How-to Guide

How to Create a Social Media Content Plan that Engages Your Customers

Social media without content is like a car without a steering wheel. As Larry Alton from AdWeek says, “At the end of the day, your ability to profit from social media will only go as far as your content will take you.”1 To win at social media, you must start with a solid social media content plan.

Your social media marketing is only as good as your content.

Check out these five steps to developing a social media content plan that engages your customers and keeps them coming back for more.

Step 1: Figure out the Who and What

Every good social media content plan starts with knowing your target audience and identifying your goals. Who are you trying to reach and what do you want them to do once you’ve reached them? Define the common attributes of your ideal customer, then determine what problem they’re looking to solve.

Step 2: Conduct Social Keyword Research

Expand your keyword research beyond organic search to find the terms that are most relevant to your brand, service or product on social media. Not only does this help when brainstorming content topics, it “improves your chances to do better on social media (since you are basing your content on what the social media crowd is currently interested in).” 2

Most social media management tools offer ways to uncover trending terms. You can also search directly on most social platforms to see the context of how your key terms are used. For content inspiration, the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) recommends SerpStat. “It pulls the most frequent words people type in the same phrase with your base term.” 3

Another excellent place for keyword research is your own website. Use Google Search Console to find keywords that your site ranks for, then include these topics in your social media content plan.

Step 3: Invest in Visual Storytelling

Today’s consumers not only respond to visual content, they expect it. Compelling photos, engaging videos, and stories that hit their emotions inspire them to share organically on social. However, to entice your audience to come back for more, don’t just post random one-off beautiful photo and videos. Tell stories across channels through the use of sequential posts—posts about the same topic in a relatively short time period. This will allow your brand to build a strong narrative.

Only 27% of brands are using storytelling effectively, with the remainder relying on “random” one-off posts. – The State of Social Engagement 2017

Step 4: Decide Which Networks are Best for Your Brand

With hundreds of active social media platforms,4 it’s obviously not feasible to be on every one of them. Read this helpful guide on how to find the right social media platform for your brand, then focus on providing exceptional customer experiences on whichever platforms you choose.

Step 5: Develop a Content Calendar

Editorial calendars are considered to be the cornerstone of content marketing planning.5 According to CMI, “keeping an accurate account of your editorial assets and activities will make you a more effective marketer—and a less stressed one, too.” 6 Whether you choose a simple spreadsheet or a more complex omnichannel collaborative calendar solution, it’s important to share your content calendar across departments. “Sharing your content calendar with Sales, Marketing, HR,Public Relations, or other departments makes it easier for them to understand your content efforts, leverage content to further their own goals, and alert you when they’re involved in new events or opportunities that might spark fresh ideas or impact your project priorities.” 7

Keeping an accurate account of your editorial assets and activities will make you a more effective marketer—and a less stressed one, too. – Content Marketing Institute

Just because you have a content schedule doesn’t mean you can’t also post in real-time. In fact, having pre-scheduled content frees you up to engage with what’s currently trending with your audience and your industry.

Bonus Tip: Don’t make your content calendar all about yourself. Whether you adopt the 80/20 Rule or the 4-1-1 Rule, the key is to ensure that the majority of your content is not promoting your products or services. Share thought leadership articles as well as user-generated content, ask questions and provide helpful advice that benefits your audience, not you. Financial services company USAA (and 2017 Lithy Social Support Champion) does more than just post product information about the insurance, banking and investment services they provide. Their social media content plan on Twitter includes topics such as how to avoid cyberscams, career advice and teen driving tips for the military community they serve.

Want to learn more essential tips for how to create successful social media campaigns? Download 7 Real-World Tips for Better Social Engagement.

1 Social Pro Daily - "Your Social Media Marketing Is Only as Good as Your Content"

2 Content Marketing Institute - "6 Free Tools to Help Keyword Research"

3 Content Marketing Institute - "6 Free Tools to Help Keyword Research"

4 Wikipedia Article - "List of social networking websites"

5 Content Marketing Institute - "Editorial Calendar Tools and Templates"

6 Content Marketing Institute - "Editorial Calendar Tools and Templates"

7 Content Marketing Institute - "Editorial Calendar Tools and Templates"

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