The world of social media gets bigger each day as thousands of people join, millions of people post on hundreds of social media platforms, and who knows how many blog posts are published. It's a big, big world of images, text, and ideas. The first and most important question is what to post. The answer is high-quality content that expresses your ideas effectively and reaches your goals. The second question is how to share your content so people find it and share it themselves.
Creating the perfect social media post maximizes your great content by reaching more people. Using graphics to tell the your story is the current trend in social media. This is what I call “visual marketing,” and it was spurred partly because of the success of Pinterest and Instagram. On these services, a photo is often the first, and sometimes only, interaction with readers, which changes everything.
Pinterest and Instagram set the standard for content marketers and social media managers to create good — if not awesome — visual content that tells a story.
You want to create posts that are eye-catching and share-worthy for great visual marketing.
Ideas that spread, win. – Seth Godin
I recently was a guest on the Manly Show with Jeff Sieh, and we discussed what I do for my social media strategy. I used an analogy from The Princess Bride to explain my social strategy quickly. Hopefully, my explanation will help you create your social strategy for visual marketing to maximize your content.
In The Princess Bride, the hero, Westley, needs to storm a castle guarded by sixty men with limited manpower and assets to save his true love, Princess Buttercup, from being forced into marriage with the evil Count Rugen. He takes the following actions: reviewing the liabilities, assessing his assets, creating a plan, and implementing it.
Here's the recording of my conversation with the men of the Manly Show.
This is how it relates to creating a social strategy for you:
1. Determine your goal
Why do you need a social strategy? Are you working on email leads, building web traffic, or finding new clients? You need to know why you're on social media before you can figure out what your plan will be. From Heidi Cohen, “At a top level, most businesses focus on building awareness, raising brand visibility, acquiring new prospects, increasing sales, and retaining existing customers. Depending on your business focus and the complexity of your sales process, your social media objectives may be more granular.”
2. Evaluate your assets and liabilities
What social media platforms are you on and actively participating in? Do you have social platforms that you've started and abandoned? Do you have a blog? Who is writing the content? Who is on your team, and what part do they play in your strategy?
3. Find your tools
Experiment with all the tools that are available to you and see what meets your needs and budget. These are my most used social media tools right now:
- Feedly** – content curation by topics that feed into my SmarterQueue profiles
- Canva – to create all my images
* I have complimentary plans with these services but recommend them because I love and actively use them.
** I pay for these services, but I'd love to move them to the * group.
4. Create a plan using assets and tools
Creating an editorial calendar is easier than you think. There are two types of editorial calendars.
This is the foundation for your entire social media platform. Consider your blog your home base for your social media plan. Your blog is your piece of real estate on the web, and I feel it’s essential to build name recognition or brand awareness. If you don’t have your blog or want to boost your online presence, guest posts are a great way to reinforce your personal brand by reaching a different audience on a new blog. You’ll want to add all writing responsibilities to your editorial calendar so you can keep track of deadlines, topics, and other important information. There are some great WordPress plugins to manage your editorial calendar.
Social media content calendar
This will boost your blog and round out all your content. You’ll want to share only a small percentage of your blog content or content about you. The general guideline is 90% other people’s content and 10% your own. Being a good social friend and sharing others’ content builds your social network. Ultimately, you’d like to be in a position where people are organically finding your content and sharing it because they love it.
5. Execute your plan
Build out your week according to the number of blog posts that you're publishing, including social media posts for important announcements, events, interviews, or other content that you'd like to share. Add your essential content to the calendar first. Then, you'll need to feed the content monster with additional content to fill the holes in your plan, and, of course, you can't just share your content.
You'll need to decide how many times to share per day per platform. There isn't a standard amount but this is what I shoot for:
1. Eight to ten tweets with others responding to other people or saying hello to friends. I tweet way more than this when you add retweets and random tweets.
2. Two to three Facebook posts per day, with other posts shared by others.
3. LinkedIn at least one update per day.
4. Pinterest – pin consistently and spread it out over the day. You can use Planoly to schedule Pins if you'd like.
5. Instagram – I try for one post per day but don't always meet that.
I use images and graphics for all of these posts, which does take some planning. You can plan it all and schedule them or create each image as you post them live. It depends on your time and organizational skills. I prefer to start the week with a full schedule and work on great content as I see it, creating additional graphics as needed.
I hope this gives you some ideas on maximizing your content with visual marketing. I use images with everything that I post. Give it a try to see how it works for you! Let me know what works for you. I'd love to hear how you do things differently from my plan and have fun storming the castle!