Content Marketing Fundamentals

The Value of Content and the Importance of a Social Media Content Strategy
“Content” is a far reaching term in the case of social media. This can include:

Gifs and images.

White papers

Blog Articles

As well as the accompanying copy on a social post.

etc.

Content plays a crucial role in achieving business and social media objectives. Such as:

Brand recognition

Thought leadership

Audience engagement

And lead generation.

It allows you to cement your position as a go-to destination for your customers. Whether it be for entertainment, education or inspiration.

Effective content will help you build long term relationships with your audience. Leading to increase revenue for your organization.

Ensure to keep your content is well received by keeping it relevant to your audience’s goals, interests and pin-points.

Not only is great content a good way to build trusting relationships with your audience, it can also help support the needs of your business.

The best way of ensuring this is to create content that reflects the unique perspective of your brand. Whilst also taking into account the needs of your organization.

A key tool to achieving your social content marketing goals is a strong content strategy which acts as a game plan for coordinating, creating and distributing your organization’s content.

Creating content without a strategy could lead to an unbalanced tone, subject matter or purpose.

Without a plan in place most organizations would find it difficult to maintain an effective cadence and regularity to their posting schedule.

Foregoing a content strategy will also make it difficult to understand the ROI of your social efforts a challenge. As there would be no consistent objectives or measurement strategies in place.

Use your content strategy as a way to tell a consistent, cohesive story about your brand.

A well thought out strategy helps you ensure you’ve set attainable goals, identified your audience and are distributing your content effectively.

Creating a Content Strategy for Social Media
Your social media content strategy should flow naturally from your social media strategy and objectives.

Ask yourself how you can use content tactically to achieve broader social media objectives.

For e.g. if a social media objective is to increase brand recognition with millennials by 30% your social strategy could specific a posting rate for Snapchat and include plans for influencer takeovers of Instagram live. Giving you more opportunities to connect with your target market.

In addition to supporting the social media strategy your social media content strategy should also support and align with your organization’s general content strategy, provided on exists.

There are four key components of a social content strategy:

Research and analysis of current content reception.

Your target audience, identified by platform.

A list of content specific goals and objectives.

Plans for the distribution of your content.

Research is important to identifying what content will resonate with your audience.

Begin by looking at your social media audit and then use network specific tools such as Facebook insights and Twitter analytics to identify your audience demographics by network.

Remember to treat each network’s following as a unique audience as your Instagram audience may be very different to your Twitter followers.

Next, analyze the reception of your previously posted content. Find specific examples of the best performing post and create a list for each network. This will help you identify the types of content and supporting copy that are succeeding on each channel.

Maybe your top performing content on Twitter is educational, such as “how to” posts, but your Instagram followers engage more with inspirational posts.

Tailor your content strategy to what is successful on each network and don’t assume that one size fits all.

To dig even deeper at content performance, reach out to your audience directly. Consider posting polls to ask what types of content your audience will like to see in the future.

For e.g. if you run a weekly Twitter chat you could post a poll asking what your audience would like to chat about next. The results will not only provide you with great ideas for content, but also with insight to your audience’s needs.

Working closely with content creators with your organization, such as copywriters and marketing team is important for achieving social media objectives.

Be sure to share insights on content performance early in the content creation process, so it influences the content being created.

This will in turn provide the social media team with shareable material more likely to resonate among target audiences.

Next up is competitive analysis, looking at what your competitors are posting can be a great source of inspiration. Just be sure not to copy.

Look closely at the types of topics your competitors are covering and which ones they aren’t.

Is there an opportunity for you to fill in a content gap and gain a niche?

After having researched your target audiences and identified popular content, it’s time to set some goals.

When creating goals, it’s a best practice to set overall content performance goals as well as more specific goals for individual pieces of content.

For e.g. an overall social media objective might be to increase traffic to a landing page from Facebook by a certain percentage in Q1.

A corresponding content goal could be to share 10 white papers in Q1 that generate a total of 3000 click throughs to that landing page.

