Topic (00:15): How to plan out your social media for the year.
Step 1 (00:22): Start Your Social Media Content Calendar
Many companies still don’t implement them or execute content calendars for their social media strategies, but the reason why we think this tool is highly valuable is because it gives you the chance to pre-organize content in advance.
There are always going to be posts and events that come up in real-time that you’ll need to talk about as they come, but having that content calendar in place lets you pre-think through themes, holidays, and evergreen topics (topics that that just don’t really change or lose traction)—content that is not time-sensitive. This puts you in a position where, as a marketing leader or a social media manager, you’re not racking your brain the day-of trying to figure out what to say or post about.
So, our encouragement for planning out social media posts is you need to start with that content calendar. Download a copy of our content calendar template to use on your own below or use one from another marketing resource. One of our favorites that we started with before we developed our own custom calendars was the free content calendar offered by HubSpot.
Step 2 (2:52): Think Of Themes For Your Social Media Content
When you’re laying out this content calendar, before you even dig into thinking about what you’re going to post on a day-to-day basis, our recommendation is to come up with themes. By this, we mean a collection of topics that you are interested in posting about as a business that you can make sure to cover on a regular basis.
An example of how to do this is when we first launched social media for a startup here in Atlanta. Even though it was a startup, they had a pretty large team in place of about 25 people. So, one of the themes that we came up with was “company culture,” showing the human side of their business. Therefore, we planned once or twice a month to highlight someone who works on their team. That is going to easily generate, if we do two posts per month for a team of 25 people, one year’s worth of content every other week showcasing a team member.
Another theme would be holidays, including both (inter)national and unique “holidays” that fit your brand. When we used to do social media for a dog daycare chain here in Atlanta, we were very keen on finding what the fun dog-related holidays are that we could pinpoint throughout the year on social media. Research for some of those unique, industry-focused holidays like we did, and you’ll find many that you may not have expected—National Mutt Day, Take Your Dog To Work Day, Adopt A Dog Day, to name a few we used.
Think about what are some ongoing content themes that would serve your audience well. Now, it doesn’t have to be formulaic, it doesn’t even have to be consistent every single week you do this, but when you’re first starting out with social media, it does help because it helps create that continuity and ensures something gets posted. It’s just got to still be interesting to people.
Step 3 (6:25): Design The Images And Captions Of Your Social Media Posts
As you’re planning out your social media content, always be thinking about what image may go with your posts. While there are some instances where you might play around with doing text-only posts—you could try out text-only posts on Twitter, LinkedIn, maybe even Facebook—but most networks you’re going on, you must have some kind of visual attached to the posts.
There are different ways you can develop visuals, like creating graphics or taking photos. You could do video content. You can even go as far as using stock images. Our recommendation to you is if you go the photo route, snap photos at your office or with your team; if you’re with a virtual company or are all working at home, get your team members to submit photos in bulk.
Whenever we’re doing things at Go Getter, even internally as a team, a lot of times we’re doing it in bulk. We’re taking lots of photos. We might spend an afternoon doing it. We might even spend a day doing it. When we’ve coordinated campaigns for clients who might want a professional photoshoot, we’re making the best use of their money spent with that photographer and time spent with that photographer by getting that photographer to spend 2 hours capturing at least 40 to 60 usable photos, and then we can drip that content out over the next few months. There’s no rush to release it all at once. And we might even determine which photos are better on which social channel.
You can think about graphics in bulk as well if you work with a designer who can create really good templates for you, then use those templates interchangeably as you’re posting. Our personal formula as a team is our graphic designer prepares six to eight templates for us using Canva that we can pick and choose from, and then when we’re publishing graphics for our social media posts, we’re pulling from a library of professionally designed templates that already have our brand logo, our color scheme, and other branding choices.
Videos can vary. You can take your own video footage. You can, again, have a videographer come out, but if you do then film multiple videos at once. If we’re ever doing our own internal video within the Go Getter office, then we usually knock out a good three or four videos at a time to drip out once a week or once a month. This puts you in a position to always stay ahead of schedule.
When you’re planning your social media, always think about, “How can I take this idea and apply it to get ahead of schedule and have this content scheduled in advance so that when current events come up, I can put my energy and effort into figuring out how to promote those.”
Once you’ve got a content calendar structure in place, know what themes you’re running with, ideas on how you will execute imagery based on those themes and topics, then you need to actually write the captions. Yes, captions are a communication tool to reach your audience and grow your customer and follower bases but do remember that it’s just talking to people. Don’t overthink it. Sometimes when you look at a picture and you come up with a caption in your mind, go with it. Sometimes your first instinct might be best for testing, but with most captions, focus on basing it around the image you chose, the themes of that post, or the current events or trends that might be happening.
How you word the caption might also depend on what type of engagement you prioritize. If you want comments or shares, ask a question, or get people to fill in the blank. Ask people their opinion about something. Get a conversation going. If you’re trying to get clicks to your website, make sure you’ve got that link in the text for people to read. Just make sure, no matter what you write, that it aligns with your brand voice.
Step 4 (12:47): Reuse Past Content From Your Social Media
It is not a bad thing to find ways to repurpose content! If your company has been doing social media for a while and you have a video/image/post that did really well and it was a year since you last used it, then use it again on some social networks—particularly Twitter. A lot of times, as we like to call Twitter, it’s the land of greatest hits for some accounts. It’s a place where if we know a post did really well and we repost it a year later, chances are that a different group of people will see it because the feed moves so fast on Twitter. It’s a good opportunity to get quick hits back over to your website to a totally new audience. So, look for opportunities like that where you can repurpose content.
Another way we found to reuse our content was to take some of the videos that had been previously posted on Facebook and turn them into blog articles on the website, resharing them in a different format.
Step 5 (14:01): Assign Hashtags To Your Social Media Posts
Be thinking about hashtags as part of your post planning process. Do your hashtag research really before you get to this step and know generally what hashtags you should be rotating on your posts. Then, depending on what you say in your post, you’re always going to come up with more ideas for additional hashtags.
Our experience shows us that hashtags work best on networks like Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn. Those are some of the networks where you’ll find that you get the most value out of having those hashtags attached to your post. The number of hashtags you use might vary depending on which one of those social networks that you’re on.
Pro Tips (14:50): More Resources To Help Plan Your Social Media Content
Besides the blogs and podcasts we’ve hyperlinked throughout this transcription, here is some further reading to help you set procedures so you’re well-prepared for both small and large-scale developments that may arise and effect your social media calendar:
- Best Digital Marketing Practices During a Global Crisis
- What A Digital Transformation Looks Like For The New Normal
- 5 Advanced Digital Strategies For Your Post-Pandemic Reopening
- Which Social Media Management Platform Is Right For Your Business?
- Five Benefits of Social Media Training
- 4 Underused Social Media Platforms You Should Be Marketing On
- Your Influencer Marketing Campaign Hiring Checklist
- Quick Guide: What Does An Influencer Marketing Agency Do?
- 5 Tips For Work-Life Balance When Work Is On Your Phone
- How To Complete A Digital Marketing Assessment For Your Business
We get a lot of these topic questions from our clients, workshop students, and general audience, so please feel free to ask us your own questions by tagging or messaging us on social media! You can also learn more digital marketing insights by listening to more episodes of our 10 Minute Marketing podcast or reading our blog.