Social Media Practice Assignment #3

Social Media
Practice Assignment #3

Creating Organic Instagram Content

Welcome to Social Media Marketing Practice Assignment #3

Repeated info from other practice assignments:

Please note that these practice assignments are different from your 1-on-1 real work experience assignments which will come after you are finished with your training videos as stated on our website. These practice assignments are designed to help you immediately get practice implementing what you’ve just learned in smaller, more manageable chunks rather than just expecting you to know how to set up a full campaign all at once. These practice assignments are strategically broken up into several parts and in step-by-step format so that we can tackle every aspect of setting up an effective campaign from the research phase all the way to the creation phase. By doing each of these practice assignments, you will now know how to get your digital marketing campaigns up and going in an effective and strategic way. 

Doing these practice assignments are of course optional, but they are encouraged as this extra practice now will help you create better marketing campaigns for the 1-on-1 real work experience part of the program. Instructions on how to do each task, where to save your work, and examples so you can compare what you came up with vs. what I came up with so that you can assess how you did on this practice assignment will all be provided below. Please note that although I provide examples of the marketing content that I came up with in some of the practice assignments, there is no exact right way that your content should look like when it comes to marketing. So, you cannot expect your results to look exactly like mine. What is important is that you are implementing what I’ve taught you in the training videos and in the below practice assignment as this is all meant to help you create the best marketing campaigns possible. 

Hypothetical Company For This Assignment: 
Repeated info from other practice assignments: As with all practice assignments, you can use your own company, a company you’d like to work for, a made-up company in an industry you’re interested in, or you can use the hypothetical made-up Digital Marketing Agency I talk about below when completing each practice assignment. If you’re unsure which company to use for these practice assignments, using the made-up Digital Marketing Agency may be easiest for learning purposes as you’ll be able to compare and contrast your marketing content with the examples I provide which will be for a Digital Marketing Agency. The key thing is that you should use the same company throughout all of your practice assignments as the practice work you do on 1 practice assignment will be carried over and used in later practice assignments. 

Once again, like with all our practice assignments, I’m going to use a Digital Marketing Agency as our hypothetical company that we are trying to grow via Digital Marketing. I want you to assume that they specifically focus on Social Media Marketing, Email Marketing, PPC Marketing and SEO Marketing. 

Insert Your Work In the Below Link To Stay Organized
Joseph's Work Product For This Assignment (Use this to compare and contrast your work)

 

Start of the Assignment

For this practice assignment, you are going to create a few different types of organic Instagram content to help move someone from just a viewer of your Instagram page into hopefully a lead or customer. 

In doing this practice assignment, you can go about this in 1 of 2 ways: 

  1. You can simply add the content you create for this assignment in the same Social Media Practice Assignments Bio and Creatives (2-4) ↗︎ document that you used for Social Media Practice Assignment #2 and just write out what you would do for each post without actually creating or designing any of them. 
  2. Or, you can fully create all of these posts doing everything below using Canva.com or any other free software online if you’d like practice on the entire process and put them in your Social Media Practice Assignments Bio and Creatives (2-4) ↗︎ document. 

It’s whatever works best for you as this is just some extra hands-on practice. 

Step 1: Research Your Competition

Let’s now go through a step-by-step process on exactly how you’d go about creating organic Instagram content for a business in a strategic way:
Step 1: Research Your Competition’s Ads

Once again, you should never create social media (or any marketing content) from scratch. Creating content takes a good amount of time so you want to make sure that the content you are creating is actually going to be something your target audience likes. So, rather than start from scratch and spend months just guessing what your target audience likes based on how they react to your posts, instead, look at what kind of content is doing well for 5-10 of your successful competitors on that particular social media platform just like we went over in the training videos. Remember, you don’t just want to look at any of their posts for inspiration, but rather, focus on those that have good engagement rates because if it worked well for your competition, creating a post around similar content but with your own company’s twist on it will likely work well for you too as you have the same target audience.  

