Creating fresh, exciting copy every week can be difficult for a social media manager if they don’t have a content plan in place in advance. So, how do you create a content plan?
At Hydrogen, we believe before you create a content plan, you need to have a comprehensive social media strategy in place, but this basic guide will help you to create a plan to bring some order to your social media.
1. Set your objectives
Before you begin to write content, it’s important to know what it is you want to do – and what you want those who see your content to do.
Are you looking to drive awareness and engagement? Get people through to your website? Convert them into customers? Knowing your objectives will help you to find what content types will work for you. For example, if you are looking to drive sales, you will want to create content that showcases particular benefits of your product, or maybe share testimonials from happy customers.
2. Decide your channels
If you already have an active social media presence, you may feel you can skip this step – but don’t!
Consider all social channels you currently have, whether they work for you, and if there are any other channels you should add to the mix.
It may be that different channels will have completely different uses: a multinational law company could use Twitter and LinkedIn for business news and updates, but be on Instagram to showcase their CSR efforts, events and act as a social recruitment channel.
3. Create your tone of voice
Are you serious or friendly? How does your brand feel about emojis in the copy? If you don’t already have one in place, spend time developing your tone of voice.
Again, this could vary from channel to channel – our Instagram account has a more light-hearted tone of voice than LinkedIn – but there should be a level of similarity throughout. Having a consistent tone of voice means that other people will be able to pick up writing the copy without too much difficulty.
4. Decide post frequency
How often should you post on each channel? Posts should be consistent (there is nothing worse than a dormant page), and we would recommend a minimum of two to three times a week, although this could be as high as once a day on most platforms, or even higher on Twitter.
Take a look as well at the times when your audience is online: this may be when commuting, late in the evening, or even during work hours. It could even be that your audience is far more active at the weekend than during the week. By checking this, you can find the optimal posting time for your content.
5. Choose your content themes
Essentially: what will you be writing about? At Hydrogen, we normally start with up to eight or nine content themes and test them, seeing what works well and what doesn’t perform as well. After a few months we may then remove or replace certain content themes.
Content themes suggestions that occur across most businesses are company news, applicable awareness days and recruitment. However, the majority of themes will be specific to your company. A travel company, for example, may have ‘cheap flight Friday’ as a content theme, and look to share a deal a week. A food company may have ‘product showcase’ as a theme, and focus on a different item each time.
6. Select your content format
Now you know the content themes you want to write about, you’ll need to identify the type of content you want to create.
By this, we don’t mean ‘image, video or GIF’ – there is so much more to choose from.
Popular content formats include:
quizzes and polls
FAQs and Q&As
Obviously, it would be time consuming to create content in all these formats, and some may not work for your brand, so decide what type works best for you.
7. Build a content calendar
Now you’ve done all this research, you’re probably itching to write posts – but where? A lot of people swear by different tools or formats for creating a content calendar, with many companies offering their own version.
If you work for a massive conglomerate with multiple brands and layers of sign-off, you may find a paid-for tool useful – but otherwise it is not worth your time. You can create your own document for free – at Hydrogen we love using Google Sheets, but any similar system is fine. Personally, we prefer Google Sheets over Excel because it means multiple people can edit at the same time and everyone can see the most up to date version at the same time.
Different people will require different things out of a content plan sheet, but there are some that will be the same for everyone.
Suggested social media content calendar requirements:
Date and time the post is to go live
Brief for post asset (if applicable)
Link to post asset
Notes and feedback
Budget (if applicable)
Is the post signed off/scheduled?
This is great for a granular post-by-post basis, but it is also worth creating an overview page looking at upcoming events and days for the year – you know when Easter, Christmas and any awareness days of interest to your business will fall, so you can plan for these in advance, along with any planned PR.
8. Draft your posts
Now you have your social media content calendar created, it’s time to fill it in. We tend to suggest completing a fortnight to a month at a time, although you can also plan for those future dates you know of.
Make sure to complete your content a week or so ahead of when you want it live – to allow for time for sign off, or for any design requirements.
Want to take your social media to the next level? Get in touch to discuss how we can help you to create a social media strategy.