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Social pillars hold up your entire social strategy - here's how to create yours.
If you’ve been in the social media marketing game for a while now (or you’ve been reading our blogs for long enough), you will have heard us harping on about social media content pillars time and time again. That’s because content pillars are super important. They should form a key part of your social media strategy, and if they don’t – well, you might want to start reviewing that strategy!
Trying to achieve success on social without a solidified social media strategy can be tricky. Having a comprehensive strategy that incorporates social content pillars can guide your efforts and serve as inspiration when it comes time to create your content.
All in all, content pillars will make your life a whole lot easier!
If you’re just starting out, want to shake things up or you’re feeling a little lost when it comes to creating your content, it might be worth creating (or revising) your social media content pillars.
A social media content pillar is a number of pillars, themes, or topics that have been decided upon in your strategy phase.
You may have heard of content pillars in relation to content marketing, and if so, they relate to social media marketing in much the same way.
Your content pillars or “content buckets” should relate closely to your brand and work towards helping you achieve your brand objectives. They’re not necessarily the same as brand pillars, because social media content pillars are exclusively for your use on social media. And, let’s face it, your audiences can vary slightly based on which platform you’re using, so your content pillars will change accordingly. Your content pillars for your blog may be different from those that you’re using for social.
In fact, if you’re creating content but you haven’t come up with a formal content strategy yet, you’re probably subconsciously creating content within different pillars already. Now all you need to do is define them.
Different content pillars can speak to different audience groups, brand objectives, or just different products. It’s hard to define what your content pillars will look like, as they can vary drastically according to each business, the social media platforms they are using and the objectives they have for social media.
Here are some content pillar examples for different businesses:
Of course, this can vary according to your business and what you are trying to achieve. You may even develop slightly different content pillars or subtopics according to different social channels, or one channel may focus more on one content pillar than another. That’s fine, too! Not all social media channels are the same and they shouldn’t be treated as such.
A brand’s social media content pillars should guide its social media marketing efforts, ensuring that its brand goals are being filtered through its social strategy. It also provides structure and authenticity to your social media marketing content and keeps your brand honest.
It helps you to challenge each piece of content that your team creates, ensuring that it actually serves your wider objectives and you’re not creating posts just to copy a competitor or jump on a trend. That’s not to say you can’t jump on trends – in fact, you should! But any content you create needs to be on-brand for your business and serve your business goals in some way.
Content pillars can also help with consistency. If you’ve got multiple team members, teams, or agencies working on your social content, pillars can help them collaborate. It can guide your efforts and maintain consistency, even across different platforms. When it comes time to plan your calendar, content pillars can also help structure your calendar and strategically build your monthly content, post by post – but more on this later!
When you’re stuck for ideas, your content pillars can be a valuable resource. Content planning can be tricky, but your content pillars can act as a starting point for developing or refining your content ideas. They’re also a great point of reference to ensure your content is still on point.
You can even add social media templates for each pillar to make social content creation super easy. Each content pillar might have different topic clusters which help you and your team formulate a constant stream of new content ideas.
Like the rest of your social strategy, your social media content pillars are all about trial and error. Your content pillars aren’t set in stone! Try them for a couple of months and then tweak them according to what’s resonating with your target audience. You may also need to review them if there has been a recent algorithm change.
Social media content pillars are crucial when it comes to implementing your social strategy correctly, organizing your content, and aligning your messaging.
But it’s not as intimidating as it sounds – nor does it involve a huge amount of work! In fact, there’s a good chance you already know what your social media content pillars are – you just haven’t written them down yet.
So, ready to start creating your social media content pillars? Let’s begin.
Like anything in the world of content marketing, you’ll always miss the mark if you don’t understand who your target audience is, what they like, and what they need.
You need to continually serve up relevant, quality content in order to capture and hold your audience’s attention, and, eventually, convert them to customers.
To speak to your target audience meaningfully in ways that resonate with them, you need to speak their language. If you have a bunch of different target audiences, you need to understand how to speak to them all – in different ways, if necessary.
You may have several audience groups in mind. For each group, you need to consider:
You may even have different digital channels or social media channels to speak to each group. For instance, you might use TikTok to speak to a younger subgroup in your target audience. Meanwhile, you might use Instagram content and your website blog to speak to older millennials.
So, how do you get in-depth information about your target audience? Well, start with the below:
If you need to switch your strategy or content pillars up a little to suit your platform or audience, do it! Ongoing optimization is just part of the game when it comes to social media – paid or otherwise! Or, you might just choose to have a different split of content for different platforms.
Your content pillars don’t need to change drastically for each channel. For example, the beauty brand mentioned above might do more makeup tutorials on TikTok, while their Instagram content strategy might be more about influencer reposts and product testimonials. Perhaps on TikTok, their content split is 40% of content pillar 1, 30% of content pillar 2, and 30% of content pillar 3, while on Instagram they have different splits and are using a slightly different tone of voice. They may even repurpose relevant content on different channels, and tweak it to suit the platform.
If you haven’t yet, review your analytics! This info can provide some handy clues about what is working in your content strategy, and what’s not. If you want to make the most of your social media marketing, it’s important to review your analytics in detail.
