How To Plan Social Media Content: 7 Steps For An Organized 2023

The internet gave people a hypothetical microphone to declare their thoughts. They get hurled out into the world, but who knows who actually hears them? When you’re trying to get your brand out there, you don’t want the content to get lost in the dark corners of social media. Your content marketing strategy needs to be heard to be victorious. 

It’s more straightforward being online when posting is a hobby. That photo, tweet, or video might not offer any value, but hey, it’s fun, so who cares? Some of the best memes out there happen on a whim. There is no stress about getting enough people to see your content, publishing at the right time, or finding the best platform for your target audience. 

Social media can be a complex tool to utilize when your brand is at stake, though. There are rules to follow, and decisions to make. There’s no reason why your business shouldn’t publish something hilarious, please do, but make sure there’s an intention behind it. There’s a balance to be found, and we will help you master it. 

Key takeaways

  • A well-thought-out plan can shape your social media journey from start to finish, keeping you on the right track, and in the right direction. 
  • Everything you create and every action has a purpose and a goal behind it. Planning to achieve these will keep you consistent and you will come across as more genuine to potential customers. 
  • The type of content you create matters. Video content has a reach of 92% among users worldwide and 90% of customers view user-generated content as helpful.
  • Your content needs to be perfectly balanced with trendy, evergreen, entertaining, and promotional posts. A plan will make sure everything stays in equilibrium and a calendar will space them out evenly. 

Why do you need a plan?

Whether it’s for the weekly food shop, a holiday, or this blog right there, I’m going to plan it out for a ridiculously long time. People might think I’m losing my mind when they see the endless lists, notes, and mind maps, but at least I’m prepared for anything. 

A man looking stressed with a board of planning and information behind him. There's a cigarette in his mouth and he's gesturing widely. The camera pans to another man with a cup in his hand, who looks scared.

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Planning can be a daunting and time-consuming task, but it pays off in the end. You must think the same, or else you wouldn’t be here. Don’t give up on your online presence when you don’t see immediate results. With advice like ours, you’re in it for the long haul. 

There are many benefits of adding a confident plan to your social media strategy, such as:

  1. Building a more self-assured team 
  2. Seeing higher-quality work
  3. Time for more interesting and innovative posts
  4. Keeping track of more channels
  5. Less missed deadlines for projects
  6. Fewer avoidable mistakes are being made
  7. Everyone knows what they need to do, so there is a more streamlined workflow
  8. Ensuring your channels don’t go stale because you’ll have something to post daily

The time people spend online is at an all-time high at an average of 95 minutes per day. And when your channels stand out against competitors, digital marketing is like shooting fish in a barrel. Planning will give you the advantage because your content feels well-thought out and people can feel the care you’ve put into it. 

Now we’re caught up and ready to create a killer social media content plan, let’s get started. Because we like to make things as easy as possible, here’s our infallible step-by-step guidance, just for you. 

1. Have your social media goals in mind

It can be very possible for businesses to invest their time into social media but not yield any significant results. Setting goals leads to highly targeted and meaningful content. Not taking the time to do this can leave you going around in circles. 

There was a goal in mind when you created your online platform. Maybe to sell a product, boost brand awareness, or drive users to your website. Use it to shape your journey. Whether your goals remain the same and you’re struggling to reach them or you want to go in a different direction, the content you create determines your outcome. 

There are eight most important business goals, which are increase sales, build brand recognition, create a stellar reputation, grow social media following, get on the first page of Google, open a new location, launch a new product or service, and host promotional events.

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Everything you post will have a purpose. This purpose is to meet a goal of some kind. So how can you bring these into your plan? Don’t try and achieve everything at once, give your attention to one goal and focus your plan around trying to achieve it. 

If you’re just starting out, it can be difficult to decide where your focus should be. It can also be hard to refocus on your goals when you think it’s time to. Each business will have unique demands, but everyone’s goals should be SMART. 