The final step of your content strategy is your plans for distribution, consider what types of content you’ll be sharing on which networks and how often.

When choosing what to post where, look back to your social media audit and your specific content research. Taking into account what types of content have performed best as well as upcoming and current content trends. Such as live video.

While your content may changed based on network, it’s important to your overall tone and brand voice remain consistent.

Next, create a guideline for the pacing of your content distribution. The frequency in which you choose to post should be tailored to your organization.

Test posting frequencies for each of your networks. In order to determine what works best for your brand.

For e.g. if engagement consistently decreases after your third daily Facebook post. That could be an indication that two post per day is ideal for your audience.

Make sure you’re considering frequency on a per network basis as engagement thresholds are guaranteed to differ.

Your content distribution guideline will be a valuable tool when you begin working with monthly or weekly content calendars.

By having preset goals for the number and types of posts you can begin charting out your content calendars in advance and have a specific copy drafted. This will help you determine how much content you will need to curate or create from scratch to support your goals.

As with all strategy documents ensure you create them in a way that provides value for you and your team.

Creating these documents isn’t an academic exercise. They should be something you can use as a reference point.

Creating a Content Calendar and Using it Effectively
A content calendar works in tandem with your social media strategy allowing you to map out your publishing schedule and ensure your content is consistent, balanced, strategic and relevant week after week.

The content calendar is an evolving document, containing your planned and scheduled social media posts for all of your social channels.

It should be an extension of your content strategy a tool that ensures a good mix of content and support social media goals and objectives.

There are a few best practices to consider when creating a social media content calendar:

First, make sure it is easily accessible to those who need it. Placing it on a platform like Google Drive or Google Docs makes it easy for people to collaborate on it with ease.

The ability to collaborate is especially useful when drafting the company’s shared content.

Social moves at a fast pace, so don’t plan too far ahead. Allow yourself flexibility to accommodate new trends that might appear.

A best practice is too keep a larger monthly calendar with general information about upcoming launches and events that impact content strategy.

In addition to a detailed weekly calendar with specific copy and assets.

Your larger monthly calendar may contain items such as:

Campaign starts.

Influencer takeovers.

New blog posts.

While your weekly calendar should be a detailed schedule of every post for each of your social networks.

In work weekly calendar separate your daily posts by network and include a specific time you have scheduled for your post to go out.

Your weekly calendar should also contain information on the type and topic of the content your posting, the specific copy of each post, including any relevant hashtags and emoji as well as the link of the content your posting where applicable.

To make it easy for you to identify the ratio of the different types of content your sharing, colour code your calendar by type.

It’s a best practice, particularly on Twitter, where content loses visibility quickly to repost content that is performing well. When reposting, make sure to vary the accompanying message between posts.

It’s important to know that not all social channels are suited to reposted content.

You may want to post more sparingly on Facebook and LinkedIn and never reposting on Instagram and Snapchat.

To make reposting content easy maintain an evergreen content library that contains vetted content, social copy and images that have been successful. Your evergreen content library should contain successful variations of the accompanying social copy.

Keeping a living document of posts that have resonated best with your audience will make filling out the calendar much easier going forward.

Be sure to update your evergreen library, adding new successful posts and removing those no longer performing.

As you fill in your monthly and weekly content calendars remember that social is flexible. Make sure that your team is always listening and watching for current trends and important events that are happening globally and in your industry.

It’s especially important that you understand the context behind social media hashtags and trends as they may reference serious events.

A message scheduled a month in advance could take on a new context should a natural disaster or a current global affair occur.

By listening what’s happening on social and changing your content calendar accordingly you can ensure that your content is always consistent, relevant and engaging.

What is Social Content Curation vs Creation?
Shared content on social can be categorized into two different ways:

Curated – Which is content gathered from trusted sources relevant to your industry.

Created – This is content produced within your organization.

For most organizations content marketing on social media involves a mix of these two types.

While ratio will vary by different industry and organization a good rule of thumb is to share 60% curated and 40% created content making sure to adjust this ratio to whatever resonates with your audience best.

