Building a Social Media Strategy: Create (Part 3)

In our past blogs, we have covered the strategic and analytical bits of building a social media plan. What follows is certainly more fun (for me at least), but no less important. The next step is to create the content – copy and graphics – that will support your strategy and engage your audience(s). How and what you create is both the culmination of your planning and the mechanism for engaging with your social media following.

Step 3: Create

Creating content for your social media campaigns can be daunting. It requires skills, or team members with skills, in writing copy, creating graphics, identifying hashtags, and so on. Being successful means crafting a workflow that supports your process (or your team) and finding tools that work for you.

Creating a workflow that works for you

The workflow for creating content is straightforward, and generally looks like –

How this plays out will be different in every company or organization, but it should make it easier – and never harder – for you to get your posts online. A successful workflow should move forward in an obvious and intuitive way, while also working in parallel at times. This will most likely evolve and change as you work / new features or platforms, shifts in trends or personnel.

Tools Worth Considering

A good workflow is only as good as the tools you use, and there are a lot of options out there. You will need to do your research to identify the right options for your needs, budget, and company requirements, but I highly recommend exploring the following areas:

  • Social media monitoring – keep track of your own brand and relevant trends and competitors
  • Research – Investigate hashtags, keywords, and audience demographics
  • Content curation – Find and keep track of content to share
  • Content creation – Create engaging content that meets your social media objectives
  • Collaboration – Work with your team wherever they may be
  • Publishing and scheduling – Make sure those posts go out on time, every time. (even better if you have them scheduled a couple weeks out in advance)
  • Analytics – See what’s working and what needs work

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Inkbench can help in more than one of those areas, including content creation and collaboration.

Lastly, don’t forget to explore the free tools that the social media platforms provide. Some of the best analytics reporting tools come directly from the platforms themselves.

Curating Content

I want to spend some time talking about what you need to create. You do not have to come up with original, beautiful content for each platform each and every day. In fact, don’t do that. Aim for 40% created (original) content and 60% curated (borrowed) content in your posting calendar. (And remember, you don’t have to post every day either!)

Lean into content that is already available. That may mean reposting or repurposing content that you have created or posting curated content. Curated content is content that belongs to someone else, but you share (with due credit) on your social media. Curated content balances out self-promotional content and demonstrates knowledge or thought leadership. It can also build new relationships with others in or adjacent to your field, which can boost followership and engagement. Curated content includes sharing news articles, posts from other people/groups, and posts or comments from your own followers.

A great way to source content to share is to follow the thought leaders and respected names in your field (look especially to your own leadership) as well as industry groups. Some platforms, for example LinkedIn, will also suggest content for you to follow as a result, which is a free and easy way to find content to curate for your own channels.

A few words on your brand

When it comes to social media, your brand is your business and your business is your brand. Always make sure to protect and respect your brand when posting. BE CONSISTENT in your content style and voice. Everything should look and sound like it’s coming from your organization.

I always recommend including (at the very least) your logo or a branded hashtag on your posted images. This way, when your post (or just the image) goes viral, those millions of people know who created it and can come back to you. It is not strictly self-promotional to include your logo on your created content. It’s a way of protecting your content and your organization’s brand. You can be proud without being aggressive.

If you do see your original content out there somewhere without credit, don’t be afraid to ask for credit, or to make a positive situation out a potentially negative one. The internet is a BIG place, and sometimes content gets separated from its source. Speak out for your brand.

Brand your profiles too

No space is to be wasted on social media profiles. Make sure to brand your profiles as well as your content. Be creative and play to both the platform and your audience, but always be consistent. You want a follower to know exactly who is posting.

Consider seasonal changes, updates around major events or campaigns, and so on to keep your profiles fresh and interesting. People love finding those little details that are unexpected, and make a company feel relatable or interesting.

Tell a story

You will hear from many reputable sources that storytelling is the key to a successful social media campaign, and it really is. Crafting authentic, engaging content is the most important ingredient to social media success.

Today, with all the challenges and unknowns, our stories need to be clear, empathetic, and straightforward. While you may be focusing on a specific goal right now – maybe reopening your doors and bringing customers back in – you are also laying the foundation for your communications in the next month, quarter, and year. Social media never forgets, and your customers will remember tomorrow what you say today.

Separate design from productivity

Let’s talk about design. Design is important. (You’re never going to find a creative director that says otherwise.) However, good design takes time, and doesn’t usually fare well under pressure.

Take time upfront to decide on layouts or designs you can work with. Come up with a few ‘go-to’ styles and stick with them. Be consistent with your brand and create a pool of options to use when something needs to be posted. This will prepare you for last-minute posts as well as planned content.

Upfront work reduces the chance of errors, but it also relieves the stress of “finding the right image” and “being creative” when you may already be under pressure. Keeping a curated library of on-brand imagery to pull from, a selection of already designed templates to work with, and setting up brand controls around things like colors and fonts will make the actual work of creating content easier.

Again, this is where Inkbench comes in. On a single platform, you can house all of your digital assets – photos, logos, illustrations, videos, animations – and then pull from that library to design and build graphics for your social media channels. Regardless of whether you are a designer or not, you can design and export eye-catching images that stay true to your brand. You can create reusable templates from those designs to spin out new content quickly and efficiently.

The built-in approval workflow also makes it easy to get those designed pieces approved and ready to be scheduled without back-and-forth emails and less risk of losing important changes.

Now what?

In the end, creating content for social media should satisfy two requirements – tell a story (that aligns with your social media objectives) and engage your audience. Your written content, including captions and hashtags, should work hand-in-hand with your created content, such as video and graphics, to meet those requirements.

Once you’ve gotten your content posted to your social media channels, celebrate it. Share your posts, encourage employees, and team members to share posts, and engage with your followers. Then, we check in to see how it’s going. Stop back next week to learn more about what to look for.

Next, we evaluate.

Want to take your social media strategy to the next level? Contact us for a demo to see how Inkbench can streamline your workflow and empower your team.

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Author: Stephanie Beighley
Stephanie Beighley, Creative Director for Inkbench, has been defining and developing brand experiences for both clients and agencies throughout her two-decade career. Her creative aesthetic and communication style are heavily influenced by her experience in front-end development and UI/UX design. Prior to joining the Inkbench team, Stephanie was an Inkbench power-user, and brings her skills and experience to helping subscribers with everything from implementation to design direction, as well as being actively involved in crafting the overall user experience.
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