Content Planning For Social Media: 10 Best Practices
Social media is a source of happiness for many, but for some, it’s a gold mine for income. We can see massive growth of influencers and online celebrities over the years. Moreover, businesses of all scales have used online platforms to approach broader prospects.
Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok marketing have become even more popular. Numerous businesses have succeeded in capitalising on social media, but others sadly fail to thrive. What could be the problems?
According to a study, 61.6% of 1,000 small to medium-sized businesses fail to leverage social media. They don’t value the online space as an effective marketing tool for their business. While in fact, they haven’t adjusted the best practices yet.
Content planning for social media is key to successful marketing. It’s not about posting as much content as possible or promoting your brand 24/7. But, it’s rather about creativity and strategy.
Therefore, we’ve garnered the ten best practices for content planning for social media platforms to help you thrive in the global industry. Before delving deeper, let’s discover the most prominent social media below.
The Biggest Social Media Platforms
It becomes necessary for business owners and modern marketers to know the social media trend nowadays, including which platforms are most crowded.
We may know Facebook and Instagram as giant platforms, but we can’t forget TikTok as a potential entrant. Regarding the number of monthly active users, here are some of the biggest social media platforms as of January 2023.
Total active users: 2.9 billion
Since 2004, Facebook has grown into a giant social media platform. It goes beyond a place to connect people regardless of any borders.
Facebook has become a legit marketing place for solo entrepreneurs to big companies. It even has a marketplace where people can buy, sell, and auction goods.
Total active users: 2.5 billion
YouTube is the largest video-based social media as of now. It becomes solid that people of our generation get more addicted to video content.
Thus, many businesses utilise video as a part of their marketing strategy. The platform also provides many features for marketing purposes, such as YouTube ads.
Total active users: 1.4 billion
First came as a photo-based online platform; Instagram joined the video trend in 2013. Since then, the popularity of the platforms has soared even more.
Instagram also has business features where people can directly sell and buy products. Businesses can use its paid ads feature to reach a broader audience.
Total active users: 1 billion
At only six years old, TikTok successfully stormed the social media industry. The number of active TikTok users surpassed its forerunner, Twitter, Snapchat, and Pinterest.
TikTok brings out a new trend with short and vertical videos. With massive users of the younger generations, TikTok also evolves into a business platform.
Still, more social media platforms can be good channels for your marketing strategy.
You can look further to Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn to reach more audiences with different preferences and characteristics.
Best Practices for Content Planning for Social Media
Getting the best of social media is all about content planning and strategy. Any reckless action will only lead you to nowhere. So, make sure your effort, time, budget, and all dedication don’t go in vain.
Here are the ten best practices for content planning for social media. We’ve broken down the essentials to help you build a robust strategy to optimise results and stay ahead of competitors.
#1. Analyse and Pinpoint Your Goals
Before anything else, make a clear list of the goals you want to achieve on social media. Whether you want to collect audiences, raise brand awareness, gather prospects, or get higher sales.
Analyse your goals, including how you will achieve them and why you need to. Moreover, you can also set different goals for specific time frames.
For example, you want to garner audiences or followers in the first two months and turn them into prospective buyers for the next month. Then, in the next few months, you should generate higher sales and eventually get a higher ROI at the end of the year.
A thing to remember is that social media marketing is not a one-night game. In most cases, you need some time to make everything work. What matters the most is never quit your game during the battle. If you sense something is wrong, you must find ways out and adjust better approaches.
#2. Decide Which Platforms to Leverage
As you build your plan, decide which platforms to use as your marketing channels. You should consider the significant social media, from Facebook to TikTok. However, the more platforms you use, the more effort you need.
Each platform has different content preferences, so research their philosophy before plunging into them. For example, they all have room for video content but carry different style preferences to their platforms.
Furthermore, consider your target audience when choosing social media for marketing channels. Facebook and YouTube are great places to reach all types of audiences regardless of their age, gender, income, and nationality.
However, if you want to focus on approaching the MZ, Instagram and TikTok are the platforms they’re most likely on. Not to mention some other platforms like Twitter and Snapchat. LinkedIn is a place to go if your target audience is professionals.
#3. Identify Your Target Audience
Another vital step in content planning is to identify your target audience. Do you want to approach teenagers, the mature group, or the elites? Or do you want to target female or male buyers?
You must run comprehensive target audience research to develop the most suitable content for them. The most common research for marketing is delving into demographic and psychographic factors.
Demographic research allows you to identify audiences’ gender, age, ethnicity, education, family size, religion, and income. Psychographic research looks for the target audience’s attitudes, interests, personalities, values, and buying habits.
The more comprehensive your target audience research, the more helpful it is. You’ll be able to define the best type of content for your audiences, including choosing the most suitable colour, tone, and video styles.
#4. Plan Your Content Specifically According to the Platforms
Each social media platform has its content preferences. So making one-fit-all content won’t work, including video content. You may think creating such a type will be all-efficient, but it is not.
