Creating content for social networks is a creative process, and like all creative processes it has a lot of individual spark. That is why many companies are scared when they approach the process and decide better to delegate it to “experts”. But honestly, creating content for Iceland Phone Number List media doesn’t have to be a complex task for business; because designing a strategy would create order and skills could be developed in the team. How to do it? Turning that creative task into an administrative one, which is easy to follow and perfect.
If a complex task is subdivided into small chained exercises, the work could be simpler. Creating a chair seems like a complex task, but it can be simplified and optimized if it is subdivided into: designing the chair, creating the parts that compose it, assembling it and testing it. By doing this fragmentation, we realize that we know how to do two or three of these subtasks and that would save resources. We, for example, know how to design, assemble and test the chair, therefore, we would only need to pay a carpenter to make each piece for us and then go to a hardware store to buy some implements. Thus, what in principle was paying for everything became paying for something specific in the process.What we propose in this article is to atomize the complex task of creating a content strategy for social networks, to discover all the actors that participate in the process and make one by one the decisions that will lead us to the expected result: convert the content into a business asset.
Understand the communication process
The first step in building a content strategy for social networks is to understand the communication process; because without mastering the essential concepts of this —those that we learned in elementary school—, it will be very difficult for us to keep in mind all the variables that affect the result.The communicative process is defined as the effective transmission of a message through a channel, from a sender to a receiver. Mainly, seven elements participate in the complete circuit of the communicative act —there are others, but for our case they are not transcendental—: the sender, the receiver, the channel, the noise, the message, the code and the reaction. Each of them contributes or subtracts for effective communication to take place. Therefore, any communication initiative – and content for social networks is – should observe them separately to dominate them and put them to play in their favor.
We are going to know the seven elements, one by one, to better understand their participation in the communication process:The issuer . It is the individual or organization that initiates the communication process. In our case, the issuer is the brand or business that has a presence on social networks and wants to start sending messages through them. Understanding and analyzing ourselves as issuers is an important stage for the design of a content strategy for social networks because it forces us to take responsibility for the communication process.
The receiver . It is the one to whom the sender’s message is addressed. On social media, the recipient is the Forex Email List audience that follows us or anyone who sees our posts. The receiver is the raison d’être of the communicative process because what the sender always aspires to is for him to receive the information. If the sender sends a message and no one receives it, a communication circuit will not be created, consequently, the sender’s effort to transmit will be wasted.
The channel . It is the physical or digital medium that the sender uses to send the message to the receiver. It is an element that must always be taken into account in the communication process because in many cases it favors or hinders the transmission of the message. For our case, the channel could be Instagram, a blog or an email.
Noise . It is an obstacle to complete the communication cycle. It is a barrier that the channel brings with it and that hinders the efficiency in the transmission of the message. For example, having a conversation in the middle of a concert is not a simple task, because the noise present on the channel makes it difficult to send and receive messages. But noise does not refer exclusively to sound issues, the excess of messages published on social networks is also noise. Taking this into account is critical when designing a content plan for social networks. The message . It is the piece of information that the sender sends to the receiver through the channel. A post by a brand on Instagram is a message – the brand is the sender, the followers are the receivers, Instagram is the channel, and the post is the message. So when we design a post, what we do is create a message. Easy! This means that a content strategy for social networks could be defined as the planning of the messages that the brand will send to its audience through a specific channel. The code . The message must be encoded in the language that the sender and receiver have in common or agreed to. And we speak of language as the system that allows actors to communicate orally, visually or in writing. A text written in a language that both the sender and the receiver understand ends up being the code for the transmission of the message. An image, an audio or a video are also codes that we have at our disposal in the digital world to communicate. The reaction . Finally, this is the one that completes the communication circuit. A sender sends a message through a channel to a receiver who reacts to the information. A like , a comment or the beginning of a conversation between the brand and the user are reactions. Going to buy a product of the business or recommending it are also reactions. In the communicative process, reactions are closely related to the objectives that people and organizations set for themselves in a communication action; that is why they are very important.
