To succeed in the world of ecommerce, you have to find ways to stand out online. One way to increase brand awareness is a social media marketing strategy. This means creating high-quality content and posting it on social media platforms where your target audience spends time, like Instagram, TikTok, and LinkedIn.
If you’re ready to devise a social media content plan, you’ll need to learn how to create social media content. Here’s an overview of the content creation process and some strategies for boosting your social media presence.
Why should you create social media content?
You should create content for social media for one simple reason: Social media is where internet users spend their time. Statisticians estimate 4.9 billion people worldwide use social media. That’s more than 60% of the planet. Those users spend an average of 2.3 hours per day using their social media accounts. What’s more, many of these people use social media to make purchasing decisions. A 2023 GWI survey found 56% of people learn about new brands or products from social media, while 28% of millennials use it to find specific products to purchase.
By offering your target audience relevant, engaging content on social platforms, you can meet them on their preferred turf and educate them about your brand’s products.
Types of social media content
Social media posts play an enormous role in a comprehensive social media strategy designed to stimulate audience engagement and generate leads for your business. The four main types of social media content are:
A written post consists of text-based content. This form of social media content is popular on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. A short written post might serve as a reaction to breaking news or an industry development; a longer written post might function more like a blog post, offering substantive insight into your area of expertise.
Many of the most engaging posts on social media are built around video. Data compiled by Statista found 3.37 billion people watched at least one online video per month in 2022. While many of these users sought out music videos and comedy clips, they also engaged with how-to videos and product videos showing the features of new retail items.
Some of the most popular social media sites, including YouTube and TikTok, are built around video content. Others, like Facebook and Instagram, support other types of content but show large amounts of videos to site visitors. As a result, many ecommerce businesses prioritize video when brainstorming social media content ideas.
Images, graphics, and memes
An image can be a still photograph, an illustration, or a graphic (such as a chart or graph). Another popular image format is a visual meme, which is a comedic piece of content that is spread via the internet, often through social media platforms. Memes can take many forms, including text and video, but many of the most popular ones (like the distracted boyfriend meme) are still images with short blocks of text.
Brands create eye-catching images and memes to engage with their audiences, show off their products, and generate memorable content. Visual content is often paired with videos or short texts (either as part of the image or as a caption) to reach out to audiences with varied preferences. People with slow internet connections may prefer still images since they load faster than videos. They can also appeal to those who don’t have the time to watch videos, or who work in quiet spaces where video sound would be distracting.
Audio content can also play a role in social media. For instance, you can link to audio clips or podcast episodes in your social media feed. You can also upload audio to social media platforms, but the audio will usually appear as a video with a single still image. If you create audio content using a platform like YouTube or Facebook, you’ll be prompted to upload an image to display as your audio plays.
How to create content for social media
- Define your goals
- Identify a target audience
- Study the competition
- Brainstorm ideas
- Create content in a variety of formats
- Use a social media management platform
- Schedule posts on a regular basis
- Follow up and engage with users
You’ll need quality content to stand out in the competitive environment of social media. This is particularly true when you’re creating content for the biggest social media platforms like Instagram and YouTube. Here’s a guide to social media content marketing, including devising content ideas and utilizing content creation tools:
1. Define your goals
Before you can embark on a social media marketing campaign, decide why you’re marketing in the first place. Do you want to drive more traffic to your website? Are you trying to boost quarterly sales figures? Are you simply trying to build brand awareness as part of a long-term strategy?
It can help to set some key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure a campaign’s success. A KPI tends to be tied to hard data, like the number of website visitors or your gross profit in a reporting period. If you meet your stated goal, you can deem your campaign a success. You can track some of this data using various social media analytics tools, such as those included in social media platforms.
2. Identify a target audience
Your social media content campaign should target the kinds of people who are likely to buy your products and services. You can conduct market research and create buyer personas to help you target your ideal customers.
Once you identify your target audience, you can focus on creating relevant content they’ll respond to. For instance, market research shows younger generations spend more time engaging with content like videos—both as entertainment and as educational content. By contrast, older users may show greater proclivity for reading text posts and news. Knowing your audience will help you choose the right kind of media and the right kind of message.
3. Study the competition
Chances are your ecommerce competitors are running social media content campaigns of their own. Observe these competitors’ content and posting cadence, and even their followers’ comments—all of which can give you insights into your industry.
4. Brainstorm ideas
It’s now time to think about ways to make your own content stand out. Start by choosing a writer’s tone to represent your brand. You could choose to adopt an authoritative tone on social media to convey expertise. You could also take on a comedic tone to convey fun and accessibility. You might reach out to your customer base for user-generated content like product unboxing videos or reviews. Or, you could organize social media contests offering rewards for user engagement. Reaching outside your organization, you could try an influencer marketing campaign, where a social media celebrity endorses your product in their feed.
Make sure your social media ideas align with your brand image: If you’re selling toys, a lighthearted tone could help you. if you’re selling caskets, a somber tone will be more appropriate.
5. Create content in a variety of formats
By posting in a variety of formats, you can promote engagement from a wide audience, regardless of their personal media preferences. Try a mixture of videos (how-to videos and explainer videos to appeal to different interests), blog posts about products, and graphics to showcase trends in your industry.
You may also choose to create entirely different social media content for different platforms. TikTok made its name as an engaging platform for lighthearted videos, while LinkedIn posts tend to be more professional and text-based. As such, it might make sense for your social media team to embark on different campaigns for these disparate platforms.
6. Use a social media management platform
A social media management platform is an online tool that helps you draft and schedule posts across multiple networks. Most offer features like a social media content calendar to help you plot your social media campaigns and prepare content well in advance of publication. Some of these tools also help you monitor trending topics and relevant hashtags, which can get your content in more people’s feeds.
If you run your ecommerce business on Shopify, you can find social media management tools in the Shopify App Store.
7. Schedule posts on a regular basis
Use your management platform’s social media calendar to schedule posts on a regular basis. It’s more useful for engagement to post twice a week for eight weeks than to post 16 times in one day. Both approaches yield the same total number of posts, but the twice-a-week cadence keeps posts coming on a regular basis. This increases the chances they’ll be seen in a user’s feed.
8. Follow up and engage with users
A social media campaign doesn’t end with posting content. Follow up on your posts by engaging in the comment sections. Maintain a friendly, positive tone whether you’re responding to compliments or criticism. In the captions of your posts, encourage your audience to leave suggestions for your next piece of content, creating a virtuous cycle of creation and feedback.
How to create content for social media FAQ
What makes successful social media content?
The most successful social media content promotes user engagement and encourages people to visit a website or ecommerce store. There, you can convert some of your social media fans into paying customers.
How much do content creators get paid?
If they’re mega-influencers, they can command tens of thousands of dollars in flat fees. You might pay lesser-known content creators a percentage of the money generated from referral links or a share of the social media post’s ad revenue.
How often should I post content on social media?
You should post content as frequently as possible while maintaining a steady cadence. If you can reliably post every day, you should. If it’s more realistic to post once per week, adopt that schedule instead.
Do different social media platforms require different content strategies?
Yes, different social media platforms reward different types of content. For instance, TikTok and Instagram show users lots of video posts, while Facebook and LinkedIn may show users more text posts and still images.
Should I optimize my content for each social media platform I use?
Yes, you should optimize your content to reach the maximum number of users on each social media platform. You may choose to convey the same exact message in a TikTok video and a LinkedIn graphic, using different mediums to optimize for those specific social media platforms.