One of the most common reasons that we hear, for business owners and marketeers not using social media, is because they either do not have the time to do it or they are unsure how to make their content more noticeable. The latter we will confront in a future blog. Today I am going to go through some simple ways for you to firstly better plan your social media and time, and secondly more easily come up with the content to post. After reading this, I hope you will all be planning social media content with ease.
I spoke at a recent networking event in Northampton, and I was surprised to see just how few hands went up in the room when I asked who sat down and planned their social media each month. Planning is essential for any part of business. My business coach, Brian Wrigley, will swear by that. It is all good and well sharing things off-the-cuff. In fact it is that off-the-cuff content that is more likely to gain engagement. However every business owner and marketeer needs to spending (only a small amount of) time each month planning their social media, and their marketing as a whole. Otherwise how are you going to ensure that you are firstly reaching out to your target market, and secondly with a consistent, varied set of messages.
Social media tools you can use
I will start off with some of the tools you can use to aid you in that planning phase. To be brutally honest with you, a pen and paper or whiteboard is pretty effective even in these digital heavy days. We still use them. Use whatever works for you. A content calendar will certainly help keep your plan more organised though. We use Google Sheets to store ours, and have put together a template for you to download and use in your own businesses. View ours here. To download it, go file, download as.
A content calendar is a simple tool to allow you to plan your content, your copy, images and if you choose, the engagement or reach of each post. It allows you to diarise content before you schedule your content online. The beauty of using a content calendar as opposed to just scheduling stuff, is that you can ensure you are sharing consistent and varied messages throughout the week or month. You can make it as complicated or as simple as you like. Hopefully our content calendar will give you a good starting point.
Hootsuite is a great tool for scheduling and keeping track of your social media campaigns. Probably one of the most popular social media tools out there, Hootsuite allows you to schedule posts, bulk schedule posts (if you upgrade your account – $9.99 per month when last checked), and layout your social media channels in easy to view, well organised stacks. It will save you time and complements the use of a social media calendar perfectly. Plan first, then schedule.
For you marketeers and social mediators out there, check out MeetEdgar. MeetEdgar professes to help “professionals manage their social media with more consistency and in less time”. And boy does it. Set up in 2014, MeetEdgar is a slightly pricer social media tool than the likes of Hootsuite. Where it differs is with the functionality to create banks or libraries of content. It then allows you to share content from specific pre-built libraries, meaning your social media profiles will keep on sharing content even when you don’t have the time to do so.
Planning social media content
Coming up with social media content can be challenging. Try managing social media accounts for more than one company. The best way to plan your social media content, and what you want to post, is to break it down into topics. Trying to create content for 30 odd posts throughout a month can be daunting. However breaking it down into different topics is not. When you do this, all of a sudden you are confronted with 4 social posts across 5 or so topics. Suddenly social media becomes a little less daunting.
I will use a recent customer of ours as an example. Their core topics are:
- What’s on this week
- Featuring one of the items off the specials board
- Featuring an item off the menu
- Featuring an item off the drinks menu (maybe a cocktail)
- Competition or giveaway
- Featuring a member of the team (maybe in action)
- A sales message (important to include these, just try and work to the 80/20 rule – 80% educational/engaging content, 20% sales)
- The restaurant in action (maybe on a Saturday evening)
Here we have 8 topics that this restaurant can now use to plan their social media content. Might I add, these guys were as daunted as others about the prospect of coming up with just 3-4 posts per week. Now they are posting every other day with ease.
Although these are specific to a restaurant, you could easily apply these sorts of topics to any business. You might wish to consider other topics such as – blogs, tips, offers…
So I have confronted the time factor and hopefully given you some advice on how you can better plan your content. If you are still struggling I have one last golden nugget; check out your competition. Your competition will have gone through exactly the same thing, so by checking our their social media campaigns you could get some good ideas on what to post, and more importantly gain a valuable insight into what sort of content gets engagement. Remember that they will have a very similar (if not identical) audience to you.
There is a great way to keep abreast of your competition within Facebook Insights. If you would like to be shown how to add your competitors to your Facebook, click here and send me a message.
So there you have it. Some really easy ways to plan your social media campaigns, your time and your content. If you are still struggling with your social media, then you are possibly at the point of needing a social media management company to take control. If so, you can contact our team in Northampton for a free consultation by clicking here.
Author: Dave Williams
Dave Williams is the founder and director of onefoursix; a digital marketing agency based in Northampton. After setting up onefoursix in 2011, Dave has gone on to grow it to one of Northampton’s finest agencies. His expertise include social media, user experience and SEO.
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