May 23, 2017

Applying Content-First Strategy to Social Media

Applying Content-First Strategy to Social Media

If you’re getting into the social media game, it’s best to come equipped with a strong content strategy. Social media is competitive, and to grow the fan base you deserve, you need patience and a plan. One of the biggest concerns made by companies is they do not want to invest heavy resources or time into social. By approaching with a content-first strategy, you put in place all the resources and processes to ensure you’re exerting energy in areas where it will have the most impact. You wouldn’t start a game without a field, referees and equipment, would you?

What’s a Content-First Approach?

Simply put, a content-first approach means discovering, assessing and writing great content before it ventures out onto the field. It’s a playbook for what you want to say, how it will be relevant to your audience and why you are saying it. Only after creating this content do you assess how to deliver it in engaging ways to your audience — through paid advertising, retargeting, influencers, video and more.

In other words, know what you want to convey first. Then decide where the best platforms are for getting it out so you can tailor your content accordingly. Doing so will ensure you’re focused on creating powerful content that will better engage your audience.

How Social is Different

Social media is just one of many outlets for sharing native content with your audiences – but it is one that has gained tremendous popularity with businesses over the last few years, making it harder to connect with audiences.

Not only that, but there are a lot of social platforms out there, all with unique characteristics for which types of content perform better. From Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn (more traditional networks) to Snapchat, WhatsApp, and YouTube — there are a lot of options and mediums to publish content.

Despite the noise and the glut of options, social is where your fan base lives, checks in, posts photos, discovers products and connects with the greater world, so it is important to be present.

Creating Your Content-First Strategy

Producing content for social media requires establishing a process that can be repeated and scaled according to your needs and growth. Production cycles will vary on your resources but often require a variation of these phases:

  • Discovery/Research
  • Ideation
  • Writing/Copy Editing
  • Publishing
  • Management
  • Analytics/Insights

By establishing a process for producing content on social, you have the opportunity to identify areas for improvement over time and to plan efficiently for resources. Creating an editorial calendar can help to keep your team on track as well as to pair content with events, trends or campaigns.  

Next, identify your passions for your industry and business. Write down the key aspects of your business that provide useful and relevant solutions to your target audiences. This is the nexus of your content-first strategy – marrying enthusiasm with real-world solutions to start a conversation with your audience.

Every piece of content should address:

  • What pain are you solving?
  • Why should your audience care?
  • What do you want them to do with this information?
  • Can you support it with visuals?

Now that you know what you want to convey – it’s time to tailor content for social. Each social platform has a unique audience and style. Tailoring content for each platform ensures your content will perform the best it can on that medium. Across all platforms, social content must be easily consumable.

For example:

  • Twitter — 140 characters with a shortened URL, photos (no video) and hashtags are all good to include in a post.
  • Facebook — Easily digestible content (<200 characters) with short videos or one to multiple photos, a link and a clear call-to-action help garner attention in a content-heavy stream.
  • LinkedIn — Direct and professional tone with a link and photograph to help illustrate the article or post.   

Social media content can be derived and repurposed from earned/owned content such as:

  • Sharing blogs or articles from your website
  • Case studies, customer testimonials, portfolio work
  • Industry-relevant news that includes a unique perspective or take within the post
  • Events
  • Videos
  • Photographs or design

Next it’s time to get into production. Put that editorial calendar to work with planned publish dates and times, and assess engagement and growth along the way. The season never ends with social, so remember to prepare for the long-game with a solid content-first strategy.

Need to back up a step to decide if you should even be on social media? We have a nifty list to help you out.