The topic of our most recent Lunch and Learn event was “planning and creating social media content”, in which we welcomed eleven engaged business owners and senior decision makers to converse about how (or if) they plan their content for social media and what tools (if any) they use to get the job done. You probably wouldn’t drive to Scotland without a plan for the route, and you probably shouldn’t dive straight in to ‘doing’ social media without a plan of action. And if you have managed to create a plan, how can you then translate that in to something tangible that people can interact with? I’ll talk specifically about planning content in this blog post.
Before you start planning
How exactly can you create a plan if you’re not really sure where to start? Firstly, consider your audience. Research will show that some platforms are more relevant than others for different business industries. Professional services businesses are more likely to gain traction with social followers on Twitter and LinkedIn, where service industries that are very visual, like hairdressers and restaurants, might gain more traction with social followers on Facebook and Instagram. There are no ‘rules’ about which platforms you should invest your time in. But time is typically the limiting factor for small business owners, so make a conscious decision about where you will invest yours. Once you’ve decided which platforms are right for your business, you need to create a plan of action to populate content to those social networks.
The planning phase
One of the most common issues small business owners have when planning content is knowing where to start, and that can lead to a lack of structure and consistency. I’d recommend using topics to help break down the different aspects of your business in to smaller chunks that enable you greater, deeper focus on the products/services that your business offers. That approach might help you differentiate separate features, worthy of individual social content posts. There’s a useful approach that might help you do this – the ‘framing’ model. If we assume your business is a clothes shop. We walk in to the shop and we see all variety of colours, sizes, styles for the seasons.
If you were to create social media content about items in the shop, it would be difficult to create some structured content without a plan. However, imagine walking around the shop with an A4 photo frame in your hands, held up in front of you. You document each different thing you see within the frame as you walk round the shop – blue jeans, then black hat, then red shoes etc. Once you’ve documented all the things in the shop you could put those items in to categories or topics, maybe on type or colour or style or whatever you wanted. Depending on how you structured the topics, you might then have a bank of content about jeans, a bank of shoes, a bank of full outfits. You’ve then got different content topics that you can use to post content to social media – something a bit more structured than the mess you might have if you don’t have topics.
The easiest way to plan when to post your content is to use a content calendar. This simply marries together your content topics with a diary calendar. If we take the clothes shop scenario and your intention is to post something to Facebook everyday, you might designate Monday as jeans day. Tuesday is bags day and Wednesday is shoes day. By giving yourself that structure, you get in to good habits. You’ve narrowed your focus to one particular aspect of your business and you’ll concentrate on the really key aspects that make that particular pair of shoes special.
Author: Tom Jullings
After several years in a variety of corporate roles, I joined the business in 2015. I help businesses better market themselves and create content for businesses – from marketing and sales message to blogs and photography.
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