How to get going on Social Media - Part 2


In part 1 we covered the top five growing platforms in South Africa and what they’re about. In this, part 2 of the 3-step plan to get going and keep going on social media, we look at creating a workable content plan.

This might not be a formal plan at first, but here are some key points you need to consider:

  • Give some thought to what your core message and tone is – figure out your brand voice and stick to it.

  • Decide how you’ll generate the content (e.g. creating your own content, creating content in collaboration, or curating existing content).

  • Also, consider the different types of content you’ll create. Some of it might be helpful ‘how-to’ content and some of it about your products or services. Remember, it’s not just about promoting your business, but also how you plan to attract traffic and create brand exposure. See the Writer’s Write article by Amanda Patterson on 40 types of content to inspire.

  • Apply the 80/20 rule. Make 80% of the content about the user and only 20% about promoting your products or services.

  • Be real. Make sure that the content you create is authentic, entertaining and useful. It should offer real value, evoke emotion and present information that people are curious about.

  • Focus on creating relationships – it’s not about how many followers you have, but how engaged and loyal the followers you do have are.

  • Let your audience lead the conversation and make it their own, listen patiently and be receptive to feedback and suggestions. Remember, conversations are content too.

  • Be regular. You need to be visible on social media and that means regularly posting and participating (see part 3 for Social Media Management Tools). Inactivity will kill your social media presence and following. But remember, quality surpasses quantity when it comes to content. The Social Media Examiner 2016 Social Media Marketing survey shows that increased traffic occurs with as little as 6 hours per week invested in social media marketing.

  • Use visuals and video. Use imagery that’s relevant and as sophisticated as you can get it. According to Arthur Goldstuck of World Wide Worx, the global rise of the video is now making itself felt here in South Africa.

  • Have a response ready for negative feedback. If you’re worried about negative feedback, make sure you have a strategy for dealing with negative feedback. Don’t take it personally and don’t respond emotionally. Develop a standard ‘go to’ response to give yourself time to think it over. At least on social media, you know what is being said about you and you can do something about it.


Here are some free resources you can reference to help build your content plan:

  • Hubspot’s ultimate collection of free content marketing templates.

  • Hubspot’s free Content Planning Template which builds on four content pillars: Entertain, Inspire, Educate and Convince.

  • Google’s free "Build a Content Plan", which identifies three main ways to add value: Inspire, Educate and Entertain.

Take out: Even if you don’t develop a fully-fledged content plan at the outset, give thought to what your core message is and the types of content you can build around that. Create content that entertains, inspires and educates. Focus on building relationships rather than followers.


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    I think that a lot of small business owners in South Africa seem to be very afraid and tend to shy away from social media marketing perhaps it is just not understanding it enough to engage or perhaps it is a fear of their campaign going wrong or not being effective enough. Thank you for a great article it really does help demystify the social media environment.
    Social media is a wonderful and relatively inexpensive tool to use to engage your customers. If you have products to sell Facebook and Instagram are great as they allow for pictures and graphics to be uploaded easily. These platforms allow you to show case your products. By paying a small fee... you can boost your post to reach the type of clientel you want to engage. The platforms also allow for instant feedback from the clientel. So as a business owner you can see what is popular and what is not...
    Very true GameChanger it allows for an open dialogue directly with the consumer allowing the business to make changes to adjust to the customers wants and needs.
    a short video we produced a while ago regarding online content.
    Gareth great video! It is short and engaging and it does not contain large graphics which makes it easy to watch on Youtube without consuming too much data. It also leaves one wanting to get more information and engage further.... Well done.
    The series (part 1 2 & 3)on how to get going on Social Media is great to get a businessstarted on social media It may be daunting at first but this comprehensive guide makes it easy even for the least experienced person on social media to put together a content plan and get going...
    There are 3 main steps in building a great content strategy. Research being the first phase is perhaps the most important because it’s going to give you the information you need to fuel the rest of your strategy. With the wrong information or without enough information you won’t be able to draft an effective strategy. First you’ll need to consider your audience.Don’t just assume who your target demographics are or how they behave—be as objective as possible by conducting market research. What types of content are your typical buyers into? What are their needs? Where are they going to find new information? This will help you determine how best to target them in your choice of topics and mediums.
    Secondly take a look at what your competitors are doing in their content marketing campaigns. Are they doing nothing? This could be a key advantage for you. Are they failing in some ways? How could you improve upon them? Are they succeeding in some ways? What can you learn about this area of success? Next you’ll want to take a look at some of the trends going on both in and out of your industry. Your competitive research might have given you some insights into what’s popular for the moment but expand your view to see what other types of content are being most shared and most talked about in the content industry. For example video and interactive content are currently trending forms of content marketing. Then lastly take a look at what platforms are reaching peak popularity especially in the context of your target audience. Are there any blog formats or social media platforms that stand out to you as significant opportunities? Take note of them and be sure to incorporate them into your strategy.
    Agreed GameChanger very thought provoking and insightful article and is a great basis to start any social media campaign.
    I agree TheTastyChef research is an important first step and the foundation of your content plan but then what?
    It as important that youset goals for your campaign. You have some preliminary information that should help you understand your place in the industry and approximately what level of success you could achieve. Use that information in combination with what you know about your capacity to come up with a list of specific goals for your campaign.
    First you need to know what your actual goals are as content marketing can be used for dozens of different purposes. Are you using it as fuel for an SEO or social media campaign? Is it more about customer retention? Or are you trying to secure more conversions?
    Next you’ll want to establish some timeframes. Content marketing always takes time to develop but you can push for faster results in some cases if you need to. When do you need to start seeing results and what do you need to get there?
    The third variable here is how much time and money you’re willing to invest in the process. You can’t have a high goal in a short timeframe unless you’re willing to pay for it.
    Love your advice Shaun I think the main objective of any social media campaign is to build an audience that has a vested interest in your business and as has been mention before this cannot be done by selling your product. The best campaigns I have seen the brands have all aligned their content with a greater cause that their audience can relate too and want to stand behind and promote.
    I think too many small business owners believe Social Media is a quick cheap and easy option to there marketing mix but you are so right Like all marketing if you want long lasting effective resualts it takes time money and effort.
    I think that that is exactly where many SMME's fall flat is in that first step and not understanding who their audience is or what interrests them. This first step that you mentioned is the key to building brand loyalty and investing in a strategy that they audience want too support!
    Does anyone have any examples of some great campaigns were a brand managed to rally its audience for a greater cause outside of their business and as a result build brand loyalty?
    I would be very interested to see some of those campaigns! Do you know of any offhand Gareth?
    I found this one that Paper Boat #FloatABoat did which looks fantastic! This monsoon traditional drinks brand Paper Boat got everyone to make paper boats and share pictures of their boat on social networks. The incentive? For every paper boat image that is shared on any social network the brand would donate Rs. 20 towards children’s education. For the campaign titled #FloatABoat the brand teamed up with Parivaar Ashram a humanitarian service organization. A microsite captured all the floating paper boats on social networks while the brand shared adorable films on the cause and how to make a paper boat told through a school girl. #FloatABoat helped the brand strengthen its proposition of ‘Drinks & Memories’ and also bring back childhood to those from whom it had been snatched. You can readabout it here:Paper Boat #FloatABoat campaign. Anyone know of any SouthAfrican campaigns?
    Locally I am reminded of Rocket restaurant in Rivonia that if you order specific dishes on the menu the profits get donated to Anti-Rhino poaching initiatives I think it is a great incentive although I do believe they fell a bit flat on execution through their social media networks.