How to create an audience-engaging social media workflow in 6 steps
It’s no secret that to stand out in today’s crowded social media landscape, you have to go the extra mile. Meaning, you need to offer more value to your (potential) audience than the odd meme followed by a very-subtle-but-not-really plug to whatever you’re selling.
This is where a social media workflow comes to the rescue, as it can help you stay focused and on-target. Now, admittedly, creating an audience-engaging social media workflow can feel like a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be. By following these simple steps, you'll be well on your way to increased engagement and a more successful social media presence.
What is a social media workflow?
Put simply, a social media workflow is a process that you can follow to create and publish content on social media. The process includes creating content, scheduling it, and then publishing it on social media.
That’s the gist. However, a social media workflow is much more than what you post and when. Ideally, it should cover everything from administrative aspects such as distribution of tasks, to content creation and distribution processes. The comprehensiveness of your social media workflow should be directly proportional to the size and experience level of your team. If that sounds daunting, don’t worry — your social media workflow doesn’t have to cover everything from the get-go. It all comes down to iteration and tweaks as you’re figuring out what works and what doesn’t.
Why is a social media workflow important?
A social media workflow is important because it helps you to be more efficient and effective in your content creation and publishing. Even though social media has come a long way from the era of the lone social media intern posting branded content from their coworking space’s bean bag, you’d be surprised to find out how many organizations still wing it.
This is not to say every business needs a corporate-level social media workflow. But by setting a strong foundation now —with tight processes and all that jazz — scaling in the future will be much, much easier. Plus, by following a process, there’s the obvious benefit of ensuring that your content is of high quality and that it reaches your audience on the platforms that they use.
Now that we’re established what a social media workflow is and why it’s important, let’s delve into the main topic of the article.
Establish your audience
The first step in creating a social media workflow is to establish your audience and goals. Who are you trying to reach with your content? What do you want to achieve with your social media presence? Once you have answers to these questions, you can begin to create content that is tailored to your audience and that will help you achieve your goals.
Establish your ICP
An ICP (ideal customer persona) is a semi-fictional character that represents your ideal customer. This is a topic expansive enough to warrant its own article, so for the purposes of the piece, we’re going to stick to the cliff notes version.
When you create content, you should always keep your ICP in mind. Who are they? What are their interests? What social media platforms do they use? By knowing your ICP, you can create content that is more likely to engage them.
Here’s how to establish your ICP for social media marketing:
1. Identify your target market
The first step is to identify your target market. Who are you trying to reach with your product or service? Once you have a good understanding of your target market, you can begin to narrow down who your ICP is.
2. Research your audience
Once you have a good understanding of your target market, you can begin to research your audience. There are a number of ways to do this, but some methods include conducting surveys, interviews, and focus groups.
3. Create a profile
This profile should include information such as their demographics, interests, and social media habits.
4. Test and refine
With the profile created and established, you should test it to see if it is accurate. You can do this by creating content and then measuring the engagement that it receives. If you find that your ICP is not engaging with your content, you may need to refine your persona.
Choose the platforms that will help you achieve your goals
With your ICP established, it's time to focus on platforms. While it may be tempting to target all platforms, it's important to remember that not all platforms are created equal. Instead of trying to be active on every platform, focus on the ones that will help you achieve your goals and most importantly, where your ICP actually spend time. For example, if you're trying to reach a B2B audience, LinkedIn may be a better platform than Twitter — though some might disagree, as Twitter has steadily become a hotspot for B2B marketers and professionals.
Here are a few general things to consider when deciding which platform to target:
- The type of content you create. Some platforms are better suited for certain types of content than others (obvious, right?). For example, if you create a lot of visual content, Instagram may be a good platform for you.
- The goals you're trying to achieve: Each platform has its own strengths and weaknesses. Choose the platform that will help you achieve your goals. For example, if you're trying to increase brand awareness, Instagram or Twitter may be good choices.
- Team bandwidth and experience: Creating a social media workflow can be time-consuming. Consider the team bandwidth and experience when deciding how many platforms to target. Plus, spreading yourself too thin can lead to low quality content.
Determine your social media goals and guidelines
Now that you know who your audience is and which platforms you're going to target, it's time to establish some goals for your social media presence.