Specific The more detail you can define your goal with, the easier it will be to work with. Instead of deciding you want to increase your followers, choose an attainable number for a specific platform. 
Measurable Metrics help you to learn and reflect on your performance. Measure with key performance indicators (KPIs) and data. 
Achievable Be reasonable with yourself. Trying to be the best in your industry by the end of the year could be a stretch.
Relevant Whatever your goal might be, make sure achieving it will improve your team, business, or brand in some way. 
Time-bound A deadline will push you to achieve your goals. It will also make sure you’ve got realistic targets. 

Thought-out goals are crucial because they keep you from getting side-tracked. It’s easy to get swept up in the latest TikTok dance, but what is that actually doing for your brand? Plan with goals in mind to find motivation, see the bigger picture, and organize your time. 

2. Consider your audience’s role 

As you now know, every action works towards a goal. Sure, lots of people use social media, and that’s an understatement. But not everyone will want to buy your service or product. If you are advertising your real estate company and only twelve-year-olds like your posts, it’s not very helpful. 

We want our content to resonate with the audience of our choosing. Speak their language, and you’ll start converting them to customers. In order to do this, you must become an expert in your demographic. 

A buyer persona is a representation of those consumers. It’s based on a combination of data, research, and educated predictions. Use your market research and existing customers to build a realistic picture. The data is important. If your personas are based on assumptions and guesses, then they’re going to be pointless. 

The point of a buyer personal is to know who you are designing for, help you get to know users more closely, represent a group of users with similar goals and characteristics, and turn the abstract concept of a user into a person with thoughts and emotions.

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Your buyer personas will help you answer some questions. The plan you create will mostly depend on the habits of your target audience. Get as many details as you can when you start to make your profile because it will pay off when you have a big, clear picture. 

  • When do they log on? If your target audience is teenagers, it’s unlikely that they will be very active during school hours. Adults between 25-45 will probably be more active on the weekends and evenings because they will be in full-time employment. Knowing this will help you decide when it’s best to post your content. 
  • How do they interact with content? Traditionally, younger users tend to share more on their stories, and older users prefer to comment. If you want to target young consumers and the above is true, plan to utilize story features more frequently. For older counterparts, make sure you write questions in advance for future captions. 
  • What type of content do they enjoy? Let’s say your audience is parents, business people, or business owners. If that’s the case, they won’t have much spare time. Ease up on long articles and videos. Keep it short to engage them. 
  • Which platforms do they use? An obvious one that is often overlooked. Sometimes we can juggle too many channels and lose quality. 53% of 15-25-year -olds use Snapchat. But only 4% of adults over 56 years old use it. If you’re a B2B company or target professionals, consider LinkedIn over more popular alternatives. 

These questions should be in your mind throughout the content creation process. For any business strategy to work, the consumer has to be right there in the center. Take what you’ve learned and make sure every choice you make in your plan reflects your audience’s patterns and routines. 

3. Plan around the rules

I know, one of the reasons social media is such a fun marketing tool is because you can experiment and innovate, but rules are there for a reason. There’s no need to follow them religiously, but keep them in mind before you create your content plan. 

80/20

The idea here is simple; 80% of what you post should offer some sort of solution. It should be useful to your audience. This could mean so many different things; such as something funny, an interesting fact, or some industry news. 

Only 20% should be a glaringly obvious advertisement. This would be promoting product launches, features, what your service offers, and internal news. Aim to provide minimal self-promotion combined with lots of resources to educate and entertain. 

A visual depiction of the 80/20 rule in a pie chart. It shows 80% of content should be to interact, educate, inspire, entertain or connect, and 20% should be to promote.

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Consumers need a reason to follow you, and your product alone isn’t enough. Also, if your posts feel spammy, you’ll put off any potential customers. Ideally, you can get them to forget you’re even trying to make a sale by giving them valuable content. 

4-1-1

This rule is similar to the 80/20 above, but it’s a bit more of a specific guideline. It suggests you can reach the social media marketing strategy sweet spot with a pattern. Four pieces of content should be new and fresh, one should be a repost, and one self-promotes. 

A visual depiction of the 4-1-1 rule in a Venn diagram. The idea is that 4 posts are for other people's content, 1 to re-share from others, and 1 to self serve.

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Something new doesn’t necessarily have to be created by you, it could be curated content from somewhere like YouTube or TikTok (Quuu can help with that!) Aim to find entertaining videos, infographics, or articles that still have relevance to your brand. 

