As I write this, it is at the very start of 2019. Happy New Year!
Just like we all do, I've been reflecting on the past 365 days and looking at the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to my business. Fortunately, 2018 was MOSTLY very good! :) I hope the same is true for you. And if not, don't stress: the important thing is that there is now a blank canvas for you to set some (realistic) goals, and turn 2019 into whatever you want it to be. Yes, really.
The possibilities are actually endless. Now, that's exciting!
Here at Alycia Yerves Creative, we had much to reflect on. We even put together a quick video infographic about it:
But one topic that constantly came up in discovery calls, coffee chats, and meetings with clients was this:
"WHAT THE HECK DO I POST?!"
If you're using social media for your business, chances are, you've struggled with this question yourself!
Good news: we're about to give you a quick win.
LET'S TALK CONTENT PILLARS.
Content pillars are a handful of topics/themes that your company's social media content is categorized by, that all relate back to your business. By creating a list of these pillars, you are giving yourself a roadmap to help ensure that you never struggle to come up with that next post ever again!
Spend some "think time" on what your own company's content pillars should be. What kind of content would you want to regularly see from another brand in your industry? What do you gravitate towards? What gets you to hit 'like'? If you get stuck, ask your team and even your customers for some suggestions.
For example's sake, let's say you own "Sara's Flower Shop".
Let's say you have a staff of 6, and you are based in Brooklyn. You've been in business for 7 years, and you do floral arrangements for everything from weddings & funerals to restaurant & hotel lobbies.
Some content pillars that may be great for "Sara's Flower Shop" could be:
Event photography. Post photos of your floral arrangements "in action". For example, maybe the photographer of a wedding you worked on has posted some photos from the event on her Instagram. Ask her if it's okay for you to repost that on your own account, and be sure to tag her when you do. And, start getting into the habit of being proactive to regularly ask those fellow event vendors to share their content with you! This is a great way to quickly build up your content library and notoriety.
Your staff. It may sound simple, but everyone loves seeing photos of people. Social media is great for introducing your team to the world, and showing a bit of what goes on behind the scenes. Your talented team of 6 floral designers (including yourself!) is what makes everything happen for your clients. Show them some love, and allow them to say hello!
Finished pieces. Show off your work! Chances are, you've taken some photos of past bouquets, arrangements, boutonnieres, etc before they were delivered to clients. You probably have a goldmine of these sitting on your phone or computer. Start posting them! And, start taking photos more often.
New arrivals. Did some seasonal, special floral varieties arrive in the shop? Be sure to post about them and tell why they're special, and what your plans are for them!
Your neighborhood. Do you just love your community? Sharing what you enjoy about your store's neighborhood is another great content topic. Maybe it's talking about a favorite neighbor, a memory you have of Brooklyn over the past 7 years you've been open, or even a photo of a gorgeous sunset outside your window!
Floral trends. What's new in the world of flowers? Maybe you're reposting content from leading floral publications/sites/influencers you follow, or maybe you saw a new idea on a morning news show segment that you found interesting. Post about it, and maybe even add a poll to see if your followers like it, too! Polls are another great way to build engagement on social media.
How-to's / tutorials. Everyone loves to learn a quick tip/hack. Maybe you can film a short video that shows the correct way to trim flower stems. Or even a trick for how to artfully arrange fresh blooms in a vase! People will appreciate the effort and advice.
Quotes about flowers / plants. Self explanatory! Not a graphic designer? No problem! Canva is an excellent, free tool for creating graphics for social media. Perhaps you have a favorite poem or song lyric about roses. Turn it into a graphic for instant engagement!
These are just a few examples. But as you can see, the possibilities are endless!
The key is to make sure that the content pillars always relate back to your brand.
They need to be related to your industry, niche product/service, or mission. "Sara's Flower Shop" probably wouldn't be posting videos on how to change a tire, recipes for cupcakes, or photos of shoes. Unless, of course, they were shoes decorated with flowers! :)
By writing out these few content pillar categories in a list, you're giving yourself a starting spot. Now that you know where to start, creating the posts is the easy part!
