Do you struggle each month, each week, each day to come up with content ideas for your social media channels?
Well, let me share some social media tips and tricks I have learnt along the way that I am absolutely positive will save you time, grow your audience & engagement, and have you feeling like you are a social media master.
Let’s look at 3 critical components of Social Media Content Planning:
- Your Brand
- Your Audience (aka Customer Avatar / Ideal Customer)
- Your Content Approach
Every business, regardless of size, must have a strong brand strategy which in essence is your brand promise to your ideal customer. It is how you stand out in a crowd; how you position your business in a competitive market-place that will connect with your target audience.
Your brand is not only made up of the visual elements such as your logo, it also needs to consider your colour palette, font family, tone of voice and very importantly, what your brand vision and values are.
You need to be crystal clear on who your ideal customer is. By truly understanding who your customer is, you are able to create content that will connect with them. We have to remember that getting new clients or customers is like dating…. We first need to attract our ideal customer; they then need to get to know us, then they get to like us and then after some ‘courting’ they will trust us. Creating and sharing content for your social media channels is a fantastic opportunity for any business to step through the know, like, trust process of gaining more customers.
Your Content Approach
Now that you are clear on what your business stands for (why customers should choose you and not your competitors) and who your ideal customer is, you can start to look at your content approach. I’ve come up with a simple 3-part framework to ease the process for you:
- The Mullet
- Content Themes
- Content Ideas
When I was working for a travel company a few years ago, I had the Head of Research for Fairfax Media share some findings on how people were consuming their social media and what was resonating with them based on the time of the week. The findings showed that the mindset of the research respondents was much like that of a mullet haircut – business at the front, party at the back.
Meaning, Monday through Wednesday it was the informational and educational posts that drove better engagement. However by the time Thursday rolled around, people were starting to look forward to the weekend and their state of mind was more about being entertained and inspired.
Once this great little insight was shared with me, I thought that it made total sense! The weekend is like a bookend, whether you’re an employee working Monday to Friday or your building your own business where you work most days, western culture is still very much aligned to Weekdays and Weekends. How many times have you said to yourself – Next week I’m starting this…. It could be a new eating plan, new exercise program, a new course, new goals. Along with monthly, quarterly and yearly milestones, week vs weekends are meaningful to us and we identify with the start and the end of a week, which in turn leads to our different state of mind for a Monday compared to a Friday.
This is of course flexible – you can slide the days of the week to align to your target audience. For example, if you target hospitality workers, their weekends are typically Mon/Tue, so you can adjust your content themes to align to this.
The benefit of establishing content themes is that it enables you to create a theme framework for your approach to social media content. Once you have established your themes you can start to work up specific content posts allowing you to build out a plan that is cohesive.
There are 4 content themes that you can look to use based on The Mullet approach:
Content theme 1: Information
Information content is based on your business, brand or industry. You may talk about your brand story, your team members, new products/services, new locations, pop-ups, testimonials, portfolio of your work.
Typically, for an information post, you are not ‘selling’ however there may be times when this is suitable such as introducing a new product by showing a ‘behind the scenes’ of the launch or production and then adding a call to action eg Be the first, Register Now.
Content theme 2: Education
This is a great content theme to position you or your business as an authority in your field. Whether you’re a plumber, hairdresser, stylist, travel agent, naturopath, life coach, builder – anything really, educational content provides you the opportunity to showcase your depth and breadth of knowledge. Plus you are adding value by sharing your expertise with your audience without expecting anything in return (let’s be honest, we are looking for engagement, audience growth and ultimately sales however it’s a relationship rich way to attracting and converting customers).
Examples of educational content could be a ‘how to..’, tips & tricks, advice based on a certain scenario, ‘did you know’, product reviews etc.
Content theme 3: Inspiration
Sharing inspirational content is a great way to highlight your brand values and personality. And if you have your ideal customer clearly defined, you will be confident with what inspiration elements will connect with them. If appropriate, a testimonial can do this or you can use inspirational quotes and/or images.
An example might be if you are a travel agent specialising in Ski Holidays, then a stunning image of the first day of snow in one of the top rated ski fields would inspire your audience. If you are a builder and you have just finished a stunning home or renovation, you could post a before & after or a selection of images that showcase your craftsmanship. It is highly likely, in fact, I would bet my house on it, that what inspires you will inspire your audience.
Content theme 4: Entertainment
Regardless of the type of audience you have, they want to be entertained. However there is certainly skill required in doing this well and it comes back to, once again, truly understanding your customer and using pieces of content that will be entertaining to them. If you are promoting children’s products to mums, and your brand values are about love, caring, safety, education, then you could possibly share content of a mum or dad struggling to put a nappy on a moving baby – it’s funny, all parents have experienced this and can relate to it and it shows that you understand what their life is like.
If you have any doubt at all about your ‘entertainment’ content then don’t use it!
Regardless of the content theme, remember to always ask yourself how is this of benefit or relevance to my audience? If you can’t answer this, then don’t post it! As an example, a client who is a travel agent was heading to Canada to experience one of the Rocky Mountaineer journeys and wanted to post during her trip. I thought of course, she is a travel agent and posting your real life experiences as a travel expert is awesome… but I advised her not to make it a brag reel – I said to change the language so the caption is giving value to her audience. It might be:
- a tip on when checking-in to board the train with a beautiful image of the train
- pack this type of item as the ground is icy or the weather is this with an image of the stunning scenery
- be on the look-out for… with an image of an animal or mountain scenery
- you can’t go past X meal/restaurant when you’re in Banff with an image of the restaurant
We are now ready to dive into content ideas that you can use based on the 4 types of Content themes mentioned above. Some of the ideas listed below may fall across more than one category such as A Day In The Life – it may be educational, informative and entertaining – & that’s ok!
Here’s the Social Media content ideas list:
- Behind the scenes
- Team celebrations
- Tips & Tricks
- Promote a product or package
- Seasonal information that relates to your industry/product/service
- Highlight a new product/service
- Profile a client/customer
- What’s trending
- Quote – align to your brand
- Mood – eg Friyay, Sundayfunday, Weekendvibes, Monday motivation/coffee
- Client work
- A day in the life
- Share what you’re reading/listening to
- Share a free resource
- Competition / Giveaway
- Fun Fact
- How to.. eg tool, do
- Did you know?
- Event based posts – Mothers Day, Football Finals, Public Holidays, School Holidays
TIP – use the various features that the social media platforms offer such as stories (don’t forget the stickers, location, hashtag etc), boomerang and live video.
In addition to the framework that I have provided you with today, I have pulled together a 10 Point Social Media Checklist that will assist you with knowing what to focus on and when.
Save time in the long run by taking the time now to establish a social media framework of content themes and social media content ideas that will work for your business. Once you have this outlined, you can plan in advance plus whenever inspiration hits, you can note it down and assign it to a content theme and day of the week that it’s best suited to.
If you’ve learnt something from this article, I’d love you to share it with your friends and colleagues who you believe would benefit from reading it too.