Social content is an immediate reflection to your brand image. Creating content for your social media platforms is almost like delivering a speech at an event, spreading brand awareness. The only difference here is that content on social media is more frequent and viral. It holds you up close to your customers, as if you were talking to a crowd within a physical space. You obviously prepare before delivering a speech, so why not take the same care in the virtual space where the message is far reaching?
Whether it’s planning content buckets for Facebook or drafting tweets for Twitter or even scheduling videos on Youtube, you will be well prepared. You will have given a direction to your social media plan well in advance and your team now has a clue every time an activity has to start. Often, a lack of direction makes one feel overwhelmed and give up on social media even before plunging into it.
For instance, Aviva India recently launched a social media campaign on Fathers Day. leading to quite a few interactions online. This was possible only because the brand had directed their social media team towards a certain planned activity called Daddy’s Day Delight contest. It had created promotional branded content and was ready to execute it around the Father’s Day occasion. Thus, planning always comes in handy and drives you towards a direction.
Helps avoid time and energy wastage
A trial and error method will never work on social media because content, once published, can never be erased from netizens’ minds. Putting up random content and then realising that it does not work for your brand is not just a waste of time and energy, but also damages the reputation of your brand. Your social media efforts should incorporate what your fans and followers will like and dislike.
Let us take a look at the detective book ‘An Inspector Virkar Crime Thriller,’ which is being promoted on Twitter. Users are asked to come up with innovative tweets, using the hashtag #ItsACrimeWhen. The book is a crime thriller, with heavy and serious tones, but the tweets all have humorous streaks. At the end of the activity, you realize that it was a complete waste of time and energy because you did not research your target audience and ended up executing a wrong activity. So you are back to square one. Either the brand will have to re-do the promotions or give up on social media. Thus, while planning your content you always need to take into account the demographics, interests and profile your audience into certain categories.
Helps you to not miss opportunities
Owing to the social nature of these virtual platforms, days like World Health Day, World Water Conservation Day, Mother’s Day etc. are celebrated frequently. Hash-tags are often trending on Twitter and it becomes a great platform for brands to start conversations using these. However, if your content plan is not in place you tend to miss out on such opportunities. This strategy enables you to search for particular keywords and serves as a great conversation starter, which in turn, makes marketing your brand easier.
However, keep in mind that only relevant content must be posted with these hash-tags, else it endangers your brand reputation.
Equips you to handle crisisA content plan will include protocols of responses to be answered for each issue that crops up. The content plan can always be revisited to see how a situation should be dealt with. Situations that go viral within hours on social media are not new. The Lemp customer response management system was on an all-time low during the incident a few months back. If they had their responses ready and strategically sympathised with the customers, they could have avoided the public hoopla.
Planning lets you handle any kind of situation responsibly and efficiently. For instance, DKNY, an American brand of clothes handled a crisis situation very well and avoided the escalation of the issue.
In response DKNY posted
Your social media team need to be dynamic. Along with the needs of the hour, they too will change. Like every other position, where there are policies and rules set, the social media department should have content guidelines too. A content plan in place will make sure no matter who is handling your brand, the content being used is pertinent. Inconsistent posting might hinder the positive growth of the brand image. If no structure is put down, any type of content can go up in an attempt to increase brand engagement, resulting in a severe blow to the company. Casual behaviour of letting different interns handle your social media properties can quickly become a Social Media Intern Syndrome.
Guidelines which include a strict disuse of foul language, prohibition of certain words, compulsory approvals etc. must be a part of the rules. Do not under any circumstance lose control over your message. Remember, you are talking to your customers even if they are invisible.
Helps you measure the success of your campaigns
We jump into social media because we have certain objectives. It could be a pure engagement exercise or to increase sales. Customer service, brand awareness, consumer insights etc. are some of the niche objectives that brands look for on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Pinterest. After carefully identifying your objectives, you work towards creating content appropriate for your social properties. Planning a content strategy will help you measure the success of your campaigns.
For instance, firstcry.com, a ecommerce portal for baby products, mainly aims to achieve sales through its Facebook page.
They have incorporated a coupon code which can be used on the website and created a special offer. This is planning in advance to gain maximum benefit from their Facebook page. This enables them to track how many fans from Facebook purchased their products.