Set small, achievable goals and work your way up
When it comes to setting goals, always remember to start small. Trying to accomplish too much at once is a recipe for disaster. Instead, focus on setting small, achievable goals that you can slowly build on over time.
Here are a few examples of small social media goals:
- Increase brand awareness
- Generate leads
- Improve customer service
Once you have established some small goals, you can work your way toward larger ones. But remember, always focus on quality over quantity. It's better to have a smaller number of well-defined goals that you can build on than aiming too high and getting mediocre results.
Draft a set of guidelines and best practices
Once you have established your goals, it's time to draft a set of guidelines and best practices. These guidelines will help ensure that your social media presence is on brand and consistent, among other things.
Here are a few things to consider when drafting your guidelines:
- Tone and voice. How do you want your brand to sound on social media? Establishing a tone and voice for your social media content will help ensure that all of your content is on brand and consistent across all platforms.
- Visuals. Same as above. Your visuals should have the same aesthetic theme across platforms and assets.
- Content. What kind of content do you want to share on social media? Do you want to share blog posts, infographics, photos, videos, or all of the above? At what cadence? What about curated content? Or repurposed content?
Have clear roles & responsibilities
Roles and responsibilities, the heart and soul, or whatever analogy you want to use of a tight social media workflow. Depending on the size of your team, you may want to assign specific tasks to specific people. For example, you may want one person to be responsible for creating the content, another person to be responsible for curating the content, and another person to handle publishing the content (or not; more on that later).
No matter how big or small your team is, it's important to have a clear understanding of who is responsible for what. Having everyone on the same page decreases the likelihood of mistakes and PR crises.
As for the specifics, here is a basic social media team composition to get you started:
- Social media manager. The social media manager is responsible for overall strategy and execution.
- Content creator (or content marketer). Pretty self-explanatory.
- Designer. The designer is responsible for creating visuals for your social media presence. This may include designing infographics, covers, or profile pictures.
- Approver. Ideally, you’ll want only one approval in your team to avoid falling into endless approval loops.
- (Optional) Content curator. The content curator is responsible for curating the best content from around the web. This may involve finding and sharing articles, photos, or videos that are relevant to your audience.
Of course, you can always add more positions as needed. But these are the basics that you'll need to get started. Also, if your content creation process involves several people we recommend using a Content Marketing Platform (CMP) to centralize all your activities.
Determine your ideal metrics
What metric should you focus on? It depends on your goals.
- Brand awareness — each and impressions.
- Generating leads — CTR and conversion rate.
- Customer service — response time and satisfaction rate (you might need external tools for this).
These are just a few examples. There are many other metrics you can track, depending on your specific goals. The important thing is to choose the metrics that are most important to you and that will help you measure your success. It goes without saying, but don’t fall into the trap of vanity metrics.
Create a content calendar that is relevant and interesting to your audience
One of the best ways to ensure that your social media presence is engaging is to create a content calendar. A content calendar will help you plan and schedule your content in advance, so you can be sure that all of your content is relevant and interesting to your audience.
How to set a content calendar
There are a number of ways to set up a content calendar. You can use a Google Calendar, Microsoft Excel, or even a pen and paper. It doesn't matter how you do it, as long as you have a system that works for you.
When setting up your calendar, there are a few things you'll need to keep in mind:
- Your goals. What are your goals? What kind of content do you want to create?
- Your audience. What is your audience interested in? What kind of content will they find engaging? Be sure to keep your audience in mind when creating your calendar.
- Your resources. What resources do you have available? Do you have a team of writers, designers, and developers? Or are you working alone?
- Your schedule. How often do you want to post? Once a day? Once a week?
Schedule and publish content regularly
Now that you have a content calendar, it's time to start publishing your content. Be sure to stick to your schedule, and publish content regularly.
Easier said than done, right? Actually, no. Scheduling posts individually and manually for every platform can be a pain, but you can use a dedicated social media scheduling tool to eliminate that busy work.
Analyze your results and make changes as needed
After following and tracking your social media workflow for a while, it's important to analyze your results. Are you achieving your goals? If not, why not? What can you do to improve your results?
Then there are themetrics. Which ones are increasing? Which ones are decreasing? What changes do you need to make to improve your results?
Finally, don't be afraid to experiment. Try new things, and see what works best for you. There is no one perfect way to create an audience-engaging social media presence. The important thing is to find what works best for you and your brand.