Social media is a fast world where you need to be adaptable and reactive to thrive. You can’t plan the interactions your customers present to you, nor can you control how they react to your content. Despite this, you still need a content marketing plan. A foundation from which you can build, gaining a position that gives you the luxury of adaptability. How do you build this plan?
Step 1: Identify your Audience
Your audience on social media is your lifeblood. Without people, you’re posting links and sharing blogs to an empty room. With them, you’re building a brand and bringing in new users. Your first step should be to identify your audience.
- What does your current audience look like? Are they the sort of people who are active primarily on Facebook, or do they tend to inhabit other social media sites? Can you entice them to register for Facebook, or will it be an uphill struggle?
- What does your ideal audience look like? How do they differ from the audience you’ve attracted already? Is there a disparity, and if so, how can you change your advertising to attract this audience segment?
- Who are you targeting with your current advertising? Is it reaching your current audience on a satisfactory level? Is it targeted towards your ideal audience but falling short of the mark?
Learn everything you can about your audience, both current and ideal, and then move on to the next step.
Step 2: Set Objectives
Your objectives should be simple and achievable. They should be relatively simple and generally ongoing. For example, you can set the objective of building excellent customer support. You could determine you want to build a community centered around your product or your cause. You could decide to become an industry thought leader or brand authority. The actual implementation may be time-consuming and difficult, but the objective should be simple to state in a few words.
On Facebook, your goals can be simple and tied to the platform. Maybe you want to build a community around your business page. Maybe you want other industry businesses to recognize you as an authority figure. Maybe you want to raise awareness for something in your niche. The choice is yours.
Step 3: Choose Goals
Where objectives are long-term or ongoing, goals are short-term achievements. Give yourself six to twelve months to accomplish a goal; this is a reasonable time frame to see the results of your investment. What might your goal be?
- Gain a certain number of followers for your business page.
- Gain a certain number of users for your Facebook app.
- Convert a number of followers into customers.
- Reach a set level of donations toward your cause.
- Gain enough exposure to be mentioned in high-profile publications.
Facebook is a great place for exposure, but it’s going to be just one facet of your overall content marketing plan. You should have an individual plan for each venue, from Facebook to Twitter or your newsletter. You should also have one overarching plan to cover your whole campaign, though your goals can be as simple as “achieve the goals in my Facebook marketing plan.”
Step 4: Plan Content
Before you can create content to share on Facebook, you should have a plan. This relies heavily on your information from the previous steps. Look at your goal and determine what kind of content best fits that goal. Then look at your audience and determine what kind of content they like best. Find the intersection between these and you’ll discover what kind of content you should produce.
Remember that little of your content will be posted on Facebook itself. Most of what you create will be posted on your website or blog and shared through Facebook.
- Tutorials are an excellent way to bring in traffic. Users are always searching for detailed guides on how to do something, from building a deck to creating a Facebook marketing plan. If you can fill that need, you can grow a solid following.
- Guides are like tutorials, but longer and more detailed. Rather than assume a basic skill set from your audience, use a guide to teach them that skill.
- Interviews are a great way to establish yourself as a powerful figure in an industry. If other business owners and industry leaders are willing to give you an interview, it means you have some clout.
- Media in general is very attractive on Facebook. Users can’t see much of an image or video posted on Facebook, so they have to click through to see it whole. Used properly, interesting media can provide a boost to any other piece of content, or become a piece of traffic-driving content on its own.
All content should answer a question, solve a problem or provide interesting insight. Timely responses to current events can bring in a spike of traffic, but they fade over time. Conversely, evergreen content is useful for years, but isn’t abruptly famous. Create a mixture of both.
Step 5: Publish Regularly
Whether you publish a new article on your site once, three times or five times each week, the key is to establish a schedule and stick with it. Regular content tells users when they can tune in to see something new. If your schedule is irregular, they have a harder time knowing when to visit. When they visit and see nothing new, they’re less interested in returning.
Even if you only publish a new article once each week, you should post to Facebook every day. Fill the rest of the time by promoting older content, sharing content from industry partners and engaging your audience in discussion.
Step 6: Decide How to Promote Content
Most of your time on Facebook will be split between promoting content and talking to your users. Promoting content through Facebook should be one avenue of many for your content marketing, of course. Every audience is different, and you will need to perform some testing to determine the best way to promote your content.
- What days are best to publish new content?
- What time of day is best to share new content?
- Do users respond better to links with images or without?
- Does your traffic increase if you share the same content more than once in a given day?
- Do your users respond better to linkbait headlines or to more upfront titles?
You can measure a wide range of metrics when sharing content on Facebook. Use those measurements to test different strategies until you find the most effective plan.
Step 7: Rinse and Repeat
Every six to twelve months, revisit your entire content marketing plan. Determine which goals you have achieved and which you have struggled to reach. Adjust your goals accordingly. Adapt your techniques to new situations and a growing audience. Done carefully, you have nowhere to go but up.