We all know that social media is the biggest form of communication in the world. This is why understanding social platforms and making optimal use of them is an extremely good skill to have. If you’re a beginner and just want some quick tips to help you get started on your social media marketing journey, you can have a look at a few tips I’ve listed in this article — 8 tips to ace social media as a beginner
However, this is only going to cover the beginning of your journey. You need to develop a mind-blowing plan to be able to retain your audience and also try your hardest to convert them into customers. Once you’re able to understand audience behavior, you’ll find patterns in your content. Patterns that will help you segregate the kind of content you’ve been putting out in the form of buckets or ‘Content Pillars’.
Content Pillars for social media are basically different themes or types of media content used by a brand or business. There are 5 pillars that are generally followed by most people but of course, this is switched up based on personal requirements. These are Educational, Promotional, Entertainment, Community, and Engagement.
5 content pillars for a specific niche
Let me first explain these with an example. Let’s say you’re a home baker who wants to grow your business via social media.
Educational will cover content that educates your audience about different things in the baking industry. Like which ingredients can be replaced in a regular cake to turn it vegan. You can also include all kinds of recipes here.
Promotional will cover all your product updates. You’ll talk about your own cakes and confectionaries and promote them with or without sales. Introducing new items to your menu also falls under promotional.
Entertainment covers fun memes and entertaining video content. You can maybe upload blooper reels of your recipes that went wrong or add other humorous experiences you’ve had in your baking journey.
Community will cover news that’s trending in the baking community, locally or even globally. Like maybe you found a website that’s started to sell some baking equipment around you for the 1st time. Or you want to tell people about a new croissant hybrid that’s trending across the globe. You can also add customer testimonials here!
Engagement, as the name suggests, will cover content that involves your audience interaction in one way or another. You can have contests and giveaways to get them involved. You can have a blog or forum where your audience can interact with each other too.
Now that we’ve understood what content pillars are, let’s move on to how to create these Content Pillars. I’m going to list out a few ways you can learn to recognize patterns and create, modify, merge or remove content pillars for your content strategy.
1. Understand your audience
As I mentioned earlier, social media is all about communication. Mainly your ability to communicate with your audience and also hold their attention. To be able to do this, you need to find out about your target audience, their likes, dislikes, demographics, what captures their attention, etc. You can conduct Instagram polls or surveys to gauge your audience preferences. You can also experiment with different themes in your content to see what your audience reacts to the most. This initial testing will help you create some rough pillars that you can work on later.
Also using social listening tools like Crowdfire will help you understand what your audience wants more of or what they want less of. Choosing the right keywords in this process will also help you differentiate between your pillars.
Collecting all this information from different social platforms will also enable you to create your key pillars for each social platform. You may not use all pillars for platforms so make sure to analyze this well.
2. Learn from your competitors
One of the best ways to help reinforce the pillars you came up with after understanding your audience is to understand and learn from your competitors. You can use a competitive analysis tool to track your competitor’s performance. You can see how often they’re posting, which hashtags are trending, and also which content themes they are using for different platforms.
Another way to do this is to simply list out the top competitors in your niche or industry and check out their social platforms. You’ll get a rough understanding of the posts that have done very and which themes did not get as much engagement from their audience.
While researching for ideas using competitor analysis, try not to get too carried away and become their clone. This is a tip to be used only for ideating. Originality goes a long way!
3. Review your own performance
Self-evaluation is also important when considering the growth in your marketing skills. You must always review and analyze your own campaigns and experiments. You also need to give special attention to the comments you get on your posts. Don’t be fooled by just depending on numbers. A post with a high number of interactions doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a good thing. Especially if the comments or the overall sentiment is more negative than positive.
You’ll also get new insights from every campaign you complete and reviewing this data will help you plan and formulate content pillars for your future marketing strategies.
As I mentioned earlier, you will not have to use every pillar for all social media platforms so analyzing your own performance will help you understand which pillars you can cut from a specific social channel.
4. Create your pillars
Now that you have a ton of information, you can create your content pillars. Make a list of keywords or topics you definitely want to cover and you should be able to group them together under common themes. These common themes are your content pillars! You must be sure to keep them between 3 to 6 pillars. Less than 3 will make it very difficult to find and create such targeted content and you’ll exhaust your resources. More than 6 will also make it difficult because posting that often daily will not give you results as well as you expect.
5. Merge your pillars
If you do have more than 5 or 6 buckets or content pillars, there is always a chance that you can also merge some of them. This will ensure that while you’ve reduced the number of pillars, you’re still covering all your themes or topics.
For example, if one of your pillars is engagement, try to merge this with other pillars like community or entertainment. You can have contests based on some community news or you can just have a fun virtual treasure hunt to engage your audience.
When it comes to social media, ongoing changes and optimization are important and necessary if you want to be the top contender in your industry. If you’re a beginner, of course, you’ll have to go through a few extra steps to first set up your social accounts and get a substantial audience. But if you’re already past that point, you can experiment and analyze your performance to be able to refine your content marketing strategies.