If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. This adage has made its way into our enewsletter column before, but it rings true more than ever these days for social media. One of CCI’s trusted partners, Lindsey Congeni, social media director, explains that content social-mediastrategy for social media is a must because all social mediums today operate using algorithms. If people don’t engage with a post, it doesn’t come into their feed and it becomes a vicious cycle. Therefore, coming up with a game plan for content will help your social media increase engagement to make the most of these platforms.

Case in point are hashtags — those catchy words or phrases that follow the # sign. It’s all too common that a hashtag is used for everything but what is actually important. For example, consider posts in which the entire message is essentially composed of a hashtag. Rather, Congeni advises that hashtags need to be appropriate and targeted to help those that want to find your content actually find it. It helps cut through the “noise.”

Making it strategic

A social media content strategy may be as simple as coming up with specific themes or topics – such as sustainability or budgeting – weekly or monthly. A strategy could also be geared toward specific types of posts for specific days. Congeni outlines this sample strategy by day of the week:
• Mondays: Thought leadership
• Tuesdays: Photos
• Wednesdays: Events
• Thursdays: Throwback Thursday
• Friday: Trivia

You can also divide out the type of content into categories. For example, Constructive Communication, Inc., advises clients to split social media content into thirds – corporate, industry and events – to position them as an expert on industry issues and making followers aware of important events, while still promoting their own brand and offerings.

How you post matters
It’s not just what you post, but how you post to specific mediums that matters. Following are some tips to get the most out of your social media platforms:

Facebook
• Tagging others when possible because it increases reach;
• Try scheduling/posting content at off typical business hours because reach/engagement tends to increase;
• Experiment with paid advertising, either monthly or quarterly, using infographics, images or videos.
• Have a call to action.
• Think about how the post will show up on a mobile device since this is the medium where the posts are mostly likely being viewed.

LinkedIn
LinkedIn has more than 467 million members in more than 200 countries and territories around the world, and professionals are signing up to join the social media platform at a rate of more than two new members per second. It’s also now available in 24 languages.

There has been a recent “resurgence” in the use of LinkedIn. This social media platform has typically been used as a business tool to maintain a digital contact list and networking platform, with pushing out content, sometimes as just an afterthought.  To make the most of LinkedIn, 1) make sure your company profile is complete and uses key words, 2) key players in the company should have their own profiles and 3) make it a regular practice to conduct a page audit to make sure all information is up to date.

Twitter
Now it’s back to the #hashtag, what Twitter – the free social networking microblogging service that allows registered members to broadcast short posts (“tweets”) in 140 characters or less with hyperlinks, photos and videos – is known for. Hashtags allow people to easily follow topics they are interested in and contribute to Twitter’s Trending Topics algorithm. They are still helpful, but Congeni pointed out, they need to be “specific, not broad” to align with your social media content strategy.

With a big push to include video and graphics in your strategy to increase engagement across all social media platforms, it’s also noteworthy that Twitter no longer includes videos or graphics in the 140 character count limit for posts. This makes it easier to get out a message and include photos or videos.

It also makes it even more important to include them since Twitter feeds are no longer chronological but show content based on the company’s algorithmic feed.

Regardless of the platform you are using, #bestrategic with your social media messaging and you can take advantage of social media algorithms to have your post appear in followers’ feeds, and ultimately, having your message reach your target audience.