Do you ever hit a writer's block? Do you ever log in to Facebook or Twitter and just look at a blank message composing box and then log out without publishing anything?
Well, here is the solution to the problem: create a social media content calendar. Personally, I create it for a month in advance, but you can plan out as little as a week in advance or as much as three months in advance - whatever works for you.
You can employ the power of content planning tools (I use CoSchedule), but even a simple Excel spreadsheet will get you started on a path to rocking that content planning process of yours. Once you have the dates, the days of the week and the platforms all written out, we can start drafting ideas down.
My first step is identifying any major holidays or recurring theme posts. If you post a Friday news round-up or a Monday "while you were away" industry post, put those in. If not, you can still insert holidays to have a themed post and not forget to congratulate your followers.
Next, mark any other blog posts and big dates that are coming up. If your blog post comes out every Wednesday, make a mark. If a product launch is scheduled for the 20th, definitely mark that day in your content calendar. Are there any launches or news you'd like to tease about with a little preview or pre-launch teaser photos? Schedule those out a week or two before the event date. If you're hosting any kind of event, like gala, sales or fundraising event, do the same thing and plan a few posts prior to the date to sell tickets or foreshadow this event.
Next, find a few amazing articles that relate to your industry or service. Articles praising your company? An interview with the CEO? Even if it's not about your company, find articles that your followers will find educational, interesting or entertaining. (See how the calendar starts coming together?)
Now that you have a good balance of self-promotional and educational content as well as curated content, it's time to get some user-generated content. Ask a question. Ask your followers about their opinions or struggles not only to start a conversation but also to gain insight into your market. If you really have an idea you'd like to test out, create a poll with a few answers. Not only is it easier for your followers to respond to the poll instead of coming up with their own responses, it will also boost the engagement on your page tremendously. You can also ask them for photos with your products, or reviews, which you can later use and repost with their permission.
Finally, if you get a few gaps left here and there, fill them in with humorous posts or behind-the-scenes moment (but keep it simple and friendly, not promotional). People love humor and everyone relates well to a kind joke.
Another thing you can try is posting inspirational quotes. You get bonus points for posting an image with an inspirational quote that can somehow relate to your business or industry. Inspirational posts do very well because as humans we all want to see something positive in the middle of our day right on our newsfeeds.
Finally, once in a while post "Throwback Thursday" or "Flashback Friday" posts that give you an opportunity to reflect on how far your business has come or simply breathe a new life into your old blog post.
It's great to have a month planned out, because you can see a bigger, yet not too stretched out, picture of your social efforts. Sometimes, you might not have a post ready, but marking it on a calendar helps you keep it on your radar. It's harder to keep track of things in the nearest future if you plan only a week ahead.
Also, if you feel like you have a lot on your plate or you want to really drive your social media content strategy to a tee, try rough drafting a calendar for three months in advance. You don't need to have a clean, ready-to-go copy just yet but you can start thinking of seasonal content or theme-oriented posts. For example, December is big on talking about holidays all month long, so you can create posts that incorporate Christmas and New Year's celebrations. March and April may be big on "waking up after winter hibernating" or "major spring cleanup." Going with that flow, summer is big on vacation dreaming and planning and the ability to spend more hours outside, so you can create posts about how your offering can help people in planning their vacation or enjoying more time outside.
Possibilities are endless, but you need to master a few "building blocks" of content. Your content needs to be:
- Have a good mix of promotional, curated and user-generated content, and
- Have a good mix of media in your posts. Use text-based updates, images, videos, infographics and even SlideShare decks.
Don't forget that all of your posts need to provide some kind of value, whether it's monetary or educational or simply entertaining. Build your social media presence in such a way that it is a resource of information and inspiration for your followers. Social media editorial calendar will greatly help you identify any gaps in your strategy, whether it's uneven mix of posts or not enough educational resources. It will also help you mainstream your efforts and get on a more consistent positing schedule. If there is more than one person in a company responsible for social media, this calendar will help you be on the same page and collaborate on ideas more effectively.
What do you think? Do you have a process in place that helps you plan your social media content strategy? What does your process look like? I'd like you to share in the comment section below.