Created content includes things such as: blog articles, white papers, infographics, guides and visuals produced by your organization. As well as the copy on social messages.

Even if your organization has a team dedicated to creating branded social content, the social media teams should still produce channel specific content. Such as: Facebook live shoots, Instagram photos, Snapchat stories and tweets.

There are many benefits to sharing created content on your social channels, but the most valuable is that allows you to position your organization as a thought leader with unique insight, knowledge and perspective.

Created content is also good at driving conversions and traffic to your website. Especially when the call to action is clear and the accompanying copy is also providing value.

If there are important product launches or announcements in your organization, make sure that your social team works directly with the marketing team to help them create assets that will help them spread the news more effectively.

Social media is not just a megaphone for your branded, internally created content. Organizations may find that only sharing created content results in minimal engagement. Curated content is a great way to grow your audience and demonstrate your company’s position as a trusted advisor in your industry.

Curating content from trusted sources provides your audience with a diversity of view points and balances out the shared promotional content you’re sharing.

A practical benefit of content curation is that it won’t require much resources, which is useful for an organization without a dedicated content team.

It can also be a great way of building relationships within your industry, while positioning your brand to be in the know.

When choosing content for curation, think about whether it’s valuable to your audience. And ensure it aligns with the personas your organization is trying to target and the values it espouses.

Internal Content Curation for Social Media
As it’s traditionally understood, content curation involves gathering and evaluating pieces of media from respected or trusted venues and then sharing the most valuable gems to your audience.

But modern social media professionals in larger organizations also need to gather, evaluate and share relevant content produced within their organizations.

We call these two functions internal and external content curation and running a successful content marketing programme on social media requires understanding best practices for both.

When curating great external content to support your content strategy, there are many services available to help you to surface content that is relevant and engaging simply by entering topics and keywords and then creating a field of relevant articles.

Some tools to do this are:

Buzzsumo.

UpContent

Right Relevance

Epic Beat

Businesses can also create Twitter lists to surface relevant articles from trusted industry news sources.

The advanced search on Twitter is also a great way of surfacing content by creating multiple searches by using relevant industry keywords and hashtags. Choose an applicable sentiment and save.

Once an advance search has been saved you can check back on what’s happening in real time by clicking the search button and clicking the saved searches from the list below.

Once you’ve located great content that will resonate with your audience, think about how to provide value beyond simply sharing a link.

Consider aggregating a number of high quality sources into a round up of links.

For e.g. a post on top travel booking tips featuring detailed source directly from airlines. Or distill a complex report into an easily digestible format like an infographic or video.

Be sure that whenever your sharing content you’re adding the unique perspective of your organization in the accompanying copy.

In addition to sharing relevant articles and information relevant to your audience, many brands make a habit of sharing user generate content. This is content being created by fans of your brand and shared with your business via social media.

Not only does gathering user generated content save valuable time and resources, it’s also a great way to engage with your audience.

Incentivise your followers to create content by hosting periodic giveaways.

External Content Curation for Social Media
When it comes to internal content curation, not all the branded content your organization produces is going to be relevant for your social media audience.

As a social media professional, it’s your job to share content that brings value to your audiences.

This requires evaluating existing and incoming brand resources to determine what’s worth sharing and what’s not.

How are you keeping track of all the content being produced across your organization?

And what criteria do you use to evaluate whether a given piece of content will bring value to your audience?

When selecting branded content to share keep in mind the information you’ve learnt during your social media audit.

Does your audience prefer gifs or how to videos? Or do they respond best to infographics and Q&A articles?

Share your insights in your company’s audience on social media so that your team can focus on doing more of what works.

If there’s a piece of content that has or will resonate well with your audience, get more mileage out of it by re-purposing it or using it for different platforms.

For e.g. if you have a seasonal brochure full of travel tips and recommendations you can publish the whole thing on your blog but also use individual quotes and tweets, share tips on Facebook posts and images on Instagram.

