Content planning on social media is essential for the successful marketing of your brand online. Having a content planning system will help you organize all your activities on different social media platforms and achieve maximum results by aligning your campaigns.
Unfortunately, not everyone knows how to content plan efficiently or even why planning a content strategy is necessary in the first place. Hence, here is everything you need to know about content planning on social media and how you can do it yourself.
What Is Content Planning on Social Media?
Content planning and writing on social media refers to the strategic organization of all your activities on different social media platforms. Usually, content planning in digital marketing is just a part of your overall promotional strategy, but that doesn’t make it any less important. In fact, some brands rely on social media marketing for the bulk of their marketing strategy.
It is crucial to understand the difference between content planning and other terms. For instance, content strategy vs information architecture – the latter refers to the design of an information environment (e.g. a website). The same can be said for content strategy vs copywriting – the latter is a type of writing used in advertising.
What Are the Benefits of Content Planning on Social Media?
There are many reasons why content planning on social media is both important for the success of a brand’s marketing strategy and for the extra benefits it brings. Here are the most important reasons why content planning on social media is essential for you.
Content Planning on Social Media Organizes Your Activities
Having a content writing plan will help you organize all your activities on different social media platforms which will increase the effectiveness of your efforts. You will start posting content in a more systematic manner which will help you achieve the goals you set.
Content Planning on Social Media Helps You Set and Achieve Goals
Speaking of your goals, having a content governance plan for your social media activities can help you set and achieve very specific goals. You will be using the SMART strategy for setting realistic and achievable goals and determining a timeframe for achieving them.
Content Planning on Social Media Allows You to Use Your Resources Smartly
Knowing how to do content planning correctly will help you start using your resources in a smarter way. Your budget, resources, and even the tools you use can be utilized in the most efficient way when you are using a content planner.
Content Planning on Social Media Aligns Your Marketing Over Different Channels
Additionally, content planning on social media is essential for aligning all your marketing activities over different channels. Not only are you ensuring that the posts you publish on social media are scheduled at the right time, but you are also making sure that your social media marketing is in line with your blogging, email marketing, PPC advertising, etc.
Without further ado, here are the most important content planning tips you will need to follow to content plan your social media activities successfully:
#1 Perform Thorough Research and Gather Information
First and foremost, you need to perform thorough research and gather any relevant information you need to start content planning for your social media profiles. Keep in mind that planning content for YouTube will be different from having a content strategy on LinkedIn or posting on Instagram. This is why you need to understand the similarities and differences between different social media platforms – and use this knowledge smartly.
Start your research by focusing on your target audience. You need to know who your audience is before you can start planning anything else, so be thorough with the research you do about the users you will be targeting. In your content plan vorlage, you can have a rough estimation of your audience based on your current customers. But in the final version of your social media content plan, you will need to have a complete description of your audience.
It is also necessary to segment your target audience and create personas and user journey maps for each segment. Your personas will help you create content that will be targeting specific segments of your audience, and with the help of the journey maps, you will be able to guide the users from being potential customers to actually becoming your customers. Of course, you can’t personalize the content on social media the same way you do in email marketing, but you can still make it more targeted.
Another thing to research is the market. You need to clearly understand how big your share is and who your competitors are. On social media, these won’t be solely other brands selling the same products and services as you. These could also be influencers and media outlets who are publishing similar content and thus targeting the same audience as you are. Keep these nuances in mind when doing your research.
To wrap up this stage, perform keyword research and create a list of keywords you will be using. The keywords you use can be short- or long-tail ones, but you should also include query-like keywords into the mix (e.g. “how often are care plans updated”, “how much data plan do I need”). You can either perform keyword research now or when you will be making your list of content topics. Whatever you choose, never overlook performing such research – it’s much better than coming up with random keywords yourself or not using them at all.
#2 Set SMART Goals and Estimate Required Resources
The next step is to set SMART goals for your social media marketing and estimate the resources (budget, resources, and tools) required to achieve these goals. The SMART approach to setting goals stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. When you use this method, you will be able to set goals that you can actually achieve with the time and resources you have.
As you gain more experience with content marketing on social media, you will be able to better adjust your goals to your needs and abilities. Moreover, you will be able to set more challenging goals and eventually expand to target a wider audience. Obviously, you can’t do this just yet, so take your time to figure out how to utilize content on social media effectively before you start setting more difficult goals.
