5 Easy Steps To Build An Effective Social Media Content Strategy

social media content strategy - Writing BlogBy now you’ve already read my Facebook and Local Twitter Power Guides. These guides and the associated Social Media courses should give you a sense that it’s important to implement a solid media content strategy for your online business. 

You’ve probably gone digging, trying to understand exactly what a social media content strategy is, and how to get the right pieces in place.

Not so easy! You’ve scoured the Internet for answers and have probably come back more confused than before you started. 

A content strategy is actually a very simple concept. The strategies however seem to be cloaked in many layers of complexities. The definitions and methods are convoluted at best, and are not very practical. 

To illustrate, two definitions of a Content Strategy, one by Wikipedia  and the second by an exceptionally bright Content Strategist, Kristina Halvorson.

Wikipedia’s: “…the planning, development, and management of informational content – written or in other media.”

Kristina’s: “…content strategy [is] planning for the creation, delivery, and governance of useful, usable content” 

There are many more Content Strategy definitions similar (and not similar) to Kristina’s and Wikipedia. Again, in my opinion many serve no practical purpose, and I suggest you take a totally different approach. 

social media content strategy - content is king

The Practical Ingredients Of A Content Strategy

From my perspective it’s easier to grasp the necessary ingredients of a practical content strategy if you ask yourself the following questions:

1. Who exactly is my audience?

2. What exactly does my audience want to learn?

3. In what format does my audience prefer to consume content ?

4. Which platforms are best suited for my audience?

5. How often should I be publishing content for my audience?

6. How am I supporting my business objective with my content?

You’ll notice that 5 of the 6 questions are centered around your audience. The 1 remaining questions is focused on you and your business. This is important to remember as you construct your own content strategy. Forget the formal definitions of a Content Strategy. Just focus on what’s right for your audience, with an eye to support your own business objective.

If your business has a unique selling proposition (which it should), then by definition your service offering is unique too. It’s the combination of the uniqueness and your potential customer who will dictate your unique content strategy – no two strategies should be the same.

As soon as you’re able to answer the above 6 questions your content strategy should become obvious.

Let’s dig in a little bit deeper.

Who Exactly Is My Audience and What Do They Want To Learn

social media content strategy -  Poodle

It’s exceptionally important to understand exactly who your audience is. Each audience is unique and the same content will resonate differently amongst different audiences.

If your audience, for example, are highly technical in nature, it then makes sense to feed them the technical content that they are expecting. If you feed anything but, then you will probably lose them.

By losing them you may as well deem that your content strategy as not aligned with your audience correctly. Basically a content strategy that does not work. 

In my situation I have a Standard Poodle. His name is Texas, by the way. For me to groom Texas I need content that should clearly explain how to groom Standard Poodles. I wouldn’t be interested in content that shows how to groom Toy Poodles. Nor would I be interested in understanding how the grooming equipment works.

The content needs to be correctly aligned with your audiences expectations. Otherwise you run the risk of losing your audience.

Step number 1: You need to construct content that speaks directly to your audience.

social media content strategy -  Video Audio Text

What Format and Which Platform Do My Audience Prefer

The format in which you deliver your content is important too. Different people have different format preference. Your audience, for example, may consume your content in a video format, while another audiences may prefer reading or listening to to exact same content. Different people learn differently! Then the content itself may be appropriate on one medium and not another. 

There are many unique scenarios, each with its own unique outcome. So depending on your audience and the content, you need to carefully select the right format to deliver your content. 

Step 2: What ever the scenario, you need intersect your audiences expectations and the content type to establish the perfect delivery format for your audience.

How Often Should I Be Publishing Content?

social media content strategy - stopwatchContent publishing frequency is a heavily debated topic. Frequency is really a combination of your audiences’ expectations and your search engine results objectives.

The more content you publish the better the chance you have of appearing in the search engine results.

When you include quality content with the quantity, then you have an even greater chance of rising to the top of the search engine results.

If your audience says they only want your content on a weekly basis then you should only publish weekly. Not bi-weekly and not monthly! Weekly! Produce a publishing schedule and try stick to it.

Again you need to judge what your audiences is expecting. Better yet, just ask them. A quick poll should give you the information you need to choose your frequency. 

Step number 3: Understand what your viewers are expecting in terms of content frequency, and plan your content publishing agenda. 

How Am I Supporting My Business Objective With My Content?

Do not forget your business. You can dish up content, but if your strategy does not support your business objective then your efforts will be for nothing. Absolutely nothing!

To avoid this scenario you need to ask, answer and understand a single question: “What are my business objectives?” This is a very important question, and until you understand your business objectives you can not put an effective content strategy in place.  

Every business is unique (remember USP), but building a customer list seems to be a common denominator. If, for example, one of your business objectives is to build a list of prospective customers then make sure your content supports that objective. Structure your content with links to supporting articles or forms that eventually lead to your list building initiative.

To be totally transparent with you, my list building initiative is by helping my community (you) build effective Social Media platforms. To build these platforms part of the puzzle is located at the Twitter Local Power Guide and Step-by-Step Facebook Biz Page Setup instructions. If you have not yet seen these guides then please grab them. I’ve been told that they are helpful. 

