Juggling multiple social channels can be stressful, particularly when social media content management has evolved beyond the admin of just a few social media profiles. These days, there are multiple online social channels available for a range of industries and purposes, and for more than a decade, I’ve watched it evolve—and sometimes regress—to become the tool it is today.
According to the Pew Research Center, seven in 10 Americans use social media “to connect with one another, engage with news content, share information and entertain themselves,” and in every communications and marketing position I’ve been in, it’s always a challenge to coordinate content for the different social channels, audiences, and messaging.
Thankfully, I've found that it is very doable if you follow certain practices and professional habits. In this article, I’ll cover today’s most common types of social media content and share how to effectively manage your own. As you will see, even simple planning and regular practices can create significant, positive impact on your marketing campaigns and organization.
What is Social Media Management?
For clarity’s sake, we still need to ask. What is social media management? To put it succinctly, social media management is the regular practice of planning social media content and scheduling posts for the best times according to your marketing and organizational objectives.
It also includes ongoing analysis of your audiences, using data to increase engagement with potential customers or partners. Social media management tools are an important facet of any successful communications, public relations, or media team who are constantly exploring new means to connect with their audiences, ultimately fulfilling the goals established in the social media marketing strategy.
Types of Social Media Content
Researching and creating social media content in all its forms can be an incredibly time-consuming job. With a growing number of new formats and platforms available, it’s no wonder social teams everywhere are growing in numbers with new job titles emerging almost daily. It’s thanks to major innovation in communications/marketing technologies and social media management software that we are able to consistently manage content in all its forms:
One valuable marketing tool is the short-form video, a simple clip that’s typically 30 to 90 seconds long. With the popularity of TikTok, Instagram Reels and high-quality camera phones, short-form videos are fantastic for delivering brief-but-powerful messages and content. In this case, less is definitely more, as effective content resonates with audiences who have increasingly shorter attention spans and less time in their busy days.
Unlike short-form video, real-time, live video streams can continue for hours, allowing the viewer to experience the content as it’s taking place. It is also a very engaging marketing tool, allowing customers to provide real-time feedback and questions. Real-time live streams are a unique opportunity for the company, brand or influencer to interact with viewers. Because of the spontaneity, there’s a buzz on good live streams that creates genuine excitement as well as interest in what you’re talking about.
Not all effective imagery needs to be moving or animated–sometimes a good picture can be worth a thousand words. And while some of the most powerful images don’t require much of a caption in order to satisfy its intended marketing objectives, we do still feel an accompanying social caption that’s helpful or relatable can resonate with even more people. That said, the simple image is a tool that’s been used from the beginning and can be as powerful as its advanced counterparts.
Over the past decade, the traditional image has evolved and graphical interchange formats (or GIFs), as well as memes have become a common sight across all social channels and social networks. Originally a static image, GIFs are animated pictures or sometimes a very short video played on a loop. Memes, on the other hand, are not animated but are strong images that are slightly modified to have a usually humorous or thought-provoking angle – like a simple caption or sentence. Canva is a fantastic and easy tool to use for visual content creation like memes and captioned images.
Like video, audio clips can make more of an impact when it is shorter and a powerful quote/sound is chosen. Audio clips can easily be incorporated into blogs and GIFs, adding another dimension to your content and making it more interesting. Audiograms are short excerpts from podcasts that can be uploaded onto social media platforms as video (usually with a static image) and are used quite widely. Make sure the audio clip is to-the-point and communicates your intended message clearly.
There’s a lot of online discussion around the optimal number of words for social media posts. Hootsuite recommends resisting the urge to use Facebook’s large word count: “While you have enough space to craft a short novella on FB, the truth is, shorter posts usually receive more likes, comments, and shares.” (They also recommend short, 30 to 60-second videos.)
With Twitter and tweets, you’re forced to be concise, being limited to 280 characters. These words have even more impact when strategically and creatively accompanied with video and audio, images, GIFs and memes.
On Instagram and LinkedIn, you are allowed 2,200 and 3,000 characters, respectively. However, the good people at Hootsuite, again, encourage restraint, recommending 138 to 150 characters on Instagram and 1,900 to 2,000 on LinkedIn.
User-Generated Content (UGC)
So where does this content come from? For most companies, the marketing team and its members are responsible for all things content creation and social media content management. However, a deep well of quality social media content exists with your users or customers who can also contribute content, building authenticity and social proof. User generated content (UGC) can provide angles and perspectives unique to their experiences with your brand and product or service. Recent research also found that UGC content is seen as more trustworthy to consumers than brand-produced.
How to Manage Social Media Marketing in 9 Steps
Having looked at what social media marketing tools we have at our disposal, let’s examine how to manage all of the content across your numerous social media networks and social media profiles. With statistics reporting an increase in accounts per user (internet users in 2018 had an average of 8.5 social media channels, an increase from 4.8 in 2014), organization and effective social media content management is more important than ever.