Now, when determining if a post from a competitor was successful or not, don’t just look at how many engagements they received (likes, comments, and shares). If they have 1 million followers, it will be very easy for them to get to 1,000 engagements per post but that might not mean it did well as that’s not really a lot of engagement given that they have 1 million followers. What you really want to look at in determining if a post did well is the engagement rate. A good engagement rate on IG is typically between 1-5% (it varies by industry). You can figure this out by simply dividing their total # of followers by the amount of likes/comments/and shares the post received and this will give you the engagement rate for that post. 

So, take a look at your competition (we showed you how to find your competition in Social Media Practice Assignment #1), and start Saving all of the posts that did well by clicking the save icon as you see below, or, better yet, copy or share all of these links and put these in your Social Media Practice Assignment Spreadsheet ↗︎ (tab: Assignment #1: Competitor Analysis) from your Social Media Marketing Practice Assignment #1. You should use the same spreadsheet that you worked on for assignment 1 rather than redownloading this and have to start over with this new spreadsheet. I recommend that you use that spreadsheet so that you have all of the great performing content from a lot of your competitors all in 1 organized place.

Finally, when looking at your competition to get content ideas, if you notice that a particular piece of their content that did well was in the reel format, you will likely have the most success providing similar content but with your own company’s twist in that same reel format rather than taking what they talked about in their reel and changing it to the carousel format. However, this may not always be possible as maybe (highly unlikely but just go with me here for the sake of teaching purposes) you can only find posts that did well for your competition in the carousel format. If that is the case, but you have a hunch that reels may work even better, then you can take that content that you are seeing in the carousel format and use this as your basis for what you’re going to talk about in your reel. Afterall, you know that this type of content was really liked by your target audience already which is good so you aren’t starting from scratch. However, creating this as a reel is just a bit less proven to work than creating it as a carousel post as we don’t have proof yet that it will work in this format. So that’s the only thing to be mindful of as it’s less proven than following exactly what your competition did but with your own twist but this certainly could and should be worth testing as it could possibly work much better for all we know. 

Now that you know what type of content your audience likes and you have these all organized, we have 1 last thing to do before we create the content itself. 

Step 2: Create Your Posting Schedule

Remember, your goal with social media marketing is not just to get followers or likes. Ultimately, as a business, your goal in using social media marketing is to get in front of people that could use your product or service and turn them into leads and hopefully customers. 

So, we want to be strategic in what we post and in what order these posts go out as we want to help guide our followers into taking certain actions such as becoming a lead or making a purchase. Now although with organic social media content we can’t guarantee that each post gets in front of our followers (like we can with paid ads), we still want to operate by posting this way because if you are creating good content that your followers are engaging a lot with, then there is more and more of a chance that they will be seeing more and more of your content. So, when looking at your competitors and what content did well, in an ideal world, we’ll want to post content more or less in an order like this:

Post #1: Curated Content
  • For example, Why SEO Experts Say AI Written Blogs Will Hurt Your Biz
Post #2: “Your Take On Something” Content
  • For example, Top AI SEO Software That Won’t Get You Penalized
Post #3: Promotional Content
  • For example, a testimonial image or video from a customer talking about how your company fixed their SEO and gave great results or a limited time offer for a free SEO audit or consultation.
Post #4: Curated Content
  • For example, 5 Crazy Email Marketing Trends Experts Warn About
Post #5: “Your Take On Something” Content
  • For example, 5 Email Marketing Secrets To Skyrocket Your Conversion Rates
Post #6: Promotional Content
  • For example, a post showing a graph on how you increased the number of sales a client got after you worked on their email marketing campaign. Or this could be more of a sales/lead generation post rather than a testimonial where it can be something like: A post stating that anyone that fills out your form with their email address in the next 2 days will get your free Email Marketing Step-by-Step Guide.
Don’t forget about Stories
  • In a perfect world, you will also be posting stories daily in addition to the above content. Within your Stories, you can do things like create a poll or ask a question that relates to a type of content you’re going to make in the near future to prime them for this upcoming content. Or ask them about things they may want help with and then you can create content around that. This helps build a community which people love as well as it shows that you aren’t just a company spewing out info but rather, are taking into consideration the things they want to know making you come across as even more helpful which will help you earn their trust even moreso.)
  • Please note that if you really want to grow your social media account organically, it is ideal that you post 2x per day and 1 story per day and do this on a consistent basis. Yes, I know, that’s a lot of content but this is usually what it takes in order to grow your following from an organic social media standpoint. Don’t worry, we show you plenty of other less-time intensive ways to get in front of your target audience and move them through your funnel via digital marketing so you can decide if trying to grow a company from a social media organic standpoint is the most effective way for you as this is pretty time intensive compared to other methods (such as with targeted paid ads). 

