Make a Plan: Get Decisive About Social Media
Before you get too deep in, make sure you saw our previous post on choosing your channels, cohesive branding, and developing audience profiles. Click HERE to check it out.
If you’ve absorbed those tips, you’re getting the lay of the land and are already better positioned to develop and execute a successful social media strategy. Before you start making decisions, there’s one last thing you need to do to prepare. You’ve got to get a handle on all your resources so you know where the gold is.
Tip 4 – Assessing your resources
You have chosen your channels (and in some cases eliminated the ones you aren’t going to keep fueling). You have set up your profiles with immaculate branding, and have filled in every field offered. Your audience profiles are fully fleshed out.
What are your resources?
Before you plan out your content for the next quarter, get a handle on how your content will be created.
- Who will write the content calendar?
- Who will organize social media content in the cloud?
- Who will take pictures?
- Who will capture video?
- What equipment will be used?
- Who will write posts?
- Who will make those posts live?
Unless you have a full-time social media marketer on staff, a triple threat brimming over with creative ability as well as organizational skills and ongoing education about social media tactics, it is unlikely that a single person can take care of everything. Those people do exist, but they are rarely the usual suspects (recent college graduates, marketing directors, etc.).
First, you need a social media manager. If you already have one, here’s how you will know if they can handle the job without additional support: they will be able to answer these questions without hesitation or a Google search:
- Instagram is the social media platform growing the fastest right now. At what rate is it growing? (5% per quarter)
- What is the maximum length for an Instagram Story video clip? (15 seconds)
- What updates has Linkedin made to Company Pages this year? (page layout, content suggestions, post sharing – finally!!)
- What is the best device to use for creating Instagram Stories and Facebook Stories? (smartphone)
- How many people view Facebook Live each year? (over 2 billion)
If your social media manager doesn’t command the kind of knowledge that allows them to answer these questions easily, you are not positioning your organization for success on social media. You need an expert.
That doesn’t mean it’s time to say goodbye to Sally. LOTS of education is available FOR FREE that can transform your social media manager into a social media genius. Because social channels change constantly, even the most expert staffer needs continuing education.
One that is full of deep insights is Social Media Training from Hootsuite Academy. The course begins with a six hour trial that covers the basics then evolves into more complex topics as you get further along into the course. Although only the beginner section of the course is free, the first section still helps reinforce the basics of social media.
Another favorite of mine is Quicksprout University, offered by Neil Patel. These classes are completely free of charge and are held by industry professionals who want to help you continue to develop your social media marketing knowledge.
Now let’s look at the creative side.
Some social media managers can also produce content, but certainly not all. That triple threat we mentioned earlier is the exception, and you probably want to identify him or her before someone else does (and steals them away).
If you don’t have access to a social media manager with videography, photography, and writing skills, others at your company will need to chip in or you will need to contract out that work to skilled talent.
These assignments should be formalized and not randomly requested of your team and contractors. The tasks should be scheduled by the social media manager and each team member must be held accountable for their work product. Your social media efforts will be crippled if you define these tasks as secondary or optional. Your social media manager must be guaranteed to receive the content they need on deadline with rare exceptions.
Let’s say your content calendar states that Rodney will capture five 1-minute video clips at Friday night’s event. He can’t be expected to deliver the clips if the event is canceled. Instead, he should deliver a video of the event planner explaining in a polished and professional way why the event is going to be canceled plus the rescheduled date or a new shiny thing to grab the audience, like an exciting announcement.
If Rodney’s phone dies, he needs to have a backup plan to capture those videos. A charger and charge pack handy at all times or even a second phone provided by the company. Something. Anything. But not nothing.
If your company isn’t currently operating with a high-performance mindset, the best and fastest way to supercharge your social media efforts is to level up in this area. Set the bar high when it comes to organization, deadlines, and communication around content. Do that and you’re going to be lightyears ahead of your competition.
Tip 5 – Deciding on frequency
Will you post to Facebook five times a week? Will your Instagram Stories be populated with content daily? Twice a day? Set your intention and when it’s time to write the content calendar, your frequency will be easier to define.
I recently read an article written by Dhariana Lozano on socialmediatoday.com that discusses the magic number of times you should be posting on your social media pages. Do you know what she said? There is none. What you can do though is: evaluate what you’re wanting to achieve, your content creation capacity, and figure out where you’re wanting your content to be seen. Every industry and audience is different and while posting every day for one company may yield significant results, that same strategy can come across as a nuisance to some audiences.
Try different posting schedules to see what’s creating the most growth. Only post quality content though and avoid buffers. Start off with posting three times a week and if you think a more aggressive strategy is what you need, then try it out.
Tip 6 – Creating a content calendar
Use a template or customize a Google doc. Either way, the content calendar should live in the cloud so all changes are visible as they are made. If the content calendar is emailed or re-shared another way every time it is updated or refined, the team will grow weary of engaging with it. Letting it live in the cloud means the team can refer to it when it’s convenient for each of them.
What columns will you include on the calendar, or as it’s called in the magazine world, the line-up? Subject, link to working document, hashtags, author, photos, videos, a live link to the actual published post. What else? Every asset needed to make the post in question should be linked to the content calendar. The social media manager will be handicapped if they have to chase it all down whenever a post is made. All they should need to do is open the content calendar, and it should all be there waiting. Here’s a peek at our own content calendar:
Plan out three months of content at a time, and make that a quarterly practice. You’ll be shocked at how helpful that is. For each topic, you’ll have time to pull together the videos, photos, copy, and anything else you need. It will never be a situation of “Fire! Fire! Oh my God! We’ve got to get this figured out today!”
In our next post, we’re going to give you NINE MORE TIPS to help you transform your company’s social media presence. That probably makes you feel like a kid on Christmas Eve. So. Hard. To. Wait.