The Essential Social Media Content Creation Guide
Creating social media content can be quick and easy — after all, you can update your brand’s Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn accounts in mere minutes, using just your mobile device.
Producing effective social media content, however, is another matter altogether. Often, it takes a considerable amount of time, effort, and skill to create quality content that engages your audience and triggers them to take the right action.
From carrying out research to define your target audience and determining the right mix of content, to deciding on the right schedule for posting content — your list of social media content creation tasks can seem formidable.
To help you break down the process, we have created a comprehensive Social Media Content Creation Guide, that will cover the following:
- How to finetune your social media content mix
- How to map out a social media content blueprint
- The nuts and bolts of creating great content
Read on to begin the exciting journey of creating content for your brand’s social media pages!
1. Content Mix: Use the 50-20-20-10 Rule
Whether you’re marketing a product or a service, it’s ideal to have these four types of content in your social media content mix:
1.1. Edutainment (50% of your content)
As its name suggests, edutainment is content that educates as well as entertains. Why should edutainment make up the bulk of your content mix? Well, let’s look at the top three reasons for using social media, according to We Are Social and Hootsuite’s 2021 Digital Report:
- Stay up to date with news and current events (36.5% of social media users)
- Find funny or entertaining content (35% of social media users)
- Fill up spare time (34.4% of social media users)
To fulfil these needs, you should aim to post current or interesting content that also offers some useful takeaways for your audiences. In this way, they will feel that engaging with your content is time well spent, and will look forward to more updates from your brand.
Examples of edutainment content may include:
- Opinion pieces
- How-To articles
- Quizzes and polls
- Live streams
To determine which of the above content will appeal to your followers, check your followers’ demographics, interests, and social media consumption behaviours. Younger social media users may prefer videos, while older social media users may prioritise news articles. (Read about content trends across generational lines here.)
Do also keep up with what’s new or trending on social media, while ensuring that the topics you’re covering are relevant for your audience, and aligned with your brand identity. If not, you could attract the wrong audiences to your social media channels.
1.2. Brand Information (20% of your content)
Of course, you should mention your brand on your social media channels. However, the challenge is to find ways to talk about your brand and generate interest—without too much hard selling (see below).
To do so, consider these content ideas:
- Day-in-the-life posts or stories featuring your company’s staff
- Product research ideas
- A behind-the-scenes look at your production process
- Profiling of your colleagues, suppliers, or customers
- Brand stories featuring your company’s founders, your brand’s heritage, or other trivia about your company or brand
1.3. Cheerleading (20% of your content)
How do you convince your audience to love your brand, and not just your products or services? By playing cheerleader for your brand, and highlighting your brand’s successes!
To do this effectively, look for stories that go beyond winning awards and accolades.
For instance, you could share positive stories about your employees, or talk about your corporate social responsibility efforts for greater good. You could even share your brand’s challenges (especially during Covid-19), to show that resilience is a part of your brand culture.
1.4. Hard Selling (10% of your content)
If you have been mostly using hard selling (“buy now”) tactics on your social media channels, this will be your biggest adjustment.
Soft selling tactics involve building rapport with customers and listening to their needs, while hard selling only aims to make a sale fast—this approach could turn off customers quickly, especially on social media.
Hard selling content includes anything from promotions and discounts, special deals, new product or service launches, to unboxing videos. You can also extol the virtues of your product and state how it compares against your competitor’s offerings.
As a general rule, keep hard-selling content to a minimum on social media, and instead, focus on building your customer relationships.
2. How to Plan Your Content? Map Out a Social Media Content Creation Blueprint
To approach your social media content planning in a step-by-step manner, here’s what you need to do:
2.1. Define Your Audience
Effective content is relevant for your audiences, which is why you should know exactly who you are creating content for. To develop a more concrete idea of the personality types that you will be addressing, you can create a customer persona for your primary and secondary audiences, using a template such as this one:
First, invent a fictitious name for the person who represents your audience, such as “Marketer Maggie.” In the description, you should include important geographic, demographic, and psychographic information about your audience, as well as other details such as their purchase patterns (seasonality of purchases, budget, frequency), pain points, and online behaviours.
