So we’ve all done it before from time to time thinking “how on earth do they manage round the clock, absolutely AMAZING photos and videos and tweets and still function in the day and fit everything in on loads of platforms” etc etc. – you get the hint of what I’m saying.
Well the truth is, companies follow the 7 easy steps to create an AWESOME social media schedule that keeps readers and users of social media like you and me reading over and over again and end up hitting the ‘Follow / Share / Like / Retweet / Pin’ button. It’s simply called planning, researching, creating and distribution.
So want to know how to do it for yourselves? Here we go:
1) Mind map
Make a big bubble and stick your company name in the middle. Now get down to the basics. Think about – upcoming sales, promotions or offers have you got or want to release and any images or videos to go with them. Have you got any networking events or functions coming up – are they private or open to the public? Are you perhaps going on a business meeting abroad – can you take a minute out to share this onto social media what you are up to and who you are meeting (or where you are if you have to be confidential about the person).
Come up with some potential blog post topics and ideas and information for any press releases you may want to do. Think of any upcoming worldwide events that are coming up or religious occasions you may have to factor in because it is related to your target market.
Look at any date that is related to your business and write it all down!
Can’t think of anything to get you started? Here’s an example for you:-
Planning for a law firm you would include any legislation dates that are upcoming, any in-house corporate events, meetings, (parties), any religious events as your clients may require to take days off for this and it may be written in contracts that you have to deal with and sort out. Also think of if you wish to promote some of your own business services online such as what you do: do you deal with wills, family law and employment tribunals? If yes – start thinking of text to ‘pad it out’ a bit and make it social media worthy. Think of absolutely everything you do and write it all down – you’ll soon find text and images to relate to all of these things and then you can come up with content.
2) Collect Material
Now become ‘hunter-gatherers’ and collect. Research and research some more on anything related to all of your content. ‘Google it’ as many people say. Pull up a list of calendar dates that are coming up worldwide and rummage through your diaries and post it notes for any meetings and event dates and venues which you can share online!
Grab images (which you have the rights to use) and videos and start collecting everything it is you want to share online with the world and store it all. Start labelling and pinning what you want to post with which image and start gathering some ideas together and create a wall dedicated to this (or floor – whichever you find easiest and floats your boat really).
Struggling on how you would collect material relevant to your business? Here’s an example for you:-
Planning for a furniture company, you would find inspiration across all of your own products – images you may really like and think loads of other people would like too. Images and videos from across the web to take some ideas from and then share (if you are using somebody else’s content make sure you have the rights to use and share it and never mark it as your own, always reference where you got it from). You would look at other companies blog posts, ideas, their social media and what they promote and work towards doing that for your own company. Look at hashtags (#) and what’s trending on Twitter is always a good way to get started. Look at other furniture websites and how their websites and social media platforms look. Rummage around the web and pick up all the key things you really like and collect them all. It’ll all soon come in handy.
3) Content Writing & Design
When you write your content you need to ask yourself “Would this be good enough to be published into a magazine or newspaper article?” – ultimately, is it shareable? Would you, yourself as a reader take precious time out of your day to sit there and read the post? Even if it lasted for all of 10 seconds, would you want to watch/look/read it? This is how you plan your content.
Now everything you’ve thought about for blog topics and press releases and potential Tweets or statuses – here’s where you write it all up. Start small, let the ideas flow and soon you’ll be button bashing that keyboard away in no time once you’re “in the zone”. Don’t stress yourself too much, it’ll take time to build up everything and soon you’ll be doing it with your eyes closed.
If you are however adding images and videos to go with your posts – create and source them. Majority of times, creating your own graphics work best, but if you’re not confident with this, ask for some help or try and source some free images to use – nobody will judge you.
Also if you are posting onto Twitter or Facebook – check to see if you can tag anybody into your statuses – handles and hashtags. This increases your potential reach and can help your company become more associated with others.
Think you stand no chance at writing some content or designing a graphic? Here’s an example for you:-
Working for a Marketing agency – you would write posts and blogs about advice to others, how you can help them, tips and tricks, tutorials etc. – Everything handy and useful that other people would benefit from – informative and engaging content that makes people want to come back and read more. You may create campaigns and vlogs as a form of demonstrating different forms of marketing or even just one off graphics that you aim to send round as a viral shot. Think about what it is you are aiming to do with your social media, what you wish to achieve and focus your content around that.
4) Approval & Cross Check
Now that you’ve written everything – check, check and check again. Look for any typos or grammatical errors (even though this is social media we are talking about and everything and anything can be abbreviated – you don’t want users to not be able to understand what you are saying). If you are posting to Twitter and Facebook in one go – how will you work around the character count? Twitter is only 140 and Facebook is 2000 characters +. If needs be, send posts separately and pad out Facebook statuses more than your twitter ones. You can always add hyperlinks to each of these to the full content post!
Most importantly, get your content approved. If you have a social media manager – get them to check it and make sure it is safe to go online. The last thing you want for your company is to send a bad tweet or status and bang. You get absolutely slated online because of a mistake swear or potentially offensive word. It’s a tricky market so it’s always better to play it safe.
So the content is written – now time to plan them across calendar days. If you have religious dates then tie your content in to these dates. Do not forget to include business dates, promotions, offers, meetings, events etc in. All of these counts as social media content and they all can have images added to it even if it’s a coffee mug with a picture of a pie on it (but try to keep it relevant of course).
Post. Post. Post. Get your content out onto social media platforms and pick your timings! If you wish to do this manually – be my guest however I highly recommend using social media management tools like Hootsuite and TweetDeck. These can be absolute life savers for companies where you can fall asleep or pop out for lunch or the day and your social media platform can still keep running as smoothly as ever.
Share your blog posts onto social media too! These are so important and they should ideally be integrated into your website too to help improve your SEO rankings (there will be a separate blog post on how to increase this any way later) and don’t forget to add your ‘Call To Action’ or ‘Call To Arms’ (CTA) buttons too (your social media sharing buttons like Google+ 1 this, retweet or share this).
Remember – social media is all about being SOCIAL. We cannot emphasise this enough. People will unfollow you due to spam posts if you post too regularly and if you do not engage. You don’t want to be seen as a robot online so engage with your users online when you can. Make them feel important and have a conversation. Find out about their opinions – they may even feel very appreciated being asked how you can improve on a particular product or service, it’s all key consumer research which is free to do and very useful in the long run.
If you think you will struggle to do this, set particular days where you will be more social than others. Say thank you for the follows or retweets and just engage with others. Good customer service should never be just face to face.
One awesome way we did this:
When you get interaction on Twitter and Facebook for example – users want to know somebody is there. One great way we did this was release a hashtag called #antimonty for the John Lewis Christmas Campaign of Monty the Penguin. We had people comment back on a link saying “oh my gosh why” (in simple words) and we started suggesting maybe they are “#antimonty” and created a graphic to go with this. The turn-around times are short and you HAVE to be on the ball. Keep the social media platforms on your phone so you always have instant access. Social media is 24/7, somebody is always online.
Feel like you won’t stand a chance at remembering any of this? No worries, download our handy flow chart below:
So there you have it. 7 awesome, easy ways to create a social media schedule. Now get to it, your platforms await!