If making content for your small business is draining your mental energy and wasting your time as you pace around trying to think of what to post.. I would strongly suggest taking the time to understand your content buckets, and then fill them up!
A content bucket is a term used to describe a category or collection of content. Once you take the time to understand what kind of content is most beneficial to you and your followers the ideas and inspiration will flow and you can plan your content with ease.
What to post? Understand and decide your buckets
The main four "content buckets" that will help to build the necessary relationship with your customers online include raising awareness of your products or business, building hype around your product/business, sharing relatable content that creates a deeper connection, and giving back and giving them a reason to stick around.
Raise Awareness - be aware that your social media is a landing place for both new and recurring customers. If you are only serving the recurring customers with your content then a new and potential customer may be turned away when they don’t understand what you sell or what the benefits of your services are. Remind your audience often of how you can help them out, social media is a sea of information and a consistent reminder can help to solidify you in your community’s mind.
Build Hype - okay great so they know what you sell, but how does it improve their life? Don’t assume that your audience knows the reasons why they need your product in their life. If you sell soap, they can get soap at the grocery store. But if you take the time to explain the benefits of natural ingredients and the community effects of buying local then you can help your customers understand the reasons why you know they will love your products and services.
Relate and Connect - I strongly believe in building community and not just client lists. By sharing content that highlights your personal/business values you can create a stronger connection through those shared values with your audience. If you care strongly about the environment and reducing waste, incorporate that into your social media! Make sure to tie it into your business (“we reduced our plastic packaging!”) and then share those things that are important to you, they are probably important to your customers too. Sharing behind the scenes is another great way to humanize your business and build those shared connections.
Give Back - provide value in your social media post and give your customers a reason to stick around for a long time. Sprinkle in your promotions and deals but giving back doesn’t just have to be a monetary discount. You can also share tips from your industry or personal life to provide value to your audience.
Plan ahead. Fill up your buckets!
Once you’ve taken the time to understand what kind of content you need to post, grab a pen and paper and start brainstorming! How does your business fit into these categories?
Create sub-buckets (or cups!) inside your content buckets, this will make the inspiration process much easier. In the Build Hype bucket, for example, you can have a cup for each product or service that you offer and rotate through sharing each of them. Each business will be different based on what you serve your audience and the values you want to lean into, but once you sit down with a pen and paper and a structure laid out the ideas come much easier.
I like to plan for a whole month, and then stay flexible. I rarely post all the things that I planned for that month, but anything that didn’t get posted can be carried over into the next month of ideas. You can also just have a planning session whenever you run out of ideas, pour yourself a big coffee and have an idea frenzy every so often. The key is finding what works for you, remember that it might take a few different strategies until you find the flow that works for you.
I also keep a notepad next to my desk because those content ideas sometimes come out of nowhere! Sometimes a client asks me a question about their website and I realize that it’s a fairly common question so I jot it down as a post to make later.
Create content. Work smarter not harder.
Creating the actual images and text to go along with your content plan is the final hurdle. Having a long list of ideas doesn’t do much good when it doesn’t convert into post-able content! You don’t need to be a master photographer or a great writer to convey what you need to your audience.
I find it helpful to create content in batches, and then metaphorically throw those photos in the content buckets. If you are taking a photo of a product, take a multitude of images at once and now you have photos to grab when it’s time to post about that product in the rotation. Take advantage of the time that you spend setting up the good lighting and just switch out a few props or change the angle to get a variety of posts for the future.
It’s a common misconception that we need to constantly create and post new materials for our social media. Not only can you re-post photos from your feed but you can go back and post older footage or photos or behind the scenes to use as content for today. Sometimes there are gems in our camera roll that at the time we dismissed for another angle, but looking back there are great images that already exist and will lighten your creation workload.
Writing the text for social posts is often a pain point in the content creation process. Maybe people believe that they “aren’t good with words” but they could talk my hat off at a farmers market about how great they know their products are. Writing for content takes practice and the more you do it and explore your voice as a brand and a business then the easier it gets. There is an awkward period while you learn the brand voice that you can’t really avoid unless you outsource your social media, which is also a nice idea if it’s affordable for your business. They can help you to solidify and learn the voice and you can ease back into it with that learned voice or let them manage it if that’s the right decision for your business!
The whole process of content creation, like anything else, takes practice and trial and error before it becomes easier. There’s no magic button but if you try new avenues like content buckets or batch creation then eventually you will find what works for you and your business.