It would help if you comprehensively researched what content will work best for each social media platform. But, here are a brief video content preference by the big-four social media:
- Informative and valuable stories
- Authentic and accurate content
- Respectful behaviour
- High-quality videos 1280 x 720 (landscape or portrait)
- Landscape video ratio: 16:9
- Portrait video ratio: 9:16
- Video format: .MP4 and MOV with a maximum size of 4GB
- Authentic, informative, entertaining content
- Recommended dimensions video: 240p, 360p, 480p, 720p, 1080p, 1440p, 2160p
- The aspect ratio for landscape video is 16:9
- Video length maximum: 12 hours (shorter is better for marketing purposes)
- Video length for shorts: 60 seconds
- Video formats: .MP4, .MOV, .AVI, .MPEG4, .AVI, .WMV, .MPEGPS, .FLV, 3GPP, and WebM.
- Valuable and authentic content
- High-quality photos and videos
- Posts with related tags
- Minimum video resolution: 1080 x 1080 (landscape, square, and vertical)
- Video length for in-feed posts: 3 – 60 seconds
- Video length for story posts: 2 – 15 seconds
- Video length for reel posts: 3 – 30 seconds
- Video formats: .MP4 and.MOV
- Authentic content
- Avoid recycled content from other social media
- Informative and valuable content
- Recommended to follow the trend
- Vertical videos are preferred
- Recommended resolution: 1080 x 1920
- Aspect ratio: 9:16 (the best fit for smartphone screens)
- Video length: 15 – 60 seconds
- Video formats: .MP4 or .MOV
Make sure you create content with preferable and recommended characteristics for each platform. Keep your content authentic, informative, valuable, and entertaining for audiences. Also, avoid recycling content without any adjustment.
#5. Understand the Rule of Thumb for Posting Content
The rule of social media marketing is not about posting content as much as possible or always being promotional to audiences. The most used rule-of-thumb for publishing content is the 80/20 and 4-1-1 rule.
This rule signifies that 80% of your content should be valuable to audiences. Either they are informative, educational, or entertaining. So it would be best if you put aside any promotional intentions.
However, you can explicitly promote your business in 20% of your content. Consider adding a link where people can purchase your products.
The 4-1-1 rule is similar to the 80/20 rule to some extent. It means every six posts on your social media, four should be valuable, one is for a soft sell, and one is for a hard sell.
Following one of the two rules can help you balance your social media content and avoid being too pushy for audiences.
#6. Find the Best Time to Posting Content
One of the keys to thriving content is to post at the best times when audiences are most likely to be online. This way, you can generate more views and engagement that can lead to conversions.
The best time to post on social media is Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 10 am. It’s better to avoid posting content during weekends as audiences are more likely to enjoy the offline world.
Here is a list of the best time to post content on social media:
- Facebook: Tuesday and Thursday (8 am – 12 pm)
- YouTube: Thursday and Friday (12 pm – 3 pm)
- Instagram: Wednesday (11 am)
- TikTok: Thursday (7 pm)
However, you may find better time options to publish content. You can look into the analytic page of each platform to find out what time your content generates the most views and engagement.
#7. Create a Content Calendar
It can get hectic and complicated if you use multiple social media for marketing. You have to post different content to each platform every day. To ensure nothing is left behind, you should create a content calendar.
Project management tools also have collaboration features where you can assign specific assignments to your team members. Some project management tool recommendations are, Asana, Basecamp, Bitrix24, and Wrike.
#8. Encourage Audiences to Give Comments or Feedback
Most social media platforms give a better push for content with high viewers and engagements. So, the more crowded your post, the higher your chance of getting your content viral. One of the platforms that work this way is TikTok.
Therefore, encourage your audiences to react to your content, whether it’s a like or comment. You can end your content with open-ended questions or ask their opinion and feedback on specific topics.
Not only is it suitable for your content performance, but encouraging audiences to leave comments can help you build relationships with them. So, they value you more than just a brand or seller, which leads to better impressions.
#9. Be Active and Responsive to Audiences’ Questions
Just because you post content daily doesn’t mean you’re active enough. Take your time to connect with audiences and respond to their questions on your posts, chats, or direct messages.
Many prospective customers ask questions on social media because it’s easier that way than going to a brand’s website. They also hope to get answers within 24 hours. The faster you respond to their questions, the more likely you’ll convert them and increase sales.
#10. Measure and Analyse Results
Another key to note when content planning is how you’ll measure the results. It would be best if you looked at your goals once again. What measure points do you need to check? And what goals do you want to see?
Every social media platform has an analytic page that lets you see your content performance. Pen down what you should improve and find a more robust strategy to overcome problems.
Once you see the results, you make more effort on the platforms that drive more results. Continually improve your content quality and marketing strategy to gather more audiences, prospects, and customers so you’ll see a positive ROI at the end of the year.
The points above are some of the best practices for content planning for social media platforms. You can use it to build your online presence and create a robust marketing strategy in the cyber community.
One last thing, social media marketing is also about embracing social listening. So, keep an eye on the latest content trends and adjust those to level up your social media feeds.
Moreover, online marketing trends will also be constantly changing. Always upgrade and follow the trend to stay ahead of your competitors and thrive in the global industry.
Author Bio: Andre Oentoro is the founder of Breadnbeyond, an award-winning explainer video production company. He helps businesses increase conversion rates, close more sales, and get positive ROI from explainer videos (in that order).