When breaking apart content for repurposing, keep in mind the original intent and call to action of the piece.

So, if a white paper was designed to drive traffic to a landing page ensure that your repurposed version also supports that intent.

As you continue to gather topic performing social content, both internal and external, be sure to keep records of them.

We recommend using a living spreadsheet with content organized by topic. Depending on the amount on the amount of content you share and the needs of your organization you can create multiple sheets based on different areas of your business. Such as:

Brand Initiatives

Industry News

Campaigns

When drafting the copy of the text your sharing it’s important to continually evaluate your writing style. In addition to showcasing your brand and encouraging audience engagement, it is crucial to show the value of the content your sharing.

Often, successful social copy features words like tips or guide and includes numbers where applicable.

Think of it like your writing a newspaper headline, what will capture the readers attention and accurately represent the asset?

The Value of a Business Blog For Your Content Strategy
A company blog is an essential channel for sharing content. Not only can it be leveraged as a location for you to demonstrate the value of your business and position your company as a leader in your industry. It’s an ideal location to share content strategically while taking advantage of SEO tactics.

Your blog can be leveraged as a way for you to demonstrate your organization’s values and personality. While building trust with your audience.

When choosing a topic for your blog, think about the information that will be most valuable to your customers.

Make sure that the blog is aligns with and supports your organizations goals and objectives.

A key part of running a business blog is ensuring it and by extension the organization’s website are easily discoverable.

Make sure all your posts are SEO friendly by incorporating keywords into the title, headlines and body of your posts. As well as the URL.

Even the titles of the images you post contribute to SEO, so be mindful when naming images.

When adding keywords, make sure to do so in a way that feels natural and doesn’t impact the flow and comprehension of your post.

Readability is key for successful SEO so make sure that your content discusses topics, even complex ones, in clear easy to understand language.

Although the exact methods used by SEO are not public, it’s wise to consider the flesch-kincaid scale when assessing the readability of your post.

This scale takes into account things like:

Average sentence length and number of syllables per word.

There are many plug-ins available to measure the readability of your blog posts before they’re published.

The main factor of search page ranking is quality of content. So ensure every post is well crafted and contains at least one high res image.

Another tip when running your blog is to take advantage of linking. Link internally to your own blog posts where relevant particularly if you can link to key higher performing assets since that can improve your search ranking and make it easier for people to find your published posts.

In addition to using keywords and links strategically be sure to post consistently. Not only will your audience appreciate regular content, SEO rankings favours a consistent posting schedule so be sure to add blog posts in your content calendar and maintain a regular cadance. The ideal range is 2-5 posts per week.

Effective Best Practices for Sharing Content
A strong headline or caption is key to grabbing reader’s attention. Write a copy on social posts that is both clear and emotionally evocative.

Take the time to brainstorm a few variations of the copy that will accompany your visual content or blog post.

When sharing a similar piece of content across multiple networks, optimize how you will present it on each platform.

Visual content provides a great boost to engagement. Use a mixture of photos with a text overlay or videos to enhance the value and visual appeal of your posts.

You don’t need to add visuals in every single update but do keep an eye on how your visual do impact your engagement.

To keep your audience interested, vary your content regularly.

A mixture of questions, polls and user generate content are all great ways to facilitate a conversation.

Aim to end your posts with a clear call to action. For e.g. entice people to comment on your social content.

Optimal posting times vary for different networks, as a guideline don’t post too many content on an individual network at once. Instead work on testing your posting times and headlines to see what gets you the highest level of engagement.

Keep self-promotional content at around 1/3 of all the content you publish.

While your audience likely follows you because they’re interested in your products or services focusing on building rapport and providing valuable information will build brand loyalty over the long haul.

Encourage your employees to share your companies own content through their social profiles.

This is an effective way of magnifying brand messaging without spending time talking about yourself through your company’s social networks.

Best Practices for Sharing Content on Twitter
With Twitter’s short character limit, writing strong messages is vitally important.

