I manage the social media for several clients and although they are each different in how I approach their social media content one thing is consistent, a social media content calendar makes my job easier and their social media more successful. But how do you create a social media content calendar and how do you fill it? Well in today’s episode I am going to break down the tools I use to create content calendars, schedule content, get client approvals (when needed) and make sure I also have a full stream of content going out on my accounts. Welcome to the Business as Unusual Show! My name is Kelly Noble Mirabella and today’s show is brought to you by the folks over at Print Dirt Cheap. Chances are if you run a business you are going to need to have something printed. Whether you need business cards, postcards or flyers Print Dirt Cheap is the place to go. I recently ordered invitations for an event one of my clients put on and the results were fabulous. I will NEVER use sites like Vista Print again now that I know about the high quality and low prices that Print Dirt Cheap offers along with outstanding customer service. Anyway learn more about them at https://www.printdirtcheap.com
Now on with the show.
So I just go back from a trip to Colorado for Thanksgiving. Between being sick, visiting with friends and family time I didn’t get any work done. No podcasts, no content creation, nothing. But my clients all had social media covered thanks to the work of a content plan and calendar. So if you feel like you are constantly running around trying to create content or you feel overwhelmed and disorganized with your social media, what you need my friend is a content calendar.
There are a lot of tools and ways you can plan and organize your content. I will show you how I do it (actually 3 different ways I do it based on each client’s need) but if you are going to make it work for you, you need to find a system that works for your style and comfort level. Try a couple of things out and find something that you can use without feeling like it adds more work.
The first thing you will need are the right tools to get the job done. I use one or more of the following depending on the client’s need and involvement:
- Buffer (Or some other scheduling tool)
- Trello (Great for approval processes and work/idea organization)
- Google Calendar: Good for you know, a calendar, that you can share with a client
(More on the tools in a moment)
I find that scheduling content ahead allows me to take back my time. I know there is always something going out and I can look ahead and see what is coming up in the business and all the other marketing pieces and make sure the social media match up. It is important to understand that just because you are scheduling content does not mean you can set and forget it. You need to keep tabs on what is happening, stay engaged and be ready to pause content streams if needed. Honestly, I don’t understand people who don’t believe in scheduling their social media content in advance. This is not a new concept. My background and my degree is in marketing and having a marketing plan and calendar is common practice. Now unlike a traditional marketing calendar, your social media marketing does not have to be for the whole year. Instead, I prefer to plan, create and execute my social media content plans in month to month increments. This helps me stay relevant and timely, which is very important in social media.
In terms of tools you can use to schedule your social media posts, well there are too many to even start. But some of the more popular ones include:
Buffer: This is the tool I use. I like the ease of use and it integrates across all the platforms I need, including Facebook (profiles, groups, and pages), LinkedIn (profiles and pages), Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.
HootSuite: One of the most popular tools among beginners and small businesses HootSuite allows you to see your active timelines and streams and interact with people right on the platform. Of course, you can also schedule out your posts. While I am not personally I big fan of this platform for my uses, I have used it and it works for most people.
Social Report: A really comprehensive tool that includes approvals, scheduling, calendar and event evergreen content scheduling. I enjoyed using this tool when I did but it’s a bit pricey and I found it to be a little clunky. It is a good option though if you need an all in one solution.
Sprout Social: I have never used this tool because it was a bit pricing for my needs but I hear good things and it is considered one of the top-rated among experienced social media managers.
Okay, now that you have a scheduling tool you will need some kind of calendar. Many of these scheduling tools have a calendar component so that might be all you need. But if you have a client that is more hands-on or you are more visual you may enjoy one of the following tools:
Google Calendar: Obviously there are no major bells or whistles here. This is a calendar you can use to simply see what is going out on what day. It is easy to share with clients or your VA too. I would not suggest using Google Calendar if you have a lot of social channels you need to show as it can get a bit cluttered and confusing.
