I get excited to start a new planner each year. The blank pages are inspiring as I think about the possibilities for the days ahead, the things I want to accomplish, and the dreams I want to pursue. But not every aspect of planning feels quite so energizing. For some, planning a year of social content sounds grueling. This post will give you the tools you need to easily create your annual social calendar and discover ways your social presence can boost your business.
Does Social Media Even Matter?
You have loads on your plate as a business owner or marketing professional. So it’s valid to wonder if having a presence on social media even matters for your business. Let’s start with the data — just like you would when making any other strategic or marketing decision. Here’s what we know:
- 4.59 billion people use social media
- Adults spend 95 mins on social media each day
- 55% of consumers learn about new brands on social
- 78% of consumers are willing to buy from a company after having a positive experience with them on social
The answer seems clear. Customers are using social media to find and vet brands. So as you work to engage your current customers and gain new ones, having a presence on social media is critical.
Challenges to Consistent Social Media Engagement
In some of my previous roles, creating social media content was one of my responsibilities, but it wasn’t my main focus. It made it difficult for me to post to our social channels consistently. Maybe you can relate to some of these common challenges around maintaining a consistent social presence:
- It’s easy to procrastinate.
- It’s challenging to be consistent.
- You post without purpose.
- Most things you post aren’t interesting, original, or shareable.
If you came to my webinar on Mastering the 90-Day Marketing Rhythm, you learned that 50% of small businesses don’t have a marketing plan. I live by the list. So if I don’t have a plan, things don’t get done. Creating a plan for your social media content helps you consistently show up to achieve your business goals.
Where to Begin with Social Media Planning
Doing some groundwork before you jump into planning will provide the clarity you need to create a social media content plan that supports your business.
Know Your Goals
Like any other marketing initiative, posting to social media should support your strategic business goals. Establishing your goals will clarify what content you share on your social channels.
Common business goals for social media are based on:
- Building Brand Awareness and Authority. You need a clear brand voice and visual identity so clients will build familiarity and trust with your brand. It’s also essential to determine what things you will and won’t discuss as a brand. Having a presence doesn’t mean you must take on every hot topic, holiday, or current event on your social channels.
- Cultivating Community. You need to know who your ideal audience is and show up on the social channels they use most frequently.
- Supporting Sales. At the end of the day, this is the end goal of all marketing efforts. Setting your sales goals will clarify what you post and when. We recommend using social media to drive traffic to your site and build an audience you can connect with outside of social networks.
Check Out the Competition
It’s always a good idea to know what your competitors are doing, even on social media. Check out their social accounts to see what’s working for them. You can see what spurs the audience to engage and what seems to fall flat. You may also notice ways they aren’t engaging on social media and use that gap as an opportunity to show up.
Choose Your Channels
New social media platforms are popping up consistently, but your business shouldn’t try to show up on every social platform. Think strategically about where your ideal customers are so you can establish a consistent presence on those specific channels.
Identify Important Dates
Nearly every day is a holiday somewhere or in recognition of something, but celebrating International Cat Day or Talk Like a Pirate Day may not align with your brand. Think through dates that are important to your business or your audience. Create posts on or leading up to important events.
Consider posting about:
- Industry dates
- Sales initiatives
Utilize Your Assets
Good news! You don’t have to start from scratch. While you might have felt like you had a blank slate, you have content you can repurpose and share on your social channels. Maximize the impact of your existing and planned content by adding it to your social calendar.
Content to repurpose and share on social includes that in:
- Blog posts
- Customer reviews
- Photos and videos
Now that you have done some groundwork, you may wonder how to get this into an annual plan. Let’s dive in!
Planning a Year of Social Content
If you know me, you know I love spreadsheets. They have a way of simplifying and organizing things that can otherwise feel overwhelming. I’m sharing our social media planning spreadsheet to help you plan your year of social content. This next section will walk you through using the Content Journey Social Media Content Planner.
Start your social planning with broad strokes, then move toward the fine details. Here are some things to consider when setting up the structure for your social media content:
- Establish a Monthly Focus. Your monthly focus may be related to your sales goals, focusing on certain products or services, or engaging your audience around a specific topic related to your business.