When it comes to the resources you will need, you need to be realistic about them and your budget. If you have a small budget, you may want to hire professional writers from the writing services reviews site Best Essays Education and outsource some or all of your content creation. This will help you maintain high content quality while spending relatively less on its creation. You can also use different apps for content planning and creation to make these processes easier for yourself and your team.
For instance, you can create a content planner in Canva, a graphic design and editing tool. Creating a content planner on Canva will allow you to build it from scratch or use one of the templates available on the platform. If you compare a Canva content planner vs Hootsuite (a professional social media planning tool), you already get more control over how your planner will look. On the other hand, you might want to go for Hootsuite simply because it is easier for you personally to set up everything.
If you do choose to build your content plan from scratch or somewhat from scratch, you can look for a content plan template Word and then use the template in MS Word to plan your content on social media. Alternatively, consider using Content Queen Planner and Content Planner Drupal, both of which are popular content planning tools for social media marketing.
There are many content planning tools free and paid, so it’s up to you what you choose to use. The same can be said for content creation tools that will help you create content faster and more efficiently. Some of the most popular examples of free tools for content creation and editing include:
- Grammarly (grammatical text proofreading)
- Hemingway Editor (stylistic text proofreading)
- Canva (image editing and graphic design)
- DaVinci Resolve (video editing)
#3 Select Your Social Media Channels and Choose Content Formats
Next, you will need to select your social media channels and choose the content formats you will be using. As mentioned earlier, there are many different social media platforms you can post on, so knowing how similar or different they are will be crucial for the success of your marketing. Here are just some of the most popular platforms and channels:
- Instagram – One of the most widely used platforms that relies on visual content and can be perfect for growing a loyal social media following base. Very popular among younger generations.
- Twitter – Another popular platform for posting small bits of content to engage with the audience. A lot of potential to go viral is your tweet gets a lot of engagement.
- Facebook – One of the oldest social media platforms that is not so popular with teenagers but still widely used by middle-aged and older users.
- YouTube – The biggest video sharing platform ideal for having a dedicated channel for video marketing.
- Pinterest – A well-known platform that focuses on visual content even more than Instagram. Ideal for promoting products.
- TikTok – The most recent social media platform that became extremely popular in the past few years. Widely used by teenagers and well-known for its focus short video format.
- LinkedIn – A special social media platform for professional connections that can be used for improving brand reputation, finding new talent to join your team, etc.
- Other – Quora and Reddit can be ideal for engaging in discussions. Spotify, iTunes, and Soundcloud can be used for podcasting. Messengers (Messenger, WhatsApp, Telegram, Viber, etc.) can be used for messenger marketing. Asian social media platforms (e.g. WeChat, QQ, Weibo, etc.) are ideal for targeting respective audiences.
Your content planning matrix will need to include several platforms that you want to use, but you don’t necessarily need to use all of them. Moreover, depending on the types of content marketing you want to focus on, you will need to dedicate more time to specific platforms. For instance, planning video content will likely apply to multiple platforms, but it will be particularly important for your content plan for YouTube because it is the primary video-sharing platform at the moment.
Whoever you hire for your content planner job needs to understand that content without strategy is just stuff. They need to be able to work with different platforms effectively and organize all your content marketing activities on social media in the most efficient and impactful way possible. So when you are writing your content planner job description for your listing, require your potential content planning manager to show that they have the skills, experience, and expertise to do their job well.
You will also need to discuss your content formats with your content planning manager. Organize a content planning workshop for all your teammates and brainstorm together what kinds of formats you will be working with. Some of the common content formats include images (Instagram posts), videos (YouTube videos), text (Twitter tweets), and audio (Spotify podcasts).
#4 Brainstorm Ideas and Make a List of Content Topics
In addition to choosing the formats you will be working with, you will also need to brainstorm ideas and make a list of content topics. This is also the step when you can perform keyword research if you haven’t performed it already. For your content planning and optimization on social media to give you the best results, you need to know for sure what kinds of topics will be the most relevant and interesting for your target audience.
When brainstorming ideas, always prioritize your target audience. The topics you create content about should be interesting and valuable to your target users above all else. The content you create can be either informational, educational, or entertaining, but it should achieve its goals depending on its purpose. In other words, your platforms, formats, audience, and goals will all help you determine your content topics.
