Since its launch back in 2010, Instagram has grown to a community of 1 billion monthly active users. The majority of those users visit the platform to find information and to discover new brands and products.
Social media now dominates the way people communicate and connect with each other. If used with intent and a solid strategy in place, it can be an incredibly useful tool for small businesses.
With that in mind, it is more important than ever to create content your audience
wants to see, can easily be shared and is of value to your followers. Publish content that is centred around your customer’s needs, their pain points and motivations. If you consistently do this, you will turn followers into loyal customers and eventually into brand advocates.
There are many different ways you can generate ideas, design and create content and what seems to be an endless amount of options when it comes to publishing it.
A content roadmap is a great tool to help you map out and organise your ideas. It also ensures that the content you publish aligns with your vision and brand strategy. When you start, it is helpful to focus on content that supports a key business objective or project and build it up from there. View your roadmap as a guideline you can refer back to, a living document, leaving room for ad hoc ideas. Often priorities change or new opportunities arise and your map should reflect this.
1. Start with your brand story
Your brand story is your key tool to communicating your purpose and the reason your brand or business exists. Crafting your story is a critical first step in building a solid foundation for your content roadmap. Once you have it written down, you’ll start to realise how much easier you'll find it to come up with content ideas.
A personable and interesting story will emotionally connect your audience to your business, it will make you more memorable and turn potential customers into loyal clients.
When your content is designed with your brand story in mind, every single piece you produce will feed into and support what you stand for as a business. This will deepen the connection between your customers and your brand.
2. Sub stories and topics
Once you are happy with your brand story, you can start breaking it down into sub stories, or content pillars, and then further into topics to sit under each of those pillars.
When you do this, think beyond the product you are selling. Your brand is more than your product or service. What lifestyle, culture or community is your audience buying into and how can you translate that visually and with the captions you write?
3. Content formats
Now that you have a good idea about the topics you want to talk about, it’s time to decide on a format to deliver them.
Start by taking a close look at your audience and get an understanding about the type of content they engage with the most. Does your audience enjoy video tutorials, are they active on stories or IGTV or do they prefer reading your posts? Do short or long captions get the most engagement?
The best way to find this out is simply by testing different formats and measuring the results. Use your Instagram insights to track metrics or ask your customers for feedback. From here, refine and improve on what works best.
4. Your content calendar
There are many different ways to create a calendar and there’s no right or wrong. Most importantly, it needs to work for you and your business. By mapping out your content in calendar format, you will find it much easier to visualise what your plans will look like over a certain period of time.
Julia Wetzel is the founder of JDW, a marketing consultancy for creative businesses. She helps business owners and brands increase their brand awareness, grow engagement and build meaningful relationships with their customers through creative marketing and social media strategies.