We suggest keeping your list to a limit of around 8 content pillars, so you don't get overwhelmed. As business owners, we tend to often come down with a case of "distractivitis", aka, shiny object syndrome! Your brain wants to do all.the.things., all.right.now., and because you're so excited by each new idea, it triggers another idea to distract you, and another shiny object, and another, then you have all the ideas, and then nothing gets done!
Yeah, we've been there, too :)
We've already given "Sara's Flower Shop" some great content pillar ideas, but with the following 4 topics (which you can regularly recycle btw), you're sure to be a content-creating machine for your own business!
Here's our list that ANY brand can use as a starting point for social media content creation:
THE 4 NO-BRAINER SOCIAL MEDIA TOPICS FOR YOUR BUSINESS
STAFF & TEAM: The "Who" • Just as in our example above, people love seeing photos of other people. There are many ways to introduce your staff on social media! Maybe it's employee-of-the-month, or even allowing a staff member to take over your Instagram stories for the day. But showing the team behind the scenes of your business really helps put a face to a name, and puts the 'social' in social media. Every single business can create content about their staff.
NEIGHBORHOOD & COMMUNITY: The "Where" • Again, as shown in our example above, you can rely heavily on your actual geographic region for a huge pool of content ideas! If your business is located in a city that's hosting the next Olympic Games, how can you spin that into some social media posts? Does the neighborhood you work in have a cool street festival this weekend? Tell your followers about it! Did a new business open up nearby? Give them a shoutout! Also, the word 'community' leaves much up to interpretation. Maybe you're a home-based business who does not have a brick-and-mortar location... talk about your online community of followers, your clients, the fellow artisans or leaders you take inspiration from. Every single business can create content about their community.
PRODUCTS & SERVICES: The "What" • The lifeblood of why you do what you do! Simply put, you should use social media to show your wares. Whether it's you working on something you designed, built, repaired, wrote, baked, planned, cleaned, represented, cooked, painted, prepared, carved... show it off so people see what you do, and learn why they should hire you! And if you're running a special offer/sale promo, don't forget to post about that, too. Every single business can create content about their products & services.
SOCIAL MEDIA HOLIDAYS: The "Just for Fun" • This is a gimme. Of course everyone knows the big holidays such as Thanksgiving, Valentine's Day, etc... but have you also noticed the fun social media days like "National Grilled Cheese Day", "World Smile Day", "National Pet Appreciation Day", etc? Well, guess what... these days are great for social media engagement!!! But again, make sure they somehow relate back to your brand. For example, National Grilled Cheese Day would be perfect for a restaurant to create a post about. The chef could make a delicious grilled cheese and snap a pic of it, and maybe you put it on special for the day, and BOOM -- instant topical content. Make sure you use #NationalGrilledCheeseDay so your post ends up in the social media conversation for the day. If you run an insurance firm, maybe National Grilled Cheese Day isn't for you... but #NationalPetAppreciationDay might be a cool way to show some personality behind the brand by featuring your office pup! EVERYONE loves cute animal photos. Trying to keep track of which holidays happen when? Hubspot has a great free download calendar to help you get started. Every single business can create content about social media holidays.
NOW, GO GET POSTING!
You now have 4 content pillar suggestions to get you started. Your homework is to brainstorm on compiling the rest of your list of unique topics relatable to your company. Make your list, and keep a copy near your desk and on your phone. If someone else helps you with social media, make sure they have the list, too. And by the way, nothing is set in stone! You can change it up whenever you like. Add to it, remove from it, learn, and grow.
By taking the time to think about what your company's social media content pillars will be, you are well on your way to tons of unique posts that will flow out of you quicker than you can say:
Told you everyone loves cute animal photos!
Alycia Yerves is an award-winning marketer, social media strategist, and graphic designer. She is the Founder + Creative Director of Alycia Yerves Creative, a marketing & design agency based at the Jersey Shore. You can find her on Facebook, Instagram, & Twitter.
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