Social media is a place to be social. That means putting out killer content and then connecting with people. In real life you don’t walk up to someone and ask them to buy something (psst — wanna buy a vowel?). You start with small talk, you find your interests in common and you build dialogue. That stuff takes time. But what grants you permission to crack open the door? Content. You’ve gotta have something to say. Enter the social media content planner.
Creating great content is the number one stress point we hear from business owners who struggle with social media.
It’s easy to start with the best of intentions. Any of this sound familiar?
“This time it will be different.” “This time I will post every day.” “I’m making a fresh start.”
Only to let it slip away one more time as things go from a slow start to impossible to start to completely overwhelming or even paralyzing.
So find out how the pros do it. Plan it out. Yep, it takes time. Yep, you’ll have to make room in your schedule for it. But holy smokes — you’ll be blown away by the results!
Hot tips for your social media content planner
Creating content isn’t about starting from scratch. Remember reduce, reuse, recycle? The same thing applies! You don’t need to blog daily or even weekly.
- Tip #1: Reduce the number of blog posts you write.
- Tip #2: Reuse the stuff you’ve written before.
- Tip #3: Recycle content by sprinkling it throughout the year.
One great long-form article can lead to 6 social posts, 3 videos and at least a dozen tweets!
Tool #1: Plan the year ahead
Start by jotting down the yearly themes — start with spring, summer, fall, winter and then slot in seasonal times that happen in your business. If you’re a bookkeeper, that might mean tax season, if you’re a campground owner, it could look like vacation season or if you’re a career coach, it might be January or September. Map it all out and tailor it in whatever way works for your business. Don’t overthink this! Reflect on what’s happened in your last business year and go from there. If you end up with big blocks where a theme spans more than a month or two, that’s ok.
Tool #2: Plan the months and weeks ahead
Next, look at the months. Look for calendar holidays you can build a conversation around. And since this is social media, don’t forget the #hashtagholidays! Our advice with this part is to stick to calendar events and holidays that fit with your business. This stuff can fill up your calendar quickly! It’s great to join the chatter, just make sure it’s relatable for your business or else there won’t be room for anything else to talk about.
Hot tip on this one — leave room for organic posts, in other words, the stuff that happens in the moment that you want to capture. You want to pre-plan some content to make sure the lights are on but if you go overboard with it, then it’s hard to build in fluidity when you need to.
Remember that timeliness is key! If you’re finding that you’ve planned content and then end up posting too often or off-theme it can seem out of place. Your followers might catch on, and then all your effort isn’t going to pay off in the way you want it to.
Here’s a great resource to keep you on top of the best posting days and times for the platforms you’re in. These general times are a good place to start, but it’s up to you to figure out what’s best for you over time. Find patterns and trends on the best performing days and times and remember, just when you think you’ve figured it out, it’ll change again!
Tool #3: Plan the days ahead
This is where the rubber hits the road — time to get into writing mode and connect the plan together! Combine the yearly themes with the monthly and weekly plans. As your brain starts to percolate with ideas (and you hit the backspace key more than once) think about your customers — what’s in it for them? How can you give them something they won’t get anywhere else?
Give yourself a content creation day every week. Make a realistic goal you can stick to. If a day feels overwhelming, then use 4-hour blocks for two days. Be relentless about it and treat it like any other important part of your business.
Be a curious observer about the world around you. Start to think differently. Capture photos in the moment that you can reuse later. Save articles you’ve read and then go back to the list as part of the content creation process. Do it again and again. It’ll get easier. I promise.
Take a storytelling approach to the writing process. Give each post some plot and make your customers the hero. Talk about your values. Answer common questions. Have fun!
Time to get started!
We promise you that the sooner you get started, the easier it will become. Like anything else, new habits take time, patience and practice. We’ve seen and heard everything — even business owners who would procrastinate with bookkeeping instead of planning their social media content (hey, you have to do both, but those are some extreme choices)!