Where do I Start?
Social media is continually changing the way that we communicate and consume information. Today, quality content is the foundation and at the heart of any successful social media strategy. As a small-business owner, it can be challenging to dedicate time creating engaging and entertaining content. It’s also extremely competitive, 93% of marketers say social media has accelerated competition in their industry, but is also key to staying ahead. Ideally, the time and effort that you put into it will add value to your customers and generate a positive return on investment. In this blog, we’ll discuss how you can align your goals and needs with your social media strategy. We’ll also list out the different types of social media content to consider when building out your social media plan.
Before jumping into the social media world, you will need to have a clear and broad understanding of your business goals. Are you looking to generate more leads or sales, to boost community engagement or to improve your brand awareness? What are your short-term and long-term goals? Your goals will define your social media plan and the worst thing you can do is start your social media journey without any. Rule of thumb: keep your goals simple and attainable.
Know Your Audience
You need to understand where your audience spends their time and how they’re using certain platforms. What’s your average business age demographic? How do they consume social media content? Different platforms attract specific audiences, so be active where your core audience is active. You should also have a good idea of what your competitors are up to. Conduct a competitive analysis and find out what they’re doing and how they’re doing it. There might be low-hanging fruit that you can take advantage of or similar content that you can replicate.
In 2021, 78% of social media users have accessed platforms exclusively on their mobile phone and close to 3/4 of the global population use a mobile phone. That’s a huge audience that you can’t afford to ignore. To take full advantage of mobile optimization, make sure to adjust your website and social media content, so that visitors get an experience that’s customized to their device.
Types of Social Media Content
Social media content can come in different forms, whether it’s to entertain, to educate, to inspire, or to convert. Ideally, you want to be active in all four areas; however, if the content doesn’t align well with your brand, you should stick with what you’re good at. Don’t stretch yourself too thin, or else your audience will have a difficult time connecting with your brand and understanding who you really are. Now that you have a clear understanding of what it takes to be active on social media, let’s discuss 4 different types of content to enrich your social media.
Videos work, plain and simple – that’s why we have them at the top of our list. Visual content is extremely popular, in fact, 86% of people would like to see more videos from their favorite brands. Even more impressive, video content on social generates 1200% more shares when compared to text and image content combined. These numbers can’t be understated – give your audience what they want.
WHY – Video’s most powerful use is to educate and tell a story. You can visually show what your services and products are, and in return, your audience will have a deeper understanding of your offerings. Research shows that 64 to 85% of people are more likely to buy your product or services after watching a video.
HOW – Creating a video can be simple and relatively cheap to execute. Don’t let the cost or time commitment of creating videos hold you back from jumping in. Most people have a high-quality video camera and intuitive editing software available at their fingertips – their phones. If you have some extra budget to allocate, you can hire a videographer to take your video production to the next level. Above all else – make sure to keep your videos short. Anything that exceeds two minutes in length has been demonstrated to trigger a sharp drop in video engagement.
WHERE – Currently, Facebook and YouTube are the two most visited social media platforms on the Internet and longer format videos tend to perform the best on these. As for shorter videos, you should resort to Instagram. TIkTok, has also been gaining traction and popularity among small businesses for shorter format videos.
Images are the most frequently posted content across all social channels. Compared to videos, images can be absorbed and appreciated in an instant. We have an attention span of less than 8 seconds, so visual content is a great tool for replacing long copy and communicating your brand’s message instantly.
WHY – Including images on Facebook posts have been shown to increase engagement by 37%. People love to see a brand’s ability to be creative and unique, which is why sharing images are a great way to captivate your audience’s attention. People are 80% more likely to remember images, compared to only 20 percent of what they read.
HOW – Mobile devices are more than sophisticated enough to capture incredible photos along with apps that allow you to edit them. This means you don’t have to invest in any additional resources. If you don’t think you have what it takes to capture beautiful photos – don’t worry – you can always rely on stock photos. And don’t forget, engaging captions and hashtags are just as important. Captions enhance the photo by providing you with the creative freedom to include a call-to-action or a link to your website or blog.
WHERE – Images work well on almost all social media platforms. Yet, Instagram and Pinterest specialize in this type of content due to their ability to tag products and have shoppable content. These platforms are great for selling products and it’s been shown that up to 72% of Instagram users have reported purchasing something through the platform at least once. All that said, due to its accessibility and ease of use, SME owners should include images on every social platform they use.
Just like this one, a blog post can be a great piece of content that you can share with your audience on social media. A blog post allows you to build your reputation and credibility. It’s also a great tool to offer your expertise and to be informational with your audience. How-to articles and lists remain as the most used blog post formats. Other formats include guides, news, interviews, and many more.
WHY – By sharing your blog on social channels, it will ultimately drive traffic to your website. And by writing more blogs, you will be optimizing your website for search engines – which leads to more traffic. As a result, you will be able to generate more leads and sales.
HOW – It can be difficult to generate content ideas, especially if you’re busy running your business. To help you spark your creativity, look up trending searches or ask your customers what they struggle with or if they have any questions. And to differentiate yourself from others, dive deep into specific topics and try to keep it concise and simple as possible. Although there’s no magic recipe for blog word count, every post should be as long as necessary to cover the topic in its entirety. To give you a better idea of the current market, the average blog post length is 1416 words.
WHERE – Social media remains on top of the list of channels that businesses are using to drive blog traffic. Deciding which social channel to use will highly depend on who your target readers are. If you’re looking to appeal to a professional audience, LinkedIn will potentially drive more traffic. If your audience responds better to blogs that are paired with images and visuals; use Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram.
4. Stories and Live Content
Stories and live content have been popularized as of late and made more accessible on several platforms. They are very similar in the sense that they encourage community engagement and build brand awareness. They differ in one major way, though, stories only live up to 24 hours before disappearing and live content can be saved and watched again later. By the year 2022, experts predict that 82% of Internet use will be for streaming videos. As for stories, up to 500 million users actively use stories on Instagram every day.
WHY – Stories and live content are great ways to keep your audience informed, updated about promotions or events, or to give them a behind-the-scenes glimpse of your business. It’s a way for small businesses to share what’s on their mind and to connect with their audience outside or inside their work area. What’s even better, it takes very limited resources or time to post a story or to go live on social.
HOW – Both of these functions are available at a click of a button. They’re very easy to implement in your social media plan and can be used with spontaneity. Customers enjoy raw content since it provides them with a taste of your personality and allows them to connect with you on a deeper level. For example, live streams give your audience a chance to ask questions, comment and to react instantaneously.
WHERE – Out of all the social platforms, Instagram has found a working recipe for its story function – 87% of all Instagram users interact with stories. As for live content; YouTube and Facebook Live have grown in popularity during the last two years. Notably, Facebook has added a bunch of new creator tools, accessibility features and an audio-only mode. That said, Instagram and LinkedIn offer great live video features as well. We suggest using the platform where you have the biggest following.
Your social media success will depend on how well you have aligned your goals with your brand voice, on how well you know yourself and your audience. Ultimately, share content that your audience wants. By understanding which content types yield the greatest returns, you will be able to better position yourself on social media. Keep it simple, connect with your audience, and most importantly, have fun while doing it!