Six tips to plan social media content using a social media calendar.
According to a study by eMarketer 73% of marketers say finding the time to create content is their biggest marketing challenge. The reason it is such a daunting task for rmost marketers to create social media content is because they do not have a well-thought out plan for what they want to write or say. Professional social media managers alleviate the ongoing pressure of producing quality content by simply scheduling it out in advance on social media calendar. Now, if you are like me, the initial thought of planning out everything you are going to post for the next 30-60 days in advance sounds pretty darn frightening but it isn’t if you approach and organize the task properly. I used to struggle with my social media content plan and have tried countless different versions of social media calendars. They are not all created equal. However, once I found a calendar format I liked and disciplined myself to use it, I finally felt like I was planning and managing my social media content like a pro. I have since shared my system with some of my clients and thought I would save others the unnecessary time and stress by sharing a few tips that made a difference for me in planning in my social media content with a social media calendar.
- Realize your social media calendar is a living, breathing, ever-changing document. It must be designed as a flexible, “work in progress” organizational tool. If you regard it as anything other than that it will become absolutely useless.
- Find a platform you feel comfortable using that allows for quick access and easy editing such as a simple Excel spreadsheet, Word document, Google calendar, WordPress editorial calendar or Basecamp if you working with team members? Tools such as Hootsuite, SocialOomph and Buffer are great ways to physically pre-schedule the posts you plan out on your calendar.
- Start by creating a big picture, year-at-a-glance calendar by identifying at least two topics each month relevant to your business including holidays, seasons, industry events and relevant upcoming milestones.
- Take a closer look at no more than two months and layout a consistent and comfortable weekly structure for your content. Consider creating themes for specific days of the week that will force you to be consistent with your messaging and will excite or motivate your audience and help them get in the groove of your updates.
- When you are ready, dig deeper into the daily post schedule by first designating your desired delivery times and begin filling in the blanks. In order to figure out the best timing for your posts, it is helpful to review any existing analytics you have so you will know the optimum engagement opportunities. What works for one page doesn’t necessarily work for others. Also be sure to schedule more than one update per day. Social media is so fast paced that most updates have a very short shelf life so don't be afraid to post often. The more you post the more opportunity to create for engagement.
- Feel free to ditch a pre-planned post if a more timely and relevant one presents itself. Your calendar should hold you accountable to a schedule but not bound to it. If it still makes sense to share a different update than one you have planned, simply move the original update to another time slot on your calendar.
Investing a little time getting your social media content organized on the front end can yield huge results on the back end. If are not yet using a social media calendar to help you get on track and stay on track with your messaging go ahead and give it a try—you will be glad you did! If you are already using a social media calendar or scheduling tool, I would love to hear about it in the comments below.