7 essential questions to ask before formulating a social media content strategy

15th Feb 2017
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Social media has become an unavoidable platform for every business, regardless of the product or service they offer. It enables effective mass communication with a vast and diverse audience, the likes of which cannot be found on any other medium. But before any business begins sharing content on social media, it's essential to first formulate a comprehensive content strategy. This strategy should dictate how, what, and when you post on various social media sites. Here are seven questions to ask when you start the process of creating your social media content strategy:

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What are you promoting?

The type of content you push on social media depends on what you're promoting. Are you advertising a new product? Or is it an offer you just released? Or do you simply want to promote your brand to build awareness? The content you post will vary depending on the answer to this question. For example, if you want to build brand awareness, posting an engaging piece of visual content which lists the benefits of your product or service will see the maximum impact on social media.

What do you want to achieve?

Do you want to drive engagement, increase followers, generate leads, or acquire customers? Having a clear idea of your goals helps in creating an effective content strategy for social media. The content you post for increasing engagement (appealing and easily shareable posts) will be different from that aimed at acquiring leads and customers (informative posts linking to a landing page with a sign-up form or offer). Identifying your goals in advance helps you plan a comprehensive social media content calendar which will save you the trouble of deciding what content you need to post each week.

Who is your target audience?

Defining a target audience is critical for creating a content strategy that works. Audiences can be defined on various parameters, some of which are age, geographical location, individuals or businesses, working professionals or students. If your product or service caters to other businesses, it's best to maintain a professional quality in your posts. However, if you're targeting younger people, posting content that is humorous and has references to pop culture would be most effective.

How will your post benefit your audience?

Posting content on social media only pays dividends if the viewers get something out of it. The type of content you post will vary based on its intended purpose; whether the content will educate or entertain your audience is the first thing you should consider. For example, if informing your target audience is your main aim, posting content like blog posts, infographics, and videos will best serve your purpose.

Is your content tailored for each site?

Many businesses make the mistake of implementing the same content strategy across all social media sites. They think that since their content is gaining engagement on Facebook, it'll work on LinkedIn as well. But that never happens. The users on each social media site belong to varying demographics, which means that implementing a carte-blanche content strategy will prove to be ineffective. For example, younger internet users (who spend more time on Instagram and Snapchat than other sites) trust a brand whose posts feature real people as compared to older users, (who spend more time on Facebook) who tend to focus more on the product or service being offered.

Are you paying attention to trends?

Your social media content strategy should be flexible enough to account for topics that suddenly begin trending online. If news about a particular event, business or celebrity begins trending on social media, jumping on the bandwagon with your own content is an easy way to boost your social reach and engagement. For example, posting content on Twitter bearing a hashtag that is trending on the site will increase its visibility by a considerable amount.

What's working for others and what's worked for you before?

Looking at how your competitors use social media is a good way to formulate your basic content strategy. Of course, what works for them may not work for you, which is why the next thing you need to see is how your social media posts have performed in the past. By analysing the level of engagement you've received on earlier posts, you can understand the type of content which resonates the most with your audience. If the blog posts you share on social media are receiving more engagement than your visual content, it makes sense to share more blog posts despite statistics suggesting otherwise.

One thing to remember is that your social media content strategy should never be static, but constantly evolving based on how it's being received by your audience. Digital marketers need to regularly analyse and optimise the content they post to maintain a strong presence on social media.

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