Ever get the sense that you want to do Something Big & Important but when you begin thinking about all the different moving parts, and what you don’t know, it looks overwhelming? Many business owners and marketers feel that way when it comes to social media. Where do I post? What kinds of posts should I use? What do I even talk about since I am not “supposed to sell”? Where do I even start?
When it comes to social media, planning and organizing go a long way in answering those questions. Well, planning and organizing just go a long way on many other business aspects as well. This article focuses on social media content calendars.
We use calendars to keep up with what we are doing and when. Otherwise, we’d end up being super focused on the task at hand and never be reminded of what we intended to do, just running from one fire to the next.
- When is my next blog article to be published?
- When is my proposal due?
- When is my follow-up phone call scheduled with the new client?
Calendars allow us to organise and plan our businesses activities, seeing all these activities at a glance.
What is a social media content calendar?
It’s an organising tool (document, spreadsheet, or subscription service) showing what we will post, when we post, and where. It includes the links we will share, the images, caption, platform (channel), deadline, owner, etc.
What are the benefits of having a social media content calendar?
Having a social media content calendar organizes what we post, when we post it, which posts need video, images, or infographics, etc. Since we can create these in advance, we can incorporate themes or campaigns into our schedule.
With so many social media channels to keep up with, having a calendar allows us to see which ones we are posting on and if we missed out. This becomes handy for when we plan out posts weeks or months at a time.
For example, If there is a new product launch (or a new office opening), using the calendar is a great way of planning our posts. We do that to build excitement and generate leads in advance of the launch over a six week period.
Having a social media content calendar saves time as there will be moments when we are too busy (or uninspired) to come up with anything to post. Social media management is a regular activity and using a calendar allows us to work smarter rather than working harder.
Frantically posting for the sake of “showing activity” leads to posting Inspiring Quotes of the Day and Me, too! holiday greetings. Prospects ignore these as they add nothing to your or their business.
Additionally, seeing content laid out all together many times leads to other, great ideas. You begin to see relationships and patterns that generate other ideas and Ah-ha! moments. More ideas mean more content you can post about. Having these happen in the beginning or on a regular basis saves time as you won’t need to constantly be on the look out for something to post.
Ensures post consistency
Having an overview of your content allows you to maintain consistency in what imagery is used, the colours used, the words and phrases used. Consistency is key. If one day you are friendly and the next you sound “very corporate” you run the risk of confusing your prospects. Same with images and colours.
Like we have different customer types and profiles, we wouldn’t talk to a C-Level client the same way we talk to a Director or Sr Manager. Our posts should never be a one size fits all. Don’t create one post and then spam the same thing to all channels. What works on Instagram may not work on twitter or LinkedIn – nor should it.
Take the time to develop and target posts for each channel and audience and remain consistent within those channels.
Track & Improve
Know what works and when. There will come a point where we will want to know which posts do well and what timings do well. And which ones didn’t. Using the calendar helps keep track of what and when the higher engagement occurs so we can refine and improve.
Without a calendar and tracking tools, it’ll be arduous to backtrack and see what worked when, if at all. Just “that one post did really well but can’t seem to find it now.”
How to plan our social media content calendar
What exactly will we post? This gets many business owners bogged down in the analysis part, and they end up doing nothing because it’s Just Too Big. Start off by taking a look at what you do have, a content audit, and gather them together in a way that makes sense to you.
Tip: If you’re just getting started with social media or don’t have old posts to refer to, do an audit of a competitor in your industry.
You can use the following for ideas & content:
- Slide presentations
- Data or research collected
- Talk to your coworkers for interviews
- Whitepapers or case studies created
- Old / unpublished blog posts
- Case studies
- Product launches
- Industry events
- Seasonal content
TIP: You can create posts for different holiday and unofficial observations. I would even throw in some weird or funny holidays. No need to tie everything back to the brand, company, or product.
Where do I post? What channels do I use?
Most clients and prospects are online doing research well before they are ready to buy. When we do get a warm lead or a phone call, they already know what we offer and what our competitor offers (and chances are they are now just looking for a discount).
In addition to your website, focus posting on The Big 4.
- LinkedIn for B2B
Since our prospects and customers are there, we need to be there as well. Our competitors definitely are.
The good news is that registering with these sites is free, creating our own content is free (unless we hire or outsource), and posting is free. (There are even websites where we can register to download and use free images & video.) We just need to invest time and energy upfront, get our marketing infrastructure in place and be disciplined.
TIP: Even if we don’t plan to use all five channels now it’s best practice to go ahead and sign up under your brand just to own that digital asset. We can always come back to use it when we have the time and content.
Why these four?
How often should I post on social media?
Daily. You will want to post daily. And depending on your strategy and topics discovered during the audit, you could even post twice a per day.
If it sounds like way too much to do, and you’re asking yourself, “How often should I publish for my own business?” think about this:
How do we eat an elephant?
One small bite at a time.
Start off small like posting once a week.
Here’s what a sample weekly schedule looks like:
1st Monday – blog post
2nd Monday – Product/Service Promotion
3rd Monday – Company news and announcements
4th Monday – Tips & Tricks
Looking at this calendar, we know that for month 1, we need four posts. And we can plan those today.
But that isn’t daily, that’s weekly.
Right. We’re starting off small, not eating the whole elephant at once. When we get the hang of it, advance towards once per day. Give yourself a goal like this:
Month 1: Once per week for one month
Month 2: Twice per week for one month
Month 3: three times per week for one month
Month 4: five times per week – aka daily
Here’s a sample daily posting schedule
Monday: blog posts
Tuesday: Product promotions
Wednesday: Company news and announcements
Thursday: Client testimonials
Friday: Tips & Tricks
For example, if you decide that you will post weekly to Facebook, you create all four today and set the schedule for each post to be published on Mondays at 9:07 AM one week apart.
Be sure to track the results. How Each platform has its own dashboard and provides all kinds of useful information specific to that platform. Let the data tell you what’s working and what needs to be improved.
As this gets going and you start getting enquiries, generating leads, and making sales, you can use an automated tool to post automatically on a set schedule.
Now is a great time to get started. Gather your information and see what you can post about, and use the calendar to help organise and plan what next steps.
If you have any questions or you just want to go over your plan, feel free to schedule a call with me. I’d be glad to answer any questions you have.