Step 4: Make sure you understand your business objectives.

Step 5: Build your content strategy to support your community’s and your objectives.

Your Take Away 

Having a content strategy is like having an 800 pound gorilla in your back pocket. It will help focus you on your major business objectives, and help you deliver only what is important to your community. 

Your content strategy can actually be distilled down to these 5 points:

  • You need to listen to your audience;
  • You need to understand what content your audience is expecting;
  • You need to get a sense of the platforms and format your audience prefers;
  • You need to find out how often your audience wants the content delivered;
  • You need to know, understand, and make sure your content strategy supports your business objective.

Understanding these pieces will help you build an effective content strategy. 

If there’s anything you wish to add please let us know. Also, if you found this article helpful please share with others. 

About Gary Hyman

I'm a strategist & coach, helping entrepreneurs build an online presence based on their passion and purpose. 25+ years experience in business, technical & marketing arenas, Practical, results oriented, with strategies and techniques that work.

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19 Responses to “5 Easy Steps To Build An Effective Social Media Content Strategy”

  • Pamela Lynne Murray on February 5, 2013

    Very good article!
    Pamela Lynne Murray recently posted…My Father’s Business

  • Wow, Gary…. massive! Certainly need to come back to this post and take notes!! Thanks, you give without reserve… You rock!
    Norma Doiron @Start, Grow or Strengthen Your Business Online recently posted…List of Reasons Why You Need SEO

  • Susan Myers on February 5, 2013

    I love coming to your site! You always share so much information about succeeding in Social Media–Know your audience is the key.
    Susan Myers recently posted…Website Traffic- A Few Ways To Cause A Traffic Jam On Your Website

    • Gary Hyman on February 10, 2013

      Thank you Susan. I try share the stuff that makes sense & truly helps.

    • Gary Hyman on April 24, 2013

      Thank you Susan. I try share the stuff that makes sense & truly helps everyone.

  • Designer Rob Russo on February 5, 2013

    Excellent post. It truly is all about your audience. Give more than you receive … And be sure to give them what they want!
    Designer Rob Russo recently posted…Freelance Tips and Advice: My Interview on Freelance Unleashed

  • Suzette on February 5, 2013

    Great information! Give the people the value they want and need on their platform of choice.

  • Gorana on February 5, 2013

    Thanks Gary! So timely as I am working on my content strategy. Great information.
    Gorana recently posted…How to Find a Niche: A Super Simple Idea to Help You Identify Your Ideal Client

  • denny hagel on February 5, 2013

    Excellent article on the focus needed to succeed with an online business! Thanks!
    denny hagel recently posted…Parents Want to Know ‘Am I doing the right thing?’

  • Delia on February 5, 2013

    Excellent advice to first answer to the question “What are my business objectives?” before doing anything else. Also be prepared to change and adapt, if necessary. Keep yourself open and flexible.
    Delia recently posted…10 things you can do for your business when the Internet is down

  • jean on February 5, 2013

    great post. Give your audience what it wants!
    jean recently posted…Are You Wasting Your Life?

  • Lisa Birnesser on February 10, 2013

    Excellent article, Gary! This is such a well thought out process. I love how you have focused it around the client. It is about them and meeting their needs. Thanks!
    Lisa Birnesser recently posted…Stress In America Survey 2012

    • Gary Hyman on February 10, 2013

      Thanks Lisa. Glad you found it helpful. And absolutely – it’s really all about the client.

  • Jill Mendez on June 17, 2013

    Very informative article!.. I enjoyed reading it and I learned a lot in enhancing content strategy on my website. I’ll be looking forward for more post from you.
    Jill Mendez recently posted…What Yelp Can Do For Local Businesses

    • Gary Hyman on June 17, 2013

      Thanks Jill. Glad you found it helpful. Thanks for the feedback.

  • T.C. Teresa Clark on July 19, 2013

    Hey Gary,

    I completely agree that Content is King! Here are a few things that I do when I create content.

    I keep consumers in the buying part of their brain. This is particularly critical when using methods of indirect marketing, such as websites, an advertising piece, email blast, social media or blog post. Creating content that is so good that it becomes ‘forward-able,’ meaning it is so good they will forward it to friends or business associates that may become future clients. This will alleviate some of the stresses a consumer feels when ‘being sold’ on a product or business.

    Thanks for the article,
    T.C.

    • Gary Hyman on July 20, 2013

      Excellent Teresa. Thanks for your feedback and details about how you approach the content strategy.

  • Andy Detweiler on June 23, 2014

    Hi Gary,

    I know I’m a bit late to the party here, but I think this article is more relevant today than ever. Fantastic. And very helpful for people who 1) Don’t know where to start ; and, 2) Have a tendency to overanalyze.

    I envision I will be sharing this again and again on a fairly regular basis.

    Andy

    • Gary Hyman on June 23, 2014

      Never too late Andy. Thanks for your comment. I’m a firm believer of ALWAYS starting with your audience. Once you establish what they want & need, the rest falls into place like a jigsaw puzzle. Also, thank you for sharing.

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