Not too long ago we reviewed how to create a social media content calendar, in which I shared how you can plan a year's worth of social posts in a short amount of time. A big part of creating a robust, long-term content calendar that works for your business is figuring out what your core social media schedule will look like. In this post we'll go over how to build that core social media schedule for your brand or business.
Okay, so you've got your content strategy down - you know why you want to publish content, how often you can publish content, who you want to reach, what networks you want to publish it to, and you've even set some goals and expectations.
You could just start spewing your posts out there with no rhyme or reason, but you can extract so much more from your content if you have a social media schedule for your brand planned.
A social media schedule can help you:
Create consistency and retention
Consistency is your best friend when it comes to social media. Being consistent in your post frequency is really important in order to grow a social media audience. Now if you bring that concept into the type of content you're creating, you're giving your audience a reason to come back every week.
Let's say your audience knows that you post a tip every week - know you post on a reliable schedule, they'll be more likely to keep coming back, over and over again. While they're there, they might also bump into some other content they'd like.
Fill in gaps
A social media schedule will help you decide what content types you may need to add variety to your feeds.
Planning everything out gives you time to think about what's coming up, making it easier to fill voids and balance out your approach.
Create consistent interaction and reach
Instead of one or two posts every once in a while which may or may not perform well, a plan can help you build an audience which consistently reacts to your posts.
What works and what doesn't
When you have a social media schedule in place, it becomes a bit easier to see when your fans lose interest, when you need a little more oomph to your posts, or if you're doing too much.
Not pull your hair out
The best thing about a social media plan is that you know whats coming up, and can plan for it - or get it all approved, which will...
Free up more time
Time you can use to analyze which content works best, which days and times are seeing more engagement, and much more.
This will ensure your next product announcement not only resonates with your audience, but that it creates interaction and sharing, extending it organically to more than just your followers.
This also gives you more time to look for timely content to share (giving your account a nice mix of live and planned posts), or join conversations.
Develop and outline your brand story
Planning out your social media schedule can help you develop your brand story and connect content dots you may have not realized were even there before.
A post shared by dharilo (@dharilo) on Sep 25, 2017 at 9:11am PDT
Get the most out of your content: The most important benefit of creating a social media schedule is that you'll be able to get more out of your content. Instead of hoping people interact with important pieces you'll be able to plan posts in order to get the most return from your audience.
Instead of hoping people interact with important pieces, you'll be able to plan posts in order to get the most return from your audience.
Creating Your Social Media Schedule
A big misconception about having a social media schedule is that it becomes too repetitive or predictable. With a little creativity it doesn't have to be that way.
Pick themes that relate to your brand or company and leave room to experiment (we'll break this down a little more later in this post).
For example a consistent "thirsty Thursday" post doesn't always have to be a photo of your signature drink - you can create a recipe video or GIF, feature a quote about drinks, or go more of a lifestyle route. As noted, even with a plan you can incorporate the flexibility to add timely posts about current happenings in your industry (or related).
When creating a content schedule think about:
- What kind of content you have access to or can create - Tailor your plan to accommodate that amount, or make sure you have the time to create posts
- Research your industry and competitors - Have a look around and see what kind of content your audience is reacting to
- Make sure your content is relevant - Irrelevant content = useless engagement
- Keep it simple in the beginning - Analyze what's working and collect ideas, then implement them
Social media schedules are "living" documents, and are made to ebb and flow with changes to your objectives, as well as the needs of your audience. Someone with a bigger audience, or with access to a larger amount of quality content, can go ahead and create varying schedules for each network.
Like I mentioned in my post "How to Create A Social Media Content Calendar", to make your life easier I suggest choosing content themes for your social media content schedule. This way you'll know what to post each day, with the flexibility to use different forms of content.
To make things simple I advise outlining the main objectives you wish to accomplish with social media strategy, then create one content theme per day which supports those objectives.
For example, someone with a lifestyle blog can write about many different aspects of their life, with the objectives of building up an email list, growing their social channels and driving traffic back to their site.
Content themes for them may look like:
- Monday - Blog post with link back to blog
- Tuesday - Post about local happenings
- Wednesday - Share from a related brand
- Thursday - Open
- Friday - Mailing list push
- Saturday - Lifestyle post or quote
- Sunday - Off
This basic plan will give the blogger a foundation to ensure they're meeting all their objectives while keeping a constant stream of social media updates flowing through, which will help your social media presence grow.
Remember to keep posts conversational, and try the 80/20 rule - add value to your followers in 80% of your posts, and push your links (or any other call to action) 20% of the time.
Remember that this social media schedule is set to grow with your brand, and will eventually change, so don't be afraid to mix things up when needed. I suggest you post network-specific content where you can, so that each profile has unique reasons why your customers should follow you there.
For example, I throw some personal tidbits into my Twitter account that I won't necessarily share on other networks.
With social media, consistency is key. A content plan and social media schedule will not only help you maintain a regular flow of content, but it'll also simplify your process and save you time - which you can then allocate to other aspects of your business.
A version of this post was first published on Dhariana Lozano's blog.