One of the most time-consuming aspects of social media marketing is creating content. There’s no wonder that busy business owners and marketers look to outsource this: having to come up with new ideas to reflect your business day-in and day-out can be exhausting especially if you’ve been tapping that creative energy to solve other business challenges.
We all know that social media marketing is an industry with a low barrier to entry: often, teenagers are versed in the technical aspect of posting content as much as a seasoned professional. But experience in writing in a tone of voice, writing content that is appropriate for audiences, having a grasp of graphic design, content planning and copyright law are all things that come with experience. For this reason, it can be difficult to tell if the person you’re thinking of hiring has the skillset to be the voice of your business.
So what questions should you keep in mind to ask your future social media content marketer? Here’s my take on it.
Question: What approach would you take with content to meet our business objectives?
Social media content creation is not simply about putting funny cat pictures online with the hope that your audience will see it and remember your business. There is strategy and planning behind social media content creation. Social media content should be designed to meet your business objectives or marketing goals. These goals could be anything from building a certain brand perception, to pushing traffic to your website.
When talking to your social media content creator, finding out what approaches they would take, or have taken to meet your goals is essential.
Question: How do you create images?
Every social network has an image component, and some rely entirely on images (I’m looking at you, Instagram).
How will your social media content creator source images? Will they be taking original photos, using images you provide, using free creative commons images or purchasing stock photos? Not only does this impact the look and feel of your brand, but the cost of content creation.
In Australia, we’ve got quite strict copyright laws, so being aware of where and how images are sourced can be a simple way to help protect your business.
If you’re working with a content creator, having a set of brand colours or brand guidelines can be a really easy way to help ensure that your social media content has a consistent look and feel to the rest of your business. Find out how your content creator will leverage your existing brand look and feel in their social content.
Question: How do you curate content?
If your brand isn’t creating a lot of content from scratch, your social media specialist might be curating content from the web, or finding articles and content that others had created. But how are they selecting the right content for your brand?
They should be considering if the content reflects your brand values, if the content is appropriate for the audience, if the place the content is coming from is an aligned business such as an industry body, a complementary business or a competitor.
Asking your content creator what things someone would consider when selecting content is another way to help get a strong understanding of what they might post and to ensure it’s the best reflection of your business.
Question: Do you use a content scheduler or post live?
Businesses can have very different ways of sharing content. Some businesses can have social media content created a month in advance while some businesses will be updating daily, live. Having an idea of where your business falls will give you an idea of what kind of systems you can create to ensure there are streamlined and effective content approval processes.
- a content plan might be used to approve and schedule content weeks in advance
- an email might be used to approve same-day content which is then posted immediately
- your social media specialist might have a free reign to create content based on clear goals and objectives
- or a combination of all methods.
Some social media content creators only write content, while others also create images or videos. Some deliver the content for you to schedule, while others provide scheduling. Have a clear understanding of both where your business sits in terms of timeliness and the services your content creator provides to set off on the right foot.
Question: What is the approvals process?
In Australia, people are more likely to trust a business’s social media account if they update consistently. Trust of a business in social media isn’t about likes, but it’s about how regularly a business engages on social media.
One of the simplest ways to create a consistent social media schedule is to have a streamlined approval process, so there aren’t weeks between content being created and it being posted.
In some cases, you might use a social media scheduling tool that has the capacity for approvals and revisions built-in (I quite like the tool Planable for this reason, because it is easy to get client feedback for individual posts.) In other cases, it might simply be an email that has a sign off on your post. Either way, having a clear process so that content can be created quickly and sent out quickly means that you will keep a consistent flow of content.
Another element that is really important is knowing how many rounds of revisions are included in content design. There is always a little bit of learning when first working together to ensure that the content created meets the tone of voice the business, so revisions are always a part of the process. But being aware of how many rounds of revisions are in scope means everyone can work more efficiently to create the highest quality content faster.
Question: Do you have samples of your work?
Having samples of previous work can be a great way to get an idea of the experience of the content creator. Have a look to see if they’ve used a specific tone of voice for the brand, if they’ve used hashtags, if the images are cropped to size. They might have had specific objectives when creating content, so consider if they were designing content for a particular goal with the samples presented.
Some content creators may not have samples of work if their work has been white-labelled, but an alternative approach is to commission a trial period for a few months to get an idea of their skills. It gives times to get to know your voice, priorities and processes and to see how you work together.
There are plenty of questions you can ask a social media content creator before engaging them to see if they are experienced and how they might work with your business.
- Find out how they connect social media posts to bigger goals and objectives
- Find out about how they create and source images
- Find out how they would approach curating content for your channels
- Find out their preferred method for posting: schedule or live, or both
- Find out what their usual approvals or revision process
- See a sample of their work and look for signs of best-practise content creation
If you are looking for a hand with your social media content creation, I would love to help out. Please get in touch. I’d love to help your social media content sing.
Want to work with Rachel?Rachel Beaney is a writer and social media content specialist, helping businesses connect with their audiences.
She’s worked with local, national and global companies, in addition to not-for-profits and government bodies. She loves helping businesses tell their stories with creative and data-driven solutions.
She is based in Sydney, Australia.
Want to work together? Rachel would love to hear from you. Get in touch today.