Updated: Nov 2, 2021
One of the many reasons why businesses struggle to improve results (e.g. sales or engagement) from their social media is often due to limited insight on how to reach their ideal audiences through relatable content as well as understanding how they interact online. Thoroughly knowing who your target audience is and tailoring stand-out content to them will improve conversions.
This blog is inspired from Content Strategist Lateilla Thomas' quick introduction to the 8-step content marketing plan in one of her TikToks. Following up on her amazing explanation, I will explain further on the importance of each step and how to do it.
1. Find Your Ideal Customers
First, you need to research and understand your ideal customers. This crucial step in understanding who you’re trying to reach will make or break your business. If you’re looking to market to high-end customers, your content needs to reflect that demographic such as stunning photography. If you’re looking to market quirky or unusual products, your content needs to reflect the personalities of people who confidently and creatively express themselves.
You need to understand your customers completely and create content that is relatable to them. You need to know how they think, where they live, where they work, how many children or pets they have, how much they earn, etc. A very detailed profile of your ideal customer will help you tailor your content to your customer's specific needs. If you need support identifying your ideal audience, contact me.
2. Confirm your mission, vision and core values
Your mission and core values signal to your customers who you are, what you do and why you do it. This is then woven into your content strategy to differentiate your business from the competition and encourage customers to buy from you based on shared beliefs or a solution to their problems that you communicate in your social media content.
3. Refine Your Branding
Your branding is not just about how beautiful your logo is and how eye-catching your colour palette is. Although these things are important, branding goes beyond these tangible assets.
Simply put, your branding is mostly how your customers perceive you. What feeling do your customers get when they see your content or hear about your business? Branding is about the experience you give you to your existing and potential customers and the impression they get from you.
When deciding on your brand, think about the personality you want to show and adapt it to your industry and target audience using the profile example in step 1. This will guide you on how to style your content and what tone of voice is appropriate to connect with your audience.
If you need more information on how to brand your business correctly, get in touch and let’s explore further.
4. Confirm Your Offer
Your offer should include your products, services and unique selling points (USPs). Both the tangible (products) and intangible (services, brand perception, etc) aspects of your business will make up what is known as your offer.
5. Create Your Content Pillars
You’re next going to create your content pillars using the information gathered in the first 4 steps.
Content pillars are the foundation of content marketing. They are typically 3 to 5 topics that your business or brand is going to talk about in the content you share on social media. If you’re a hair care business 3 topics you might talk about is (1) The types of hair your products are for, (2) tutorials on how customers can use your products and (3) The results after using your products. Once you have your content pillars, you’re going to start creating content for your customer journey.
6. Create Content for Each Customer Journey
The reality of social media is that it isn’t a magic wand where you can expect immediate results such as sales or new customers every time you post content. You need to remember that the current and potential customers behind the screen are actual human beings with emotions and each one of them are on their own customer journey. A customer journey can be defined as where the customer is in terms of making a purchase from you or making a buying decision. Here are 5 key stages to consider in the customer journey:
(1) Potential customers that have just met you. This is a customer who has come across your social media or website for the first time. You’re going to have to create content for people who are complete strangers – they have no idea who you are or what you do. Your content in this case really needs to make a first good impression.
(2) Potential customers who know you or know of you, but they haven’t trusted you yet. They know your brand exists but they’re just watching what you do for now until you fill them with confidence to buy from you. So, you need to create content to improve and communicate the credibility of your business.
(3) Potential customers who are in the consideration phase. They’re considering to buy from you but they need an incentive to finally make that decision. It could be they’re waiting for pay day or waiting to see if you have any special deals for first time customers.
(4) Customers who are ready to buy. These customers have seen what you do and now feel confident to spend money.
(5) Customers who have already made a purchase. If you want customers to continue to buy from your business, you need to consistently market the benefits of your products and services, reminding them of why they shopped with you in the first place.
7. Plan your posting schedule.
Consistency is key in social media marketing. Planning a sustainable posting schedule will help you stay consistent and avoid burn out. Questions you should ask yourself is
How often are you going to be able to post?
How much content are you able to create every month?
What platforms am I going to use to schedule my content in advance.
8. Review the analytics
After you’ve scheduled your content, do not post and forget about it. Once the content has gone live, wait 24-48 hours and then come back to review it. Note what happened. What actions did your audience take? What was the watch time? How many link clicks did that content get? How many sales did you make from that post? What is it about the content that you can adjust?
Businesses that don’t spend enough time analysing data are missing out on opportunities for improvement and growth. A thorough study of your analytics will help you identify what content is performing well and driving results. Based on your learnings, you can adjust your future content to continue growing your audience as well as driving sales.
What to do next...
You now have the foundations of creating and executing a successful content marketing plan. If you need guidance on how create the best content marketing plan for your business or have a question on any of the steps mentioned in this blog, book a free discovery call with me and get a tailored plan that consistently produces results.