An interesting idea is to group your content ideas or topics. This way, you can post content regularly in a more systematic way. Not only should you group them by evergreen vs trending topics, but also by the topic importance (e.g. more valuable vs less valuable to the audience) and topic focus (e.g. hair care vs skincare).
#5 Create Your Content Yourself or Outsource Its Creation
Now that you have everything planned and ready, you can actually start creating your content either yourself or by outsourcing its creation. Indeed, you don’t necessarily have to create all your content yourself if you don’t have time for it or you want to decrease your content creation expenses. There are many companies already outsourcing their content creation (and other activities), so it’s actually becoming a trend.
You can hire experienced writers from the custom writing reviews site Trust My Paper who will write content for you. Moreover, you can even hire these writers to create scripts for your videos and short pieces of text you will use in your images (e.g. infographics, graphs, tables, charts, etc.) Another way to streamline your content creation process is by hiring a virtual assistant who will manage different tasks for you such as scheduling, booking, communications, and so on.
If you have a team of your own content creators, then you should let them create your content for you following all the planning you have done so far. A good idea is to also have a dedicated content guide where you outline content topics, formats, quality requirements, visual branding guidelines, and so on. This way, all your content will maintain the same standards across all your social media profiles.
#6 Diversify Your Content Over Time and Expand Your Audience
When it comes to your long-term content marketing strategy on social media, it’s best to think about your possibilities in a year’s time (or even a few years ahead). Of course, you can’t say for sure how big your brand will be by that point, but you can still make plans and consider different scenarios so that you are already building a foundation with your content marketing on social media.
The best thing you can do no matter how fast your brand grows is to aim for diversification and expansion. Diversifying your content over time is critical for ensuring that your marketing efforts are always giving you good results. You should be trying new content formats, covering more topics, and experimenting with different techniques. Diversification and experimentation are the keys to innovation.
In addition to that, you should be looking to gradually expand your target audience. For instance, you can start opening profiles on more social media platforms over time. Likewise, you can start covering topics in other related niches that could help you reach more potential customers.
#7 Make a Schedule for the Content You Want to Publish
Back to the present, you will need to have a schedule for all the content you want to be publishing across multiple social media platforms. Your content schedule is also a part of your content strategy on social media, so you need to create it before you start posting your content. When deciding when you want to post specific pieces of content, take into account factors such as:
- When it is most comfortable for you to post your content.
- When your target audience is most active on a specific platform during the day.
- When your target audience is most active on a specific platform during the week.
- How often you can post content based on your content creation abilities.
- How often you need to post content to achieve the goals you set for it.
- The specifics of different types of content you post (e.g. a weekly roundup of top news stories will have to be posted every week).
When you just start posting, you might realize that some of your content doesn’t perform as well as you want it to. The issue could be in the time when you are posting this content, so try to publish it during different times of the day and week and see whether you get better results. If this is the case, adjust your schedule accordingly.
#8 Align Activities on Social Media with Other Platforms
Last but not least, don’t forget to align all your content marketing activities both across different social media platforms and across other platforms and channels you use for marketing. Aligning all your marketing activities this way will help you maximize the results you get from your promotional campaigns and your regular content publishing.
For instance, if you are launching a giveaway on Instagram, you will need to make an Instagram post to announce it. Then, you can post several Stories further promoting and explaining the giveaway. You can then launch a native ad campaign on Instagram to further expand the audience you will be reaching with your giveaway announcement. This way, content marketing and advertising on Instagram will be working together to promote your giveaway.
If you want to increase the number of potential participants even more, you can launch your ad campaign on Facebook simultaneously with the one on Instagram. Moreover, you can even announce your giveaway on other platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube among others. As long as you coordinate your activities and align them this way, you will be able to get the best results from your marketing efforts.
Final Thoughts on Content Planning on Social Media
All in all, content planning on social media is essential for achieving your social media marketing goals. You need to be able to reach your target audience, engage it, and convert potential customers into actual customers. Go through all the steps described in this article to create your own content plan and start marketing successfully on social media.
Lillie Jenkins is a creative copywriter and content writer. She has worked as a copywriter since graduating school, so her writing skills are well-honed. She writes publications in such fields as marketing, business, education, and personal life. More than writing Lillie loves to travel and read professional literature.