Social media content creation is the basis of every social media strategy. Without content, there is nothing to post, like, share, or analyze — and it’s impossible to promote products or services online.
Creating content for social media can be anything from writing a catchy caption all the way through to designing a major integrated social campaign with a large team and multiple influencers.
For either of these options, or anything in between, you need a content marketing strategy to develop great content effectively, and content creation tools to do so efficiently. We’ll guide you through all of that in this post.
Bonus: Download our free, customizable social media calendar template to easily plan and schedule all your content in advance.
What is content creation?
Content creation is the process of creating content. But what does this mean, exactly?
Just about anything can be content, from blog posts to TikToks to whitepapers and even books. Basically, content is anything that provides information or entertainment. For marketers and brands, content creation is an important way to build and maintain relationships with potential customers.
Let’s look at all the potential elements that can be involved in turning your ideas into content for social media specifically.
What is social media content creation?
Social media content creation isis the process of creating written content, photography, graphics, and videos for different social media platforms.
Social media content has to fit within prescribed limits for character counts, image sizes, and video lengths. You have to cram a lot of value into a very small space.
It’s also important to note that social media content creation is much more interactive than other forms of content creation. You don’t create content in a bubble. Whether you’re highlighting user-generated content, creating a TikTik Stitch, or using trending audio to guide your content ideas, you’re part of a larger ecosystem.
Here are some of the elements involved in social media content creation. (We’ll dive deeper into how all of these roles work together to form your social media content strategy in the next section.)
- Research: Checking on the latest social media trends and using social listening and social media analytics to get a sense of what kind of content your social audience craves.
- Writing: Putting words on the screen — from headlines and video overlay text through to copy for longer posts on Facebook or LinkedIn.
- Photography/videography: Capturing photos and/or video footage, like product shots or behind-the-scenes tours. This could involve professional equipment, but depending on your needs, it can also be done with a smartphone.
- Video editing: Compiling clips into a finished product.
- Graphic design: Combining words and graphics into a meme, infographic, highlight cover, or any other visual that you use on social media.
Let’s put those ideas into action!
1. Do your research
Any good process starts with research. Sure, everything is content, but that doesn’t mean you can just post whatever you want on your social channels and call it a day.
Before you start creating content, you need to know what kind of content resonates with your audience, or your potential target audience.
If you already have a solid following on your social channels, you can start with your social media analytics. These will help you understand what’s already working for you, so that you can model this success.
But social changes fast, so you can’t limit your research to your owned accounts. Social listening is a good way to get a sense of what’s happening in your industry, and what people are talking about when they talk about your business on social media.
Finally, keep an eye on trending hashtags, topics, and audio. You won’t necessarily want to jump on every trend that comes along, but you’ll spot some good digital content creation ideas that may help your content achieve greater engagement and wider reach.
2. Set goals
Now that you have a sense of what’s happening in your industry, you can start to set some goals for your social media content. Are you trying to drive people to your blog? Grow your following? Make sales through social commerce? Maybe all of the above?
The kind of content you create will vary based on what you want it to achieve. For instance, your call to action will be quite different for a sales post versus a post designed to build brand awareness and engagement.
It’s a good idea to get specific with your goals using the SMART goal-setting framework. This forces you to think in detail about what you can achieve with your social content, and how you might get to where you want to be.
3. Have a creative brainstorm
Whether you’re a one-person shop or you have a large social team, take some time to get some ideas up on the whiteboard. (It doesn’t matter whether the actual whiteboard is literal or metaphorical, just that you gather all of your ideas in one place).
This is “no bad ideas” time. Everyone on your team has unique experiences with social, both personally and professionally, that will inform their content ideas and expectations. Allowing everyone to share freely brings all of that knowledge into your shared braintrust, where it can morph into high-quality social content campaigns.
4. Assign roles
Remember all those components of social media content creation we mentioned above? If you haven’t already got team members assigned to each of those tasks, the time to do so is now.
It’s also time to set up a solid social media approval process, so everyone understands where their work fits into the overall picture, and how their deadlines impact the rest of the team.
If you are a small business owner, you may not have anyone to assign roles to. Don’t panic! Remember, everything is content. You can definitely start out by creating all of your content on your own. It doesn’t have to be complicated or take up a lot of your time.
