With more than 3.7 billion people on social media, it has become the cost-efficient tool to reach your target audience. The key benefit of social media is that once you’ve built a following, you can essentially advertise your services or products for free to those that already hold interest in what you offer. If you have the budget, you can boost your reach even further through Facebook ad sets which appear as an organic post to existing users and as an ad to new audiences.
Consumers expect you to have an online presence and in this day and age, this includes social media. However, if you don’t specialize in social media, it can be a complex game in uncharted waters. You may spend significant amounts of time on elements that don’t gain much traction, or you may enable the opposite effect of putting users off from your brand. For this reason, it helps to learn a thing or two about social media and keep up to date with updates. Let’s look at the 5 areas you should focus on leading into 2022.
- Create social content calendars
Content calendars smoothline your content strategy by saving you time and guaranteeing a theme behind your content. If you haven’t experimented with content calendars, their various benefits will make you wonder why you haven’t used this tool before. They add organization, are a perfect platform to brainstorm on and enable a consistent theme. In addition, content calendars add visibility for when specific team members are away or other departments need to be aware of the social strategy.
A content calendar is a template which includes four columns – a column for dates, a column for images/videos/links, a column for captions and a column for post types. For instance, if you are a candle business, this post type column cells could say statements such as “interior decor inspiration”, “home tip”, “giveaway”, “promotion post” and so on.
The number of rows will vary depending on how many posts you want for the month. As a business, you can save time each month by clicking File then Save As or Create Copy, depending on the platform, and rename the file for the following month. From here, you can replace each cell with a new version of that post type. For example, you would replace the home tip with a new home tip. In this manner, you don’t always need to spend a significant amount of time determining variation every month.
A key tip is to include a monthly giveaway. Giveaways are the number one most popular posts as they have great value to users. Users have an incentive to comment and react as they could win something in return by engaging with your post and page. If your business only sells big ticket items, you could give away a $100 food voucher or a voucher that can be used at various stores.
It’s important to align your content calendar with the year’s sale plan. In those months you are offering sales, or there are special holiday dates where consumers tend to shop, incorporate posts surrounding these topical dates. Leading up to Mother’s Day, you could create posts promoting your products as well as a post on the day wishing a Happy Mother’s Day. These celebration posts will add personality to your page, and show that you care.
A final tip is to create each calendar the month prior so you are up to date on the topical events and current circumstances in the world. Creating six months of calendars at once will only add more work when you need to edit posts that may not be relevant in the future or may be offensive given specific circumstances at a later date.
2. Ensure you add incentives in every piece of content
With each post, you have an opportunity to draw new users in to follow your account. Therefore, it’s important to avoid posting only promotional content and low-quality content with grammatical errors. People simply won’t follow along, and those that do follow you are likely to click unfollow.
Instead, question whether your post adds value to the viewer. Does this inform? Entertain? Update? What element of this post will encourage people to follow along? If you don’t instantly know the answer to your question, the post will need some work. For 2022, one goal should be to implement this protocol into your strategy so that it eventually becomes second nature.
There should be variation in the styles of posts, including styles of posts such as tips, products, quotes, industry updates, and inspo – whether that’s design, scenic or an additional form of inspiration will depend on your industry.
If you are finding it difficult, it will be beneficial to review your existing content. Run a test by asking people within your company or even their family and friends how they view your posts, what their first impressions are and whether these posts would convince them to then click into your page. From here, you may discover where your pain points are and how to improve your social media presence and content strategy.
As time goes on, your calendars will evolve when you start to see patterns in your social analytics. By checking Facebook Analytics and Instagram Insights, you will notice the styles of posts that perform well and those that don’t gain traction. If possible, you may be able to cut out the unsuccessful post styles and create more of the high performing posts. It’s recommended to check these insights at the end of each month and create a powerpoint or document which shows the top three posts of the month along with notes which explain why this may be. In this manner, you can track your post performance. Ensure you store documents and files in an accessible area so additional workers can easily access.
