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Digital marketers, you most likely have a plan for what to share on your brand’s social media accounts, but how in-depth is your content mix and do you set specific percentages to specific topics? Your content mix defines your social media presence and how your audience views and interacts with your brand. It’s an important component of your overall digital marketing strategy. For the purposes of this article, we’ll focus our attention on organic content that is shared on your company’s social media properties.

Keep reading to learn more about how to create a social media content mix that helps you reach your business objectives!


What Is A Social Media Content Mix?

A content mix is how digital marketers divide their social media posts into different topics or “buckets.” You may have heard about the “rule of thirds.” This is where one-third of your content promotes your brand, one-third is for sharing valuable or educational content, and the final third drives conversations with your audience. Here are some examples if we’re using a phone accessory retail store as an example:

  • Branded post: A video featuring your brand’s latest phone accessory (branded content focuses on the company, whether it’s showcasing a product/service or speaking about brand values).
  • Educational post: A thought leadership post that explores the latest innovations of the recent iPhone (this isn’t branded since it’s not talking about your product, but it’s educational because the topic is aligned with the industry your brand is situated within).
  • Conversational post: A post asking your social media followers to share if they’re Team Android or Team iPhone.

While these are appropriate buckets to have for most companies, we think that having a more customized social media content mix that’s personalized to your brand is the best way to go. Plus, taking a strategic approach to your social media content mix can help you drive toward your goals more quickly.


What Goals Do You Want To Achieve?

As with many elements of a digital marketing program, we recommend starting with goals in mind. What do you want your organic social media presence to convey to your audience? Here are some examples and the types of content that support them:

Increase Brand Awareness

Building a strong social media presence is one of the most effective ways to increase your brand awareness. For example, in one study, 71% of Gen Z consumers said they discovered products on social media most often. Almost 80% of job seekers said they use social media in their job search. Establishing a social media presence can help marketers achieve many different goals, whether it’s promoting brand awareness about the brand overall, a specific product, or even HR initiatives.

The types of content that can support this goal include a job listing on LinkedIn, a video exploring the company’s values and mission, or an eye-catching carousel detailing the company’s latest product.

Drive Website Traffic

One of the most common goals is to move your social media audience from point A to point B, or from the social media platform to your website. This is where branded or promotional content in your content mix can do the heavy lifting. Posts that share articles on your company’s website and links to case studies are two examples of content to achieve this goal.

Thought Leadership

Perhaps you’re looking to position your brand as a thought leader within your industry. You want your audience to view your social media pages as an educational resource, one that they’re happy to follow and check frequently. In that case, focus on providing value to your audience, rather than sharing only promotional content.

Engaging, educational content is an example. For example, if you own a prescription eyewear e-commerce store, thought leadership content could include:

  • Sharing a link to a third-party article about the top seasonal styles
  • Posting an educational video about common eye diseases


What Content Do You Have Access To?

Sometimes, your content mix may also be dictated by what type of content you have access to. Some categories are easier to create content for, while you may find yourself struggling to get content for other categories if you don’t have photos or videos. Here are some content categories to keep in mind.

Promotional Branded Content

There’s a scale for how promotional a post is. Consider a social media post that shares news about a product launch. This is on the more promotional or “salesy” side of the scale where the purpose is to sell a product. On the other hand, what if you were to link to a case study showcasing how you helped your client achieve excellent results? You may not be selling your services overtly if you’re just referring to a successful partnership, but it’s still promotional because it draws attention back to your company.

“Softly” Branded (and not necessarily “salesy”) Content

What do we mean by this category? This is when branded content relates to your company in some way, but it’s not necessarily trying to sell the audience anything. For example, you might want to share an image gallery of a team volunteer event, which gives audiences a look at your company culture. A post may not have anything to do with the product or service you sell, but it could relate to your company’s values, such as promoting sustainability.

Third-Party Content

Often one of the easier categories to create social media posts for, third-party content includes resources like online publications (e.g. Forbes, Inc. magazine, Women’s Health magazine), peer-reviewed articles, and news media. The content you find through these sources is, most of the time, not related to your company in any way. This makes third-party content an excellent source of non-branded, non-promotional thought leadership content.

Of course, there can be overlaps. For example, if there’s a CNBC article celebrating your company on a recent milestone, that would be an example of branded content. The article may not have come from your own content creators, but the article makes an explicit connection to your brand.

In general, thought leadership content derived from researched content can help fill in any gaps in your content calendar. If you’re running low on branded and promotional content to share, lean on third-party resources and explore ways you can share the content in interesting and engaging ways. We typically recommend including thought leadership content because a feed that consists only of branded content can start to feel stale and overly promotional.

User Generated Content (UGC)

This category includes a range of content, such as testimonials or reviews that your customers have left on social media platforms and other sites. Because this category is entirely dependent on other users, it may be difficult for marketers to plan to include this in their upcoming content. If you’re just establishing your brand’s social media presence, we don’t recommend focusing entirely on UGC first unless you already have an existing stockpile of content to share.


How Much Time Do You Have?

Many in-house marketers are juggling several tasks and may be so busy that creating a strategic social media content mix is a pipedream! However, having a clear strategy is helpful over the long run because it sets the foundation for your future content.

For busy marketers, check out this article where we explore why strategic partnerships with digital marketing agencies can be the key to amplifying your digital marketing impact.


Be Strategic With Your Social Media Content Mix

As with all other elements of your digital marketing program, it’s important to be strategic with your social media content mix. Develop different topic pillars that you believe will help drive towards your goal, and categories of content that will engage and entertain your audience.

In the meantime, read a case study about one of our clients below. Our strategic approach to developing a personalized social media content mix achieved a 60% increase in organic Instagram engagements!

How We Partnered With A Global Franchise

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