As with clear headlines, clear to the point tweets receive the best engagement rates.

To maximize engagement further, use hashtag search to find content associated with a particular topic.

Research hashtags associated to your:

Location

Industry

Products

Add two of them per tweet where appropriate.

For e.g. if you’re hosting an event, use a hashtag that attendees can add to their tweets which will build a historical timeline of their posts and discussion of the event.

Aim to keep your tweet at 120 characters long at most. So your audience can add their own commentary when retweeting you.

Make sure to shrink your links to make the post more visually appealing, save characters and track click through rates (CTR).

With the ow.ly (Hootsuite) link shortener you can see how many people clicked through your link overtime through Hootsuite analytics.

Due to Twitter’s fast paced nature, you can post content more frequently. Start with 3-5 tweets spaced out throughout the day. Then vary your pace to see how it affects engagement and follower growth.

Aim to reach followers when they’re online most generally between 7am – 8pm.

Weekends are also a busy time so make sure to schedule content posts on Sunday and Saturdays too.

Since your post volume is typically much larger, Twitter is a great place to promote the same piece of content multiple times. And recycle evergreen content.

If you’re releasing a new blog post, you can tweet about it a few times. With slight headline variations to get your message to followers who may have missed it the first time round.

When sharing curated content, make sure to tag the author in the tweet as this might prompt them to share your message thereby increasing your audience size.

When retweeting, review what you’re sharing carefully and make sure it aligns with your brand positioning and to verify that the link is still valid.

Be mindful if you’re retweeting popular content, has your audience seen it already? and are you adding value by placing it on their feeds?

A good guideline is to keep retweeted content below 20% of the total volume of your tweets. This will position your brand as one that adds value to conversations. For that reason, add commentary to anything you retweet to share you’re unique perspective.

Best Practices for Sharing Content on Facebook
As with every platform, the frequency of how often you post should be guided by the feedback of your audience begin with 1 to 2 posts a day and then vary your pace to see how it effects your engagement.

Organic, non paid posts reach is on the decline as Facebook becomes a busier network.

So keep in mind that each post will only reach a percentage of your fans.

Focus on content that produces engagement from your audience.

Use Facebook insights to research a few weeks worth of data at a time to determine what works consistently with your audience.

A good rule of thumb is to keep the lengths of your posts to a maximum of 120 characters.

When writing your post, think about the kind of action you want to illicit from your audience.

For e.g. if it’s comments you after, end your post with a question but if it is likes a visually impressive photo may do the trick.

When sharing URLs, make sure the images that accompany the articles will display as a prominent large thumbnail and pick the best image to accompany the post.

Posts with large images are prioritized in the newsfeed and the minimum image size to generate a large thumbnail is 600 by 350 pixels (px).

While hashtags can be used on Facebook, it’s best to use them sparingly. Like when you’re running a cross platform campaign and want track all the posts associated with it.

Lastly, use the Facebook targeting options where appropriate. If your fans and customers are located all over the world and your actively promoting a local event – limit those posts by the local geographical location to avoid annoying your audience elsewhere.

Best Practices for Sharing Content on LinkedIn
Since LinkedIn is a business oriented platform, the content you share through your company page should focus heavily on positioning your company as an industry leader in your business niche.

This is the best place to share:

Industry insights.

Company specific news.

Information about products and services.

Additions to your team.

The optimal time to share those updates are morning to midday, Monday to Friday.

Aim to publish an update a day and scale up your frequency from there.

You can target your updates by a number of demographics and you should always include your employees in your targeted audience.

Your employees are your best brand advocates and are the ones most likely to take action on your posts, amplifying them in their own networks.

However, avoid setting too many targeting parameters which could potentially alienate interested parties.

You can further increase the reach of your content by posting on groups where you are a member, be mindful of the content you share so you don’t bombard the group with promotional posts that should be presented on your company page.

Make sure to share content that the group would find valuable and informative. Such as recent industry trends or changes in your regulatory environment.

Consider using a slide deck as a visually engaging alternative for communicating industry related content.

