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December 05, 2016 / 0 COMMENT(S)

Create a Social Media Content Calendar

As you contemplate goals for next year, why not create a whole year’s worth of social media content at the same time? This will actually save you time and likely result in better posts. Rather than trying to come up with brilliant social media posts when you’re too busy or too tired, you can create a year’s worth of posts and get them scheduled in a single afternoon.

If your social media marketing efforts are a collaborative endeavor, create a Google Docs spreadsheet and invite contributors to add organizational events/promotions. When you’ve collected this information, you’re ready to start. You can either schedule posts right in the social media platform or create a spreadsheet with planned posts.

I usually begin with the easiest posts: those related to major holidays. While you’re wishing everyone Merry Christmas, you can also include information about when you’ll be closed. For example, you could post: “Merry Christmas! We wish you a happy, healthy holiday with family and friends. We’ll be closed December 25-26 and December 31-January 1. We look forward to serving you again in the new year.” That same afternoon, you could plan the post for the first week in July: “Happy Fourth of July! We’ll be closed July 3-4. Enjoy your Independence Day celebration.”

You get the idea.

Next, take a look at your organizational calendar. Does your business have seasonal promotions? Plan the posts for them now. If you’re in the health care industry, you can provide useful information about flu shots in the fall and immunizations in August. Each month has different health observances, so piggy-back on those to share timely, relevant messages. If you’re in education, the school year offers plenty of opportunities for pre-planned posts, from back-to-school nights to parent-teacher conferences to school board meetings. If you’re in real estate, you can recommend seasonal home maintenance tips.

Regardless of your industry, always post information from the consumer’s perspective. Instead of describing your services, your posts should explain how you meet consumer needs–share information about how much better your consumers’ lives will be once they use your service, attend your event, or take your advice. Describe the problem you’re solving and then demonstrate how you solve it.

I highly recommend using engaging photos or images with each post. Most of us are attracted to interesting visuals. Even if your text contains the funniest, most heart-warming, or most profound message, without a picture it will often get missed.

Bing.com  has a great way of allowing you to share images without running afoul of copyrights. Once you enter a keyword image search, a little menu across the top of the images (under the first image bar) appears. It includes image size, color, type…and license. If you click on license, you’ll see options like, “Free to share and use.” These filters help assure you don’t inadvertently steal someone’s image.

Like I said earlier, you can create a spreadsheet with planned posts and enter those posts at the beginning of each week (or each month), or you can go ahead and schedule a year’s worth of posts so they populate on the predetermined date in the social media platform of your choice. Then, when you’re feeling inspired, you can add posts to augment what you’ve already planned.

By creating a social media calendar ahead of time, you don’t have to come up with witty remarks and engaging posts under pressure. And because the pressure’s off, you are far more likely to come up with those witty, engaging posts. If you need help getting started, let me know.

 

Jendi is a public relations consultant and blogger who lives in Northern California with her husband and teenage sons.

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