Don’t just look at the numbers. Follow ongoing trends and look closely at your best (and worst) performing social media posts. Be honest with yourself. Not everything is going to work, but you’ll never know if you never try new things!
Digital marketing can be tricky, and it can take time to gain a strong foothold on social. But, with each new social media marketing campaign, you’ll establish new insights and be able to refine your content marketing strategy accordingly.
You might want to review different metrics according to your overarching business goals as well as your social media marketing goals. For instance, if the goal of your social media marketing activity is to increase brand awareness, you might review metrics such as reach and engagement.
On the other hand, if your primary goal for social media (particularly paid social) is conversions, you might want to review a handful of metrics including engagement, clicks, and, of course, conversions from social media activity.
Here’s where to start when it comes to reviewing your social media marketing analytics:
Make sure to actually check your comments on posts, too! You might have strong engagement on a post, but if it’s for a negative reason then this could be detrimental to your brand and you could lose followers, customers, or even damage your brand’s reputation.
As your social media presence grows, so will your responsibilities when it comes to managing your social media profiles. For now, ensure your team has adequate resources to cope with any queries and comments.
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This is where we get to the good stuff! Creating your content pillar strategy can be tricky but once it’s done and dusted, you’ll love seeing the results.
So, how do you come up with your content pillars? Well, from doing the research above, you should have already established:
Once you have this information, consider how you can create content that solves their needs. For example, Airbnb has (presumably) identified that its audience wants to find unique accommodation quickly. Their recent social media posts advertise the updated format of the Airbnb website and app, by introducing unique categories, such as off-the-grid homes and boats. And, while we don’t know what their social content pillars are specifically, we know that “categories” looks like a recent content pillar that’s been added to their content mix, whether temporarily or permanently.
So, how many content pillars do you need? Well, while there are no set rules on how many content pillars you should have, we think three to six content pillars can create a nice balance. Within that, your content pillars might vary by channel. Your content pillar may not even be a topic. It might be a content type, for example, explainer videos, influencer reposts, and UGC or blog articles.
Or, your content pillar might include a topic and the types of content that this topic might involve. Such as “workout tips” – videos and podcast links. Or something like “recipes” – blog links and carousels. Structure your content pillars however you like – the choice is yours! It just needs to be defined clearly and in a way that makes sense to you and your team – or anyone else who is collaborating with you.
Now that you’ve defined your social media content pillars, the fun really begins! But how can you come up with fabulous content for your social media channels week in, week out? It can be tricky, but it’s crucial to keep things fresh.
We’ve got plenty of ways you can come up with content, such as:
A brand with very clearly defined content pillars is Pizza Hut. The Pizza Hut Instagram page is filled with product promotions, funny content relating to pizza, branded collaboration posts, and engagement posts, where the audience is provoked to respond. These pillars come across quite clearly when reviewing the brand’s social media content.
Once you’ve decided on your social media content pillars and what the content for each pillar will look like, you can start creating your social media content calendar! How exciting.
If you’ve already been in the game for a while, you’ll know that creating a content calendar is essential. Most of the algorithms for social media platforms these days reward accounts that post regularly. It makes sense – the platforms probably don’t see much value in their users following a bunch of accounts that only post once a month.
In a nutshell, posting regular content is a must.
But it’s so easy to neglect your brand’s social media content calendar, especially when you’re under-resourced, you’re just starting out, or your own calendar is so full!
That’s where social media scheduling comes in. Scheduling can ensure that you never miss a post, even if you’re busy, you forget, or you don’t have the right assets ready at the right time.
It also ensures that your efforts are more strategic. Sure, it’s easy to post funny memes. But are they actually serving your brand objectives? Instead of just posting ad hoc social media posts every now and then, you can post your social media content pillars equally – or using whichever content split you like! Either way, it will be strategic.
Say goodbye to posting three times in a day and then not posting for 2 weeks! Social media scheduling tools like Sked Social can ensure your content is posted regularly, and you can please the social media algorithm gods at the same time!
If you’re serious about growing your business and getting more from your marketing efforts, you need to ensure you have a clearly defined social media strategy and crystal-clear social content pillars!
Content pillars are your golden ticket to creating amazing content, boosting engagement, and hitting your business goals more quickly than ever. But they’re only one piece of the puzzle. To execute a fabulous content calendar, you need to have a high-performance social media scheduling tool. You also need to test, report on, and refine your results using a specialized reporting tool like Sked Social.
Sked Social is an all-in-one social media tool with powerful advanced reporting functionality which can help you identify high-performing content pillars faster. This will help you grow faster and build your social media presence by utilizing the content that works – and ditching the content that doesn’t!
Get started by signing up for Sked’s 7-day trial. Our all-in-one social media scheduler allows you to automatically post images, tweets, carousels, Instagram Stories, videos, and more. But it doesn’t just work with Instagram. It also works with LinkedIn, Twitter, your Facebook page, and plenty of other social networks! Our smart scheduler enables you to save hours every week and turn your social media marketing strategy from ad-hoc to amazing.