When it comes to content marketing, I always encourage clients to plan ahead even when it comes to social media calendars. So when a project came across my desk to develop social posts 6 months in advance for a financial services client, my strategy was put to the test.
Oh, and did I mention my allotted budget was extremely tight and my deadlines were far too close for comfort? (The battle hymn of every content marketer.)
My “Ready. Set. Go.” process can drive content marketing results – quickly. And while my project was for an agency client, this process can easily apply to internal social media calendar development, as well.
Ready to research?
Remember that one time in college you waited until the night before to begin studying for your exam? This last-minute tactic, which is frowned upon by most educators, proves useful when faced with tight deadlines. As if you’re studying for that A you need to pass, research, take notes on and memorize your client’s:
- Tone of voice: If your client uses humor and memes on the regular, the last thing you want to do is use complex industry jargon. Unless this is part of a revamp, your goal is to mimic the tone of previous posts.
- Frequency: Do they post monthly, weekly, daily, hourly? Well for your sake let’s hope not monthly. It’s important not to send dedicated fans and followers into shock by saturating their feeds with 10X the number of posts they’re used to.
- Average engagement levels: It’s time to get technical (sorry!). Ask for insight into average engagement levels (likes, retweets, comments, etc.). It’s important not to forget click-through rates.
- Hits and misses: There are those days when you hit it out of the park … and then there are those posts that only your mom read. Review your client’s previous posts to get a sense of what worked for them and what didn’t.
Set up for success.
Now that you’ve done your initial research, it’s time for you to open up your calendar and to visually plot out your social posts. Before you so much as craft a hashtag, you need to come up with a posting schedule. This will tie you and your client to firm deadlines.
- Be punctual: After you determine how many posts you can create with the budget you’ve been given, mark on which day(s) you will be posting and at what time(s). Consider your metrics here. If your client’s Facebook engagement increases on Thursday mornings and dips on Friday afternoons, keep this in mind.
- Be sensitive: It’s important to determine if your client wants to post on holidays. Their sales calendar may depend upon seasonal schedules, while others shy away from celebrating particular holidays. In addition, there are certain dates, such as Memorial Day and the anniversary of September 11, on which you should refrain from publishing goofy content. These days are solemn, and it’s crucial to respect the views and feelings of your followers.
- Be accepting of feedback: Be sure to work with you colleagues to determine when and how many internal reviews are needed along the way for the social media calendar. It’s helpful to establish these checkpoints in advance. I recommend planning one month out and asking for internal feedback.
Go forward with the right mindset.
Typically, I work offsite when I need to think creatively. Determining where you can think – really think – is imperative. For whatever reason, my writing improves (at least I like to think so) when sitting at my dining room table blasting my favorite Spotify playlist. Consider your personality and work style and test out some new work environments.
Looking to drive content marketing results using social media? Let us know if you have any additional questions about planning ahead in the comments section below!