To create a solid social media content marketing plan, you need to understand the basics of social media. Identify your audience and then meet them where they already are. Every piece of content you make derives from what your audience wants, needs, and interacts with. As long as you know this, you will never run out of ideas.
Social media marketing strategies cover a lot of ground, but when you learn how to narrow your focus, you save yourself from wasting time and effort. Keep reading to learn what to look for, how to cultivate effective material, and how to measure the success of your content.
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What is Social Media Content Marketing?
Social media content marketing is a broad term that refers to creating content for your business or brand to use on social media platforms, such as:
The primary goal of social media content marketing is to connect with your target audience; sales are nice but secondary.
Instead, the marketing strategies seek to bring positive attention and growth of your brand, and they differ depending on your:
- Intended audience
- Personal strengths
When done correctly, social media marketing should widen your reach and bring more traffic to your business.
Instead of throwing out an ad and hoping it reaches the right people, social media marketing involves uncovering where your people are and creating content that meets their needs.
Benefits of Social Media Content Marketing
Social media marketing should not be your only strategy, but it recognizes where your target audience spends a great deal of their time.
Because of this, you can maximize on benefits such as:
- Honing in on your audience’s perspective
- Building deeper connections with you
- Improving brand awareness
- Monitoring your competition
- Fostering organic leads and conversions
You can find these benefits in other marketing strategies, but mastering the social media marketing game is an easy and effective way to unlock it all in one go.
Focusing on Audience Perspective
While most marketing strategies try to imagine what needs to happen to capture the attention of its audience, social content strategies remain focused on this perspective.
There is no creating a single campaign to run for a few months; the content is constantly evolving, and you benefit from growing alongside your audience.
Your audience benefits from witnessing your professional and creative approach to meeting their needs, and continuing to represent their perspective encourages them to interact with your business and brand.
Building Deeper Connections
Social media might seem like it keeps everyone at a distance, but it gives your brand the opportunity to connect and build connections with its target audience.
Not only do they have the chance to interact with your posts and stories, but you have the chance to respond and keep the conversation going.
The more you let your audience in, the deeper these connections become. You have the opportunity to ask questions and answer theirs, building trust and starting the cycle of support that grows your business.
Improving Brand Awareness
When you market on social media, you gain access to the endless numbers of members on that platform. People become more aware of your brand as your audience engages with your content by:
Anyone who comes across one of your posts is instantly aware of your brand, and you can add direct links to your business, products, and services in your profile and posts.
Monitoring the Competition
Most businesses are already on social media, and it has become so much easier to keep an eye on your competition. By paying attention to how they utilize social media marketing, you become aware of what works and what is a waste of time.
You can also see where their presence is strong and where they fall short. Recognizing these things helps you pin down what platforms need you the most and what campaigns will have better success.
Authentic Leads and Conversion
Social media platforms might know us better than we know ourselves, and they know which users benefit most from your products, services, and content. Beyond cultivating content, you can generate leads that convert to sales through:
- Outbound links
- Selling products through social shops (Facebook’s Shop section; Instagram Shopping)
You can easily add your products and services to your social media site, reducing the number of clicks a potential customer needs to run through to make a purchase.
These authentic leads and conversions come from an audience that already engages with your content. Having an algorithm hand these posts to them is the icing on the cake.
How to Create a Social Media Content Marketing Strategy
Now that we’ve established what social media content marketing can do for you, we need to create a blueprint to build on.
Because social media is always changing (new features, new platforms, etc.) you need to create a general blueprint for your marketing strategy. This helps you identify your target audience and establish a firm foundation that your social media content builds on.
This looks like:
- Identifying your marketing goals
- Getting to know your target audience
- Using a social media content calendar
- Crafting effective social media content
- Measuring your marketing results
- Adjusting your content often
You can adjust this general marketing strategy to fit your specific needs on different platforms and in different situations.
Choose Social Media Content Marketing Goals
There are many reasons to start social media content marketing, including:
- Increasing brand awareness
- Generating sales
- Connecting with your audience
- Increasing your reach
- Identifying your niche
Start by digging deep to understand what you want to accomplish by starting a social media marketing campaign. This sets the groundwork for other strategies.
Get to Know Your Audience
Research who your audience is. While you might already have a good idea of what your ideal customer looks like, market research often reveals unusual trends.
By identifying who needs your product or service and who is willing to pay for it you can start to look for:
- What social media platforms do they interact with most
- What type of content do they interact with
- The actual wants and needs of your audience
With this information, you aren’t wasting time throwing out random content and crossing your fingers. When you know who your target audience is it becomes easier to catch their attention and get them to interact.
