You may already know by now that engagement is one of the keys to the success of social media marketing.
And engagement doesn’t happen overnight.
It builds up over time as you consistently post your social media content with a clear purpose while using different content strategies.
But that’s not all.
In this post, I’ll focus on that one essential factor that can keep your audience engaged all throughout the year: planning.
How ready are you for the social media jungle?
- Have I identified my niche?
- At this point, do I know my audience and am I aware of what they need?
- Do I have clear goals for the year?
- Do I use hashtags for my chosen social media channels purposefully?
- Do I keep a list of fellow businesses, brands, and prospects?
- Do I have a content strategy?
- Do I know how to monitor my growth?
- Do I have a content promotion strategy?
- Do I know in advance what to post on my accounts because I have a social media content plan?
- Am I open to learning, to improving, and revising my content?
(Note: you can still add to this depending on your business. But focus on the essentials if you are just starting so you can scale it. Revise as you go!)
If your answer is yes to numbers 1-10, great! You
But if it’s mostly Nos or maybes, don’t worry. I will help you tick off one item from that list (# 9) to help you organize your posts and align them with your goals. In other words, I’ll help you get your social media content plan started.
What is a social media content plan?
A social media content plan is like a content map for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and other social media platforms on a weekly, monthly, bi-yearly, or yearly basis.
Basically, it determines what and when to post.
This is a HUGE help when mental block hits you. It comes like a curveball sometimes, leaving us staring at the screen or a notebook with nothing to post. The section down below outlines its benefits.
What’s the fuss about the social media content plan?
Imagine going inside a food store without a list of what to buy.
You go around for hours unsure of what to get and you end up with a cart overflowing with items you don’t really need.
Having time stretched so thinly already – you wouldn’t want to waste it, right?
Think of a social media calendar as a grocery list.
It keeps you focused on your goal (to grow your brand and increase engagement); it keeps you rational in your decisions (should I post this or not?), and it makes you consistent (posts are relevant and timely).
If you are a heterogenous organization with different writing styles, culture, and views, having a calendar will help keep everyone on a common track.
As Forbes.com says, “[sticking] to a plan will eventually create a habitual process that all team members follow.”
Specifically, having a social media calendar for your account means.
- You can maximize your time. Finding inspiration for your post, sourcing photos, creating a caption and putting hashtags in your post every single day can take you 30 minutes to an hour depending on the social media platform you use. When you plan and schedule all your posts for a week, you only spend X number of hours in a day and have the rest of the week free from.
- Your content stays aligned with your aim. If your goal is to find new clients online, your content will focus on generating leads. E.g.: posting successful client stories and tagging them on the photo.
- You can score high on consistency. Having a plan prevents you from random posts with no value. Consistency in content, tone, voice, theme, frequency and amount of posts are all valuable to a brand’s success.
- You won’t fear missing out. A content calendar will help you expect special days whether it’s a holiday, your upcoming events, a regular contest or giveaway, or a business milestone.
- You get to execute your own content strategy. For instance, one of the top practices for a winning Instagram content is prioritizing experiences more than products. By using a content planner, you can ensure you are on track and you can schedule different posts that highlight this “experience.” You can schedule a weekly behind-the-scenes video of one of your successful advertising campaigns in your IG stories.
If you’ve been using social media content plan in the past, this is the perfect time to sit down and evaluate your social media presence and growth.
Whether you’re just starting or a social media marketing pro, it is important to always connect what you are doing to your business goal/s. That is how a social media plan can help you.
My social media content plan must-haves
What social media platform works best for your business as your content distribution channel?
Where do you find your audience?
Sometimes it can be a mix of two or three different platforms targeting a specific market.
For a SaaS client of ours, we find that they have a lot of millennials in Pinterest; for another client, however, that is not the case, but the content we planned for them still works because they are attracting a demographic different from the SaaS client, and are on Pinterest.
Many B2B’s think the only platform for them is LinkedIn. In my findings, after poring over metrics year after year, Facebook is also a great platform for B2Bs to accomplish some of its goals.
For a manufacturing client of ours, one is just happy being on Twitter and YouTube; while another is on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Instagram is used by top industries and brands like Forever 21, National Geographic, and GoPro which all have mastered how to customize content strategies.
In your case, capitalize on the data that is available. Research. Whatever it is, your choice of distribution impacts the content you need to create.
Build your content and your tone based on your audience.
It is also good to consider what kind of content appeals to your audience. Google Analytics can help you with that.
There are four basic categories of content:
- video and
…where all other types evolve.
Nowadays, some popular content types which you may use for social media sites include:
- User-Generated Content or content made by your audience, which you may later on with their knowledge/permission.
- Podcasts or audio uploads focusing on a specific topic.
- Livestreams or real time recorded videos that can be watched online
- Infographics which is a combination of text and pictures
- Virtual Reality which makes use of a 360 VR camera to create an interactive video.
According statusbrew.com, video is the #1 content type that consumers want to see from brands in social media.
Frequency of Post
How often you post is crucial in keeping your audience at the just-right level of engagement.
Posting too frequently or doing the opposite may turn them off, but one social media platform differs from another.
There’s a preferred number of posts depending on the social media platform you use. But then it also depends on your goal.
I recently did a quick research of how often seven (7) social media influencers post on Twitter for January 2020. They vary. They post from 1.5 times to 13 times a month.
Although audience behave differently in each platform, there is also your goal, and not to mention resources to think about. Remember, social media content creation is a time-hog.
Use the analytics tool for each social media platform that has insights into your posts. Find out:
- What posts were most popular?
- How many people have you reached?
- Where are your followers located?
- And what times did they view your post?
All these considered, it is easier to determine how often you need to post.
If you’re posting multiple posts a day, don’t forget to find the best time for each post, don’t forget the
Make sure you mark your content plan for events that relevant to you.
You may include seasonal events like national holidays and celebrations if you’re planning to post greetings or contests on social media or hold events in line with these dates.
Or, you can also plot events you will attend and schedule a post for post-event pictures.
You can add more components along the way to make your social media content planner work for you.
Social media content plan samples
Tools for making social media content plan and templates are available, but you can customize your own according to your preference and specific needs.
In my team’s case, and after having been in the B2B and social media spaces for decades, I realize that each company has different needs.
Here are some examples for you to get you started.
OPTION 1: One-page social media content plan. (Google sheets ready for download).
OPTION 2: Multi-page social media content plan (see below). (Google sheets ready for download).
Making It Work
Making a social media content calendar can be tedious for starters, but everyone gets better at a task if done consistently and thoroughly.
The challenge is to embrace change, and this is a constant in social media. Be open to develop new ways to make posts and content strategies relevant.
Either way, the success of your social media content plan depends on you. Commit yourself to making it work.
And don’t forget, measure what you do regularly.