Whether you are operating as a hedge fund in New York or as a restaurant serving scrumptious food in Lebanon, you NEED social media marketing today. In the modern world, where everyone can be found indulging in the same activities in their free time, it has become extremely easy for marketers to gain access to their target audience.
Whether you are trying to capture the attention of senior citizens or want to become popular amongst the youth, social media is the place to expel your marketing efforts. However, this ease of access has brought about a variety of challenges as well. Many marketers fail to receive significant Return on Investment (ROI) on their efforts because of one common mistake – the inability to create useful and engaging content.
To solve this problem, it is strongly recommended that marketers first spend a significant amount of time to come up with the right Social Media Content Strategy. Without the presence of a social media content strategy, all your efforts are more likely to be seen as directionless and ineffective in the minds of the target audience.
After you have created the right strategy, you can then move on to taking numerous steps to make your content exciting and beneficial. In this article, we will be sharing with you many ways with the help of which you can create useful and compelling content for your target audience. But, first things first, let’s look at why and how you should develop the right social media content strategy.
How to Come Up with the Right Social Media Content Strategy
We must warn you, to carry out this step you will need to carry out ample research to find out what your target audience requires. However, this information, once gathered, can be used to make quick and effective decisions regarding social media marketing.
1. Clear Goals
The first thing that you need to do when formulating the content strategy is to set goals that are consistent with the goals of your business. Let’s go back to the example where you were the owner of a restaurant in Lebanon. If you are a relatively new name and want to create brand awareness you need to make sure that creating enough exposure is one of the main goals of your social media content strategy.
Other than that, if you need to, for example, attract more customers to your website, you should make sure that driving traffic is listed on top of the list of your goals.
2. Right Platform
With so many social media platforms out there, marketers need to know exactly which one is popular amongst the target audience. This can be done by understanding the demographics of your ideal customer and finding out which platform is the most commonly used for such a customer.
3. Content Creation
Once you have decided which platform to use, you will be able to create the right content for it. At this point, you will have to familiarize yourself with the concept of adaptation i.e. you will adapt according to the platform you choose to post your content. Long posts won’t suit Instagram and Pinterest. Posts that use only images might not look best on LinkedIn. Facebook is like a middle ground between text-only and visual-based content. In fact, video is quite popular on Facebook too. Twitter users love videos and visuals both, but they use the platform to stay up-to-date with latest trends and news.
Adapting your content also means making it more appealing to the type of audience that frequents the platform where you wish to upload your posts. For instance, Pinterest has a majority of women users—80% of the user-base to be precise. Similarly, when creating content for Instagram users, you have to chisel it for people between the age of 18 and 34 because that age group makes up the majority of Instagram user-base. Consequently, it will make more sense to do your research, know which social networking platform your target audience likes more and then market on that platform. So, if Lebanon is your target market, you will choose a platform where there are a lot of Lebanese.
4. Schedule Formation
The next crucial step is to formulate a schedule that achieves the best response. You have to consider a variety of factors to come up with a proper schedule for your content. An initial strategy would be to schedule your content based on the demographics of the users using your chosen social networking platform. A more advanced strategy would be to schedule your content specifically based on the demographics of your customers/followers only.
So, if your main target audience resides in Lebanon, you will have to schedule your posts at times when Lebanese people are most active on social media. It wouldn’t make sense to announce a new product/service at a time when everyone is sleeping in Lebanon.
You must take advantage of social media marketing tools and applications to schedule your content. If you have done content marketing even at its basic level, you must know how much work there is to handle. Productivity can be a real challenge when you are trying to create new content for dozens of different social networking platforms and share it during the peak hours i.e. when your users are most active. Social media marketing apps are designed to make your efforts more efficient by enabling you to do more in less time.
These tools can help you automate content sharing and be on top of the latest trends to so you can create fresh and relevant content every day. They have advanced so much in recent years that they can even suggest what you should post on a particular day to engage your audience.
5. Monitor Progress
Monitoring results and progress remains part and parcel of every marketing campaign. You must set targets and deadlines so you can monitor your progress. Once again, it is the social media marketing tools that will help you set up key performance indicators (KPIs) and the mission-critical metrics to measure the success of your content marketing efforts. You can take advantage of a variety of software tools that not only let you monitor your progress but also suggest ways to optimize your content to make it more effective.
How to Make Your Content Connect with the Audience
At this point, you should have decided the best strategy to reach out to your target audience. Once you have done that, use the following tips to make your content valuable and appealing to your audience.
