The first time someone told me to come up with a social media content strategy I had no idea what to do. Since then, I've learned that simple is best. If you can get the basics right, then you're on your way to success. Having a social media content strategy for your small business will ensure that your hard-work with social media marketing is supporting your overall business goals. To get you started, here are simple steps to create your social media content strategy for your small business:
1. Create goals for your social media marketing that align with your business objectives
Establishing clear social media goals will help you build out the rest of your strategy, serve as defined metrics for measuring your progress, and increase your likelihood of social media success.
To get the best results for your small business, align your social media goals with your broader business objectives. Use these goals to determine the type of content you’ll create as part of your overall strategy. In general, there are nine social media goals that will maximize your returns from social media:
- Increase brand awareness.
- Drive traffic to your website or landing page.
- Generate new leads.
- Grow revenue (by increasing signups or sales).
- Build a community around your business.
- Boost brand engagement.
- Increase mentions in the media.
- Increase social customer service satisfaction.
- Increase positive conversations about your brand.
We recommend keeping your social media marketing strategy simple by focusing on two to three goals – whichever are most aligned with what your business needs right now.
For example, a new skincare brand specializing in vegan and cruelty-free products for Gen Z and millennial women might want to focus on building an audience if they are starting from scratch. So, their goal might be to use social media to increase brand awareness.
No matter what goal you choose, make sure it is truly aligned with your business objectives or else it can become easy to ignore social media and dismiss it as ineffective, when in fact social media strategy simply needs to be tailored to that of the business overall.
2. Define your target audience
Everything is better when you can speak directly to your target audience in language they use and understand, maybe even saying things they've thought before or spoken to friends about.
An excellent way to define your target audience for social media is by building out personas. Personas are fictional, descriptive profiles of people who belong to your target market. If you've never built out personas a bit it might feel like writing fiction, but these can be really powerful tools when you're looking for what kind of content most resonates with your audience.
When creating a buyer persona, start by looking at the demographic information of your potential customers (age range, location, occupation, income, etc.) and their psychographic information (behaviors, attitudes, lifestyle preferences, personality types, interests, hobbies, etc.). Be sure to also include their needs and challenges for an added layer of depth.
For our skincare brand example, a buyer persona could be someone named “Nia,” a 24-year-old kindergarten teacher from Washington, D.C. She’s in the market for vegan, organic, and cruelty-free skincare products for her sensitive skin. However, finding the right products that meet her criteria is time consuming, and on top of that, she has her hands full with her students during the day and has an active social life that keeps her busy during her downtime. She understands the importance of developing a consistent beauty regimen, but she keeps putting it off because of those challenges.
Creating these personas helps to remind you and your team of the people behind the data and to customize your content for them. To help you further develop your target audience profile, check out our complete guide to marketing personas.
4. Identify the best social media networks for your business
It's normal to see huge businesses and large corporations with an account on every social network – but small businesses with a team of just a few folks? That would be challenging. Instead of trying to be on every social network, focus on the networks where your target audience is. By choosing the right social media platform and tailoring your key messaging for each, you'll be able to better connect with your audience.
To help you choose which platform is best for your business, check out our list of the top 21 social media sites. In addition to the information about where your target audience spends their time, your brand identity, and the type of products and services you provide will all help shape which platforms will be most impactful for your business on social media.
It's worth noting into consideration how each social media platform has its own unique features and characteristics suited to certain types of content. Twitter is great for conversations and trending topics, while LinkedIn is more suited to sharing professional and career-related information. So keep that in mind when you make your selection.
Going back to our example, knowing that the target audience for our skincare brand is Gen Z and millennial women, it might be worth having a social media presence on YouTube and Instagram because both of those platforms have high usage among Gen Z and millennials. TikTok is a good option to consider, too, because it is widely used by Gen Z, while Facebook is top among millennials.
4. Plan and create content
Creating high-quality content that resonated is one of the core pieces of a successful social media content strategy. The content you create plays an important role in achieving your business and social media objectives. Your social media posts should be aligned with the purpose of each social platform and its audience. And again, a good understanding of your target audience will help with this. Look at your buyer personas and consider:
- What goals and challenges do they have?
- How can you help solve them?
Looking at the skincare brand, there are tons of ways to address the challenges that their target audience faces. They could create quick and easy makeup tutorials that showcase your new line of products for sensitive skin. The videos could then be posted to Instagram and YouTube. This would help Nia address the challenge of developing a simple and consistent beauty regimen. We’ve helped her cut through the clutter of an overwhelming supply of beauty products, many of which fail to meet her criteria: vegan, organic, and made for sensitive skin.
If you’re unsure what to post on your own social media channels, we have some inspiration to help kickstart your content-creation process:
- Get Over Your Creativity Block With These 20 Social Media Content Ideas
- How to Discover and Create Content That Your Audience Craves (and Grow Your Following)
- How To Save Time Planning and Creating Social Media Content
When planning content, we can't stress the positive impact that using a social media content calendar to plan your posts can have. This will help you narrow down the specifics of what you should be posting and ensure that everything is working toward supporting your business goals.
A content calendar also helps you plan your posts in advance, and you can optimize the timing of your posts for when your audience is most likely to see and engage with them.
5. Track and measure performance
It's important not to skip this step – once you've put in the work to create and send out your content, monitoring your analytics lets you see which piece of content resonates with your audience the most and whether your content is helping you achieve your social media goals.
For example, you might notice that video content performs better than photos or vice versa, and you can make tweaks to your content strategy based on the data you observe.
There are a lot of metrics available, instead of looking at all of them, narrow in on the ones that support your goals. E.g. If your goal is to increase traffic to your blog posts then it doesn't make sense to focus on likes on Instagram.
Instead, dig into data that aligns directly with your goals. We have a guide with 61 key social media metrics, with a brief explanation of each one and how to measure them. But to get started, here are some general social media metrics you can use to track your performance:
- Reach: An estimate of the number of people who see your content at least once during a time period.
- Click-through rate (CTR): The percentage of people who click on your content, social media profile, or links.
- Engagement rate: The total number of interactions (e.g., likes, comments, shares) divided by the total number of followers on your account.
- Hashtag performance: If you plan to use hashtags for your content or for any social media marketing campaigns, then monitoring hashtag performance will give you insights into how those hashtags affect your reach and engagement rates. For example, you can look at your most-used hashtags or at posts with hashtags that are associated with the highest reach and engagement rates.
Each social media network has its own insights and analytics tools to help you measure these metrics. Analytics are also built into Buffer to consolidate all of your social metrics and KPIs into one platform to simplify the process of measuring and analyzing data.
We also recommend using Google Analytics to see which social media platforms are driving the most referral traffic to your website. We’ve got a list of five meaningful Google Analytics reports to help you boost your social media marketing plan.
Continue to iterate
The key to any successful strategy is its adaptability. Social media moves fast, and new tools or features are released regularly. While the above tips will help you with the basics, it’s important that you review and adapt your social media content strategy throughout the year to better reflect new goals, tools, or plans.
This involves constantly tracking and measuring performance and making tweaks along the way based on insights. And while this might sound overwhelming, using a social media management tool like Buffer can help you get more done in less time by letting you create, schedule, analyze, your posts in one platform, plus engage with your audience.