Chapter 5

Social media and messengers

Content planning

Content planning: How and what to plan. How to navigate news events

A content plan is more than just words. It's about realizing what content you post on your social media profiles, as well as when and how you do it. This plan can help you understand why you devote your time to all that. A content plan can be a table with the following columns:
  • Title and posting date. Specify the post's key message and planned date of publication. This is where you answer the questions "what" and "when".
  • Summary. Helpful links, sources, and references. This is where you answer the question "how".
  • Audience (if necessary). Add this if you plan to interact with various audiences and have a different message for each segment.
  • Topic. This refers to your SMM strategy, which constitutes a general plan for your social media activity. A topic helps you group content by certain characteristics. It's also responsible for achieving certain marketing goals.
This is how it works. You need to stick with your SMM strategy that includes topics, which, in turn, will be created based on your content plan. Not only will this make things easier for you, but it will also let you delegate texts and visuals, making content preparations absolutely transparent.

Posting frequency on social media depends on how many followers you have and the specifics of your ad space.

It's worth explaining what contextual content is. Contextual content is a person or company's rapid response to an important event, buzzworthy news, or any other situation, with a link to the person or company's activity or product*.

Doing this is top-notch SMM skills. On the one hand, it's an opportunity to reap benefits from an event with a lot of focus on it and go viral. On the other hand, it bears a great risk: Your response may seem inappropriate, or you might react too slowly.
So, how do you navigate the news and look for noteworthy events?
  • Check out Google Trends.
  • Go to YouTube (especially the "Trending" tab).
  • Follow influencers in and outside your vertical.
It's important that you're actually interested in current events. To stay in the know, check out major YouTube channels and read niche media outlets.

Wording: How to compose catchy texts and headers and draw attention to your content

Creating text content for social media isn't the same as just writing text. A standard post isn't an essay, scientific paper, or direct advertisement. First, the volume is limited. You have to fit your message in a small space without overloading it. Second, time is limited. You have just a few seconds to grab a target user's attention without frightening them away with clickbait. How do you do that?
  • Don't forget about tone. Make sure your followers are comfortable with the way you communicate. It's critical to maintain this subtle border between the formal and the informal, a dry press release style and being too familiar.

  • Pay attention to the header (especially if your header is in an image). Five seconds. That's the average time users spend deciding whether to continue reading or scroll along. Your header should be like a movie teaser. Bold, emotional, impressive, persuasive, and relevant. Attract attention with short, simple phrases that hint at being helpful and transparent. Draw attention with big numbers. Provocation's still on the table, after all, but don't go too far.

  • Prepare clear, digestible text that won't tire your user out. The shorter the sentences are and the fewer compound sentences you have, the better. Forget complex words and intricate sentence structures. You should re-read your text and get rid of anything that's unnecessary. A standard post contains 200 to 300 characters with spaces (5 to 6 sentences). But don't scrimp on style. Make your tone unique and recognizable.

  • Pay attention to structure. It's easier to read a text that has a clear structure. Use paragraph breaks when appropriate, and use some—but not too many—emojis. Your goal is to split the text into sections so that the reader doesn't get tired and turned off by your dense text.

  • Add a call to action. Your entire post should be a clear push to take a specific action. Don't hesitate to ask your followers to like, share, leave a comment, or follow a link. Be obvious! But be sure that your CTA fits into the post context and that the post itself is relevant and helpful.

  • Read your text over again and check your work. Don't rush to post it. Schedule your publication and re-read what you have. Get rid of all unnecessary words.

  • Don't forget about visuals! This point could have been first, but we decided to discuss text first. It's hard to overestimate the importance and value of visual content. A vivid and relevant visual doesn't give the impression "we just needed a stock photo to fill this gap." Devote enough time to finding good visuals.

Analytics: How to find out whether you're on track and what to pay attention to

How do you determine whether there's a gain from your social media activities? For publishers investing much in targeting, a top-level indicator is the CTR.
For example, you can check clicks for any VK post:
If you're launching several programs or they're already running on various social media platforms, always use UTM tags to help register clicks and track follow-up activity.

This is where integration with Google Analytics comes into play (if you lead traffic to your website/ad space).
  • To find out where users come from, go to All traffic → Channels → Social.
  • To track website traffic, open the chart in Traffic source → Overview. This way, you'll figure out how many users you get from social media and see the conversion stats.
To evaluate the quality of social media traffic, you might want to analyze a CTR, CPC, and CPL.

It's easy to calculate a CTR. Just divide the number of clicks by the number of impressions and multiply this value by 100. The higher this number is, the better your social media performance is.

Remember that there's no CTR benchmark. The target value will vary depending on the context.

The same is true about the cost per click. It's a relative indicator that demonstrates the effectiveness of targeted social media ads and is calculated as a ratio of the total spend to the number of clicks. A target value is defined for a specific situation or industry. It helps evaluate and compare your ad investments if you run several programs.

A CPL can work for you if you know — or can calculate — the number of leads you generated over a specific period. The lead price is calculated as a ratio of the amount you spend on promotion to the number of leads your ads generate.

If you regularly track at least two of these parameters, chances are you'll know where your program performed better and where it went wrong. In the end, analytics is what lets you see whether your business model is viable.
But what about likes, shares, and all that? Do these metrics mean nothing?

Not really. In fact, if you're growing a social media community and want to create a lively, motivated audience, parameters such as reach, number of views, follower growth speed, number of unfollows, negative reactions, and engagement (number of likes, shares, and comments divided by the current number of followers) will tell you how engaging your content is and whether your community has good prospects in terms of your current SMM strategy.

These indicators will let you know what to do next, i.e., what content to post, how to communicate, and what topics to focus on, to gradually enhance audience loyalty. Such an approach to SMM is about long-term success.

Even if your followers today barely follow links to place orders, your activity will upscale loyalty, boost product and service awareness, and convert it all into leads.
These are the basic things that will help you get started in SMM in 2022 if you're just setting your sights on this business model. I'd like to add a bunch of extra tips that will guide you through the world of social media:
Start practicing ASAP. There's a lot of theory, but the only way to learn how to create content, launch ad campaigns, and maintain communities is just to do it by trial and error. But don't skip on putting together an SMM strategy at the start! Consider it as part of your practice.

If you plan to launch targeted ads, run 2 or 3 test campaigns with a small budget. This way, you won't spend more than you planned, and you'll define the target indicator values for your full-speed launch.

Follow 3 to 5 major SMM and digital business channels so you can stay in the know. Don't add more resources to your list. Otherwise, you'll drown in information.
Continue this course to systematize the information that you've learned.

next – chapter 6

Media buying