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The 10 questions to create a content plan for social networks
When it comes to designing a content strategy for social media, many marketers switch priorities: they spend too much time discussing the form and little time on the message – the important thing. Every day we come across many questions focused on the form: how many times do I have to post on Instagram? How long should the message be? or what is the best format: text, image or video? But few about the substance: what issues should I address? What kind of messages catch the audience’s attention? or what tone and language are appropriate for a particular channel? The true experts in creating content for social networks – those who become true influencers of a community – know that a content strategy has much more to do with the knowledge of the receiver than with the creativity in the code. They understand a fundamental premise: when the content contributes, the rest does not matter.We have a very simple methodology to create a content strategy. It is made up of ten questions classified into four stages. Once the four stages have been passed and the ten questions answered, the business will have a clear idea of what its content will be for social networks. We detail this methodology below:
First stage: the definition of the editorial line
The editorial line is a concept closely linked to the media and content, but few give it the importance it deserves. The editorial line is the master document of a content strategy, because it defines the orientation of the issuer’s publications. In the editorial line, the communication intentions, the topics to be addressed, the formats that best adapt to the messages and the receiver, and the sources from which the information will be obtained are chosen. The editorial line is the essence of a medium, because it is in charge of forging its personality and presenting its interests and narrative to the audience. An account on Instagram, a blog or an email marketing effort is a means created by a company to interact with the market, therefore, it should have a well-defined editorial line.
To design an editorial line you have to answer five of the ten questions of the process of creating a content strategy, and all of them begin with: what, why or for what. Let’s review them one by one:
1. Why create content?
Well yes, we already know that to sell and grow the business, but you can not stay with that obvious answer. Taking the time to explore this first question and answer it in detail is key to the process. The general declaration of intent is a fundamental phase for your future decisions. Do you want to create a community, connect with your customers, promote events, educate consumers, or all of the above? Asking yourself these kinds of questions is the point!
Those who build content must have a clear answer to the “why”, only then can they get it right when plotting their route. The more complex the intentions and the more objectives you set yourself, the deeper the content plan for social networks should be. And quantifying the complexity of the communication plan objectives is critical to making the best decisions on the questions that follow in the methodology.
2. What channel to use?
Yes, when I create a content strategy I must be clear about the channel in which I am going to develop it — ah, and that also means that you must have a plan for each channel! In this question we have to work on three things: (i) the selection of the channel, (ii) the understanding of the particularities of the chosen channel and (iii) the revision of the noise within the channel.
When it comes to choosing the channel, you can’t make the mistake of letting yourself be carried away by the flow, by a fad or a whim — for example, my daughter loves Instagram, so we have to be there. The selection has to be rational and involve all the variables: the objectives set, the analysis of the audience of each social network and the exploration of the team’s capabilities. For example, if your business goal is to educate young consumers and you have a highly competent digital team, YouTube could be a great option. Once the channel is chosen, you will have to get into it from head to toe. The person or team that is designing the content strategy for social networks must understand it, consume it and soak up its peculiarities. That is the only way to create a consistent plan. The idea, then, is to review its advantages and dangers, the type of users who consume it and the kind of content that has the best results.
Finally, an analysis of the noise inside the canal must be carried out to try to mitigate it —a task that is not at all easy. At present, the noise of a digital channel is generally associated with the volume of information that is generated, and to combat this, the company must design actions – such as, for example, developing the skills of the creative team or promoting outreach with advertising. -. Also, noise can be generated by competitors; then it’s worth taking a look at what your rivals are up to and getting ready to compete.
3. What do you want to broadcast?
The third question has to do with the issuer – that is, us. To solve this question we will have to do a deep introspection in the business to find the elements that will help us build our voice and personality in the channel. The important issue here is to work to define three aspects: the vocabulary, the tone and the themes to be addressed.
How does the brand speak? What words do you use? What is your attitude? That should be clear at this point. And the best way to do that is to establish the vocabulary that will be used in communication and set the tone of the content for social networks. To put it in clearer terms: the first step is to describe the brand as if it were a person — it will speak as a teenager, as a woman or as a grandfather; It will be fun, respectful, or trusting. To exemplify this and understand it better, we suggest you analyze the way in which brands such as Netflix, Coca Cola, Nike or Amazon communicate. A simple glance at his feed and you will notice his personality, his vocabulary and his tone.
