In the 30 on series, I have been sharing about the importance of keeping time on social down to 30 minutes per day. However, containing social creep is just one piece to the media puzzle. The larger critical component of your online success is how you strategize, create, and plan.
Plans may be useless, but planning is essential. Documenting your Social Calendar will help navigate the inevitable glitches of the interwebs. By visually laying out your schedule, you can avoid timesinks by easily seeing what you need to fix, implement, or re-evaluate.
Before we can start planning, we need to understand a few popular tools available for social media before formulating our own strategy.
A key rule of thumb is that if a network allows you to schedule content, use their built-in scheduling option. Do not use schedulers for platforms that have integrated options.
You can schedule pins on Pinterest, and posts on Facebook Pages. It is a no brainer, slam dunk way of getting your content queued for the coming weeks while minimizing potential complications.
Hootsuite offers automated Instagram and Twitter publishing. As a huge Hootsuite fan, having used it since 2009, it is my recommended scheduler. However, I rely on it far less now as networks have gotten, for lack of a better term, “weird” about scheduling since all the data privacy issues on them have been exposed. As a result, platforms are redefining their Terms, and subsequently causing issues with some of the most tried and true services.
Newer accounts, or ones with modest followings, have recently seen a spike in getting shadowbanned or locked up when using schedulers. My advice is to proceed cautiously. There are so many easy techniques for posting efficiently without the use of a scheduler. If you are on the earlier side of growing your social presence, hold off using them.
Technically not a scheduler, but a forerunner in the social automation world, I am a huge fan of IFTTT. It is ideal for tweeting Instagram shares with photos, pushing new blog content into streams, and automating actions to share content between platforms. You can also push content though to LinkedIn Pages using the Buffer integration available in IFTTT.
However, as with your preferred scheduler, proceed with caution
Now that we’ve gotten the scheduling and automation intro out of the way, let’s talk planning and implementation.
What I have found most effective in approaching a Social Calendar is establishing posting frequency, determining what your content flow will include, and to visually laying out the schedule for all networks.
Being content ready is a series of posts in itself, so stay tuned. For now we’re going to keep things moving to get to the free stuff.
Since social has shifted significantly with The Meme Generation, more content is simply not better. Frequently posting does not increase awareness, traffic, or sales. Prolific content is actually lost in the social sea. As a result, posting strategically when your content will be best received is important.
Did you know that on average, a post is seen by less that 1% of a Facebook Page’s audience?
Since algorithms bury posts from followers, revisiting key messaging a few weeks apart is important to consider on Facebook.
I am candidly not the biggest fan of the platform, and have advised clients not to have a Facebook Page for three years now.
However, there is one exception that keeps Facebook Pages in my life. I am grateful to the loyal following from the Design Seeds Page, so I still actively (scheduled) post there.
However, it is a bit of a “legacy”situation, and today’s Facebook is built to prevent Pages from being able to achieve a loyal following, or an engagement that is worth investing time within the network.
Instagram holds the throne as the most essential social network. It is the best platform for engaging, building community, and sharing your brand story. However, it is 100% insular. It is also important to remember that any social network can disappear tomorrow. Grow your community on Instagram, but own your content on your site.
As Facebook owns Instagram, you also have to emotionally prepare for Instagram’s fate going the same direction as Facebook’s. Folks who rely heavily on Instagram are creating a vulnerability in their longevity by doing so.
Pinterest use to be a wonderland, but has lost a great deal of allure since its revolutionary beta days. It has become a hotbed for plagiarism and copycats in thanks to the “similar pins” feature.
However, it is still the most effective platform for moving people to your content, shop, blog, and site. As much as Pinterest tries to keep people insulated on the platform, original content needs to get pinned to make it a place worth visiting.
I also still adore Pinterest, as at its core, it’s also an extremely effective tool in the design process.
I want to love Twitter as a preferred platform, but with a shrinking user base and fleeting engagement, it is important to not allow it to become a timesink. Use it efficiently and tweet when you can best engage. Twitter is simply a cog in the social machine to stay involved with, but also aware of the uncertainty of its long term significance.
Yes, LinkedIn was a network I had dismissed for years, as it has existed as being part class reunion, part show-dogging, and part looking-for-a-jobbing. However, there is reach and an opportunity for untapped engagement on it. Although I do not consider LinkedIn an essential or notably productive platform, its future is an interesting one if people engage well and harness the community potential.
Now with having talked schedulers, automators, and networks … it is time to put pen to paper. Literally.
Let’s Get Social
The seed; Social Calendar helps efficiently map your week(s) ahead. You can view at-a-glance what is scheduled to post, where you manually need to publish, and “X” out strategic time off.
You can personalize how you plan by jotting notes by each network. I note the file name (of the image needing manual posting) on my Social Calendar, and have images organized and ready to go in a Google Drive folder. I also recommend keeping a Google Document with the copy you want to include in the post.
It is beneficial to have an editorial approach in strategizing social. This requires keeping an eye to the next week while working on the current one at hand. Planning content that needs to be created, and considering how and where you share it, will help raise your social game.
In using the Social Calendar, you will see patterns develop over time. Beyond staying organized, you'll be able to monitor how your following and engagement improve, and tweak your approach to maximize what is working.