If you want to learn more about creating a customer persona, check out our guide here: What are Buyer Personas and How to Create Them
2.2. Choose the Most Suitable Social Media Channels
Before you choose the social media platforms that you want to focus on — be it Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, or TikTok—you will need to be sure that your target audience is actually using these platforms.
Next, consider whether your content is suitable for the platforms that you want to use. For instance, if your best content is text-based, visual platforms such as Instagram will be less effective for showcasing your content in its current form.
2.3. Audit Your Current Social Media Content
There are two reasons to audit your content: to see if your existing content is being maximised, and to identify your stronger content.
To cut down on content creation work, make a list of your existing content, and find ways to repurpose the better-performing or better-quality posts. For instance, could you summarise the contents of a text post into an infographic or short video? Could the content of a webinar be shared as a short text or visual post?
Auditing your social media content also involves seeing which of your content topics and types are doing better (or worse) than others. This will help you to focus on content that is more likely to be well received by your audiences, and to avoid the poorer-performing content topics or formats.
2.4. Define Your Content Themes & Topics
Together with your social media content team, brainstorm the topics and themes that might be of interest to your primary and secondary audiences. Next, determine the content formats to focus on, such as FAQs, how-to posts, a weekly or monthly series, and behind-the-scenes stories.
For a clearer picture of your customers’ concerns, you can use social listening tools such as Answer The Public, to discover search queries that might be relevant for your brand.
For instance, if you are selling athletic shorts, it would be useful for you to see some related questions that people have asked. If you are using Answer The Public’s search tool, note that it also lets you specify your country of interest.
If you’re more interested in the types of content that have generated engagement for your topic of interest, you could do some quick research with a tool like Social Animal:
For instance, if you were running an education business in Singapore, you might be interested in the most popular content relating to the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE). The search results on Social Animal will give you an idea of how such posts have performed across the various social media channels.
Please note that if you are not paying for these services, you will usually be limited to one or two searches per day. If you find such tools useful, do consider paying a membership fee for full access.
2.5. Adopt the Right Content Pillars
What is the story that you want to tell about your brand? This would require you to be very clear on your brand’s mission and values. You should also list the sources of inspiration for your brand.
Once you’ve defined your brand’s mission, values, and inspirations, you can use the 50-20-20-10 content framework that we’ve detailed earlier to finetune your content mix.
In addition, you may also find the “Hero, Hub, Help” content pyramid by Google useful:
- At the top of the pyramid is Hero content, which usually involves a major campaign (often paid) on social media platforms. Examples include a new product launch or a festive promotion. It takes a lot of work to produce hero content, which is why you can’t do it all the time!
- In the middle of the pyramid is Hub content for engaging your audience on a regular basis. Compared to hero content, hub content is much more low-key, and may include day-to-day happenings in your company, the latest news from your organisation, or featured products and services.
- At the base of the pyramid is Help content, which aims to answer consumers’ questions and concerns, based on their keyword searches. For instance, a video on “How to Tile a Bathroom Floor” will not go wildly viral (as your hero content might), but it could end up being your most popular video over time, helping to draw in new customers month after month.
2.6. Set Publication Frequencies & Goals
To decide how often to post on social media, think about what you want to achieve. Bigger awareness, consideration, and conversion goals would require that you post more frequently — over an extended period — to remain in your customers’ minds.
Once you have decided on a social media posting frequency across your social media channels, bear in mind that your followers (especially loyal followers) would expect you to keep up with your posting schedule. Proceed with your plan only if it is sustainable for your social media content team, because there’s nothing worse than starting off with a big bang and quickly running out of steam.
2.7. Build Your New Social Media Calendar
A detailed social media content calendar will help you to set the pace for each week, month, and year. By looking at your calendar, you will also be able to see how all of your content works together to achieve your social media content goals.