In a perfect world, you want to structure your posts to go out in a order loosely based around content like the above rather than just throwing up a bunch of random content every day as this is little by little priming your followers to see that you know the industry (with your curated content), you’re gaining their trust by providing helpful tips to solve these problems (with your “Your take on something” content), and you’re showing them social proof that you know what you’re doing by showing testimonials and/or getting them to take action to move them through your funnel by posting promotional content.

Ideally, you want to try to follow or hover around the 80/20% rule when posting as you want 80% of your organic content to be helpful and only 20% of it to be promotional as nobody wants to follow a company that is constantly only posting promotional stuff. If you add in a “Story” post each day, then that takes the above schedule to 9 total posts with 2 of them being testimonial/promotional which would be 78/22%. If you want to add in an additional “Your take on something” type of content so that you have 2 of these in a row, that’s of course perfectly fine too if you feel that is better for your company. The big thing is that you don’t want to be over promotional with these types of organic posts (that’s what ads are for) but you also need to make sure that you have some promotional type of content otherwise you won’t convert many people into leads and customers. 

So, when you’re deciding how you want to frame your content so that you can move your followers into becoming leads or customers as soon as possible, it’s best if you do it loosely based on this framework rather than just posting random things that your target audience likes as this will help you get more of your followers to take the actions you want in becoming a lead or making a purchase.

Step 3: Create Your Posts

It’s now time for you to create something similar but better than what your competition created but with your own company’s twist on it. You can put all of your created work in your Social Media Practice Assignments Bio and Creatives (2-4) document ↗︎ (same doc you used in your 2nd Social Media Practice Assignment).

Software you will use:

For this practice assignment, you will be using Canva.com ↗︎ to create your posts. You do not need to pay for their premium account as you can register for a free account which gives you more than enough to complete this practice assignment. Canva is one of the most popular software that companies use for their content creation so it’s good to get some experience using it as it is incredibly user friendly. However, if for whatever reason you want to create your content using another software, there are tons of them out there and you can just google “Canva competitors”. However, I’d say that Canva is by far the easiest to use especially if you don’t have any design background as they provide a ton of templates making the design aspect of creating content really easy. 

Types of posts you will create:

It’s good for you to get practice in creating a variety of types of posts as you will likely be creating a variety of types of posts if you want to effectively move people from just being a visitor on your social media profile to becoming a lead or purchaser. So, for this practice assignment, I recommend that you get some practice by creating all the below types of posts while following our framework of moving someone through your social media marketing funnel: 

Post #1: Do this in the Carousel or Reel Format
  • Curated content – For example, Why SEO Experts Say AI Written Blogs Will Hurt Your Biz
Post #2: Do this in the Reel or Carousel Format
  • Your take on something content – essentially you giving helpful tips. For example, Top AI SEO Software That Won’t Get You Penalized
Post #3: Promotional Content (Here you’ll create a testimonial post for your hypothetical company). This can be any format you like (image, video, reel)
  • For example, a testimonial image with a quote or video from a customer talking about how your hypothetical company fixed their SEO and gave great results.
Story Post
  • Create a poll or ask a question that relates to a type of content you’re going to make in the near future to prime them for this upcoming content. Or ask them about things they may want help with and then you can create content around that. This helps build a community which people love as well as it shows that you aren’t just a company pumping out info but rather, are taking into consideration the things they want to know making you come across as even more helpful which will help you earn their trust even moreso.
Post #4: Do this in the Carousel or Reel Format
  • Curated content
Post #5: Do this in the Reel or Carousel Format
  • Your take on something content
Post #6: Promotional Content (This one can be some type of limited time offer for your made up company). This can be any format you like (image, video, reel)
  • For example: A post stating that anyone that fills out your form with their email address in the next 2 days will get your free SEO Step-by-Step Guide.

