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- A social media content strategy outlines what types of content your brand posts, when you post, how you leverage platforms, and what objectives you’re trying to accomplish in doing so.
- Social media content strategy drives brand activation by engaging audiences in a meaningful way and encouraging them to act for your brand.
- A strong strategy includes measurable objectives, a firm understanding of your target audience, and progress monitoring through research and analytics.
- Brands can set themselves apart by establishing a unique identity, keeping up with trending topics, and adjusting their strategy using data-driven insights.
In today’s world, the power of social media marketing is well known, but that doesn’t mean every brand does it correctly. Most brands understand the utility of social media and why they need a strong online presence, but many end up floundering when they rely on a few occasional posts to carry their social media strategy.
With how saturated social media has become, brands have to work harder than ever to stand out. Brands that leverage this tool the right way and have a thoughtful social media content strategy are the ones that will direct conversations and encourage audiences to act. This guide will cover how to develop a social media strategy for brand activation and what you stand to gain in the process.
What is a social media content strategy?
A social media content strategy is a plan that outlines how your brand will use varying social media post formats to achieve a determined objective with your target audience.
Some of the key aspects of a social media content strategy include:
- Your brand’s target audience
- The discussion points and themes you address
- Which social media platforms you use
- The tone and messaging you establish
- Which content types and formats you use (e.g., video, photo, or long-form posting)
- A content calendar for posting to drive consistency and engagement
- What actions you want audiences to take
Keep in mind that a content strategy is separate from a content calendar. A content calendar is just one part of a social media strategy. A greater strategy highlights the broader goals and direction behind your content, not just when you’ll be posting it.
Ninety-six percent of marketers are confident that social media marketing provides a positive return on investment. Getting started on social media and having a firm strategy allows brands to maximize this return, as strategic and insightful content is more likely to foster meaningful conversations and connections with your target audience. Thoughtful content will resonate with your audience, build brand trust, and ultimately drive action.
Setting clear brand activation objectives
Brand activation is the strategy of using engagement and events to bring a brand to life and develop meaningful connections. Brands across industries can use brand activation as an effective way to connect with their target audiences, improve engagement, and increase sales.
Setting clear and measurable objectives will improve the success of brand activation. These goals and objectives should align with parts of your broader business goals, like revenue growth, market expansion, or improved customer loyalty.
Some examples of brand activation objectives for different industries may include:
Hospitality and tourism
- Increase hotel occupancy rates by a given percentage.
- Promote local experiences or attractions to attract tourists.
- Develop strategies to encourage guests to return for future vacations.
Food and beverage
- Encourage customers to become brand advocates with user-generated content and reviews.
- Increase the number of restaurants or retail locations where your products are available.
- Commit to sustainable practices and engage environmentally conscious consumers.
- Increase in-store foot traffic and sales.
- Build a loyal customer base through rewards programs and members-only offers.
- Launch a new product or product category in the market.
Research and audience analysis
One of the first and most crucial steps in building a successful social media content strategy is defining your target audience. This process involves gathering customer demographics, attitudes, and behaviors.
Defining your target audience allows you to understand their needs, preferences, interests, and pain points. This understanding then gives you the power to create content that is more likely to resonate with them and address their interests.
Some ways to conduct effective research and audience analysis include:
- Gathering surveys
- Analyzing engagement metrics
- Look for themes and ideas from social media comments
- Read customer reviews and feedback
- Gather insights about audience behaviors from your sales teams
Once you complete this research, you can segment your audience by common characteristics and determine the best communication styles, platforms, and messaging for reaching your target audience.
Key tips for developing an engaging social media content strategy
Social media content creation is not as simple as creating posts and expecting them to work. Your social media posts must be built on a solid foundation of strategy and intent in order to maximize their potential. The following tips can help you create an effective content strategy.
Establish a strong brand identity
Create your brand identity with a unique personality and consistent tone. Don’t be afraid to establish a bold personality or even use humor or sarcasm, as it can pay off big when done correctly. For example, everyone now knows Wendy’s as a brand that will snap back at others with witty and hilarious replies.
Other brands like Cards Against Humanity and Liquid Death use dark humor in their marketing and have developed niche audiences. Going outside of the box with a unique identity can help your brand stand out amongst the sea of others, as long as everyone can have fun with it.
From there, consistency in visuals, tone, and language will allow customers to easily recognize your brand across platforms and settings. Brands like Coca-Cola have made their mark in large part because their logo and brand imagery are consistent no matter where you interact with the product.
Choose the right social media platforms
Different platforms serve different purposes. Understanding your audience demographics and preferences will equip you to choose social media platforms that will best support your goals and your target customers. Selecting the right social media platforms will allow you to better invest your time by creating content that works toward your objective and reaches people interested in your brand.
For example, Facebook is a great way to engage familiar audiences through groups or ads. In contrast, TikTok or Instagram are a great way to reach new audiences scrolling through entertaining reels or videos. Meanwhile, a format like LinkedIn is better for B2B businesses or establishing thought leadership.
Your brand may be able to leverage a few platforms in different ways or choose to stick to a select few to devote energy to.
Use thoughtful content types and formats
There are many content types and formats you can utilize—it’s up to your brand to decide which types work best for reaching your audience. This is an opportunity to consider what your audience seems to enjoy most—do they engage more with video content? Are they commenting more on memes or photos?
