Most small businesses are on social media, and as a small business it’s important to have a good presence. But it can be difficult to know where to start, or what to post. If you’re building your brand on your website, shop, or social media accounts, content buckets will help you decide what to post and help you build an effective content strategy to grow your business.
What are content buckets?
The first step in building an effective content strategy is to know what type of content you want to post. This is where content buckets help you. This term refers to identifying the different categories for each type of content you choose to post, that most appeals to your target audience. They’re not topics, they are types of content, under which your various topics sit depending on your business and your goals.
Let me give you an example. My content buckets include educational posts, entertaining posts, engaging posts and inspiring or motivational posts.
One of the content buckets I choose to use regularly is under the heading of ‘Educational’. So under this ‘content bucket’ heading, I have a list of posts I can create to support that type of content, such as:
- Blog posts like this one, teaching my audience
- How to…posts
- Infographics with statistics
- Tips and tricks of marketing for small businesses
- Q&A about my business and what I offer
So, when I am planning my posts for social media, and planning my blog posts, I try and incorporate at least one post/blog from this list.
An example using the same principle and type of content could be…
You have your own small business selling a product. You could film a short video or a series of photos showing you making a product from start to finish.
How does this help my marketing?
If you make a product that improves someone’s life, you could give tips and hints as to how to best use your product. It might be you sell a drinks bottle that is personalised or has a slogan on it. Give ideas as to how this improves the buyer’s life, such as handy to keep in the car, so you have a drink on the go. Good for picnics and day trips as the lid seals, so it doesn’t spill. For the same reason, it works well at the gym as you can carry it in your gym bag, knowing there will be no leaks. It could be used to make your morning smoothie in, or a special diet drink. There are all sorts of things you can come up with as to why your product helps your customers. It’s about painting a picture, so your target audience can see themselves using your product. You might give them an idea they hadn’t thought of.
Content buckets work because they help you create variety in your posts, which keep the attention of your audience and they want to come back for more. And you get to choose the types of buckets that you know will speak to your audience and therefore the posts that sit under that.
This kind of content strategy works really well, but does require planning and scheduling posts, but it is really worth it and pays off in the long run. Knowing what to post and when saves you shed loads of time and effort.
Content buckets work as they are a good solid content marketing strategy that will help your small business increase engagement and build your brand.
Examples of content buckets
- Educational – I’ve already covered this one in my previous paragraph.
- Entertaining – this targets the audience that likes a bit of fun and takes a more interactive approach to content. Examples would be:
– Memes or gifs
– Showcasing a fun day out or holiday
– Sharing joke posts
– Showcasing throwback posts
– Looking at a current trend
– Holding a contest or giveaway
- Engaging – posts that get your audience to join in with a thread or participate in a post, such as:
– Ask questions such as ‘what is your favourite……’
– Use a poll with a few multi-choice answers
– Posts such as ‘this or that’
– Show a new product and ask for opinions
– Ask for new ideas for products
- Inspirational – posts that make your audience think, or posts that motivate or inspire them. This could be:
– Motivational or inspirational quotes
– Memes or gifs with an inspirational theme
– Share something you do that inspires you – could be you meditate daily or enjoy a yoga class or a sport.
– Share your story of why you started your business – what inspired you to do what you do?
- Personal – this is about increasing your brand awareness. YOU are part of your brand – your audience gravitate towards you and your business because who you are – not a faceless business. Examples of posts could be:
– Introduce yourself on a regular basis and share a little information about yourself. You will constantly be picking up followers, so it’s good that they can get to know you.
– Live Q&A sessions
– Action shots of you
– Pictures of your workspace
– Share details of your hobbies
– Tell your audience about your likes and dislikes
- Conversational – This is linked to engaging content- it’s about creating two-way conversation, so you’re listening to your audience as well as talking to them. You could:
– Simply ask some questions and then engage in the answers, even if the back and forth conversation is only a couple of comments.
– Show a genuine interest in your followers – if you follow other small businesses, engage with their posts and ask questions, starting a conversation.
– Do a live webinar or just go ‘live’ on Facebook (advertising it first) and encourage your listeners to ask questions. You could host a Q&A about your business inviting listeners to ask you anything they like.
– If you include a poll in your content, once you have the results of the poll, do another post, or series of posts, looking at the answers and asking further questions around those answers.
- User-generated content – This is content that is original, brand-specific and created by your customers and published on social media or other channels, and seriously helps your business promotion. If you see a comment from a customer, you can ask if you can use it on your posts to tell a story around that comment (if it’s a bespoke item you made, for example), or you can just make a positive post. Content like this comes from:
– Blog comments
– Networking events or forums
– Facebook comments or posts
The best bit about User-Generated content is that it costs nothing and you’re not putting in the work to create it!
- Listicles – you may or may not have heard of these. They are the second most popular type of blog post, after how-to content. A listicle is content that you create in list format, such as Top Ten movies of 2022. You probably use these without thinking too much about it. If I’m looking for a product I want to buy, I’ll often check out an article that gives the top ten brands of the product I want to buy, so I can compare them. So, how can you use this in your marketing?
– Top tips for …… depending on what you do. You’ll see this type of post on my FB and IG, when I’m giving specific marketing tips.
– If you’re a product based business, for example, selling soaps, you could do a list of the top five favourite fragrances.
– List your top three products – your most popular products etc.
– If what you sell is seasonal, you can do seasonal lists. If you sew, you could list the top five hats or dresses to make this summer, or the top styles of hats for winter.
- Success stories – This type of content is about sharing a case study or a customer story, that tells how your product or service really helped them and how it changed their life or business for the better. Customer stories are different to case studies. A case study focuses on data. A customer story focuses on the experience they have had with you, your business and your products or services. Here are some ideas of how you can use these:
– Have a success story page on your website, course site or sales page – then share the link from there on your socials.
– Write a blog post about a success story or case study and share the link.
– Create a case studies section on your website
– Add testimonials and video clips of your customers telling their stories.
This is a bit more time consuming, but really helps show you as an expert and your business as super professional.
- Promotional – This is probably the kind of post you see the most on social media, especially for product-based businesses. Promotional posts are used to make your audience aware of your deals and offers. But beware, as promotional posts can deter people from following you, especially if you are constantly trying to sell your products and your posts are repetitive. It can damage the relationship you have with your audience – instead of providing value and nurturing your audience, they may feel you only care about making a sale.
Now I know that, at the end of the day, every small business relies on sales and needs those sales to survive. But potential customers need to know that they can trust you, that you care about them, and their opinions are important. By only posting promotional posts, about 20% of the time, and concentrate on other types of post the rest of the time, your audience will be more engaged in what you have to say, they’ll start to get to know you – the person behind the business through personal, fun and inspiring posts. They’ll see you as an expert from your educational and engaging posts and are then more likely to stick around and look out for your posts every day. 80% of your posts need to be about providing value to promote trust and loyalty.
- Product content – This refers to the text, images and any other descriptive information that tells your audience about your products. Product content tells us about what you sell, whether that be a physical product or a service.
Product content should clearly define what your product/service is, and what problem it solves. This kind of content is what shoppers look for when deciding what to buy.
This is the selling part of your content. Make sure that you:
– speak directly to your audience
– Focus more on the benefits of your product, as opposed to the features.
– Include good photos or images, or infographics – make sure they are clear
Now that you know what content buckets are and how to use them, you have the tools to use them in your social media content planning and make your content buckets part of your marketing and content strategy.
If you would like some 1:1 coaching around content marketing for your specific business, or would like help with your strategic marketing planning in general, please feel free to email me or message me on social media. firstname.lastname@example.org