Even large teams don’t have to do everything themselves. This is a good time to think about whether you want to outsource some digital content creation tasks to freelance writers or designers. You should also think about how to source and incorporate user-generated content, and how to include curated content in your social media marketing strategy.
Finally, consider whether you want to work with outside content creators — aka influencers. This could be for a specific campaign, or an ongoing relationship.
5. Build a content calendar
A social media content calendar allows you to plan your content mix across social channels, so you get the most value from your digital content creation efforts.
We’ve created a content calendar template to help you plan how to use content resources across your social accounts. For example, say you want to drive social traffic to a new blog post. You can use your content calendar to plan out when to post the relevant Facebook post, TikTok, and Instagram Reel.
Your content calendar should also include your ongoing content needs. For example, every week Hootsuite shares a roundup of the week’s blog posts on Instagram Stories.
Here’s how to set up your content calendar using our free template.
6. Schedule your content
Once you’ve filled in your content calendar, it’s time to set your content up for publishing. Sure, you could post each post manually at the assigned time, but that’s a huge time-waster that also sets you up to make simple mistakes like typos and broken links.
Scheduling content in advance gives you a real-time view of your content plan, and allows time to double-check all the details. It also simplifies your workflow by condensing the time you spend actually publishing content into one block, rather than having to interrupt your work throughout the day.
7. Build your content library
There’s no need to create every piece of social content from scratch. On your busiest days, you’ll thank yourself for having the foresight to create a content library.
Any successful social post can be made into a template for future posts. You can also add approved images to your content library, whether those are created in-house or acquired from a royalty-free resource.
As your content library grows, you’ll have more options for creating new social content without recreating the wheel.
8. Analyze your results
The content creation process ends back where it started. Analyze your results to see what worked and what didn’t, and use your findings to guide your research and planning into what to do next.
Set some new goals and do it all again.
8 time-saving content creation tools for social media managers
Hootsuite can level up your social media content creation in several ways.
First, the Hootsuite Composer allows you to create content for multiple social networks all in one location. You can even customize and tweak a single piece of content to publish effectively on different accounts.
Composer also includes an extensive royalty-free media library and powerful image editing tools, so you can start creating content without any in-house photography or design skills. For more customized design support within the Hootsuite dashboard, you can add the Hootsuite Canva integration.
Once your content is ready to go, Hootsuite Publisher allows you to schedule posts to align with your content calendar. It even provides custom recommendations about the best time to post based on your own social analytics.
Hootsuite’s Content Library, collaborative drafts, social listening features, and content curation tools also ease the effort of social media content creation.
Visme is a design tool used to build infographics, animations, videos, charts, social graphics, and other visual content to post on social media.
Visme’s extensive font library and custom color options make it easy to match your brand identity and create a series of cohesive images that embody your brand style.
This is a great social media content creation tool for anyone who podcasts or creates other audio content. You just upload or import audio, and Audiogram creates a social video with automatically generated captions and an animated waveform.
Source: Hootsuite app library
It’s a simple way to make visual posts from audio content.
Lately takes any existing long-form content — text, audio, or video — and converts it into social media content to share on all your channels.
Remember how important we said that research is? When you connect Lately to your Hootsuite account, it uses artificial intelligence to train itself using your social media metrics, taking care of much of your content and keyword research for you.
We’ve got a whole blog post dedicated to artificial intelligence content creation tools. Check it out to learn how AI can help with content creation for social media customer service and sales teams as well as your social channels.
RiteBoost helps with content creation for social media by auto-generating static images or GIFs from your post text. It also automates some of the more mundane aspects of content creation, like adding hashtags, emojis, and author attribution.
Pictographr is a drag-and-drop design tool with a built-in image library and impressive font collection. It’s useful for graphs and charts, memes, or simply adding visual appeal to any social content.
Source: Hootsuite app library
Hootsuite has a built-in spell check, but for more extensive checks of your social content, it’s a good idea to use an editing tool like Grammarly. This AI-powered app corrects spelling, of course, but it also offers suggestions for style and tone, to make sure your content is effective and easy to understand.
8. Hemingway App
Social content needs to be crisp, clear, and easy to understand at a glance. The Hemingway App helps with all of the above by analyzing the readability of your content and providing recommendations to make your writing less complex and more concise.
Source: Hemingway App
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