If you’re like most of my clients, coming up with something to post every day is not only draining but frustrating when you have other important tasks to accomplish for your business. If you’re unable to hire a social media manager to help you in this area, then the next best thing would be to set aside time at the beginning of each month to map out your entire content calendar for the next 30 days. Sounds intimidating? Don’t worry, there’s an easy way to do this.
Photo by Nick Morrison
Identify Brand Pillars
Identifying your brand pillars and mapping them out in the spreadsheet gives you a visual flow of how often to post from each pillar category. Follow the general rule of marketing which is 30% branded posts and 70% community posts. No one likes to be sold to 100% of the time. So talk about what makes your brand unique/awesome but also engage with people in your shared mutual interests. This will develop a relationship with your customers.
Not sure how to do that? I wrote a post about how to identify your own brand pillars.
Create a Content Calendar
The next step is to put it all together. I’ve been using Excel for the past several years to manage my content calendars because it’s completely flexible in how you want to set up your file. These files live on my Dropbox so I’m able to access them from any device at any time. Here’s what mine looks like:
>> Click To Download Content Calendar Template <<
If you already have a yearly marketing calendar, make sure your monthly content calendar aligns with that. Includes things like unique events happening in your city (like beer week, festivals, summer events), national holidays, and cultural events like the Superbowl when appropriate and relevant to your brand.
If you aren’t into Excel, I would recommend looking into AirTable which is a great online calendar that syncs across your devices.
Schedule Your Posts Ahead Of Time
Sometimes you may not be able to plan out your content calendar 100% all the time. Things may change daily, or you may not have all the information you need at the moment of planning, but try to schedule out as many posts ahead of time as you can. There are several social media tools that make this easy.
Here’s what I use:
- TweetDeck – I prefer using TweetDeck over Hootsuite for the simplicity of use. It’s a great way to schedule out your twitter posts for the month, track mentions, and follow relevant community hashtags.
- Grum.co – I use Grum.co to schedule out my Instagram posts. Their interface is easy to use and allows for multiple accounts.
- Facebook – Facebook has really great scheduling capabilities within the website itself. You can also register for a business account which gives you even more flexibility with ad spending and targeting.
However, there are also platforms out there that handle all of the scheduling in one place:
- Sprout Social
Buffer wrote a great blog post comparing prices and services of social media management tools: check it out here.
Even if you are able to plan out your content including all your captions, assets, and ad spends, it’s important to consistently refer to your content calendar and allow for flexibility and spontaneous posting. You don’t want things to come across as too robotic and leaving in space for spontaneous posts humanizes a brand.