1. Use of Imagination & Inspiration
The two don’ts of creating engaging social media content are excessiveness and blandness. The best content shared on social networking platforms is a combination of imagination and inspiration. First part is imagination, wherein you have to come up with unique ways to make your content appealing to your audience. Maybe assume a persona and stick with it consistently to stand out from the crowd. Many other brands have tried this strategy—Wendy’s roasting tweets are just one example.
If your ideas don’t seem viable to you, try to learn from your competitors—and that brings us to inspiration part. You don’t have to copy your competitors but no one has stopped you from emulating them. Wendy is not the only example of unique social media brand personality. You might also want to look at Tesco, MoonPie, Pop-Tarts, etc. are some other great examples too. Moreover, you have content curation to take your content to the next level. When your original content seems weak, patch it piece by piece through content curation and come up with something your customers would love.
2. Variety of Content
Variety does not mean you have to go out of industry’s parameters to come up with content from other industries. Instead, it refers to the many shapes and forms in which you can share your content with people. First, you want to keep text-only content as limited as possible because it does not get people’s attention as much as visual content does. Secondly, you have to experiment with different types of visuals to create the most appealing content. When it comes to visuals, you have videos, GIFs and most importantly, infographics.
Marketers have realized the importance of visuals in their social media content over the course of time. Recent statistics show that a productive review in video form is four times more engaging than in text-only form. Similarly, the views for articles with visuals are 94% higher than articles that do not have any visuals. These statistics clearly show that people pay attention to visuals these days. One of the reasons could be the shortening attention spans in the recent years and the fact that a human brain is much faster at processing a visual than it is at processing any other format of information.
3. Creating a Bond with the Customer
Whether your content contains visuals or not, it does not really matter unless you have a strong bond with your audience. The good thing is that internet gives your brand a global outreach i.e. you are never too far from your potential customers. To form a bond with your prospects, you first have to consider any elements that are close to their hearts. Making content local plays a huge role here. The first step for making your content local is translating it in a language that your audience understands. If your target audience lives in Lebanon, you would want your content to be in Arabic.
You can be even more creative when it comes to visual content, especially videos. You must have noticed a trend in video marketing wherein most brands are creating ads that incite emotions. A sympathetic, humanitarian and compassionate image of the brand instantly creates a bond with customers. As surprising as it might seems, people prefer emotions over information when deciding to do business with a brand. Google’s Friends Furever is a great example of how ads with emotional element in them perform better than those without emotions.
Unruly’s statistics show that the people are most influenced by ads that make them happy. Friends Furever from Google remains one of the most shared ads in the history of internet, and this ad is known for filling its viewers with feelings of happiness. Using content that connects with your customers on an emotional level, you can create a strong bond that lasts forever.
4. Humor – An Essential Ingredient
If you notice in the above examples e.g. Wendy’s, MoonPie etc. their strategies boil down to humor and laughter. The best way to start a relationship with someone is to make them laugh, and if you can do this with your prospects, they will have a special place for their brand in their hearts. While humor gets a great response from people, it is not easy to pull off. You could end up in an embarrassing situation if your attempt at poking fun goes awry.
Before you try to be humorous for your target audience, you will have to do some planning. As a first rule, you want to stay as far away as possible from topics that incite controversies. Brands have made mistakes in trying to be humorous while using controversial topics but it does not seem to work on most occasions. Take the example of Kenenth Cole.
Furthermore, you also want to do your research before using any trendy hashtags to fuel your humorousness. Many brands have faced a backlash from the public for posting witty tweets using hashtags whose context they had no idea of. DiGiorno Pizza is a perfect example of such a mistake.
DiGiorno Pizza used the hashtag without knowing its context. After the social media reacted, this is what the company had to do.
In short, you have to be extra careful when you are trying to humorous. Your responsibility becomes even bigger when you are an international company.
These are just tweets that are not more than a few lines of words. It requires even more diligence from you when creating video-based content on sensitive topics.
5. Address their Issues
The most important of all is to resolve their issues or at least talk about them. The content you create for your audience does not have to be generic in nature always. Your blog, forums and online communities are platforms where you can address the specific issues of your customers. It is not an option but a mandatory step to take if you sell technical services or products.
Look at this online forum from Microsoft where the company provides solutions to problems with its operating systems based on their versions. Most companies like to create such forums and online communities of experts to help their customers with technical issues.
Here is another example of an online community where users and experts create content as they ask questions and provide their answers.
Content is the most valuable and integral component of digital marketing. Banner ads can be intrusive and non-productive. On the other hand, your content helps you create backlinks, gain popularity on social media, and help connect with your target audience. When you have realized how important content is for your business, it is imperative that you come up with strategy to make it effective. You will have to use the various content marketing tools that help you create fresh and appealing content consistently. Keep in mind that your content will not produce the desired results unless you are consistent with it.