Develop Your Social Media Content

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Mana detailed eight tips to find your audience.  Now that you found your audience, it’s time to develop your social media content strategy. It’s time to work on the social media content that will move your audience.

Your social media content should be compelling and relevant to your target audience, because tailoring your content to what interests your audience the most is the best way to motivate them. So the next step in your 2013 social media planning is to:

Develop Your Social Media Content.

Create Your Content Repertoire

The ideal content mix should blend thought leadership, tips and tutorials, announcements, conversational pieces, round-ups and light fun content. This content should seek to solve problems: help your customers, strategic partners and potential clients; and engage your audience.

Identifying the kind of content that you should promote is established by determining what you want to say and what you want others to say about you.

Determine What You Want and Should Say

Identifying the messages you want to communicate should be easy. You’ve already defined your business objectives and goals for 2013, and a good marketing plan’s purpose is to support these objectives and goals. Starting with those goals and how you can support them through marketing messaging will be a good start. Begin by asking yourself these eight questions to get you started. Also think about:

  • What are your top business goals for 2013?
  • How can you support these goals through content marketing?
  • Will your content solve problems for your audience?
  • What kind of messages will motivate your targets to take action on your behalf?

By now you should have a long list of content, messages and ideas you’d like to communicate. But before you start writing, you have to decide how this content will impact what others think about you and your company. Will they view you as the leader in your niche market?

Next step:

Determine What You Want Others to Say About You

Some call this “voice.” Do you want to be seen as hip or as stiff? Do you want to be seen as cool or dull? Often times, businesses miss this very important step. But doing so can result in a misalignment of your business goals, objectives and messaging.

  • If you want to be viewed as a thought leader, you’ll need to author thought-provoking and insightful content in your realm of expertise. For example, our client Orbit Media often writes about topics such as Google Authorship, best practices for web design and branding tips. These articles help demonstrate’s Orbit’s thought leadership in the web design space.
  • If you want to be thought of as the go-to business in a service space, you need to proactively and freely provide tips and help, which position you as the go-to resource. For example, our client Fleet Feet Sports Chicago often tweets tips on how to dress for your run depending on today’s weather. For many runners, they’ve become the go-to resource for their pre-run preparation.
  • If you want to be…

You get the idea. Here’s how to refine your messages to make sure they align with what you want others to say about you:

Research your industry. Identify the leaders in your space and identify what they’re doing well. What types of content are they distributing? How are they wording this content? What can your content offer that would supplement this? How will this help define you as the leader you want to be in this space?

Research your audience. Learn what keeps up your audiences at night. What can you do for them? What knowledge and expertise do you have and can share freely to meet their needs? How can you tailor your content to communicate this message to them?

Find out what your audience is talking about. Listen to them. The types of questions and content your audience shares is indicative of their problems and concerns and what interests them most.

By figuring this out, you can supply similar content that meets these needs. This is what I mean by creating compelling and relevant content to your audience, and is one of the most important elements of your social media marketing plan. When you create and distribute compelling content, you are more likely to compel your audience to act on your behalf  because they (1) see you as as a leader and (2) address their issues/concerns.

So what content do you have that will satisfy your audience’s concerns? How can you create similar content that will help define you as a resource?

Identify what content and messages of yours can match up with your industry research and audience. Here’s where you put it all together. By matching your messages with the needs of your audiences, you will match what you want to say about your business with what you want others to say about you.

Tell Your Story

Now that you’ve determined what you want to say and what you want others to say about you, you may still feel a little lost. How do you get started creating content? The biggest thing to remember is you already have a story to tell, so start small and look to content you already have available to you.

Use your existing marketing materials. Print materials, brochures, advertising, pamphlets and your website are a great place to start. You’ve already established content, your voice and tone. Even better, these messages can be broken down into social media sized pieces (can anyone say 140 characters or less?) to communicate over time.

Start with your inbox. I’ve suggested this before, but it bears repeating: Check your outgoing emails for answers to key questions you’ve already answered for your clients and strategic partners. This information makes great blog posts and can save you time the next time you’re asked the same question. Instead of retyping your response, you can send the person to your website. Bonus: Increased website traffic and more potential for the contact to learn more about you!

Identify and write about content themes. With all of your newfound research about how the industry and your audience is conversing online, you likely identified some common themes. Choose a handful you’d like to cover that will help you deliver your message based on your business offerings. You can discuss how your services would satisfy specific problems or provide insight on industry trends. Start with what you know and create articles around those themes.

Show your personal side. Don’t forget about the behind-the-scenes, inside story of your business: your culture. Giving your business a personality and a face is key, as we know people fall in love with people,  not brands. Distribute photos of your employees, company events and around the office. Everyone loves pictures and your audience wants to know the complete you, not just the business persona you project.

Next, we’ll cover how to get your audience to engage with all of this great content.

This is a four-part series. Check out Part 1: 8 Tips to Find Your Social Media AudiencePart 3: Compel Your Social Media Audience to Act and Part 4: 7 Essential Steps to Social Media Lead Generation and Conversion.

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Since founding Lightspan, Mana has quickly established herself as one of Chicago's leading voices in social media and digital marketing. A decisive problem-solver fluent in five languages, Mana believes in clear objectives, simple solutions and the power of purpose in marketing. Credos: "No excuses" and "Find a way!"
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