Planning ahead: What’s a social media calendar?October 4, 2015 • By Andy Frye
Nothing happens in business without a little bit of planning. Inventory, billing, payroll, filing taxes, and more all require planning. And, when it comes to planning your social media is no different.
A simple tool that many pros use for planning social media is called the social media calendar. A social media calendar can be as simple as a spreadsheet as well as part of a comprehensive social media software suite. What a social media calendar allows you to do is plan — a week, a month, or even a season at a time– ahead, so that you and your business not only will have a steady stream of meaningful marketing content but also content that is relevant to upcoming events.
Foreshadowing the future for customers
A lot of businesses have busy and slow periods. Other, more cyclical businesses depend on seasons or for cultivating sales. Take retailers for example. Retailers both big and small crater to customers needs throughout the year. At the same time, sales promotion efforts are often based seasonal needs as well as the next upcoming holiday. Each month provides an opportunity.
Moreover, it’s not just Christmas and the winter holidays that have retailers and their suppliers preparing. According to the National Retail Federation holidays like Halloween and the 4th of July are just as much worth planning as St. Patrick’s Day is for your local Irish pub. By using a social media calendar to plan, you can plot out your every move on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or whatever channel you refer to use. In doing so, you give your customers a heads-up on every sale, every product or service you offer and more. The obvious question is what exactly do you post, pin, tweet or promote to your audience, and when?
Curating a conversation
One thing you might have heard a little bit about in the social media press is “curating” or the “curation of content” . What does that mean exactly?
Take a look at your favorite brands on social media. A lot of times you will them post news articles, blogs, and other content relevant to what they do. For example, a realtor such as The Nimick Team at Keller Williams (photo below) might post articles relevant to the interests of home buyers. Mixed in with articles about topics such as mortgage rates, new home prices or even how to decorate, a real estate business can start a conversation and keep it going — stoking the interests of prospective buyers and curious social media users.
Keeping the conversation going is an essential for realtors.
The best part about curating content is that in this day and age everything is sharable. By adding news stories and compelling photos and video to your company’s Facebook timeline you create reasons for your audience keep connected. Furthermore, consistent conversation keeps you –the expert in your respective market– in mind as much as possible.
Curated content should be informative, as well as fun and engaging.
Simple promotion, planning
Small and medium-sizes businesses (SMBs), depending on the industry and social audience, might need only to post once or twice a day on a Facebook. On a larger scale, big box retailers with millions of followers, like Target or Home Depot, tend to schedule posts every hour. Posts might consist of a mix of sales promotions, announcements, product reviews or even coupons, all crafted with compelling pictures, videos and graphics that are put together by an internal marketing department or a big ad agency. Meanwhile, news outlets like Rolling Stone or MTV also post hourly, curating a mix of their own entertainment news along with posts from other news outlets dabbling in the pop culture world.
Social media calendars can be done simply and inexpensively.
Hiring an expert, inexpensively
Whatever your scale, style, or the size of your customer audience, social media allows you to toot your own horn while talking directly with current and potential customers in a language they understand. The social media calendar, whether managed by a hired gun or by you yourself, is a powerful way to assemble your marketing messages in an organized, meaningful manner.
In bringing up the social media calendar, Shameless Social isn’t aiming to give you a homework assignment, or yet one more darn thing to do.
We know that business owners are busy. And, just like you hire an accountant to do book keeping or taxes, or use ADP to handle your payroll, rest assured there are professionals out there like us that can handle your social so that you can focus on what you do best.
Better yet, great social media marketing is probably much less expensive than you think. Tap our expertise. We’ll come up with a valuable, cost-effective plan to make your social media work.