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Planning content for your social media channels

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Last week we discussed social media management tools. Hopefully the depth of insight that these tools can give you shows that whilst social media in the main is a free marketing tool, your marketing plan for it needs to be just as well thought out as any paid-for marketing. You can use these management tools to monitor your campaigns and help you save time distributing your content.

When creating your marketing plan, social media should play an important role as it gives you a direct way to talk to your consumers and target your key audience. Whilst social media should be spontaneous and reactive to what’s happening at that moment, it’s really useful to have a content plan so that you have regular and consistent content and messages. By planning content in advance, you’ll have more time for real-time engagement and sharing.

By planning your posts in advance such as information about scheduled special events or sales and milestones, you can give your sensitive posts some time to build up interest before the event happens. You can also use themes to structure your content such as Foodie Friday or Sale Saturdays so your customers know what to expect from you and may even come to your page to find it rather than just seeing it on their newsfeed.

People researching the effectiveness of social media have come up with a number of ratios on how to best structure your social media content:

  • 4-1-1: 4 pieces of relevant original content from others and sharing 1 relevant post for every 1 self-promoting post.
  • 5-3-2: out of 10 posts, 5 should be content from others relevant to your audience, 3 should be content from you (not directly selling) and 2 should be personal and non-work related to show your human side.
  • Rule of Thirds: 1/3 about you and your content, 1/3 of posts are shared content from others, and 1/3 based on personal interactions that build your brand.
  • 555+: 5 updates about you and your content, 5 updates about others including re-tweets/shares, 5 responses/replies for engagement, + miscellaneous posts that add value.
  • Golden Ratio 30/60/10: similar to the 5-3-2 rule with 30% own content, 60% curated content and 10% promotional content.

Other things to think about are the frequency and times of day to be sharing your content. There’s no exact science to this, but generally Twitter needs to be posted to frequently as the average tweet has a lifetime of about 17 minutes, so 5 times or more a day is recommended. Facebook is a less frequent platform and 1-2 times a day is probably the ideal amount, and LinkedIn is similar with about once a day being the recommended frequency. Google+ can be around twice a day as well, and Pinterest and Instagram are a bit more fluid, post when you have relevant content, 2 or more times a day.

Also consider when your customers are more likely to view your posts such as on their commute to work or home, lunchtimes or during the evening. By spreading your content out and monitoring using some clever tools, you’ll start to work out the times that it reaches the most number of people or has the best engagement.

If you’re looking for ideas on how to start your content plan, check out these useful posts from BufferappHootsuite and Constant Contact.

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