Feel like every month you’re endlessly sourcing photos to post on Instagram, thinking of tweets you haven’t recycled a million times or pretending your LinkedIn account doesn’t exist?
Regularly putting out content across multiple social channels is one of life’s not so little chores as a marketer, especially if you’re part of small team. With a little more organisation and forward thinking, however, we can take a whole lot of pain out of the process and make 2020 a win for you and your company’s content strategy.
Let’s start with the basics.
What is a content calendar?
Quite simply, your content calendar is the masterplan for any outbound social media marketing activity taking place throughout the year, best visualised in a calendar based format so that you can easily keep track of deadlines and collaborate effectively with other team members.
What are the benefits of using content calendar?
– It helps you avoid the last minute dash to find something just before the posting deadline
– Allows you to effectively track the performance of your campaigns so you can optimise for better results
– It’s easier to remember special events such as public holidays
– Allows you to plan content specific to each channel
– Helps with coherently managing specific themes and executing an actual strategy
Devise a bullet-proof strategy
What are you actually trying to achieve with your social media activity? Are you trying to engage with your potential customers or are you looking to keep your current clients in the loop? Are you promoting a new product or service which you want to generate a buzz around? Have a clear picture in your head of what you want your content to do as opposed to posting something just for the sake of posting something.
Decide what your overall goals look like
What will a successful social campaign look like? Start with short term goals, perhaps weekly or monthly, based on metrics which are meaningful. Some common things to track include followers, engagement, traffic and direct sales. Have a look at historic performance to guide your targets.
Vary the content
It goes without saying, a social strategy is only as strong as the content you produce. It’s worth bearing in mind that individuals generally interact with posts which either entertain, inform or reward, as opposed to posts which promote a product or service. Go with a range of topics and try to create several conversions. Don’t forget to plan content specific to each channel – a Facebook style post won’t work for Twitter, and might be positioned wrongly for the LinkedIn crowd. Think about your audience and how the post will be formatted.
Get your plan on paper (or spreadsheet)
The most straightforward way to record your social media plan is to build a social media calendar. A calendar will help you measure your goals and keep organised, as well as giving you a commanding view which will make it easy for you to chop and change if the need arises. The simplest way to do this is to build your calendar is on a spreadsheet, so you’ve got some options here.
Our preferred tool for building a social calendar is Google Sheets for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it’s really easy to share a spreadsheet amongst your team and you can all make edits to it simultaneously. Sheets is also comparatively easy to use for spreadsheet novices than Excel. If you want to save some time you can use this template (host on Fratelli Google Docs) which can be further customised to suit your requirements.
When it comes to spreadsheets Excel is the granddaddy of them all. If you are looking to use more advanced features such as pivot tables and complex formulas you might be better off with Microsoft’s offering, although you won’t find it so easy to work on collaboratively. For a ready to go template try this one from Hubspot
Once you’ve decided on how you are going to format your calendar, it’s time to customise and populate it. Think about colour coding specific channels and events making sure it’s as accessible for the rest of the team as it is for you. Having a centralised calendar makes it far easier to keep communications on brand and ensure everyone is singing from the same hymnbook.
Once you’ve finalised your plan it’s time to collate and create your content. There are a ton of free tools which can help you produce unique images, videos and infographics – we’ve included a few of our favourites below to get you started.
Fast and easy to use software which allows you to combine video, text and images for immersive and professional looking content.
Perfect for designing and editing images suitable for sharing on social and blog posts.
A super-smart app which uses AI to automatically create videos from text – simply enter a URL and app will get to work producing matching videos.
Create smart looking infographics with free pre-made templates or more advanced configurations with a paid plan
Whatever way you look at it, pulling together an effective social media strategy is always going to take a bit of time, effort and resource. By starting out right with a clear content calendar though, you’ll find that the pieces fit together a whole lot easier.
There is, however, a gigantic elephant sat in the corner of the room which we haven’t yet addressed – paid social. Even the most robust social strategy can only go so far, and when it comes to generating new leads and business, not just playing a supporting act to other marketing activities, sponsored posts and ads are an essential.
Interested in finding out how much further paid social can take you? Click here to get in touch with Fratelli today and one of our experts will get back to you with some cracking ideas.