SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING: 6 SIMPLE STEPS TO PLAN, CREATE AND SCHEDULE YOUR CONTENT
You’ve made the leap and decided to put your business on social media – good for you!
But now what? As tempting as it is to just ‘wing it’ and post whatever you like, whenever you feel like it, you must remember one thing: social media is your shop window to an enormous amount of potential new customers, and you only get one chance to make a first impression. It’s really important to put some planning and thought into it.
So, where to start…
#1: You need a social media STRATEGY
Or, in less complicated terms, you need a game plan. Who are you, what do you want to say and who are you trying to reach? Take the time to define your target audience to ensure you maximise your efforts. Also have a think about how active you want to be and how often you want to post.
#2: RESEARCH your competitors
Social media is a key channel to growing your business, but you won’t be the only one in your industry with the same idea. That’s okay though, check out your competitors social accounts, research what type of content they post and when, who they follow, who their followers are and if they engage with their community etc. You will soon get a feel for what works and what doesn’t, without doing the leg work first.
#3: Choose your PLATFORMS
There are a lot of social media platforms so choosing which ones are right for you will depend on your industry/niche. While Instagram and Pinterest may work for some businesses, others may be more suited to the likes of LinkedIn and Twitter. At the very least, everyone should have a Facebook page. Again, your research should have uncovered the best platforms for you to start with.
#4: PLAN your social media content
As we said before, you can’t just wing it when it comes to posting content for a business account. If you’ve done your homework above you should be clear on where you are posting, how often and who your target audience is.
Now you need to ensure the actual content you post is relevant, engaging and ‘on brand’ i.e. it needs to speak to who you are as a business and what you offer. But you also don’t want too many promotional posts either, so you need to strike a balance. We have some really useful tips and advice on our content creation blogs here: https://www.freelancemarketer.co.uk/blog/category/content-creation/2
To get started you will need a content planner. You can make your own, but it’s much quicker (and easier) to use a template and then amend it to suit you. We have a free one you can download here to get you started, and has helpful prompts as to what kind of content to post each day. It can also be fully customised, and you can add the images you intend to post for each one too.
Try and build out a month of content at a time, making note of upcoming dates of significance (public holidays, religious festivals, National and International weeks/days) and any promotions you intend to run. Now all you need to do is write what you want to say for each post, keeping it relevant and engaging.
#5: CREATE strong images
As we mentioned above, your social media is like a shop window and your content is the product in it – you want to capture people’s attention before they walk (i.e. scroll) straight past. Therefore you need to create strong, clear images – whether they be graphics or photos – to attract your customers gaze and keep their attention.
And yes, we said YOU can create your images. Sites such as Canva allow you to sign up for free and make use of thousands of templates and photos; enabling you to create really professional looking imagery, even if you have zero design experience. Annoyingly, each social network has different dimensions for post images, so using pre-sized templates is definitely the way to go. You can even design a logo in Canva, or upload copies of your own to use.
#6: SCHEDULE your content
You can, if you wish, post your content ‘live’ as and when you want, but most businesses use a scheduling tool to manage their social channels. You can create your posts at a time convenient to you, and schedule them for days, weeks, even months in advance.
As an example, one popular tool, www.eClincher.com allows you to log into all your social accounts in one place. You can copy and paste text from your plan, upload your images, add in hashtags and then use the calendar to select an exact time and date for your posts to go out. It couldn’t be easier really. You also have the functionality to read and respond to comments on all of your platforms in one place. (NB, this is not an ad, we just find eClincher easy to use. There are other social media manager tools available – Hootsuite is another popular one).
A good scheduling tool will also include analytics as standard too, but we can go into that another time!
And there you have it. Planning, creating and scheduling your content for Social Media might sound scary but it’s a lot easier than you think. Give it a go, or, if you’re still unsure, you can always get in touch with us.
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