I’ve written about why a business with a smaller marketing budget can’t afford to skip a competitor analysis and social media audit when creating content for social media. However, the audit and analysis are just the first steps to creating a solid social media strategy. There is one more step a business owner needs to take before jumping into content creation.
If you spend a few hours really digging into the data and analyzing what you and your competitors are doing, you are going to have a wealth of knowledge at your fingertips. The next thing you should do is utilize that knowledge to create a content plan for your business. The plan should take into consideration the following things.
- What are your current short and long term goals for your business?
- How will social media help you fulfill those goals?
- What strategy should you adopt for each platform to meet those goals?
Let’s dig into these three things a little deeper. Then I will tell you how you can use the answers to these questions to create a killer social media content calendar that drives results.
What are your current short and long term goals for your business?
If you are a relatively new business looking to gain brand recognition, your social media strategy is going to look different than it would if you are a well-known brand trying to increase sales by 15% each quarter. Social media should be viewed as a tool to help you drive the results you need for your company to succeed. They will change frequently as your business grows and evolves. But if your goals do not play a part in your social media strategy, then you will find you are wasting time and energy on social media with no results.
How will social media help you achieve those goals?
This is a time to really stop and think about each platform in depth. Think about who uses the platform and why. This will help you identify whether or not a presence on that platform will help you meet your business goals. Don’t try to build and maintain a presence on any social media platform without knowing exactly why you are there. Understanding why you are using each platform will help you to create content that meets the needs of the individual platform.
What strategy should you adopt for each platform to meet those goals?
If you are on a social media platform, you should be there for a reason. Spending time and resources on maintaining a presence on a social media platform without a reason is a waste of resources. This is time to identify the audience of the platforms you want to be on, and how each platform will drive your business goals.
Stop trying to do it all!
It is highly unlikely that a business owner with limited time and a limited budget will be able to sit down and create unique content for three platforms for a month every month. An easier task would be for the business owner to sit down and create 15 pieces of content that are designed to help them achieve their business goals. Then, when scheduling the content, the business owner could decide whether the content fits with the strategy for each platform and schedule accordingly.
In spite of what many marketing strategists will tell you, it is okay to cross-post content, especially if you are a smaller brand. In fact, you might be surprised how many big brands post the same thing on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. every month! If you have a different strategy for each platform, you will have an edge on your competition. As you create content, you can then decide which platform each piece of content is best for depending on your strategy.
How to use this information
You want a killer social media calendar that you can turn to for inspiration each week when you sit down to create content, right? But how do you do that?
Let’s say you did a competitor analysis, and you saw that your competition just posts their weekly blog on Facebook. They put now hiring and company culture posts on LinkedIn. They also do daily blurbs with a link back to their website on Twitter. You’re a new B2B company, and you know that your competition is severely underutilizing LinkedIn.
As a new business, you are trying to drive brand recognition and subject authority. But you also have a brand new website and you know you need to improve your ranking in search results. While these goals will change in the next few months, you know where your focus needs to be right now. Question #1, answered.
You do a little research and realize that linking to your website on social media is a solid backlink strategy. Not your only backlink strategy by any means, but posting your blogs and a link to your website on social media does give a boost. So you know you want to do that. You also know that you need to create and share content that lets people know that your business is trustworthy and capable. Sharing your blog on social media is a great way to do this. After some thought, you also decide to create a weekly tip series, where you share a short tip for your ideal customer based on your experience and knowledge.
Now that you have content ideas that will drive your business goals, all you have to do is decide your goals for each platform.
You decide that Facebook isn’t really going to help you meet your current goals. You want to have a presence there in case someone searches for your business, but that’s about it. Sharing a link to a weekly blog and a weekly tip will suffice for now.
Your competitor is using Twitter heavily, even though they have no audience. Why? After some research, you realize it is for SEO purposes. Since you are trying to increase your rankings as well, you decide to adopt their strategy. See how it works. You spend a few hours creating simple Tweets based on content from your website and then plan to post blogs as they are published. Since you aren’t trying to build an audience here at the moment, you can recycle the content and keep it simple.
You know your target market is on LinkedIn. Better yet, your competitors aren’t utilizing this platform at all. Opportunity is knocking, make sure you answer the door. Your goal for LinkedIn is to push your subject authority. Any content that you create that establishes you as a thought leader will go here. This includes your blogs and your tip series, but will also include a personal branding strategy via your personal LinkedIn profile.
Now it’s your turn!
Obviously, the plan you create will be different, depending on your brand and your goals. The above example will hopefully help you to see how the process works so you can utilize it yourself.
Differentiating your content so that you are sending a unique message to each platform is hard. A lot of businesses just create the content and post it to all their platforms because the idea of creating a unique piece of content for each platform is daunting. But taking a little bit of time to really consider why you are on each platform can really help!
Now that you are armed with the knowledge you gained from a thorough audit and competitor analysis, as well as a good social media strategy, creating unique content will be a breeze!
Are you still stumped? At The Social Expansion Project, all of our packages come with coaching, as well as an audit, competitor analysis, and a content calendar. Even if you opt for our smallest package of 6 posts a month. For one low price, you receive a month of customized content ideas and coaching to help you understand how to make social media work more effectively for your business! Want to learn more? Head over to our social media packages page where we are super transparent about what we include and how much it costs.