It’s Wednesday afternoon, and you feel a familiar creeping dread… your business hasn’t posted on social media yet this week. You pull up Facebook, and sit there and stare at the blank update box, wondering what to even post about. There’s that supplier meeting in 15 minutes, so you better come up with something fast.
You quickly type in “Happy Hump Day!” and find a picture of that famous commercial camel. It’s not great, but at least it’s something…
Social media is the foundation of our relationships and communities (and a fun way to watch an hour fly by), but it’s also become one of the most important ways businesses can communicate with customers and grow their businesses.
Social media is changing all the time, so it’s essential to stay on top of what works and what doesn’t, especially as you start to plan social media content for your business or organization for the rest of 2022.
If you’re having trouble keeping up with how to plan social media content, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered!
Social Media: what it is and what it isn’t.
Before you skip past this section, think about the last time you really thought about what social media is at a high level.
At its core, social media is just media that’s shared socially. What do you, your organization, or your brand find interesting? What do you care about? What do you want other people to see?
As you’re thinking through social media, I always find it’s helpful to think about how you can bring it back to the roots of where it really started. Think about the purpose behind what you share and how you can add value to somebody else.
If you wouldn’t find your posts interesting, why would anyone else?
Social media is a way to deepen and maintain connections with your customers.
Think of it as a way to be connected to your audience, both in terms of relationship building (i.e., maintaining a two-way conversation) and also in getting feedback and input from them on how you can improve as a business.
We hear many business owners say their primary goal of utilizing social media is to increase sales and find new customers. While it’s an added benefit, the most important feature is the ability to communicate with your current network. Your priority should be to connect with people who already know you and care about you and your business.
Another great feature of social media is that it’s a great communication channel. Take advantage of this by promoting new products or services, hours, events, or any other special things that may be happening.
Don’t fall into a common mistake many businesses make and post only promotional content! You’ll quickly lose followers and will fail to attract prospective clients to your business.
Users want to see content that tells your story and tells them who you are as a business. Use the 20/80 rule here: aim to have no more than 20% of your content as promotional. The other 80% should be engaging content that shows your followers who you are, what you care about, and encourages them to like, comment and share.
Social media is NOT free marketing
You may be eager to sign up for every single social channel out there in order to get your business in front of as many prospective clients as possible. After all, it’s free, right? Nope.
For a while, it was. In the early days of Facebook and Instagram, it was easy to get lots of reach, grow quickly and have lots of engagement. Sadly, that’s not the case anymore.
Growing your following these days requires collaboration, paid ads, and some grassroots marketing. Again, organic growth is possible, it just takes more time and energy than it used to.
Are you giving each channel that you have the best attention that you should?
My argument to a lot of brands is instead of having five icons with channels that you’re kind of maintaining, narrow it down to your top one or two that you can really focus on and devote your attention there.
Create a community, start conversations, and then simply eliminate the channels that aren’t producing results.
It’s okay to let go of old social media channels.
You’re not missing out on free marketing.
And this goes the same with jumping onto any new channel that may become available. Make sure you have the bandwidth and time to really focus on these channels and get good at them before you add something new.
Social media is constantly changing and evolving based on user activity. Businesses have been hit hardest by these changes. Know going in that only a small percentage of your audience will see your posts.
Things like day, time, and the format of your post (i.e. video vs photo) are churned through the algorithm. A post you make today may not be seen by a user until days later. So make sure you have multiple posts to support each of your initiatives and then test the time of day posting from there.
But again, social media is not going to be your end all be all. It is now a partially paid channel.
Sometimes you’re going to have to put actual dollars into it to get seen and build your community because the reality is, as a business the algorithm is working against you. Every social channel has its own way of determining what posts are seen by who and when, so be patient and give it some time.
Consistency is key
These algorithms that rule our lives want to know that you’re posting consistently and that you’re not posting too much. So again, this underscores the question: should you have all of the channels that you do? Know that if you’re not consistent with posting it’s hurting you in the long run. The posts that you spend so much time planning will become more and more difficult to see.
This is why it’s so key to have a plan so that you don’t end up looking at that blank update box thinking, “I have no idea what we’re going to post this week,” or “I haven’t posted something in four days. I just need to get something out there.” Like with dieting and exercise, planning ahead will help you be consistent. It will not only help you with the algorithms, it will also help your mental sanity!
How to Plan Social Media Content
Now you’ve narrowed down the platforms you want to use, you’ve found your audience and are starting to gain traction on your pages.
How do you curate an entire year of social media? In our experience, the easiest way to do this is through content pillars.
Content pillars are themes or categories that become the main topics that your brand will post about. It is the intersection of what your brand cares about, your unique industry and what your audience is interested in.
If you need more guidance here, look at your social media analytics. Are posts about how your product is made consistently getting more engagement than posts about educational content related to your business? Then obviously, you’ll want to include more behind-the-scenes content.
Use this information to your advantage!
Here’s how to think about content pillars: it can be about your product, your personal experiences and background, or telling customer stories.
If your product is experiential, a pillar can be introducing your employees, a behind the scenes look at production, or it can be updates about your industry. Some other examples of content pillars include:
- Business news & promotions
- Customer testimonials
- Free downloads & educational content
- Relatable industry humor
- Tip of the day
- User-generated content
Another consideration to make with your content is how often you will post content related to each pillar. Remember, aim for no more than 20% of promotional content here.
This is where promotional calendars come in handy. If you don’t have one for your business, it’s a good idea to map one out and choose which ones to focus on for social media purposes.
Here’s an example of what your content balance could look like:
Your 30-Day Roadmap
Now comes the fun part. Using your pillars as your guide, create a 30-day snapshot of your content. There are tons of free resources online that can serve as a template for this, or you can simply use a Google calendar or spreadsheet.
1.Start with the broad content pillar categories
2.Put those on the calendar based on the content proportion
3.Then get specific – choose between images or a short video. Maybe you’ll do a poll, or repost user content–whatever unique feature you want to take advantage of per
Here is an example of what your completed calendar will look like. To keep things simple, let’s assume this business has only one social platform.
As you can see, this example has a variety of content planned for the month. They’ve noted a theme to focus on as well as goals for engagement.
Remember: you don’t have to post every day! Quality over quantity is the idea here.
If you’re just starting out, begin with 2 posts per week and grow from there–as long as you can remain consistent.
Keep that in mind as you’re planning your social media, make sure you are adding value to the conversation instead of just creating noise. It’s 100% okay to post less one week than you do another! As long as you prioritize posts that YOU would click on and engage with, instead of just pumping out a post just to do it.
Now that you have your roadmap, simply replicate for the rest of the year. Swap out topics based on what’s happening with your business, holidays, or other significant events.
Yes, it takes a bit of time and effort up front to plan, but once you have your pillars and first month mapped out, the rest is just plug and play.