How to Generate Ideas for Social Media Content?
The content plan is the holy of holies for social media marketers. The more diverse, regular, timely, and correctly distributed in the time of publication, the more tangible is the result of promotion in social networks. Once you have decided why and for whom you will be conducting social networks, you need to develop a content plan.
You need to be ready at once; as for the fact, finding ideas and creating publications is not a fast process. The work of the right specialist is not limited to laying out the posts written a month ago. The ultimate goal of content is to earn loyalty, promote promotions, and turn the target audience into real customers. In this article, we will tell you why marketers make a content plan and how to make a perfect one.
Why Do Social Media Marketers Need a Content Plan?
According to Impact's infographic, 89% of B2B marketers and 86% of B2C marketers use content marketing. Only 37% (B2B) and 40% (B2C) of them develop a content strategy, with success rates or marketing campaigns matching those of content plan supporters. And this is no coincidence.
To explain the habit of many SMM managers to publish content "on the fly" is probably only possible by not understanding the benefits of the content plan or not knowing the tools that help planning. Only a personal blog, creative and editorial pages can entirely rely on inspiration and current information flow.
Business page promotion needs to be built systematically with a clear understanding of business objectives, audience interests, topics, headings, and type of content. Also, content strategy and the use of planning tools frees up a lot of time.
How Do You Start?
Before you open the table and write down ideas for posts, you need to analyze the business objectives and interests of the audience. Think about what you want to achieve this year in brand development. More recognizability, engagement, trust, and loyalty? Attracting new customers or increasing conversion?
Strive to ensure that SMM's goal meets the SMART criteria (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, timely) - that is, specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. An example of the project goal: to become a leader among restaurants in Kyiv, a net profit of $5000 per month in a year after the launch.
To get the most out of your content, you need to know who your target audience is, study their interests and needs. Analyze it:
- by geolocation (country, district, city or specific point on the map);
- by demographic criteria (age, gender, social status, marital status, religion);
- by socioeconomic criteria (income, education, position);
- psychographic criteria (lifestyle, interests, personal characteristics);
- behavioral criteria (intensity of consumption, sensitivity to price changes, loyalty to certain brands, attitude towards shares, and discounts).
Find similarities between real and potential customers of the pages and personalize a typical subscriber. For example, Artur from Kyiv, 22 years old, single, is a member of a club of young entrepreneurs, fond of traveling, and a healthy lifestyle loves Ukrainian cuisine. Despite the limited volume of the market and other difficulties, promoting the site for a particular city is a task that everyone can do.
No matter what result you expect from your community, quality content must come first. It must be informative, useful, and exciting, and also unique and appealing. But what content do people want to share? The New York Times’s Customer Insight Group conducted a study and highlighted five main reasons that make people create publications.
The Psychology of Sharing
Based on the results of the Customer Insight Group survey, we can make several conclusions and understand how to earn the user's attention.
- Help your readers to realize themselves. Publish useful and educational content. Help solve subscribers' problems and be on the same page with them.
- The gain in confidence. A publication should not be official or annoying. Do not try to sell products and services from the beginning - start from a distance and give general information. Share feedback or write expert materials so that people understand why they can trust you.
- Stay simple. Most people do not read articles beyond the title or the first paragraph (at best). If the content looks too complicated, the user will probably not get into it. Below is a rather radical example, which clearly shows what simple and complex content looks like.
- Stand in the place of the reader. Every time you prepare a new record, look at it from the reader's side. Remember who he is, what he loves, and why he needs to read you. Remember who you are running social media for (no, not your boss).
Where to Search Ideas for Social Media Content?
There are several tools to help you create a content plan for social media. Some of them aggregate headlines, others offer a search for ideas by industry and keyword.
In the free version, BuzzSumo helps you search the Internet for publications by keywords and provides statistics on likes, reposting, and involvement. There is also a reference search by blogger pages. The search engine searches for content that is most suitable for demand - so it helps to find accessible destinations.
BuzzSumo also has paid functions: the system provides an analyst of its publications to analyze which records gain more feedback from the audience. And you can also track the content activity of competitors and opinion leaders on crucial requests.
Feedly offers the creation of an RSS feed where sources can be combined by topic. It is an excellent tool for newsjacking - to promote your company with the latest news. The main thing is to integrate your brand into the report correctly.
The disadvantage of this approach is that we have to work quickly because, in 24 hours, the news will be of no interest to anyone. And you need to check the information, so it's better to use already checked news sources.
There are tools for searching and monitoring popular content, opportunities for selecting publications, and making a content plan. ContentStudio helps to fill pages in social networks with interesting articles, videos, images, brushes, or quotations.
ContentStudio visually resembles Pinterest, adapted for SMM professionals. It uses websites, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other services, and helps track trends over the past few hours or days. It supports search by region and content in different languages. Everything seems to be perfect - but to use the service you need to register. After a 14-day trial period, you will need to buy a subscription.
Initially, Pinterest was used as a picture search for inspiration. Now it stores a vast number of articles - and therefore, ideas for publications. For example, you can borrow a title and prepare your material on this topic. And, of course, to find videos and photos to illustrate the content.
It is better to use queries in English to find "suitable" content - there are more of them, so it is easier to find quality publications. Moreover, "smart" algorithms find recommended content based on already saved pins. Grammarly is always ready to help you.
Ideas Map for Content Generation
Ideas Map or Mind Mapping is a method that has been discussed since 2008. It involves the use of visual charts and links to display ideas and thoughts.
A list of ideas is the first way to use maps. On a team brainstorming session in 20 minutes, you can obtain many more ideas for the content plan.
The second way is to adapt old ideas or convert content. If you write a lot in one direction, you can reformat the record or expand it. See what's new on the subject, complement, and update the information.
After you have sorted out the search for ideas, you need to create publications. There is no universal recipe for making records for social networks because the content must create an emotional connection with your audience. Hence, there are three main tasks that you have to follow in preparing your content.
Find your tone. Content will increase your loyalty faster if it is associated with a brand. Think of the personality behind the community. For example, a professional tone is relevant for Facebook and a more playful mood for Instagram.
Tell stories. Social networks are a place to communicate with your audience. So make sure that the content is consistent with company values. Share what matters to the company and the audience. For example, an environmentally friendly electronics manufacturer can tell you how to upgrade your computer without harming the environment.
Know your competitors. The effectiveness of social media promotion is to stand out from the competition. To find the key players and think about what you're doing better. But by no means, copy them - be unique.
Now you know how to create a quality content plan, what tools to use, and how to analyze. So create content that will help you achieve your goals. Do not make content for content. Try different types of publications, ask audience questions, and soon you will gain loyalty.