Overseeing successful social media accounts takes a lot of work, and you need to have a solid plan in place for increasing your engagement and promoting your brand. Disorganized posting and lackluster content can really hurt your social media presence in the long run, so we’ve compiled this handy guide on planning for social media to help get you back on track.
The Social Media Maestro’s Toolbox
Here’s what you’ll need to be successful on social media.
Social Media Vision
The first and perhaps most important tool in your toolbox is your social media vision. To create your social media vision, you’ll need to ask yourself a few questions about your brand:
What message do you want your social networks to convey about your brand?
Do you want to show your followers that you’re down-to-earth and in tune with your customers’ needs? Or do you want to give off an air of professionalism and expertise?
What are the objectives of your business?
In other words, what do you do? What services do you provide? How do those services help your customers, and why should they invest in your business instead of a similar one?
What do you hope to accomplish through social media?
How and why are you using social media? To boost your brand? To gain new customers? To share your knowledge and expertise? All of the above?
Once you’ve answered those questions, you’ll have a better idea of how you can use social media to meet your goals, spread your ideas and objectives, and convey the right message. Try condensing that information down into a single line, or convert it into a bulleted list – however works best for you. This is important for your next step: creating a content calendar.
Social Media Content Calendar
If you want your social media accounts to be successful, you need to post regularly. You also need to know the best times to post on social media. This will help you create a solid schedule for posting content. Here are a few tips on creating a social media content calendar.
Digital is probably best. You can go the old-fashioned route and make a pen-and-paper calendar if you want, but we don’t recommend it. Syncing your calendar with your social networks is easier and more fluid if everything is digital.
Use lots of color. Add different colors for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc. so you can find your scheduled posts for a certain network at a glance.
Keep your vision in mind when scheduling content. Ask yourself if the content you’re posting meets your vision. This is why a short, succinct vision is important.
Designate a specific time or day to schedule content. Sometimes, we start off strong. We plan our content for the week, or perhaps the month. Everything’s going great. Then we forget about the content calendar and start posting randomly again. Set aside a specific time or day to create your calendar.
List of Post Ideas
Poster’s block happens to the best of us. Between running our business and our social accounts, we just run out of ideas for new posts. This is why it’s important to have a running list of post ideas. Whenever you think of a cool post idea, or you see another post that you’d like to emulate, make a note of it somewhere. Add to it when you need to. Before you know it, you’ll have a long list of post ideas to fall back on when poster’s block pays a visit. Need a place to start? Check out our own list of post ideas.
Original or Creative Commons Licensed Stock Photos
Remember that old adage, “Show, don’t tell?” That’s exactly what you need to do in your social media posts. Humans are visual creatures. Visual content performs consistently better on all networks, because it’s easily digestible and conveys information in a more attractive way than text.
You need some original stock photos to add to your posts. If you don’t have time to take original photos, or if know your way around a camera, you can take advantage of free, Creative Commons photos on the web. Check out Pixabay, Pexels, and FreeGreatPicture for some awesome stock photos.
Tools to Help You Plan
You might be thinking, “That’s great, but where the heck am I going to put all this stuff?” We’re glad you asked. Check out some of our favorite programs and apps for planning.
Evernote. Evernote is perhaps the most popular note-taking app available today. It’s flexible, offers a wide variety of features, and syncs easily with third-party apps. The main drawback is that the free version is only available to download on two devices at a time. If you’re using several devices or collaborating with team members, you might want to upgrade to the premium version.
Meister Task. This little planning gem is underrated. MeisterTask is one of the most powerful task programs out there today. Create separate projects for each social media network. Create tasks and add checklist items, comments, notes, deadlines, and tags. You can also invite your team members and assign them tasks. The best part? It’s free! But there is a pro version with even more features which are perfect for businesses.
Google Calendar. Feel free to use whatever program you feel comfortable with for creating your content calendar. We think Google Calendar is the most flexible and easily accessible. You can create different calendars, add colors, notes and reminders to events, and share your calendars with your team. Like we already mentioned, most everyone has a Google account, so why not take advantage of this powerful tool?
Pinterest. Pinterest offers a smorgasbord of valuable content. You can find countless resources on social media, blogging, photography, marketing, and so much more. You can save them to your own boards so you can easily find them when making your content plan. It’s also fun for personal use. Many people use Pinterest to save cool recipes, home décor ideas, motivational quotes, and much more.
If you want to boost your engagement, promote your brand, and earn new customers, having a solid social media plan is vital. We hope our guide helps you in your planning journey, and we wish you the best of luck. Now get to work!