With reposts, there is an opportunity to build connections with other people and brands within your industry. Share or retweet something, bring yourself into the conversation, and you’ll begin to generate high-quality leads. 

When you plan, you can time your promotional post for when you have a sale or something new to introduce to your audience. Whether or not you give it the hard sell is up to you, but it shouldn’t be aggressive or pushy. Something like, “Our new update is now live! Give it a try and let us know what you think in the comments!”, will work wonders. 

Social media equilibrium 

Thinking about these rules will help you stabilize your posts. We all know we need to promote our products and services, that’s a given for any business. But too much can ruin your online presence and your brand with it. 

The guidelines above are not law, but they will provide a solid foundation for your content plan. Telling yourself that you need to post on Friday morning still leaves plenty of room for error and stress. Knowing you need to source a helpful article between 7 am and 9 am means that you can find it in advance, not put it off, and save yourself a whole lot of time. 

4. Create the quality content you’re going to post

Social media content needs to be like a river; constantly flowing so there is always something new to look at. This doesn’t necessarily mean posting all the time, as the right frequency will depend on your business and the platforms you use. 

But, it does mean that there should always be a cycle of new and diverse content. This isn’t easy to come up with on the fly. The panic of needing to find something interesting usually means you’ll just stick with something you know. But by making the time to plan, you can map out what you want your social media to look like in an ideal world. 

Familiarize yourself with types of content to diversify your channels

For the ultimate social media strategy, you need to be ten steps ahead with posting. You should know what you’re going to post and when, well in advance. Doing this ensures your feed isn’t repetitive and there is always wide appeal. 

Once, we thought of Instagram solely as a place to share a photo. Now, you can share Reels, go live, post Stories, and even use augmented reality (AR) filters. A good brand presence is a relatable one, so stay up to date with trends and updates to avoid looking out of touch. 

An older man in a school, dressed like he's much younger, with a skateboard over his shoulder. The caption reads, "How do you do, fellow kids?"

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We have plenty of content ideas to work into your plan. There are lots of things to choose from and, with good time management, you can experiment with them all. Whatever your niche, find a way to incorporate diversity into your social media posts. 

  • Infographics are cheap to make and can be created in-house or by a freelancer. Information can be presented in a digestible way and you can showcase all your industry knowledge. 
  • Video content is much more engaging. Online videos have a reach of 92% among users worldwide. 
  • Blogs, ebooks, and articles are great, but sometimes we respond more to an image. Gifs are a great way to keep it short and sweet but also stay visually interesting. 
  • Not enough businesses optimize podcasts. They don’t require a lot of effort, they can humanize your brand, and consumers can enjoy without giving you their undivided attention (which they often won’t.)

Let’s say you run a cosmetics company. Maybe, at the moment, you only post images of the product. You could create a video to show off lipstick swatches, or share an article about the importance of ethical makeup. Maybe, you could even create an infographic about the best color of eyeshadow for different skin tones. 

Take a look at this Instagram reel from TooFaced. They could’ve created a boring advertisement to promote their Black Friday sale, but instead, you get an insight into the office and employees. The consumer gets to know the brand more personally.  

Don’t be afraid to try something new. Even consumers within your target audience will have individualized channel preferences and different ways of ingesting content. Modern users don’t match up with old theories because almost everyone uses multiple platforms. 

Encourage a community for user-generated content (UGC) 

The TooFaced content works because real people are recommending products, which makes you more likely to buy. Even though they are still associated with the brand, they aren’t considered professional marketers. The fun and casual video makes you think that they aren’t trying to sell you something, they are just having fun. 

A non-promotional strategy really works. It’s hard to believe someone loves a product when they’re paid to advertise it and we’re getting wise to brands and influencer collaborations. But when we use UGC, a breath-taking 90% of customers find it useful. Embrace the power of consumer influence and set up a system that grows UGC. 

A girl is wearing Urban Outfitters accessories and holding a cat, smiling. The brand has hash-tagged "UOCommunity", which is where they get their UGC.

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Urban Outfitters have a brilliant UGC community. All their marketers need to do is click on the space they created, “UOCommunity”, and sift through at their leisure. Customers feel appreciated by the brand because they are tagged in the repost. 