Choose Platforms Your Audience is On
Not every social media platform is the same, and your strategy should change depending on the platform you use and your target audience.
For example, Facebook was once the shiny new gem, but if most of your target audience is Gen Z there are better options. You can post content all day long, but if your target audience is not there to see it the effort is futile.
Use a Social Media Content Calendar
Whether you are a planner or not, a social media content calendar is an essential tool that helps you build a relationship with your audience and create content. Make your calendar and start using it daily to keep you on track.
An effective content calendar gives your audience the same level of satisfaction. While much of your content will flow organically, the structure of a calendar helps you:
- Post consistent, quality content
- Create cohesive graphics and campaigns
- Create umbrella content that ties together
- Focus on effective hashtags
If you would rather spend the time cultivating your business, I’ve put together 7+ Years of Social Media Content Ideas that will save you a lot of time.
Craft Effective Social Media Content
Once you have a general calendar to work off, start creating content that your audience can interact with. If you are not sure where to start, pay attention to what your competitors post and try to put your own spin on it.
Your social media content strategy needs to be:
To understand what your audience needs to see the most, make sure you keep on market research beforehand. Understand what they like and what content they need. By increasing your engagement, you increase your reach and the effectiveness of your strategies.
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Trends have been around as long as we have, and taking advantage of them can help get your brand the recognition it deserves.
Keep in mind that trends change often, especially when working with short-form video platforms such as TikTok. You need to take the initiative to join the trend as soon as it starts to gain traction.
Catching a trend on its way out might still work, but it often comes off as inauthentic. Your time is better spent catching the first wave of the next one.
Depending on which social media platforms you use, you can have a host of tools and features available at no cost.
- Live videos
- Outbound links
Take advantage of these features when crafting your social media content. Your audience will appreciate the extra chance to interact with your brand, and you will learn more about what is effective and desired.
Measure Marketing Results
Creating content is great, but you eventually need to look at the numbers to learn what content performs well.
These results help you understand what types of media have the greatest impact and which ones are not worth the time to create.
What Metrics You Should Track
Depending on the social media platforms you use, you should be able to see your:
- Engagement (clicks, comments, likes, replies, saves, pins)
- Reach (who has seen your content)
- Followers (the people who decide to see your content)
- Impressions (the times your post is seen, regardless of clicks or other interactions)
- Views (times a video is played through)
- Profile visits (number of people who open your profile page)
- Mentions (times your profile is mentioned by your audience or team)
- Tags (direct links to your company or hashtag)
- Reposts (when your content is shared on another page)
- Shares (direct shares to other users)
These numbers help you recognize trends and identify material that performs well. While you might have a story in your head, the numbers create a black-and-white image that is not swayed by personal bias.
How to Keep Track of These Metrics
Most social media platforms incorporate these tools, including Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. On other platforms, look in your profile or post settings for “analytics” or “creator tools”.
You can use Google Analytics to evaluate performance outside of these platforms and get an overall view of your social media marketing effectiveness.
Choosing Metrics to Focus On
Depending on how far you are in your social media content marketing strategy, different metrics have more weight. While you want to improve engagement overall, different stages in your journey benefit from a certain focus.
When starting out, you need to build your audience and brand awareness, so aim for better reach.
Growing brands need to build trust, while established brands want to keep that trust. You can measure this through likes, saves, comments, and direct messages.
Adjust Your Content Often
Your strategy should change often, but plan on this adjustment anytime:
- Platforms drop new features
- Engagement drops severely
- Your audience shifts
Keep an eye out for any new platforms your audience might be interested in. Getting onto these platforms early on gives you an advantage over your competition, and it might be the chance you need to go viral and hit massive organic growth.
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How often should I post content?
Post content as often as you can:
– Keep a consistent schedule
– Create quality content
– Interact with customers
There is a misconception that social media marketing thrives on quantity, but this is not true. Posting low-quality content is more likely to appear spammy, and you won’t get the engagement you need for success.
Is there a way to schedule social media content?
Some social media platforms have integrated scheduling tools, but you can look to other tools like SmarterQueue and Tassi to make sure you don’t forget to post your content.
How many social media platforms should I be on?
Focus on the social media platforms that your target audience is on. Ideally, post on as many of these accounts as possible, but do as much as you can without spreading yourself thin.
It is better to have one thriving social media account than three mediocre ones.
Using social media for content marketing is one of the best ways to get your brand the recognition it deserves, and once you overcome the initial process of creating a plan, it is smooth sailing.
Once you pin down a solid social media content calendar, you will never run out of ideas (especially with these FREE social media engagement post ideas). Your small business can only grow bigger, and time will prove the success of your efforts.