The other aspect that is resolved at this point are the issues that we will need to address in the channel’s timeline. The idea is to detail the topics that are important and consistent with our business. For example, if we are a brand of sports equipment, we will have to talk about sports, the products, the events that we develop, among others. This list of topics will be an interesting starting point to start building the content plan. A content strategy for social networks cannot be seen as a template with spaces to fill and should not be built following a recipe or a set of universal rules. Your business plan must be individual and unique, tailored to your communication needs; with an order, rules and a particular logic for your objectives and for the chosen channel.
4. What do the recipients want?
With the work on the first three questions, we already understand our reasons for creating content for social networks – or our objectives as a business on these digital platforms -, the appropriate channel to undertake the task and what will be our personality as a business and its needs. communicative —the issues that we will have to address to get what we want. Most companies believe that this is enough to jump into the channel and they start publishing immediately. A huge mistake! There is an essential element to achieve relevance in social networks: the receiver. Understanding and anticipating it is what we do in this fourth question of the process of building an editorial line.
Analyzing the receiver is a very difficult task – that’s why many skip this step – but believe us that it is extremely important to achieve sustainable results on social networks. To do it well, we recommend overcoming three aspects: understanding the type of recipient to be pursued, knowing their motivations and interests, and anticipating their behavior.
Content is fire, social media is gasoline.
– RYAN KOHN
Understanding the type of receiver is essential to later decide the code and the depth of the information — an issue that we will address in the fifth question. Those who receive the content can be classified depending on the use they will give to the information, the degree of individual interest in the content to be consumed and the personal benefit provided by said information. The main types of receiver are: fanatics, needy, curators and stakeholders. Next, we share some peculiarities of each one: Fans are those people who are willing to absorb any amount of information on a specific topic, without any restriction on the time invested. They consume every detail, appreciate the detail and appreciate the effort of whoever provides the content. They are insatiable, they become loyal and they support any initiative of the individual or the organization that gives them the information. If the main audience of our content for social networks is of this type, the depth of the information is a must and the format is a constant challenge for creativity. Those in need are users who are obliged to consume information on a particular topic — usually for professional or work reasons. Like the fans, the time to invest is not the real problem for them, because the benefit obtained is rewarding and rewarding enough to question the cost. They are critical, value efficiency and appreciate the optimization of consumption time. If this is the type of audience you want to target, you’ll need to develop skills to save them time — without sacrificing depth.
Curators are a particular type of recipient, because in some cases their mission is not to consume the information, but to collect and classify it. Its function is to filter the content to offer it to those who are interested, with the aim of gaining reputation. The importance of this type of consumer lies in the great influence they have on the end receivers. For this type of audience the structure, organization and format of the content are a priority. The curator needs to be able to quantify the value of the content with a short investment of time.
Finally, the interested recipient is the most common consumer of information. He is the type of person who wants to obtain the information, but who is not a scholar or dedicated exclusively to that task. He is the type of user who wants the content and invests him a controlled time, because he has other things that also attract him. What this type of user expects is the presentation of the information in easy-to-consume formats and in small bites, so that the investment of time is not high. They want to stay in touch with content for the long term and are in no rush to receive it – which makes them a very attractive type of recipient for a business’ social media efforts.
The second aspect in the analysis of the recipients is the knowledge of their motivations and interests. The ideal thing here would be to do some type of research or focus group to detect the themes that catch the attention of your typical audience, but we understand that this is not an easy exercise. Therefore, the most common alternative is: trial-error. Our recommendation is that you start by addressing the obvious topics —for example, if you are a clothing brand, the easiest and most obvious topic would be to give wardrobe advice—; then, gradually, you add others; And, meanwhile, you measure the performance of each topic to understand the interests and motivations of the recipient. Finally, we must anticipate the behavior of the receivers. What do we mean by this? To speculate on his particularities of consumption of social networks – at what time he is connected, how he will react to content, how he will use it, etc.-. With this information we will be able to refine the publication times and better define what to prioritize in the editorial line.
If you are passionate about this topic – and hopefully so, because understanding the recipient is the key to success on social media – we recommend taking a look at a couple of very comprehensive articles in which we explain how to define a buyer persona for the strategy digital and how attitudes and behaviors of consumers create movements in the markets .