Slideshare looks great on LinkedIn’s feed and be a great alternative to the standard text format.

Best Practices for Sharing Content on Instagram
When it comes to Instagram, the frequency of your posts should be guided by your community.

A small brand whose followers are mostly located in the same geographical area should aim for 1-2 posts a day so its not to inundate the communities feed.

If you company has followers all over the world , you should play around with the frequency and the timing of your posts to reach different followers at different times.

When you want to shared a large number of photos at once, maybe a collection from an event which your company hosted, combine multiple photos into one post to avoid overwhelming your followers. A number of third part apps are available to create photo collages.

Another way is to create a video of static images as a visual photo album.

You can share between 3-15 seconds worth of video content per post which is a great way to diversify what you share with your followers.

Using a branded hashtag on your post is a great way of curating user generated content. Additionally, make sure to check Instagram for mentions of your brand to see where you’ve been hashtagged.

Using hashtags relative to your business needs is a great way to grow your network, especially as your starting out.

A good rule of thumb is to research hashtag popularity before you start composing your post.

It’s also best to keep the number of hashtags on your post under 5 to make sure your captions can be easily read.

If you’re a brick and mortar business, check your geolocation for photos taken in your shop that may have not been tagged with your name. You can also use a hashtag for your neighbourhood to let anyone know who’s using Instagram to explore the area.

Consider participating in popular Instagram trends such as #ThrowbackThursdays #TBT to give users a glimpse of the history of your business.

This is a great way to show a personable side to your brand and engage with an already active community topic.

Lastly, the character limit on photo captions on Instagram is generous this provides an opportunity to tell a great story alongside your photo and provide your audience with better context and insight into a particular topic.

Best Practices for Instagram Stories
Instagram stories allows users to display photos and videos in a slideshow format reminiscent of Snapchat.

Posts to Instagram stories disappears after 24 hours so your content will always stay fresh. And because stories appear in a separate section of the app, your posts won’t show up on your main Instagram profile or bother your followers by cluttering their newsfeeds.

Engagement rates for stories are high, over one third of the most viewed Instagram stories come from businesses.

Top performing content includes:

How-tos

Behind the scenes

Lists

Influencer takeovers

Announcements

In your home feed, you can post to your own story or swipe and click to view stories of others. Photos and videos of up to 15 seconds long can be posted as your story.

You can upload photo or video or even existing media.

Stories support multiple video types:

Short looping videos known as boomerangs.

Live video.

Hands free video – this lets you record a video without holding the button.

As with Snapchat, a vertical format works best with what your sharing.

Stories has fun editing features such as text, drawing and stickers to enhance your post.

Since stories disappear after 24 hours, we recommend businesses save their stories to keep a record of their content being shared.

Instagram stories also offers features that set Instagram apart from Snapchat. These are valuable for driving traffic to other web properties.

Mentions allows you to link with other Instagram accounts within a story post. This is a great way to share user generated content within your Instagram stories. Particularly when working with influencers or advocates.

When someone is mentioned in a story, they’ll be alerted via direct message and viewers of the story will be able to click on the username to view the users Instagram profile.

Links allows verified Instagram accounts to drive traffic to a website by including a link in their story which viewers can access by swiping up from the bottom of the screen.

Live stories are prioritized in the home feed and followers are given a notification when it goes up.

Broadcasts can run up to one hour, with the option to save the finished video once complete.

Businesses can also view insights regarding their stories performance. This is a great way of tracking metrics such as:

Impressions, reach, replies and exits.

Best Practices for Sharing Content on Pinterest
When creating Pinterest boards, it’s a best practice to focus on topic per board.

Portrait oriented pins display better on the Pinterest feed and on mobile devices which is where most Pinterest activity occurs. Keep this in mind when creating original content and re-pining curated images.

Videos don’t display well, but high res infographics and images with text overlay can be used successfully.

To help increase visibility of your pins on Pinterest search write descriptions for your pins using key words and provide context for what your sharing.

