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Social media marketing isn’t just a tool that is for the big leagues. It is actually a great tool for small businesses that allows them to somewhat level the playing field. With the exception of paid advertising, social media is a free way to promote your brand or business. Your content plays a front and centre role when it comes to your social media marketing efforts. But the truth is content creation for small business isn’t always something that comes naturally. As a small business you’re more a likely a master at your craft. That might be as a hair stylist and salon owner, or as a freelance personal trainer. Social media could be totally foreign to you. However that doesn’t mean you should just avoid it.

As a matter of fact, if your small business isn’t on social media in some capacity you’re missing a huge opportunity. These days social media is how a majority of businesses gain customers. And at the very least it’s how customers are researching the businesses they support. Don’t stress yourself out and join every single platform out there. You can keep your focus on just a couple that work with your industry and target audience. This ensures that when it comes to content creation for your small business, you can take the less is more approach.

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The good news is that content creation for small business can actually be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. This ultimately depends on what your goals are and how aggressive you want to be at achieving them. There is also one key thing you can do for yourself to integrate this process seamlessly into your overall operations: make a plan.

Content Creation for Small Business 101

Determine Your Goals

As a small business you should never go into social media blind. If you are going to invest the time to create content and manage an account, you should have some purpose behind it. Your goals can be as detailed or as generic as you need them to be. They can be as basic as creating a social media presence for your small business or as specific as boosting online sales by 25%. Knowing what you want to do will help guide the direction of not only your content, but the rest of your social media plan.

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One thing to keep in mind is that your social media goals are dynamic and can definitively change as time goes on. Reasons for changing your direction might be to refresh your brand, or to go from building awareness to generating sales. You should review your plan regularly to make sure it and your content still meets your business needs.

Establish Your KPIs

In order for you to meet your goals you need to establish key performance indicators, also known as KPIs. These are essentially metrics that you can measure to help you make sure you’re moving in the right direction. On social media you might consider things like engagement rate, website clicks and profile views as KPIs for your content performance.

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Many social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram have insights built into their business profile tools. This makes it easy to pull results directly from the source. Other tools like Google Analytics can help you identify what social media platforms your page views are coming from. And finally you can also use tools like Bitly to create custom links that help you track specific link or campaign clicks.

Identify Your Audience & Platforms

Knowing your target audience is marketing 101. And that shouldn’t change when it comes to your social media content. Having a clearly defined audience is at the core of content marketing. It’s what will help you narrow down what social media platforms you should consider using. You might also want to consider where your competition is focusing their efforts with their online content. This could indicate that this is where your target customer is spending their time viewing content.

Plan a Content Schedule

Before you go crazy creating content and posting away, create a schedule. Having a content schedule not only helps you manage things but it keeps you organized and consistent. By posting the same time weekly allows your audience to anticipate your content and know you as a consistent. It also prevents you from overloading your followers with content, before leaving them hanging for days on end.

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Generally when it comes to content, you want to post anywhere from once a day, to a few times a week. This will vary depending on not only the platform, but the type of content. For example, you might want to post a few times a day on Instagram Stories, while only publishing posts 3 times a week.

Having a content schedule also helps you plan the creation side of things. In fact you should consider including due dates for your content creation into your overall schedule to keep yourself accountable and on top of the entire process. A good trick is to schedule a day or two every week to create upcoming content all at once. This helps you fit it into your overall operations and not have it left until the last minute.

Create Your Content

Content creation for small business should be fun and easy. A great way to do this is to create content that flows naturally with your business. A florist for example can easily set up a photo area to photograph arrangements before they are picked up or delivered. Or a personal trainer might ask a client to participate in a candid photoshoot during a workout. If you start getting too elaborate with your concepts you might find it hard to stay committed especially if you don’t have a team to support you with things. One thing that is always popular is seeing how things work behind the scenes. Some small businesses have recently started to film the packaging process as the fulfill orders, which is a huge hit with their audiences.

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As your presence grows online you might find customers tagging you in content they’ve shared featuring your business. This is a great way to have content generated for you by others. Be sure to always ask permission before re-posting content to your channels. You could also consider hosting a giveaway or campaign where you ask your audience to tag you in content featuring your products.

Execute & Measure Results

Now that everything is set in place, it’s time to go! Begin posting your content as scheduled, and start analyzing those KPIs for results. What is great about the insights available both within the platforms and externally with tools, is that they are available almost instantly. Within the first few hours of you publishing content you’ll be able to see how it’s performing with your audience. Things like saves, reposts, comments and likes are the indicators of how your content is resonating. While insights such as impressions and reach will give you a better sense of how your use of hashtags and times of posting are performing.

Make Adjustments & Repeat

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Reviewing and understanding your content’s performance is crucial. While you can continue on with your strategy as is, if it’s not going well that could be a problem. That is why you need to have KPIs in place that you can measure and learn from. If you’ve noticed a particular type of content is under-performing or certain hashtags aren’t bringing you benefits you might need to adjust your strategy. On the other end of that, if a particular post’s performance has skyrocketed you might want to take note of it. It’s important to remember that like with any marketing or business strategy, things are forever evolving. Your adjustments might also be necessary in order to meet the changing needs of your business.

The Big Picture vs. Short Term Campaigns

The best thing about this guide to content creation for small business can be used in different circumstances. What we mean by this is you can apply these steps to creating an overall content strategy while also following them for short term campaigns. For example, you might decide to create your yearly content strategy in advance using all the above steps. Within that strategy you might have seasonal campaigns, product launches or new store openings. Many of these same steps can be duplicated and tailored to the management of those particular campaigns.