5. What code will be used to transmit?
The last question in the process of defining the editorial line has to do with the code. For practical purposes, the code is the format in which the information will be transmitted — video, audio, text, images, infographics, or other. The choice of code is a thoughtful task in which you have to balance the capabilities of the business to produce a specific format and the format preferences of the receiver. If the receiver prefers video, but your business does not have the capacity to do so, you will have to find alternatives to connect with them.
If you don’t constantly generate new content for social networks , how will you connect your business with the market? Second stage: creating a publication schedule With the editorial line resolved, you will already have clear strategic guidelines on what you want to obtain with the content for social networks, the channel that you will use, what your business needs to communicate, what your recipient wants to consume and the format or formats that you go. to work. That is, you will have a clear overview of the what, why and for what of your plan. What follows now is to launch into practice and that is taken care of by the publication schedule. A release calendar is a simple document used to get your work done with content. The calendar will serve for three things: (i) balance the intensity of publication while respecting the editorial line, (ii) get it right at the times of publication and (iii) preview the content that we must create.
In other words, the publication calendar answers two types of questions: how much and when. So, let’s go to them:
6. How many messages to send?
If you made a detailed analysis of the channel —the second question from the editorial line—, of the capacities and needs —the third question— and of the characteristics and behavior of the recipients —the fourth concern—, the answer to how much is more simple. Let’s say it once: there is no rule for the frequency of posting on social media! There are companies that speak a lot and others that speak little, and both strategies are valid. The important thing is to say interesting things and not get lost for a long time. There are relationships that speak every week and are very strong, and others that speak three times a day and feel absent.
The frequency of publication is an informed choice in which all the aspects analyzed in the definition of the editorial line must be taken into account. If this is not done, you will not be creating something tailored to your needs, but you will be following someone else’s recipe – a bad idea in digital marketing .
7. When to issue the messages?
The second component of a calendar is timing, and this is something that is not done just once. Every day, every week and every month you will have to return to this question to find clues that will help you choose when to issue the message.
In this section we will need to delve into the dynamics of the business and the behaviors of the receiver to find the moments in which both connect to locate the best possible content there —the most coherent and timely—. For example, if your business is a restaurant that offers good lunch options, you will need to find the time in the morning — the most appropriate for the type of service you offer — when recipients are looking for lunch options and trying to locate there a content that contributes to the audience and brings you benefits. It would not make sense to post ideas for lunch at 4pm, neither for your business nor for the audience that follows you.
To solve this important question, we use standard time divisions: the year is divided into months, the months into weeks, and the weeks into days. For each division we repeat two basic questions from the editorial line: what should I broadcast? and what does my receiver want? With this, we will understand each moment and make better decisions to locate the content. To be clearer, what we do is ask ourselves: what should my business issue in February? and what does my receiver want in February ?; or what should my business broadcast on Tuesdays? and what does my receiver want on Tuesdays?
Also, we do the same exercise for one day. For this, we fragment it into seven blocks – an absolutely arbitrary division, you can do it in another way if you prefer -: dawn (from 0 am to 6 am), dawn (from 6 am to 8 am), tomorrow (from 8 am at 12 noon), noon (12 noon to 2 pm), afternoon (2 pm to 5 pm), dusk (5 pm to 7 pm) and night (from 7 pm to 0 am the next day) And for each block we ask ourselves the two questions again.
Mastering the moment of publication to align the communicational needs of the business and the interests of the recipient is crucial to achieve relevance in the timeline of a social network.
Third stage: the execution of the content plan
The third stage of the process of creating a content strategy for social networks takes care of the operational aspects. All the questions that are resolved at this point have the particularity of beginning with “how”. The specific objective of the execution stage is to define the methodologies to do the task efficiently.
This is a constantly under review phase, but you need to have a starting point. The team should initially focus on the three most time-consuming issues in the daily life of social networks: creating the message, sending it and addressing the reactions. For each of them we have a question that must be answered in the planning process, so that nothing takes us by surprise.
If a method is defined for each section, the consumption of resources will be aligned with the expected result; And that will be a fundamental contribution to the success and efficiency of content marketing actions . Let’s review the three critical points:
8. How to create the messages?
If you did the task judiciously up to here, you will already be clear about what you have to create. The editorial line will tell you the topics to be addressed and the content calendar will require an amount. For example, your calendar will mark that during the next month you need to make fifteen publications and the editorial line will ask you to use five for topic A, two for topic B, four for topic C, three for topic D and one for topic E. Therefore, what follows is the purely creative process.