- Identify Timely Assets. Do you create a podcast or write blog posts each week? If so, note these on your social media calendar so you can repurpose the content on your social media channels.
- Note Important Dates. You’ve already identified milestones, events, and holidays relevant to your business. Take time to mark them on your social media calendar.
- Determine a Posting Cadence. Don’t let the ever-changing algorithms bog you down. You don’t have to post every day. The goal is to show up consistently. When deciding which days to post, consider when your ideal customers are most likely to be on social media. For example, if you’re hoping to connect with commercial architects, they will likely use social media on nights and weekends. But if parents are your target audience, they may be scrolling while children are in school or asleep.
- Select Content Types. The types of content you choose to share can vary greatly, but establishing daily themes can help plan your content. You may want to share reviews regularly, answer frequently asked questions, or highlight the solutions you bring to common customer problems.
You have eight seconds or less to capture the audience’s attention. Some simple ways to engage your audience include asking questions and using a clear call to action in your posts. You can also return to this foolproof caption filter — Would you share it? If not, your audience won’t either. Scrap it and try again.
Think about the accounts you tune into. The majority of what they’re sharing resonates with you. It teaches you something, makes you feel seen, or gives you a laugh. These accounts utilize the 80/20 rule. It’s a best practice to keep in mind as you create your social posts.
Creating images once a month will save you time and enable you to show up consistently throughout the year. Before you begin image creation, setting up your brand kit to ensure you’re using consistent colors and fonts in all of your social images can be helpful. Of course, you can apply trends, but you also want to maintain your visual brand, so your clients easily recognize your posts.
Work through each post to design an image that supports the content. If you include text in your images, be sure to consider accessibility. Also, keep in mind that people like seeing people. The more you can incorporate photos of your clients and your team, the more likely people are to share and engage.
When it comes to making videos for social media, it can feel intimidating. You don’t need to be a pro or have a lot of professional equipment to create your video content.
Tips to keep in mind when creating videos:
- Lighting matters
- Keep it clear
- Use captions
- Be authentic
- Keep it Short
Schedule Your Posts
Using a scheduling tool will save you so much time. Choose your posting times strategically by considering your audience and being aware of the best times to post on certain social platforms. Hootsuite shows the highest engagement with posts across all channels at 10 a.m. from Tuesday to Thursday.
Engage Your Audience
Now that you’re choosing to post consistently, check in on each of your social platforms to connect with and build your audience. Regularly respond to comments, follow ideal customers, and reshare posts. Use tagging strategically so clients, team members, and affiliates will reshare your content and expand your reach.
Use Data to Adjust
Most social platforms and scheduling tools offer analytics reporting. Track your audience growth and notice moments of high engagement. You want to look for patterns you can use to understand best-performing content and posting times.
Social Media Tools I Can’t Live Without
The goal of this post is to help you work smarter, not harder. We have a host of tools to help us with social media creation and posting.
Tools for Post Writing
Writing social media posts is an art form. You have a lot to say and only a few characters to say it. Using these tools can ensure you are clear and shorten any links, so you make each character count.
Tools for Images
You don’t need to be a professional designer or videographer to have high-quality social graphics. These tools can level up your social media images and make your business look like a million bucks!
Tools for Scheduling
There are multiple scheduling tools for social media. Each tool offers a range of users, social platforms, and posting options. Test a few to find the one that works best for your business. Consider your budget and social channels when selecting your scheduling tool.
If you’re looking for dates to highlight or hashtags, these tools will come in handy for those things and more.
Using these tools and the Content Journey Social Media Content Planner, you can easily create a year of social media content without the ongoing stress of wondering what to post and when. We hope this enables you to be present on your social channels in ways that support your business strategy and lead to growth.
Helping You Show Up on Social
Content Journey loves partnering with clients to build a consistent presence on social media. We recognize the challenges you face to create social content and build an audience you can engage on and off your social platforms. We would love to help you establish a consistent social presence to serve your audience and grow your business. Contact us to learn how we can partner with you in reaching your goals.