Analyzing your content metrics will help you determine which content types and formats drive the most engagement. From there, you can tailor your strategy to include the types of content your audience wants to see most.
Content calendar and scheduling
A significant part of a strong social media strategy is scheduling content effectively. After all, the algorithm is a tricky system, so you need to show that your brand is posting consistent, engaging content. Developing a firm content calendar allows you to establish what type of content you’ll be posting and when, ensuring consistency.
Some tips to follow for planning and scheduling content include:
- Keep track of peak engagement times and plan to post during these times
- Create a consistent posting cadence
- Develop a list of hashtags or keywords that you can easily transfer to each post
- Stay on top of trends to make your brand a part of the conversation
You can also use scheduling tools to curate and prepare posts at one time to be automatically posted later. Great examples include tools like Buffer, Hootsuite, Sprout Social, and others.
Incorporate user-generated content (UGC)
User-generated content (UGC) is original content created about a brand or its products by users or customers instead of a brand itself. UGC has become an incredibly popular strategy on TikTok and Instagram Reels, as the short-form video format allows creators to highlight and discuss the product.
Although UGC is sponsored by a brand, it has a more authentic appeal for customers because it highlights how a real person can benefit from and enjoy a brand’s product. In fact, millennials find UGC 50% more trustworthy than content created directly from brands.
Some of the additional benefits of UGC include:
- Enhanced brand trust and confidence
- More authenticity
- Providing additional opportunities for engagement
- Increased brand exposure
- Improved brand reputation
Measuring and analyzing results
As with any marketing strategy, it’s crucial that you monitor your progress and results so you can make adjustments along the way. Tracking measurable key performance indicators (KPIs) can determine the success of your social media content strategy. Data and analytics will empower you to make data-driven adjustments to your strategy to maximize your reach.
Valuable KPIs to consider for brand activation efforts through social media include:
- Engagement metrics, like comments and likes
- Reach and impressions
- Follower count growth
- Social media shares and mentions
- Conversion rates
- Click-through rates
- Website visits
- Event participation
- Sales trends
There are many tools available that can assist you in measuring these metrics. Social media listening tools, like HootSuite, Sprout Social, or Google Alerts, can help you track mentions of your brand and provide valuable analytics.
Case studies: Successful social media content strategies
Using social media effectively offers undeniable potential, but not every brand is able to harness its full power. Taking a look at some brands with successful social media strategies can highlight how you can build yours.
Dollar Shave Club
Dollar Shave Club is a subscription service that brings razors and shaving products straight to your door. Their objective is to disrupt the current razor and shaving product market and promote their unique subscription service model.
The brand created meaningful, memorable, and downright funny video content for social media to gain attention and build an interested new following. They used entertaining YouTube video content to garner massive attention and gain subscribers – the most memorable was their viral video “Our Blades Are F***ing Great”.
Thanks to its bold social media content strategy, Dollar Shave Club has established a name for itself in the shaving product market and greatly increased its follower count.
Birchbox uses social media with the social media objective of promoting its subscription box service for beauty products. The brand is highly active on Instagram, using the platform to showcase its monthly beauty box offerings.
Birchbox uses Instagram as a way for customers to experience its products before they buy. By showing photos and videos of their products, Birchbox builds interest and trust amongst their customers. This strategy has allowed them to grow their follower count, improve engagement, and build a loyal following.
Charity: Water is a nonprofit organization that works toward raising awareness and funds for clean water projects in developing countries. The charity uses social media to incorporate storytelling that increases awareness about the global water crisis and highlights the impact of donations, demonstrating the value of contributing to its mission.
By showcasing the impacts of their work and the support of their donors, they have been able to raise millions of dollars for their mission and grasp the attention of hundreds of thousands of people.
Staying agile and adapting
As useful as social media can be, brands must remain on their toes. Social media is constantly evolving, both in the conversations that happen on the platforms and in the platforms themselves.
Brands must be ready to pivot in response to changing and updating platforms. For example, Twitter, now “X,” has been a considerable adjustment point for brands as it has undergone countless changes in the past year. These changes have led many brands to pull advertising and stop using the platform despite how powerful the platform has been over the past several years.
At the same time, brands need to prepare for the potential rise of other platforms, like Threads or BlueSky, and determine whether they are worth investment. Following platform algorithm updates also allows brands to decide whether or not they need to adjust content formats or strategies to maintain consistent reach.
Social media conversations and trends
Almost every day, there is something new trending on social media. Brands must stay aware of what trends, conversations, and formats are popular, as well as be flexible and ready to adapt their content strategy to match.
Whether it’s a video format or a trending topic, staying up to date with trends allows you to capitalize by creating engaging content and finding your place in the conversation. Be sure to monitor both industry and worldwide trends.
Drive brand activation with a social media content strategy
A thoughtful social media content strategy sets brands apart from others in the saturated world of social media feeds. Building a thoughtful strategy can bring remarkable returns through increased brand trust, greater audience reach, and improved audience action.
PETERMAYER can help you develop a winning social media content marketing strategy so your brand messaging can resonate with your target audience and push them to act. We will leverage data-driven insights, analytics, and industry best practices to maximize your success.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can get your brand to stand out on social media and drive engagement.