Of course, when creating these posts, as far as what content to put in the post itself, you should once again be looking at what posts did well for your competition as mentioned above as this will dictate what you talk about in these above post types.

Visual section of your posts:

When you create the visual content (carousel, reel, testimonial, story etc), please be mindful of not having too much text in it. Remember, having a ton of text in your post can be overwhelming for people so try to figure out a way to get your point across in as few words as possible while still giving great value or design it in a way where the text doesn’t look overwhelming. Once again, you’ll get an idea of what this looks like specifically for your industry when you’re looking at your competition’s successful posts.

Caption section of your posts:

See what the successful post’s caption looks like that you are emulating as yours should be similar but with your own company’s twist on it as this has already proven to do well with your target audience. When doing this, make sure to have the keywords of the things you are talking about in your post in your caption as this further helps the algorithm know what the content is about so that it can more easily show your content to the people that would most likely be interested in it. 

    • For example, if you are talking about SEO Tips and Software in your post, you of course should have “SEO tips” and “SEO software” somewhere in your caption as these would be your keywords for this post. 

Your caption is also a place where you can elaborate more on the content in your post. Remember, you don’t want your post (the visual part of it (carousel/reel/video etc)) to have A TON of text on it as this can overwhelm people. So, you can use your caption as a place to further explain anything from your post in greater detail. With that being said, remember, people first look at the visual and if they like what they see, then they may read your caption and not the other way around. So, while you don’t want to have a ton of text in your visual, you still need to have enough in there to provide good value all by itself as this is the most important thing people will see as not everyone will read your caption regardless of if they like your post or not. 

Call to Action (CTA) section of your posts:

Always make sure you have a Call-To-Action (CTA) at the end of your caption as this will increase your engagement rate as you are telling viewers of this post what action you want them to take. Always have a CTA. If you don’t want to rely on viewers having to read the caption to see your CTA, you can also add this to the visual as well or instead (always have a CTA in the actual video and reels as well (carousel posts aren’t necessary)). The CTA you choose to use will of course vary based on what action you want them to take. 

  • Example: 
    • For a carousel post where you are just providing helpful info, you can put in a CTA as simple as, “Like this post if you found this helpful” if your goal is just to get good engagement for that post. 
    • Whereas for a Promotional post, your CTA might be, “Click the Link-in-bio to get our Free Email Marketing Guide” as your goal is to get them to give you their email address in exchange for a free guide. 

It’s best to only use 1 CTA per post as opposed to using multiple. Generally speaking, the more you ask them to do, the less likely they will take any action. 

Hashtags section of your posts:

Once again, see what your competitors are using for their successful posts as this will give you good guidance on some that you should try and how many hashtags you should use for this particular target audience. 

When you finish these series of posts, you should ask yourself: If people were to see each of these posts, do these collectively as a whole, help your company seem credible, provide helpful information, and help move someone closer to feeling like they should look into your service or product more as you might be able to help them achieve their goals? Ideally, this is what you want to strive for. Remember, your goal isn’t just to get as much engagement as you possibly can. You are not an influencer. You are marketing for a company which is different. Influencers will often create content for a very broad audience (as it’s easier to get more engagement and followers that way) as their goal is to get as many followers and engagement as possible because their goal is to have a lot of followers and high engagement as they often make their money essentially being advertisers and companies want to hire influencers that have a large following. So, influencers’ posts are all about getting as much engagement as possible for each post rather than moving someone through their marketing funnel into becoming leads and or customers. When you are doing social media for a business though, you have to be much more strategic than an influencer and you aren’t just posting solely content that you think will get the most engagement and followers. No, the whole reason you’re doing social media marketing is because your ultimate goal is to get more leads and customers. So, yes, you want to get as much engagement as possible with your posts, but, you also want to make sure you are posting strategically as I mentioned above to help move people from your target audience through your marketing funnel so that they don’t just want to become a follower, but instead they also want to become a lead and hopefully a customer.