Trello: I am kind of obsessed with Trello right now. I have a client that is very hands-on and wants to approve every original content piece that goes out. Well as you can imagine that is kind of a heavy task. Trello makes it easy. I have set up a board for the client with the following lists: Ideas, In progress, Needs approval, Needs Edits, Approved, Scheduled, Posted. I go in and add a couple of weeks to a month worth of content and the client then goes in and makes edits, adds notes or moves the content to approved. At that point, I simply add the approved content to my buffer app and I am all set. There is a great calendar power-up that allows you to see when each piece is planned to be posted (I make the post date the “due date” on the card to achieve this). You can also export the calendar to Google Calendar again making it easy to share with anyone who wants to see when things are going out.
I love using Trello so much I will be implementing similar boards for all my client accounts, even when the client is hands off. It has really helped me to stay organized and keep my progress flow moving.
Now you have the right tools, let’s talk about the steps you need to take in order to come up with your content. Understand that I have been doing this for a very long time so I work much faster than most people. So what might take me a couple of hours, may take you a couple of hours more. The idea here is to block out time to sit down and get this all done in one or two days so that you have a month’s worth of content planned.
Step one: Gather any dates or important themes you have coming up. Events, planned promotions and specials or themes you want to implement. Daily themes are a great way to stay on task and keep your feeds consistent. While themed days may not work for all accounts, if you are feeling stuck or uninspired themes can help you move forward with your content creation and plan ahead more easily.
Here is an example of daily themes.
Monday: Motivational Monday
Post a quote, a motivational message, talk about productivity, positivity etc. There are lots of options here. For me personally, I like to do “social media last week” (which I know has nothing to do with motivation) where I will share a video with quick highlights from all the news in social media for the previous week. If you are a regular listener you know I do a social media weekend update every Saturday so it is fairly easy to take those show notes and make a quick video for the Monday posts.
I love doing tip Tuesdays. This is typically very easy for me since every Tuesday I do my Tips and Tricks Tuesday podcast which generates a ton of content. For client’s this could be a quick tip, life hack or whatever would bring value and educate their audience.
Wednesday: Blog promotion
Do you have a blog that you regularly update? If so make one day a week the promo day. Even if you are promoting evergreen content. Think outside the box here and utilize various mediums to share your blog content. For example, you might create a quick video using Lumen5 or Animoto with a few key points from your blog as a kind of teaser. Or perhaps you create a graphic with a quote from the blog or even simpler just link to your blog post. Anyway, you do it, you can use this day to bring fresh eyes to older content.
Thursday: Testimonials and Customer Stories
I work with a lot of real estate agents so I typically will share every other Thursday a testimonial or customer story. I actually do not do this every week as I think it can be a little overkill but it is a great way to break up your content and share outside reviews.
Feature a power partner, a local business, or local events.
Saturday & Sunday: Engage/behind the scenes/ Sharing is caring
Use the weekend to post something more laid back. Perhaps it is a behind the scenes of your company, maybe it’s a poll or a story or perhaps it is a beautiful graphic that ties to your brand. Use the weekend to bring a little more personality to your streams. This is also a good time to reshare user-generated content and give shout-outs.
Now block off some time (1-2 workdays) and list each day of the month. Fill in the important events and promos you know you will want to highlight and then brainstorm ideas for all the other day based on your set themes or whatever inspires you. Don’t be afraid to put curated content into the mix so you don’t have to create every single graphic or post from scratch. Now that you have a list aka roadmap start putting your content together. Use tools like Canva, Stencil and Adobe Spark to create images that are social media friendly, use tools like Lumen5 and Animoto to put together videos (some of these may be more fill in the blank as the dates get closer but be sure you have time marked on your calendar for when you will post this content and when you will create the content in a timely manner). Add curated content to the mix. If there is only one thing you do from this podcast, my advice is to make sure you create this roadmap. It will save you time, stress and anxiety for getting shit done.
Start constructing the daily post and schedule them out in your scheduling tool. Work on staying at least 2 weeks ahead of yourself at any time so you are never playing catch up and you are always available to do last minute changes and additions.
That’s it! You have now taken 2 days of your month to create the content for 30 days of work. You can now go focus on other things, like your business.
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