If you want to get your social media streamlined this year, there are several areas that you can organize to make the process a whole less stressful. From creating a calendar to deciding on content types and publishing times, an effective social media schedule can be your best bet for publishing content that grows your audience and engagement metrics.
The following are the steps needed to make the social media editorial process as easy as possible.
Create The Best Calendar For Your Organization
If you don’t know where to start, check out many of the available free social media editorial calendar templates out there. Most are built on Google Sheets or in Excel and make it easy to customize a basic calendar for your organization’s needs. A social media editorial calendar will give you a visual starting point for all your scheduled posts, making it easy to spot discrepancies or view the upcoming posts at a glance.
Here are some free social media editorial calendar resources to get you started:
- MarketingNutz: templates to get you started
- Brand Driven Digital: how to create a calendar from scratch
- The Fundraising Coach: a list of templates and external sources
Of course, these are just a handful of resources. You can also use a content marketing editorial calendar that integrates social media promotion if that is easier. Writtent has a good list of content editorial calendar tools and plugins.
Choose a Selection of Content Types
As a few of the above resources mention, an important part for the social media publishing schedule process is determining the types of content you’ll regularly be promoting, as well as when they will be published. These could include not only topics or themes (e.g. Throwback Thursday or Trivia Tuesday), but also allows you to reserve space for specific posts, such as evergreen posts from your blog or event promotion reminders. Start by outlining how many posts are published on each network per week, and what each post’s topic or content type is.
A sample calendar for an organization that publishes on Facebook once per day might look something like this (albeit in spreadsheet form instead of a bulleted list):
- Monday: A self-promotional post about services
- Tuesday: Reminder about event (perhaps the next workshop and where to get tickets)
- Wednesday: External article that is of interest to target audience
- Thursday: Throwback Thursday theme
- Friday: Funny or interesting graphic or comic
- Saturday: Evergreen blog post
- Sunday: Trivia about industry or discussion question
Figuring out what themes work out best for your specific social media takes a bit of experimentation to see what gets the most engagement: likes, comments, and shares.
Create a Process for Content Creation and Research
Once you have a plan for the types of content you need and the days you need them, there should be a timeline for the creation process. Make sure creation is assigned to specific people at regular intervals through a project management tool like Trello or Asana and try to automate as much of the creation process as possible.
For instance, Edgar is a new social media scheduling tool that automatically reschedules a queue of posts you’ve added. This works great if you want to have a set evergreen content sharing strategy in place. In addition, if you have to fill spots on your calendar with external articles or resources, create a timeline and resource document of when to find links, good places to start (such as industry blogs and news websites), and how to schedule and display the links on your accounts. Creating images for social media posts should also be part of the process, if you want to use unique socially optimized images in order to take advantage of image requirements on each platform.
Create a document that outlines the process of a social media post from start to finish. A mind map or graphic might be best for this, if most of your employees are more visually inclined. A text-based version would look something like this:
Follow social media editorial calendar to see what content is needed -> Research and find links to post -> Create social media images for each post -> Schedule posts in Buffer and Edgar -> Review engagement metrics and conversation to see what can be done differently -> Reschedule post if needed as part of evergreen content initiative
Overall, outlining detailed responsibilities ahead of time is going to make your process and posts a lot more successful. In addition, creating a “response” flow chart can help those responsible for social media decide when to involve outside departments such as IT, sales, or customer service for answering feedback. These charts basically help the user understand the proper company policy for responding to specific social media conversations, whether it is a sales inquiry or a product complaint. Responding to social media conversations is just as important as publishing content in the first place.
Experiment with Times, Content, and Paid Social
As your social media publishing schedule continues to get more elaborate and personalized to your organization, consider experimenting with content to see what works best. Ask yourself these types of questions when looking over how each post did on your active social media networks:
- Does time of day affect engagement?
- Does frequency of posts increase or decrease visibility and engagement?
- What type of content is the most popular? Should there be more of this type of content in the editorial calendar?
- Do posts with custom graphics get better engagement and a higher CTR?
And so on. These types of questions will get the ball rolling on how to best optimize your social media content in order to increase engagement, visibility, and audience numbers.
Once you have a set plan in place with a calendar template, set themes and topics, and a good flow for how posts are put together, social media becomes a lot more manageable. Get a head start on the New Year by streamlining your processes now, before the workload catches back up with your business.
Use our social media calendar template to get started!
Calendar Photo via Shutterstock
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The problem has always been putting everything into action. All too often, businesses find that they need more time and people to hold a social media campaign. It is not easy but it is worth it.
Thanks for reading! Hopefully some of the tools that I listed can help.
How about shared calendars? I think that they can be quite useful for teams. What do you think?
Great article, Sujan! I quickly created a mind map of the content creation process that everyone is welcome to clone: http://www.mindmeister.com/503201808/content-creation-process (it links back to this article).
Thanks for creating a mind-map for this blog post! I haven’t come around using digital mind-map tools yet. I want to find a simple and easy tool to use, catered to me as a visual individual, using low-tech tools like pens and Moleskine calendars.
Cool mind map!
Pen and paper mind maps definitely have their merit! But they tend to get lost between other notes, and it can be a lot of work to share them with others and get their input somehow – they’re just not the best tool for collaborative brainstormings.
We actually just started looking into ways to turn such handwritten maps into digital, editable ones, to get the best of both worlds. But our online mind mapping tool is fairly easy to use in itself, and in fact, many of our users create maps for purposes just like the one you described in your article. It works really well for that.
Thanks for your reply. I wrote a post in 2009, mentioning your product and other productivity tools.
Please keep me updated regarding your plans on how to incorporate handwritten maps into digital, editable documents.
Have you heard about NeoSmart pen, N2? Lotta Gergils Aston and I talked about this product and other crowdfunding campaigns, in the episode, Episode 11 and 1 or 42?, of our podcast show, TrendPal.
Hadn’t heard of it, but we’ll definitely look into – thanks for the tip! I’ll keep you posted on the developments 🙂
You could clink on the link with my name, Martin Lindeskog, and you will come to the post with the podcast episode on the smartpen and other crowdfunding stories.
I look forward to hear about your updates! 🙂
All the Best,
Good article. I have forwarded this on to my team for implementation.
What really helped me was to understand when my target audience was online and when my audience was opening/engagement with the content.