Creating content for social media is similar to going to a party. You’ve got to know what the party’s for, why you’re going, and what you want to do when you get there so you can decide how to show up – in other words, your strategy.

Similarly, in social media, you need to know what your social profile is for, why you’re posting content, and what you intend to do with that content. This is your social media content strategy.

Your social media content strategy will help ensure your content is appropriate to the audience, the social network and be effective in its message. A good content strategy will keep that “spray and pray” approach in check.

Here are the steps to creating an effective social media content strategy: 

1. Define and Align Topics with Customer Needs

  • Identify the topics, themes and questions your company’s prospects and customers might be interested in or would be affected by.
  • Use search topics and keywords to assist in this process.

2. Content Audit

  • Look at existing content and identify what can be used, what may need to be updated, what can be re-purposed and what needs to be developed.
  • Consider where content is stored and how it is accessed, organized, searched and catalogued for future use or for archiving.

3. Plan and Produce Content

  • Determine which channels each piece of content will be published on, and whether content needs to be adjusted for the channel.
  • Decide who will be responsible for producing which piece of content, who will review and approve content.
  • Decide whether content will be short-form or long-form, and the purpose of each post.
  • Decide what format each piece of content will take e.g. copytext, images, video, infographics, e-books, templates, checklists, etc. For example, a best practice for a LinkedIn post is to use less than 20 words, to include one link and to add a single video or image which is usually displayed along with the copytext. However, a blog post can be considerably longer and may include multiple images, videos and links.
  • Create assets including copy, images, videos and other content elements.
  • Adhere to governance policy for content approvals and workflows. Review for brand compliance and optimization.

4. Publish Content

  • Develop and adhere to a content calendar to publish content. Schedule and publish content using a social media management platform.
  • If a post is part of a campaign to drive people to the website, make sure to include a call to action (CTA) within the post that says “Learn More” or similar CTA, with a link to the website.
  • Upload images, video and other assets. Shorten URLs as needed, add hashtags as appropriate.
  • Archive content as required by industry regulations. Review and monitor content as needed.

5. Measure Performance

  • Decide how each piece of content will be measured for success. For example, a social media post may be measured for engagement (likes, shares, comments), while a video may be measured for loads or views.
  • Establish a baseline for content performance, based on historical data.
  • Measure performance of each post, video or other content asset. Compare current performance to past performance. Compare attributes such as topic (is the topic or theme resonating with the intended audience?), content type (does content that includes video drive more engagement?) and length (do shorter blog posts receive more shares than longer posts?). Make sure to use the right social media, for your business.
  • Assess content success quarter by quarter, test and adjust as needed.

A thoughtful social media content strategy should include the production of high-quality, industry-specific information. Your employees may also be able to help develop content, depending on their expertise and areas of interest. Use infographics, case studies, whitepapers and videos to illustrate processes, data and to offer educational information in a more visual way.

An editorial or content calendar helps to keep topics, themes and information organized before publishing posts on different channels. Content approval processes may need to be put in place for companies that must supervise and approve content before publishing to social media.

An effective social media content strategy aligns topics with customer needs and continuously evolves as customers and trends change. Use the five steps outlined above to help you get your content ready to show up the right way on your social media profiles.