To build your social media calendar, you can use an online tool such as Hootsuite:
If you are new to Hootsuite, take a free course to familiarise yourself with the Hootsuite Planner, which helps content producers to stay on top of their social media content strategy.
For Facebook and Instagram users, consider using the content planner tool incorporated into the Business Suite. This tool helps you to find the best times to post within the Facebook environment, without the need to purchase any third-party tools!
3. Social Media Content Creation Tips
Not a writer or designer? Many brand owners aren’t either and yet, they are able to create authentic and relatable content for their brands. Here’s how you can do the same:
3.1. Be Relevant & Informative
To attract the right fans or followers on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and so on, you need to consider your target audience’s specific needs, wants, and desires. Perhaps they’re looking for a solution to their challenges, or wish to learn more about a topic of interest. If your content provides value to your audience, you’re more likely to build brand trust and affection — this helps you to grow your fanbase over time.
Note that you don’t have to stick strictly to content within your industry. For instance, if you spot meaningful content unrelated to your business, but you know that it will appeal to a large segment of your audience, do feel free to share this too.
3.2. Be Clear & Provide a Call to Action (CTA)
What do you hope for your audience to gain from your content?
If you merely want your followers to learn something, provide “TL;DR” (too long; didn’t read) bullet point summaries for your audience at the beginning of your posts, to ensure that they can at least walk away with the gist of your message, or choose to bookmark it for later reading/viewing.
However, if you hope that followers will complete an action, such as visiting your web site or signing up for a mailing list, make sure that they are fully aware of this. Don’t try to be glib, but use simple and straightforward language to get your message across.
3.3. Avoid Jargon
You may assume that industry jargon makes you appear more credible, but it can have the opposite effect on your followers, by making your business seem unapproachable!
Our advice is to stay away from jargon and stick with conversational language wherever possible. If you absolutely need to use certain industry terms, be sure to explain them — for the benefit of those who may not know (or may have forgotten) what these terms mean.
3.4. Tell, Don’t Sell
The reason hard-selling salespeople have a bad reputation in real life is because we know they’re only interested in their bottomline, and not in the customer’s welfare. Similarly, social media users have developed a wariness for sales tactics online.
This is why you should use the tried-and-tested method of telling a good story to gently draw in customers, before showing them how your product or service can solve their problems.
3.5. Build Trust
You will have to give customers a reason to trust your brand, and you can do this by treating your customers with respect and empathy in your social media interactions with them, especially when their feedback is negative.
You can also affirm your followers by acknowledging and thanking them regularly, and delivering only content that is useful and meaningful to your target groups.
3.6. Repurpose Your Content
Learning to repurpose your existing content will help you to save time, money, and effort! No one sees all of your content — much less remembers it vividly — so you will be doing your followers a favour by resurfacing your old posts in a different format.
4. Final Thoughts
To up your social media content creation game, you will have to start thinking like a team player, where you are on the side of the customer! This means that you should place yourself in your followers’ shoes, and put their social media needs above your own.
Once you have compiled a list of your customer’s common needs, the rest is up to you—or your social media team — to create quality content that speaks to the hearts and minds of your followers.
However, if you feel like you need to learn more, we host a wide range of digital marketing courses, including Social Media Marketing, here in Singapore.
We also hold a Certified Digital Marketing Strategist (CDMS) Programme which covers the following six modules:
- Digital Marketing Strategy
- Content Marketing Strategy
- Search Engine Optimisation
- Digital Advertising
- Social Media Marketing
- Digital Marketing Analytics with Google Analytics
The completion of these modules will lead the learners to attain a Certified Digital Marketing Strategist Certificate. All of these courses are WSQ accredited and available for up to 70% subsidy.
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Walter is the Founder and Chief Content Strategist of Cooler Insights, with over 25 years of leadership experience in content & social media marketing, PR, strategy, and industry development. He is also the lead trainer for the Social Media courses here at Equinet Academy.