Forming a social media strategy can be daunting: you’ve probably got at least one social platform, email marketing, perhaps a traditional marketing method, and a website. How can you keep all these platforms up-to-date without getting completely overwhelmed?
The answer lies in content calendars. Content calendars are monthly, quarterly, or yearly outlines of the overall topics of your content and generally operate on a weekly posting schedule. When you have a plan for what you want to post and when you’re going to post it, you can create content in batches and reduce the daily conundrum of “what do I post?”
Here’s an episode from In the Loupe to get you started:
Central to any content calendar is themes and topics. For the next month, quarter, or year, what topics or formats will your content highlight? Take a look at the time frame you’ve chosen as a whole, and make a note of holidays and seasons you want to include. Is Mother’s day coming up next quarter? Perhaps you decide to make a series of posts devoted to moms and caregivers. Maybe you schedule a giveaway during the month of May. Or your posts might be subtler than that: theme your content around birthstone jewelry and hint at how beautiful custom mother’s rings or necklaces are.
Some generic example topics include:
Get to know our staff or our store(s)
Gemstone, metal, or diamond education
Holiday themes and trends
Once you’ve decided on the themes or topics you’d like to cover, brainstorm a list of sub-topics. These will become your posts.
Filling in the Calendar
Once you have your themes determined, decide whether they are monthly themes or if you’ll do a “series” of posts over the next few months. If you’re highlighting Mother’s Day, start by marking off the actual date with a “Happy Mother’s Day” post. If your store hours are affected by this, schedule a post a few days beforehand reminding everyone that your hours will be different. Then you can fill in the rest of the weeks with other posts. Space out your sales and promotional posts so they get more visibility, and consider posting the same type of content (i.e. a staff introduction) the same day of the week for a set number of weeks.
It’s a good idea to get into a rhythm with your posts. If you have a newsletter, 3 Instagram/Facebook posts, and a promotional email each week, choose a day of the week for each. Perhaps your newsletters perform best on Tuesday mornings, but your promotional emails do the most good on Fridays, right before the weekend. Your Instagram posts can then fill in the gaps on Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Sunday and Monday become great days to create and schedule the next week’s posts and emails. However, don’t be afraid to shuffle things around or ramp up your posting around big sales and major holidays and gift-buying seasons.
Remember, you don’t have to have a new post every day in order for your social media to be effective. Experiment with your posting schedules (perhaps once a week is enough for you, or you might prefer 2-3 times a week), but spend a designated time each day interacting on your social media regardless of whether or not you post something.
Sync Up Your Media Outreach
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is wasting your time trying to come up with something clever and creative for each separate platform. Your emails are different from your Instagram posts, and the banner on your website is completely unrelated. Not only will you waste time by trying to think of something different, you’ll also risk confusing your customers who interact with you across a variety of platforms. Another thing to consider is how many of your customers interact with you across multiple platforms. If you only post your sales on your Instagram account, clients who use email and not Instagram will miss out on valuable information.
Use similar language in all of your posts. Though your tone might change across platforms, writing a single piece of copy and modifying it for use in different areas will save time and keep your messaging consistent.
One of the most helpful things you can invest to help schedule your posts in is a posting assistant. There are dozens out there with price points generally under $20/month for small businesses. Some are specific to certain platforms (i.e. Instagram) while others will let you post across multiple social media accounts. These apps often come with analytics and other features, like suggestions for “best time to post for maximum engagement.” If planning out a month’s worth of content in advance sounds good to you, these posting assistant apps are worth using!
Most email marketing platforms will also let you schedule your emails. Some of the most sophisticated will also let you email by timezone (if you have that information about your clients), use A/B testing for subject lines, and help calculate your most effective send time.