite/pest control, roofers, etc.)
- Toy store – Besides photos, links and videos of the toys you sell, you can post parenting articles and videos, local activities and events (zoo, children’s museum, summer camp), storytimes and other events held at your local library, kids’ craft tutorials, and learning activities you can work on at home
- Social media firm – Educational articles and videos on social media, blogging, SEO, graphic design, and websites, workplace and co-worker humor, and business owner tips
With this approach, you may simply decide how many times a week you want to post and just plug in posts on any of your topics, as you come across them. You may also have a loose schedule like designated time(s) of the day or day(s) of the week that you publish posts that drive traffic to your website or store in some way, then something lighter or funnier for Fridays, since it’s the last day of the work week, and more serious or educational content in the mornings when people are catching up on news when they get started at work.
This approach gives you a lot of flexibility because you know that if you curate content that fits for your audience, you simply add it to your queue, and you’re set.
When Social Media Content is Driven by your Offline Business
Social media has felt like it put a crimp in the well-oiled marketing plans for a lot of brick and mortar businesses. But the good news is that you, as the business owner, can still operate the same way you’ve always done and use social media as merely a complementary amplification avenue to your existing offline efforts if you choose.
To create a content plan for your social media that’s driven by your offline business, you’ll need to begin by plotting out your in-store promotions, specials and events, and your email marketing campaigns on your social media calendar, and then figuring out your promotional posts that support those offline promotions, specials and events, and email marketing campaigns, and then fill in the rest of your calendar with non-promotional/curated content that’s related to and supports what’s going on in-store.
Restaurants and bars are easy examples of this as the chef or manager is the one to decide on daily specials, which can then be discussed on social media. Retailers of all types are also excellent candidates for this approach because often there’s seasonality to their inventory and sales, and if people are going to shop your business for a holiday or new season of the year, other content that ties in that holiday or season is very topical and relevant to them.
So if you feel a bit overwhelmed about how to work this new fandangled social media marketing stuff into your current marketing plan, think of social media as a supporting actor to your feature film.
There’s no wrong way to approach your social media content, but it is possible to keep things pretty flexible while still having a plan.