Pinterest analytics provide useful information about which of your pins are most popular, which topics your audience find most interesting and what’s being pinned from your website.

When you identify hot topics, keep adding content to your relevant boards and build more boards around similar themes.

Don’t pin new content in large chunks instead try to space out in regular intervals throughout the week in your content calendar.

Best Practices for Sharing Content on Snapchat
While ads can be purchased on Snapchat to reach target audiences, there are also lots of free ways for organizations to reach people.

Although Snapchat is designed for spontaneous, real time content be sure to plan your snaps ahead of time to ensure you convey a cohesive narrative.

Just like regular stories, your Snapchat story should have a beginning, middle and an end. Rather than an assortment of standalone images or videos.

To gain engagement with the stories you post, consider sharing behind the scenes content.

Snapchat stories can be downloaded, saved and archived or even reposted to another channel.

If you want to pre-record content you can do this by using Snapchat’s memories feature.

Because of the white border and timestamp shown when uploading a memory over 24 hours social media professionals generally avoid using the memories feature unless they’re able to share within 24 hours.

Snapchat allows users to design image overlays referred to as geofilter which can generate buzz and encourage your followers to amplify your content on other platforms. Particularly special events.

Geofilters can be created with the design function on Snapchat’s website.

Sharing coupons on Snapchat is a great way to build brand loyalty. Businesses can use the text feature to add a coupon code on the snap.

Because content disappears so quickly on Snapchat, your followers will have to vigilantly follow your stories and act quickly to get the deal your offering.

Best Practices for Creating and Sharing Content on Youtube
On this platform, people are driven to content that is authentic, authoritative, passionate and displays expertise on subject matter.

Whenever possible, try to speak directly to your audience in a conversational tone. And if you’re in front of the camera, be sure to display positive body language.

You might also consider creating a memorable signature for your videos. For e.g. an opening or closing sequence that clearly identifies the video content as yours.

Shares from other people is the number one way for people to find content on Youtube.

When creating videos think about why someone would share it, is it useful or interesting?

Ask yourself: how would someone described this video when sharing it?

Is it easy to sum up?

Is there an obvious key take away?

Does it clearly demonstrate its value?

Structure and consistency play a vital role in developing a sustainable, repeat viewership.

Stick to a consistent length and production quality. As well as a predictable publishing schedule so your subscribers know when to look for the next video and what to expect.

Keeping a regular upload schedule also helps with your content placement in the “what to watch” and viewer subscription sections.

However, when recenc-y is important, for example you have a timely event like the super bowl, you’ll want to publish your video quickly to catch the wave of attention and momentum around the event.

Keep your videos shareable, accessible and discoverable by using:

High-quality thumbnails.

Well written titles and descriptions.

And including appropriate tags.

Be sure to cross promote content on all of your social channels and, when appropriate, to your email list.

Another factor to consider is:

Would your video make sense to a new viewer?

Does it make sense by itself or does it need to have context?

Aim to give your videos enough back story so that new viewers who stumble on your content can view it without needing to see previous videos.

Best Practices for Social Video
Videos are a great way to engage your audience on social channels, not only is more than one third of all online activity spent watching video. Many platforms also prioritize video in their listing algorithms – resulting in more organic reach than with other types of content.

Every social network has a unique audience, so you should optimize the videos that you share to reflect that.

When deciding what sorts of videos to create, always ask yourself:

Who am I making this video for?

And why will people want to share it?

If you can’t think of a compelling answer to these questions try brainstorming ideas for videos that are more valuable and entertaining.

You’ll also want to keep the message of your videos simple and appeal to positive things like inspiration and illumination.

When shooting video, keep the end platform in mind.

Every platform has an optimal dimension and maximum file size they allow.

So be sure to familiarize yourself with these requirements in advance.

Generally, you’ll want to film in landscape mode. However, if you’re creating for platforms such as Instagram stories or Snapchat film in portrait mode so everything in the frame is visible when posted.

