After creating your social media strategy (go read our post on that first as that is an important first step to social media strategy!), it’s now time to start creating great content!
Obviously, we think Social Media is super hard and there is no way you can handle it in house. So Call us!
Just kidding! Social Media is NOT that hard, especially since you’re probably the subject expert, and we think there are plenty of instances where you don’t need to hire outside help and can handle it in-house. If you’re not sure whether to hire someone for marketing on your team or to use an agency, we covered our thoughts on that here– check it out!
We’ve distilled our process down to 5 Tips on how to plan social media content and make it totally doable for you and your team, small or large.
1. Plan your Content Topics and Ideas Quarterly
Take Time at the end of each quarter to plan your big picture ideas, content themes and social media posts for the next quarter. For example, about halfway through September, our team will have an meeting discussing each of our clients to plan the content for Q4 of 2018. In that meeting we will be armed with the marketing priorities, event pushes and sales messaging that our clients plan to push in the last quarter of the year. We will use that content to create social media ideas for three months.
For example, Client X is a non-profit with a “Giving Tuesday” push for the Tuesday after Thanksgiving to raise money. We will be posting once per week in the month leading up to Giving Tuesday (11/28), starting on 10/28. We’ll put a note on our content calendar each week, and then the week prior to giving Tuesday, we’ll post about this content 4 times. During this planning session, we aren’t writing the posts. That comes later. But we’ll put the idea and topic theme down on the calendar (and maybe some ideas) to fill out later.
This quarterly planning session should take no more than one hour. And we find that during this session other things come up, so we will make notes on things like:
- Content ideas for NEXT quarter
- Great content that worked in the quarters prior that we want to try again (either in the quarter we are planning for, or in the future- we suggest making a list of notes so you don’t forget great ideas!)
- Tag certain posts as ones we want to highlight with ads or boosts
- If we know we are going to have to create assets for a post, we make a note (or highlight it a different color on the calendar) so that we can easily see what needs to be done for the week or month.
Time: 1 hour per quarter
2. Write your Content Bi-Monthly
Now that your content themes and topics are planned, at the beginning or end of each month, write the content for the next two weeks. Because this can be a time-intensive activity, we don’t usually write our content much further than two weeks out.
This is the time to really buckle down and think about what you want to say to your audience. In our Non-profit example for above, in October, we’re going to write the content to introduce the Giving Tuesday Campaign. Maybe it’s something like:
Next month, we invite you to join us for #GivingTuesday where you can make the difference in the lives of 7 children with a small donation of just $15. Won’t you join us!?
Time: 1-2 hours, 2x per month
3. Create your Assets in Batches
If you’re like me, asset-creating is the most time-consuming part of this process. (While Nikki can whip out something great in half the time it takes me!) but thankfully there are tools out there to make image creating, gif creating, gif to mp4 creation much simpler!
Social Media, especially Facebook, loves images and videos, so use a mix of both. And Instagram is ONLY a visual platform, so you want to be creative when creating assets to compliment your text posts.
There are so many free resources out there, so here is a short list of some of our favorites:
- Gif to MP4
- You Tube Thumbnail Grabber
- Online Video Converter
- Sprout Social’s “Always Up to Date Guide to Social Media Sizes“
- Repost App for Instagram
- Gif Maker App
- GifIt! Chrome extension for YouTube
- Full Page Screen Capture Chrome Extension
- Creative Market Templates (plus they send you free goodies each week if you sign up for their email list!)
You don’t have to create a custom image for each post, but you should have a visual element for everything you post (Twitter can be an exception). Utilize Stock images (free ones or pay for a subscription service) for some posts, create some custom posts using photoshop, if you know how to use it, or Canva templates, and share video (Uploading to Facebook is always more effective than sharing a link from You Tube).
Time: 2-4 hours, 2x per month
4. Schedule your posts weekly
We are big fans of posting directly to the social media platforms themselves, live, at the time you want the posts up. We don’t know the research that can back this, but it seems that engagement is best when you do this. However, that’s not always possible, so our favorite way to post is to schedule Facebook posts directly in Facebook (using their schedule feature) and schedule Tweets using Twitter Ads Manager. Instagram doesn’t have a built-in schedule feature.
But if you want to use an app, here are some we have used and can recommend. Each have pros and cons and none are perfect.
Time: 30 minutes per week
5. Interact with your audience daily
Don’t set it and forget it. Just because you killed this last quarter and planned the best content, wrote the best copy and create the best images and gifs to go along with it, doesn’t mean you can just schedule your posts in two batches monthly and forget about it.
Remember, social media is about being SOCIAL. Interact with your audience. If people are commenting on a Facebook post you forgot you scheduled 2 weeks ago, comment on it. Respond to comments. Ask questions in the comments! You don’t have to do this for hours a day, but try to jump into your comments and social media accounts a few times a day, for a few minutes at a time. Waiting for your coffee to warm up at the microwave, while you’re waiting for your popcorn to pop (or even on the toilet- hey we don’t judge) is a great time to see what is happening on your company’s social media!
Time: 2 hours per week
Total Time: 14-20 Hours per month or 3.5- 5 hours per week
It’s not a whole week of your life. It’s not even a whole day. If you can find 3-5 hours per week to dedicate to your social media planing, content creating, and designing yourself or your small team, you will be in GREAT shape!
Have any tips for managing social media when you’re a small team or solo marketer?