1. Audit Your Social Networks
To begin, a helpful first step (and then regularly ongoing thereafter) is to perform a thorough audit of your social networks. For some, social media accounts may go dormant and unused, creating more harm than benefit with pending queries, unanswered comments, and missed public relations. When auditing each account, it helps to ask yourself questions such as “Does this content help achieve marketing or organizational goals and objectives?” or “Does this social network reach the audience we’re targeting our social media content towards?” From there, you can get more granular in your audit, noting which content types perform the best in terms of likes, saves, and shares, and which may not be worth the time they take to create.
2. Establish Your Goals + KPIs
If you haven’t established and documented your goals and key performance indicators yet, late is better than never. In order to help you measure your progress towards a marketing goal, key performance indicators (KPIs) will provide quantifiable metrics that can help you throughout the activity. KPIs can be objective justification for certain marketing-related measures and decisions, down the road.
Four KPIs that every organization should track include:
- Reach, which simply monitors how many people see your content, but can also show how many of those people are followers and non-followers of your channel.
- Engagement rate, which measures the number of interactions people have with your content like shares, comments, saves, and likes.
- Conversion rate, which measures how much your marketing content results in a conversion such as a sales lead or subscription.
- Click-through rate, which shows how many readers clip on your links to access other pages and were curious to learn more - it means your content is working.
3. Perform Audience Research
Before you even begin to create social media content, you need to know who you intend to speak with/are targeting, as well as where that audience is spending their time. Research the audiences on each platform, determining which social media channels have your targeted audiences and people you want to reach. A good place to start would be the audience insights or analytics tools on each platform. For example, Facebook’s Audience Insights tool can help you find potential customers, as can LinkedIn’s Audience Insights.
4. Define Your Social Budget
One of the great things about social media is that it has leveled the playing field, allowing any person or company to create their own social accounts for free. In addition to the human resources required for social media content management and creation, a social budget may be needed for costs such as social media ads, which can be both very effective but expensive.
Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads, Instagram Ads, and TikTok Ads all offer a range of social media advertising pricing for a range of different budgets. It’s best to do your research on which channel is the best fit for your audience and how far your dollar will go, providing your best overall return on investment (ROI).
5. Choose Social Media Platforms
With a budget in mind and data gathered from your audience research, you are now more prepared to choose the best social media platform according to your marketing goals. When making your selection, look at whether your audiences are using the platform, and how suited they are to the “tools” we mentioned earlier. Will this particular social network help us increase brand awareness? What hashtags are relevant to our content? Look at the functionality and how much work will be required to maintain your presence and network.
6. Create a Social Media Calendar
To schedule your social media marketing content for the best times to connect with your audience, it helps to plan it in advance. This not only provides you with a roadmap of the content curation and bulk scheduling, but it helps you align your social media marketing efforts with any other corporate activities or initiatives, as well as external events like holidays and recognition days. Whether it’s on an office whiteboard or within a specialized software, a social media calendar must be accessible to all members of your team so they can refer to it when planning social media content and implementing strategy.
7. Create Killer Social Content
With ideas planned out on a calendar, the next (and very fun and creative) step is to create the actual social content. A number of different factors come into play when developing engaging content including the use of images, videos, GIFs and memes, the number of characters and amount of content allowed for each post, the language and tone of the post, as well as answering an important question for the reader: Why is this useful or interesting to me? What’s exciting about social media content is how multidimensional it is with the different mediums it incorporates, as well as the use of hashtags, and account tagging and mentions. Killer content can be as simple as a free day trial for your product or service or a shoutout to an influencer.
8. Integrate Automation
In the past, it was fairly doable to manually post social media content on a consistent basis, but these days, incorporating automation into your social media content management system is a requirement to be successful. Many of the platforms and social media management tools below are necessary for effective social media content management, helping make sure all of your killer content receives the highest potential ROI. Automation also helps eliminate the risk of human error, making sure content is posted on time and as planned. We all make mistakes, and incorporating automation into your social media strategy can help things feel far more organized.
9. Use The Right Social Media Management Tools
As per the point above, social media management tools can help you automate the publishing of your social content so that valuable time is not spent doing it manually. According to our post on the 12 Best Social Media Management Software, it "helps you automate and optimize your social media presence to achieve increased visibility, engagement, and lead generation.”
With the increase in automation and social media platforms, there has also been a rise in the number of social media management tools for different functionality and content marketing needs. For example, Hubspot is great for community building for large organizations, whereas Zoho Social is best suited to remote team members and individuals.
Create and Connect
Regardless if you are managing 10 social media accounts or just one, every organization’s priority should be to create meaningful content for their online audiences—your readers, listeners, viewers, and hopefully, customers. There's so much noise out there that your marketing needs to stand out and present something unique to the person connecting with it.
But social media content management is just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. Once effective management is in place and in practice, you can then look at next steps like a refining your skills through a social media marketing course or testing out other digital marketing platforms to push the promotion of your organization further.
Social media platforms are much more than marketing tools for customer support; they’re fertile spaces for content creation and connection for everyone from small businesses to large corporations. But it won’t happen all at once. Just focus on creating useful content—and telling good stories—and the relationships will inevitably follow.
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