UGC is a crucial part of content marketing but it can be unpredictable. You can’t tell customers what to post or when. When they do, it can easily get lost in the feed, which makes it pretty hard to work into a plan. So, create a hashtag that can be attached to their work, giving you a space to cherry-pick from. It also solidifies that sense of community. 

You could also conduct a competition or giveaway at the beginning of the year. Maybe ask for users’ best product photos, and if they get posted to your channel, they earn a discount or prize. This is a fun way to get content and active user participation. 

Embrace your team’s creativity 

One of the best parts of content planning is coming up with great ideas. Why not get your team members involved? Schedule a brainstorming session and invite as many employees along as you can. 

There are seven rules for brainstorming, which are to defer judgement, encourage wild ideas, build on the ideas of others, stay focused on the topic, one conversation at a time, be visual, and go for quantity.

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Everyone has bright ideas, even if they don’t typically work with social networks. They might come up with something you’ve never thought about, or they might’ve seen an up-and-coming trend on the horizon. 

Not only will this give you quality ideas, but it will also boost the community feeling amongst your team. They will feel valued because you’re listening to them, and this will improve your company all round. Employees who care will reflect this in their work, for all of your customers to see. 

5. Create a posting schedule 

Your plan is starting to come together. You’ve got all your ideas sussed, and you’ve done enough research for a lifetime. But all of that means nothing without a schedule, which ensures there is an even distribution of evergreen and fashionable content across every one of your channels. 

A schedule means everything can be prepped in advance. There won’t be any panic editing because the content won’t have typos or any other obvious issues. Someone will check it over long before it gets published, not only for grammatical errors, but tone inconsistencies and insensitive language. 

It describes the use of a social media content calendar, which is to help develop your editorial strategy, to consistently publish high-quality content, to organise the way you create and curate content, and to cut out extra time.

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Whether you think a Google spreadsheet or plain old diary is right for you, a social media content calendar is going to be one of your most paramount assets. Funnily enough, here’s a template we prepared earlier. 

Just as any calendar should, it will keep you organized. You can determine when something is posted, when it will be promoted, and in which order. It will also draw attention to holidays your audience might be interested in. Here is a list of national and global holidays for 2023 that you might like to include. 

It will be where you compose upcoming social posts and monitor ongoing campaigns. Posting will become fool-proof if you ask yourself questions like: 

  • What is the social platform that the content is being uploaded to? 
  • When is the post being published? 
  • If you have multiple social media accounts, which one will you be using?
  • Who is in charge of doing the posting? 
  • Will there be anything extra, like hashtags, user tags, copy, and links? 

Some platforms, like Instagram, offer in-app social media scheduling for your posts. We definitely recommend this tool, but still, consider having a space for your team members to access the editorial calendar. This way there won’t be any confusion down the line. 

External tools will save your marketing team so much time because they won’t have to worry about the behind-the-scenes fiddly things we don’t always think about. You’ll be able to automate reminders for everyone so no piece of content goes unpublished. 

Create an editable document for everyone to work from. There are so many social media management tools out there, like Hootsuite or Buffer, that will do the work for you. You’ll always be prepared with a convenient dashboard that’s easy to use and collaborative. 

6. Develop your content promotion strategy

Planning will make it clear how much of a budget you’ve got for promotion. If you keep adding paid ads to your campaign without thinking, your costs are going to pile up. Researching the best times to promote, as you did with the content in the first place, and sticking to it will broaden your reach. 

Promotional strategy is made up of two things. The "push" is sales-driven and includes methods like trade shows, sales, point of sales, and demonstration videos. The "Pull" is marketing-driven and includes advertising, email marketing, word of mouth, and social media.

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There are a plethora of methods to be utilized. You need to know these, and which work best with certain types of content. Wouldn’t it be such a waste to make something amazing, only for it to fall on deaf ears? If you don’t include a promotion strategy in your plan, that could be your reality. 