3. Create shareable content
Creating content that gives users a reason to share will naturally boost your reach and engagement without needing to put advertisement spend behind the posts. This is even more prominent for Instagram where the Instagram algorithm now prioritizes shares more than any other user action. This means the more shares on a post, the more of your followers’ feeds your post will appear on, and this is amplified if you use hashtags. You are more likely to appear on the “Top Posts” page for the hashtags you utilized.
For Facebook shares, the value is clear. When users share your posts it appears on their friends’ pages which increases the reach exponentially and instantly. A useful element of this is their friends can then react to your posts and the invite tool on Facebook allows you to invite these new audience members to like your page.
Leading on from the previous post of adding value to your posts, when you create your posts in your content calendar, this is where you add that value and relevance to your target audience. This will ensure your posts instantly become shareable. Users will naturally share with their friends, boosting reach and the resulting engagement with your page.
4. Invest in Facebook Advertising
Facebook advertising directly brings in a higher click through rate and more leads. Through a combination of the ad spend reaching new audiences and the visual impact of the ads, you can successfully bring in these leads. You can target those most likely to be interested in your products or services with Facebook audience targeting, choosing location, age, gender, interests and additional demographics. You can even click lookalike audiences to those that already interact with your page.
For small businesses or those with financial restraints, budgets can be set as small as $100 to see results. An effective Facebook Ad campaign can reach a significant 25,000 people with only $100. For the remainder of 2021, you don’t necessarily need to have a consistent campaign running. Advertisements are useful to promote special sales during periods when consumers are seeking out sales such as leading up to Christmas and Black Friday.
A stand out feature of Facebook advertising, unlike other advertisement avenues, is that a user can easily transform from a one off viewer to a long-standing audience member by clicking the Facebook page and liking.
Of course, in order to post ads, you should create and learn how to use Ads Manager. This is where the audience targeting occurs. However, if this is too complex, you can simply boost an organic post with spend behind it for as little as $20.
5. Enable a stronger relationship with consumers
Your site is a portal to make purchases, while social media is a conversational space which allows you to grow a closer relationship with both existing customers and potential customers. Your post captions can speak in a more fun and engaging way, and allow for audiences to comment and engage with conversation on your posts.
Leading into 2022, you should ensure your planned posts spark conversation, show personality and enable a closer bond with audience members. Ensure there are questions within some posts. For instance, on Christmas Day, you could write your image caption as “Merry Christmas! We hope you had a wonderful day. How did you celebrate this year? A slow chill day or a busy fiesta? *celebration emoji*”.
You can additionally review existing content and determine whether you need to make any changes in your posts. Does the tone you use speak to your target audience? Does your content enable a connection with your brand?
Tone, questions and sparking conversations are important. However, you should keep up with the times and create topical posts, trending memes and timely content. This automatically encourages audiences to interact with your posts as well as adds personality to your posts.
Think about it in this manner – not many people will engage with a post promoting a product. On the other hand, promote that same product in a Tik Tok or reel which is replicating a trend and your post’s reach and engagement will sour. To gain inspiration, it’s helpful to follow other businesses’ social media in order to see how they promote their products at the same time as following trends. In addition, you can follow pages whose jobs are specifically to share updates on pop culture. Radio stations are a great example of this.
It is significantly beneficial to dedicate time to social media. All it takes is as little as fifteen minutes a day monitoring any audience engagement and responding to comments and messages. A helpful tool is scheduling content all at once each month which can take just thirty minutes, as opposed to going back into the applications every couple of days to create a new post and ad. By putting more of a focus on the content you do create through content calendars, you should see improved engagement for the new year. Shareable, valuable content and ads which grow a bond with your audience is the key to a successful social media strategy.
Olivia Fairhurst is a business owner and content manager for various clients, including Doc Smart Solutions. Olivia studied a degree in communications, majoring in journalism and has past experience as a journalist and Senior PR executive.