Whether your agency handles content production, social media scheduling, or a bit of both, it’s important to set your team up for success. Rather than reworking your process for each month or campaign, create a set of standards your team can follow every time.
Use these content best practices to publish high-performing posts and streamline your agency’s workflow.
Know Your Social Media Goals
To create the best content for your agency or your clients, set social media goals first.
Naturally, your main objectives affect how your ideal content looks, sounds, and feels. I recommend following the SMART goal framework:
- Specific: Get as precise as possible. For example, do you want to increase brand awareness, drive more website traffic, or increase sales?
- Measurable: Choose a metric you can quantify. For example, You can measure followers, website clicks, and revenue.
- Attainable: Aim for a goal that your team can realistically achieve. Then designate the appropriate resources and planning to make it happen.
- Relevant: Opt for a goal that’s linked to your business objectives. For example, increasing sales can help you meet critical revenue goals.
- Time-based: Give your team a deadline for each goal. For example, you might aim to achieve each one by the end of the month, quarter, or year.
Target the Right Audience
Who is your brand’s target audience? When you zero in on your ideal customers, you can create social media content that truly resonates.
You can also answer relevant questions, leverage different media types, and build better connections with customers.
Here are a few ways to research your audience:
- Check social media insights. Social media channels like Facebook and Pinterest offer insights into your followers, including demographics and interests. You can also use the Agorapulse social media monitoring tool to listen in on online conversations. You’ll find out who your audience is, what they’re talking about, what the competition is up to, and also identify interests of those you want to target.
- Review website analytics. Google Analytics provides demographics and interests as well as data on what your website visitors are shopping for.
- Ask customer service. Check with your support team to learn about the questions and issues your audience often has.
- Talk with sales. Ask your sales team for insight into customers’ purchasing patterns and product or service preferences.
Write With Your Brand Voice
Without a recognizable voice, the content you publish risks blending in with everything else on your followers’ timelines. By developing a brand voice, you can:
- Showcase the personality behind the social media page
- Make the brand sound more human
- Build a familiar presence that followers can easily connect with
To establish a brand voice, start by reflecting on the organization’s mission and values. Identify some of the brand’s key characteristics.
Then consider how your target audience speaks, and pinpoint common idioms and topics. Share lists of what to say and what not to say with your team to ensure everyone uses the same voice.
Decide on a Content Mix
It’s tempting to fill your social media calendar with branded content. Why wouldn’t you want to take every chance to talk up your brand?
For many social media users, however, a constant barrage of self-promotional content feels like a sales pitch. That can lead to unfollows, which can cause your team to miss out on sales opportunities.
To create a page that educates, converts, and cultivates loyal followers naturally, post a variety of content types and sources.
Use these ideas to mix it up in your editorial calendar:
- Include user-generated content (UGC), influencer posts, and client testimonials to let happy customers speak for your brand.
- Curate relevant content from other brands and websites, especially if it aligns with your audience’s interests or questions.
- Publish interactive content, such as live streams, Q&As, and polls or quizzes to get to know your audience better.
- Share news, links, and posts from social media influencers and brand partners to further establish the relationship.
Create Unique Content for Each Channel
No matter what your content mix includes, it’s important to optimize each post for its platform.
Follow these content best practices to make sure each post looks, sounds, and performs at its best:
- Write copy that’s the ideal length for each channel. For example, the optimal length for social media posts on Facebook and Twitter is somewhere around 80 characters. The best length for Instagram posts is about 50% longer, or around 125 characters.
- Leverage the options each channel offers. Instagram posts might not support links, but they’re ideal for hashtags. Likewise, Facebook isn’t the best place for hashtags, but it’s a great place for sharing links to blog posts and product pages.
- Publish optimized images and videos. Adhering to each social media channel’s ideal ratio for images and videos might mean extra work. But resizing images and videos for each platform ensures you’ll get maximum value from your visual content.
Get Inspired by the Competition
Copying the competition won’t help you create unique branded content. However, it’s always a good idea to check on competitors periodically.
If other brands in your space leverage new platforms or content types, you might get value from them, too.
Here are a few ways to find out what the competition is doing and whether they’re getting results:
- Browse their social profiles. Create a list of your top five competitors and check their pages at least once a month. Look to see how they’re using new tools like Twitter Fleets or Instagram Reels.
- Use a comparative tool. Add your top competitors to Agorapulse’s Facebook Barometer or Twitter Report Card. Then see how your performance compares and see where other brands outrank yours.
- Review their Facebook Ads library. Are your competitors targeting your audience in an interesting way? Scroll through their Facebook Ads library to see what types of ads they’re running.
Master Social Media Monitoring
With social media monitoring, your team can improve content in two key ways.
By monitoring mentions and branded terms, you can easily tune in to conversations about your brand. Then you can identify UGC to reshare, find common questions to answer, and create content that addresses complaints and issues.
You can also use social listening to follow competitor news, industry hashtags, and larger conversations about your space. Then you can find trending topics for your content calendar, add your take to important discussions, and improve brand awareness.
Schedule Content at Ideal Times
Finding the right time to publish social media content is critical, as posts have limited time to make an impact. For example, the lifespan of a tweet is just 15 to 20 minutes. The closer you can get to the ideal posting time the more you can improve social media performance. So how do you find the best times to post?
- Use standard recommendations. Some studies have found the best times to post on social media. Although these recommendations aren’t specific to your audience, they offer a good starting point.
- Review your social media insights. Social media channels like Facebook and Instagram can pinpoint when your followers are most likely to be online.
- Check your social media scheduling tool. Dashboards like Agorapulse identify the best times to post based on when your audience is most likely to engage.
Although you have to post some content at the moment, strive to schedule most posts. Using a social media scheduling tool increases the chance of posting at the right time. It also prevents you from having to pause your workflow and take time to post in real time.
Secure Stakeholder Approvals
Unless you’re a team of one, you likely need feedback and approval before publishing social media posts. Emailing screenshots and spreadsheets can be inefficient and hard to track, especially if you’re juggling over a dozen clients.
Instead, streamline your workflow by requesting stakeholder approval right from your social media scheduling tool. By assigning posts to team members or clients, you ensure that content won’t go live until stakeholders sign off.
Analyze and Optimize Content
The content that drives great results today might not perform as well next month or in future campaigns. That’s why it’s essential to use native insights or third-party reports to track analytics. Follow this process to analyze and optimize:
- Decide on a time frame for reviewing social media marketing analytics, such as daily, weekly, or monthly.
- Use your social media goals to identify the metrics that matter most. For instance, clicks and click-through rate (CTR) are critical for driving website traffic.
- Compare the most recent period to the prior period and look for patterns. For example, your CTR for blog posts may have increased dramatically thanks to a push to produce high-quality articles weekly.
- Turn your findings into experiments to continue to improve performance. For instance, you might republish your most popular posts to drive even more traffic.
Ultimately, each account your agency manages may require a unique strategy or objective. But by adopting these content best practices, your agency can establish a strong foundation for social media production.