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How Can I Create a Social Media Content Plan?

You’re embarking on an exciting new part of your marketing strategy: tackling social media. Congratulations! This is a step that will lead you in entirely new, fresh and creative directions destined to expand your professional horizons.

But how to do this? The first step – and one of the most crucial – is to create a social media content plan. Let’s start by talking about the basics of what content is, what it does and the forms it can potentially take. Content is a vehicle that tells not only your story, but expresses your brand as well. It tells the tale of what it’s like to work with you and your company, which is something essential that potential clients are going to want to understand before signing on the dotted line. You’ll find content in any number of forms: success stories, testimonials, images and videos. Most importantly, content can advance your brand – which is so much more than just your logo.

Content takes a wide variety of forms.

Content takes a wide variety of forms.

Now let’s talk about the concrete steps you can start taking today toward getting down a solid social media content plan. The first and most fundamental thing you can do is to get yourself organized and start implementing a system. A content grid is extremely helpful here as it lays out in a neatly visual way the multitude of content you might incorporate into your strategy.

Katie Lance Content Grid

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Keeping that in mind, know that the best social media content strategy involves not just content, but thinking through what content looks like on different channels.

For example, for each blog post we publish here on our blog, we promote that blog link on various social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+ and YouTube (for video) but for each platform we change how we present it a bit. We may change the language, or resize a photo – the key here is the ‘speak the language’ of each channel but not reinvent the wheel.

Here is an example of how we do this here:

Here is an example of how a post looks like when we post it to Facebook.

Here is an example of how a post looks like when we post it to Facebook.

Here is an example of that same blog post, but now promoted on Instagram.

Here is an example of that same blog post, but now promoted on Instagram.

While you’re planning, understand that systems are key. There are a number of ways you can start to establish one:

  • Keep a notebook of your ideas, noting the questions you get asked on a regular basis.
  • Look through your ‘sent email’ folder for additional inspiration.
  • Brainstorm 30 ideas for your strategy – this may take a little bit of time and thought, but it’s a great investment.
  • Think about content you already have that could be repurposed.
  • Think about themed days that you could incorporate into your plan, such as: ‘Tip Tuesday’ or ‘Fun Friday.’

Schedule a specific time to write or create and keep at it. Then, follow this up with a system for what happens after you publish a post or a video.Ideally, you want to have 30-60 days lined up ahead of time so that each week you aren’t asking yourself, ‘what am I posting today?’

You don’t just need to know who’s going to write or create this content, but you also need to know who is going to edit it and take charge of it after it’s been made public. Collaboration is easy through mediums such as Google Docs and Evernote.

Try picking your days to publish and stick to it.

Are you providing the right content to the right people at the right time of day? It’s not just content – it’s context; time of day and what platform are both things to think about.

For example, what state of mind are you in on a Monday morning at 8am versus Friday at 5pm? Think about not just the content you are creating, but the context in which your content is getting consumed.

Scheduling means thinking beyond the now. Tools such as HootSuite and Sprout Social can help you successfully calendar your strategy to make it as seamless as possible. However, scheduled content should never replace the personal piece of social media.

When scheduling content, always plan time to respond to comments and engage with others in your community.

Meanwhile, reputation management tools such as Social Mention, Mention.net and Google Alerts can help you keep a finger on your own online pulse.

HootSuite is a great content scheduling tool.

HootSuite is a great content scheduling tool.

Here are a few resources you may want to consult when planning:

Looking for even more social media marketing tips? Check out these 5 Simple Ways to Improve Your Facebook Status UpdatesHow to Launch a Successful Social Media Strategy, and How to Streamline Your Social Media.

Have your own best practices to share? Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear! 

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