We can divide this process into three tasks: (i) consumption and research — immersing oneself in each topic—, (ii) creation —designing the message— and (iii) improvement —polishing the publication—. The ideal is to distribute the tasks and you could do it in two ways: assign each task to one person – much like creating a production line: one investigates, another creates and the last one perfects – or you could assign it by topic – one person is in charge from topic A, another from B and another from C, for example. The convenient thing, whatever your assignment preference, is that there are people in charge of each stage and that, finally, the objective of having the content ready with enough time in advance of its publication is achieved.
In addition to establishing the methodology and those responsible for the content for social networks, in this question it is worth discussing the sources of information that will inspire us to create the content and the minimum requirements that a content must have before being published. Here, it is a good idea to create a checklist to assess the maturity status of a content before publishing it.
9. How to publish the content?
Adding tools to the process will be your best decision . Yes, the tools come at a cost, but they increase efficiency significantly. The first of the tools you’ll need to consider is one that automates the posting of content to the channel. You can do it manually, but it doesn’t make sense. A tool will be much more accurate to post at the scheduled time than any extra-meticulous person; we guarantee it.
Publishing is a ridiculously simple action, but it contains threats that you have to mitigate. Therefore, in addition to adding a tool to automate it, it is also advisable to develop a mechanism with people for double checking. It is worth checking that everything is in order. The reviewer of the publication must assess that the publication was scheduled at the correct time, with the correct image or video, with the correct text and on the correct channel. This may seem silly or an exaggeration, but it is not. The amount of stories of inadvertent childhood mistakes by community managers is enough for a book.
10. How to deal with the reactions?
The third of the processes that require a methodology is interaction, and in our opinion it is the most important of the three; because this is where connections are created, communities are built and business results are achieved. Talking is more important than posting! That is a mantra of the content for social networks with which we commune.
What is sought by asking ourselves this question, as we have already said, is to design an efficient methodology. For this, you must think about three aspects: who will attend to the reactions, where will the monitoring be done and how will they react again.
All businesses need to be clear that social networks force people and processes to manage them, because behind each profile that follows your business there is a person and what that individual expects is that there are humans behind the interactions. Consequently, the first point that you must resolve for the methodology of attention to reactions is to establish who or who will be in charge of receiving the interactions of the receiver. To facilitate their attention, you should also establish the tool that will monitor these reactions – it can be the same channel or a third-party tool that offers functionalities that increase efficiency. And, finally, establish protocols for those responsible to build conversations with recipients, which is the supreme goal of an activity on social networks.
Also, at this point in the planning process, it is in your business’ interest to establish and communicate some policies to maintain a healthy relationship with the community. For example, defining when those responsible for responding to reactions will be available or establishing estimated response times. By doing this, the user will have realistic expectations in their relationship with the brand.
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Fourth stage: optimization of the communication process
The market is made up of human beings who are constantly evolving, therefore, a content strategy for social networks has to advance at their own pace, so as not to become obsolete or inconsequential. Every plan, every variable, every editorial definition, every calendar decision, and every methodology must be constantly reviewed in the light of results and trends.
To do this intelligently, the team must constantly ask one last question that we present as a bonus — because, in principle, it is not part of the planning, but it is important for the future of the strategy.
Bond. What do I have to do to improve the content?
The answer to this question is found in four very specific places: the sender, the channel, the receiver and the results. A permanent critical review of these four places will give us clear clues to optimize a content plan for social networks.
The purpose of the review is to recognize changes, patterns or trends. The issuer changes because new products or new team members appear. A good observer could also detect positive or negative patterns of behavior in the issuer – for example, a pattern of behavior in the issuer could be that it always works on the deadline, and that affects the performance of the content strategy; therefore it could become a point for improvement. Or, that good observer, could also run into a trend that benefits or affects the broadcaster – video content is becoming fashionable and we have a video editor on the team that we get little benefit from.
A meticulous and periodic review —without obsessing— of the changes, patterns and trends in the four places that we presented at the beginning —the sender, channel, receiver and results—, relying on metrics and indicators, will show us the way to optimization of the content plan for social networks.