A high-quality performance on social media requires time, meticulousness and thought-out planning. However, many entrepreneurs who take digital communication into their own hands make one big mistake: they post content on social media spontaneously, “when they feel like it”, or when something seems nice for posting.
This kind of approach ultimately confuses your fans, disrupts interaction, and sends a questionable message about your professional image, and you will not be favoured by Facebook’s algorithms either. At the same time, it is highly unlikely that you will send the message you want or tell a meaningful story about your company and business with that spontaneous approach.
If for some reason you are not yet able to hire a specialist to do the work for you (and that is an option you should keep in mind nevertheless), it is about time you took seriously the importance of planning your social media performance and dedicated yourself to creating your first social media calendar. Let’s go through the basics step by step!
Identifying key topics and messages
Take a piece of paper and a pen or open a text document and list in one place all the activities your company is planning in the near future. This can be a new product launch, a new business project, participation in a professional conference, an internal training, an important anniversary in the company, a team-building, business trips, meetings with important clients … Well, you get it! All of that can serve as a starting point for the content that you will communicate on social media. Once you have all the potential topics in one place, it will be much easier for you to choose the key messages and information that you will post over a period of time (say, next month). If you have an official blog, include future posts in your plan and make sure they are written and posted on time!
Defining additional and backup content
In addition to main and current topics, it is always good to prepare a content that is not strictly related to specific dates and internal activities. Take a look at your website and highlight the content that is “eternal”, such as texts about your company and its vision and mission, blog archives, case studies, product and service descriptions, and the like. There are certainly some topics that are well-suited for posting on social media. Also, check if there are any important dates, anniversaries or world days approaching that are in some way related to your core business. For example, if the town you are located in is celebrating its day soon, make sure you plan a more casual post (especially if your company supports or sponsors suitable local events). Extra content, in addition to bringing diversity to your social media pages, will be “salutary” if some of your planned key topics go wrong.
Planning dynamics of posting
Do you know when your fans are most active? On what days do you get most likes and interactions? Study the analytics your social media networks allow you, and according to the statistics, schedule individual posts by weeks, days, or even hours. In fact, if you find out that your community is more active in the morning, for example, it is certainly advisable to post content more frequently during that part of the day. Also, make sure that you do not post too much content in a short period of time, because you will become boring to your community and ultimately you will risk losing some of your fans. Up to three posts per week on one social media channel are optimal for a company’s performance, and once you have established a regular dynamics, try to maintain it as well.
Creating a calendar
In this step, your planning and organization skills will come to the fore. For creating a calendar, you will need an Excel spreadsheet or the popular Google Sheets cloud tool where you will arrange defined topics into columns and rows, sort them by date, add notes if necessary, and play around with colours to make it clearer. If you are present on more than one social media network, you will of course arrange topics for each of them and adjust them according to the characteristics of each social media channel (make sure that your content is not exactly the same on different social media networks). In the tables, you will also indicate formats you will use for each topic (photos, links, videos, etc.), and make sure you have enough space for entering text statuses that you will use for related posts.
Preparing materials and content production
Once you have defined the topics and sorted them out by date in your table, it is time for some creative work. Each post on social media must be accompanied by a text status which should be short, clear, interesting and, of course, free of grammar and spelling mistakes. Study how others (in translation: your competition) do it and find your own inspiration and tone of voice. Make sure you give all of your writings to someone else for review before posting – if possible, to a professional proofreader. At this stage, it is also advisable to collect as much necessary material as you need for your social media. In other words, make sure you have the right photos and visuals on time, prepare and arrange all the links you are going to use, and engage your colleagues to help you collect the material. Once all of your statuses and materials are arranged in tables, or folders, the easiest part of the job begins – publishing posts according to a defined plan!
Of course, you do not always have to stick to the plan; in some cases, there may be an opportunity for some extraordinary content, or you may later realize that it is better to postpone a certain post – or completely reject it because, in the meantime, a certain information has changed. However, once you finalized it, your social media calendar will give you a good sense of how to finally take control and give you a better insight into your content, available materials and communication activities. Last but not least, it will make your entire work related to performance on social media easier, increase the quality of your content and, thanks to your better organization, significantly save time. As an entrepreneur, you will surely appreciate it.