How to create these posts:

If you use Canva, you can simply type into their search bar, “Instagram Carousel” or “Instagram Reel” or “Instagram Testimonial” etc and you’ll see a ton of templates pop up as you can see below. Then you can simply choose whichever template you like the best and you can then put in whatever content you want in there and change it to your liking. By using these templates, you’re getting a huge head start not having to design these from scratch and you don’t have to be a graphic designer in order to create something that looks great.

Branding

When creating your posts, try to use the same color scheme and font type for each of these posts. This is a key part of branding. Remember, people are moving fast on social media. So you want to make sure that your branding stays consistent so that people can easily recognize your content so that you get credit in their brains for all the helpful and/or fun entertaining content you are giving them so that they like you more and more over time. 

Growing a social media account organically takes time so you need to be patient.

You will hear this time and time again but in order to grow a social media account organically, it also means you need to be very consistent with your posting and you will need to create a lot of content. 

Despite what you may have seen from some clickbait Youtube video or viral social media video on how to get 1 million followers in 15 hours without spending a penny on ads, this just isn’t how it works in reality. Also, doing social media marketing for a business is different than doing it as an influencer as I mentioned above as we aren’t just posting randomly about broad topics in hopes to get as much engagement and followers as possible. No. When you’re doing social media organic marketing for a company, you want to make sure you are bringing in the right followers by keeping your content more narrowly aligned with what you actually sell and info around this market and posting in a way that is going to hopefully help move someone through your marketing funnel. 

With that being said, you can now begin your practice assignment creating the below social media content as mentioned above. Remember, all of this is completely optional so you can do all of this or none of this if you’d like. But, all the step-by-step instructions on exactly how you would go about doing this for a company are above. 

Post #1: Do this in the Carousel or Reel Format
  • Curated content – For example, Why SEO Experts Say AI Written Blogs Will Hurt Your Biz
Post #2: Do this in the Reel or Carousel Format
  • Your take on something content – essentially you giving helpful tips. For example, Top AI SEO Software That Won’t Get You Penalized
Post #3: Promotional Content (Here you’ll create a testimonial post for your hypothetical company). This can be any format you like (image, video, reel)
  • For example, a testimonial image with a quote or video from a customer talking about how your hypothetical company fixed their SEO and gave great results.
Story Post
  • Create a poll or ask a question that relates to a type of content you’re going to make in the near future to prime them for this upcoming content. Or ask them about things they may want help with and then you can create content around that. This helps build a community which people love as well as it shows that you aren’t just a company pumping out info but rather, are taking into consideration the things they want to know making you come across as even more helpful which will help you earn their trust even moreso.
Post #4: Do this in the Carousel or Reel Format
  • Curated content
Post #5: Do this in the Reel or Carousel Format
  • Your take on something content
Post #6: Promotional Content (This one can be some type of limited time offer for your made up company). This can be any format you like (image, video, reel)
  • For example: A post stating that anyone that fills out your form with their email address in the next 2 days will get your free SEO Step-by-Step Guide.

 

Please note that we will not have an additional practice assignment for creating organic social media content for the other social media platforms that we cover in our program because as long as you understand the above concepts, the strategy/approach you will take is exactly the same on other platforms. Just like with Instagram, you’ll look at what 5-10 of your successful competitors are doing well on that platform and you’ll do something similar but with your own company’s twist while scheduling these posts in a similar way as described above to help you move people through your marketing funnel. Yes, other platforms have some differences to them, but by following the above approach, you’ll be able to see what posts are doing well on any given platform and therefore you’ll also be able to create effective content for each platform. 

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