  • Share across your other social media channels: If you’ve crafted a brilliant tweet, there’s no reason you can’t post it to your Facebook page. Likewise, if you create a TikTok video that’s worth seeing, publish it to Instagram to spice up the feed. Older users might not be interested in downloading TikTok, but they might still enjoy your video. 
  • Reach out to influencers: You’ll have more time to try this out because, thanks to your plan, you’re strides ahead. These users can share or repost your content. 
  • Use targeted ads: Don’t be afraid of paid promotion, it does the job. 
  • Let the experts handle it: Our very own platform, Quuu Promote, does all the heavy lifting for you. Real people will share it, so everything remains organic. 
  • Promote others to encourage sharing: Have you taken inspiration from another brand’s post? Tag them in the caption. Did you try out a trend because you saw someone else do it? Write in the caption that you saw theirs first. If you shared a quote, tag the account of the person who said it. Users are more likely to promote if you stroke their ego a little.   

Use SEO for maximum reach

Getting as many people to see your content as possible isn’t easy. Providing them with quality isn’t going to be enough. You need to make the most of SEO to maximize your reach, so put time aside to plan which keywords you should use and write your captions in advance. Go further and look into trend predictions.

Social SEO works a lot like the traditional use, but it refers to the terms and information you include in your posts. Choose carefully by using trending, appropriate, and branded tags so that platforms make your profile more distinguishable. 

Social media and SEO can be combined if you create new link opportunities, create keyword-focused social media content, personalize your content, monitor social media, test content performance, engage with your audience, improve branded searches, and build strategic partnerships.

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Make sure you’re not keyword stuffing though, it’ll look messy and users will see right through it. Instead, try some social listening, trial and error with your own posts, and investigate which tags have the most potential. Some might have more posts in them but check to see when the most recent upload was posted. It might be ancient. 

Repurpose and update content 

As you’re starting to draft a plan, you’ll realize that there is a lot of ground to cover. Through the art of recycling, it will become much easier for you to scale. In the words of digital marketer and strategist Rich Brooks, “Content repurposing is a multiplier. It’s the triple word score on scrabble, except you’re not limited by triples.”

Consider what fits which platform the best, because not everything will be transcendent. It would feel a bit out of place to find a podcast on Instagram, which focuses on visuals. But posting an infographic from Instagram to Facebook would work very well.  

Don’t forget about the benefits of updating the work of your past, too. Lots of businesses use this in their content strategy. It will save you and your team time, be more cost-efficient, and will make sure you change any statistics that are now outdated, or information that no longer rings true. We don’t always have time for this if we don’t schedule it. 

7. Improve future planning with metrics 

Plans make sure everything happens in the order it should. But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t evolve. Your goals will change or you’ll reach them and your business will grow, which might put you on a different path entirely.  

Tracking your social media platforms and their performance is hard work; but you aren’t doing things for the sake of them. We want to see success in one form or another. Metrics are the only way to paint a true picture of how well your company is doing. The isn’t just one way to monitor your channels, consider:

  1. How many people are seeing your content? If your reach is increasing, not only are you finding your target audience, but also a new one. 
  2. Are users interacting with your channels? Engagement is a big deal. You’ll see which types of content are the most valuable to you and focus on these when it comes to reviewing your plan. 
  3. Are you making a return on investment (ROI)? Tracking your sales and conversions after a social media campaign can show you if your content is having the desired impact. 
  4. What does your social media analytics look like? Find answers in the data given to you. Look at things like shares and mentions to see which types of posts perform the best. You can also use Google Analytics for further insights. 

There are four main metrics to track, which are customer-centricity, return on investment, engagement, and awareness.

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Take the time to make sense of your metrics. When you apply them right, they can mold the plan ahead. If you notice a lack of engagement, consider filling your channel with more interesting visuals. If there’s a lack of reach then share content more often, like memes or competitions. 

Conclusion

Content done right, with hard work and plenty of fun, is the difference between a successful and unsuccessful brand. After all, what you put out there is your key to brand awareness and solid customer relationships. But your brand will never reach its full potential if you are not planning properly. 

You know I love a plan. I hope, if you didn’t before, then you understand where I’m coming from now. It will make sure your business is always on an upwards trajectory. You’ll stay value-driven and operations will be as smooth as ever. What are you waiting for? This year will go by in a flash, there’s no time to sit around!