Keep in mind that your viewers may watch your video without sound, especially on Facebook where the popularity of silent video is on the rise.

When editing, consider adding subtitles or descriptive texts to your videos.

With social video, it’s often best to keep things short and sweet. While longer videos can succeed in platforms such as Youtube or filming live content, most networks prefer shorter videos.

Twitter caps videos at 140 seconds.

Instagram caps at 60 seconds.

And Snapchat at 10 seconds.

Think of creative ways to work with these constraints. Sometimes the most powerful brand videos can just be a few seconds in length.

Best Practices for Live Social Video
While your live video should tell a cohesive story, remember it’s important to display authenticity and provide real time engagement.

The best live videos are ones that feel like a conversation between your brand and a viewer.

When broadcasting live, the longer you broadcast the more likely people are to see your videos and share to friends.

Facebook recommends live broadcasts be 10 minutes at minimum, but you can continue up to 4 hours.

A live broadcast is very different from a typical social video that can be filmed, edited and produced at a leisurely pace.

When broadcasting live to platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Youtube there is some important best practices to keep in mind:

First, you’ll need a good team of people to ensure that your broadcast runs smoothly. Be sure to enlist people to operate the camera, monitor your sound quality and recruit people to manage the comments while the broadcast is live.

A tip to maximizing engagement is for the presenter to respond to audience questions and comments live on the air.

When broadcasting live, your video description appears alongside your broadcast so ensure that it provides any essential information about the content of your broadcast for your viewers joining after its begun.

Facebook allows live broadcasts for testing, ensure to rehearse some talking points.

Ensure to prepare your audience and remind them you’ll be broadcasting live a couple days in advance.

Content Metrics to Track
Content marketing involves sharing content that provides free value to audiences. In the process, content marketing activities can also bolster the reputation and visibility of your brand and organization.

Because it’s all about the long game, tracking the impact of your content efforts can be tricky.

Measuring the correct data is essential when it comes to proving worth and efficacy of your content strategy.

There are three key areas to focus on when measuring the impact of content:

Reach

Engagement

Conversions

Measuring reach allows you to identify how many followers are interacting with your content and amplifying it on their own networks.

An important best practice when measuring reach, particularly for content with a longer shelf life, is to pick a consistent time frame to measure for each piece of content.

For e.g. measuring the success of each blog posts after their first week of being published.

The best metrics when measuring reach are:

Views

Shares

Retweets

Social share of voice

Social share of voice is the percentage of mentions of your brand compared to your competition.

This can be analyzed with tools like Hootsuite Insights or Brandwatch.

Measuring engagement allows you to identify the types of content that resonate best with your audience.

Use these results to evolve your content and social copy, doing more of what’s working.

The best metrics to use when measuring engagement are:

Likes

Comments

Conversion rates

The conversion rates is the ratio of comments per post divided by the overall number of followers you have times 100.

(Comments Per Post Ratio / Number of Followers Per Page x 100)

A high conversion rate speaks to the relevance of your content and the value provided to your audience through meaningful conversations.

When tracking your conversion rate, it’s a good idea to also look at the sentiment of the comments, in addition to quantity.

While meaningful conversations may not always be positive, you should aim for a majority of positive sentiment.

Finally, measure conversions to identify desired actions that occur on your website as a result of social media activities.

A conversion could take the form of a whitepaper download, a newsletter sign up or a purchase.

Consider the purpose of each piece of content your produce and decide what action you would like for your audience to take after interacting with that content.

When this action occurs, it becomes a conversion.

For e.g. if you write a blog posts to drive newsletter sign ups, your conversion rate will be the number of sign ups you got via the blog posts divided by the total number of views the blog post received times 100.

(Sign ups received per blog post / total number of views on the blog post x 100)

In order to track conversions accurately, you’ll want to measure downloads attributable to visitors coming from social media channels.

You can do this by configuring custom UTM parameters in Google Analytics.

These will track the source of the visitors who took an action, giving you a clear picture of the impact your social media activity is having on lead generation.