Keeping your social media timelines active is a vital part of your marketing and PR. If you have an audience on there, and you’re not adding content, it’s a wasted opportunity.
An empty or sporadic timeline can make it look like you’re not around anymore, don’t have any news or offers, or just haven’t got around to it lately.
Regular posting is a job that can easily slip to the bottom of the to-do list – we’re no saints, it’s happened to us in the past too. (Too busy creating client content then didn’t get to our own usually!)
When we work with clients on social media content, some of the reasons they’re not on top of it are:
Can’t think of anything
Don’t know what to post / when to post
Never get around to it
Forget it’s there to do
What they all have in common though, is that they want to post, know it will be worthwhile and want to make it a regular habit.
If this is you, then allow us to introduce you to the joys of a content planner – which will help you enormously if you’re not in a position to outsource this job just yet.
What is a content planner?
Quite simply, it’s a calendar highlighting key dates/events/seasons of the year that are relevant to you and your business. The idea is to plan ahead and plot content ideas on important dates so that you have a bank of posts to put on your social media channels. You can draft posts with images ahead of time and have them ready to go when you need them.
Where to start?
As well as the usual seasonal celebrations (Pancake Day, Easter, etc) and events (sports events, awards seasons, back to school etc) there are plenty of ‘awareness days’ throughout the year which could link nicely to your brand – World Oceans’ Day, International Women’s Day, Love Your Pet Day – there are hundreds! Rather than having to research all these yourself, a quick Google will direct you to plenty of awareness days calendars you can download for free.
Beware though – don’t overuse them and make sure they are absolutely relevant! Pick out the days that link to your business. For example, if you’re a florist, dates such as Valentine’s Day, wedding season and Christmas will be particularly relevant. You might also decide to pinpoint other key dates and times of the years – months when particular flowers are seasonal, or quieter months when a promotion could boost sales.
Next, add key milestones and news from your business – new hires, premises, products, contracts, collaborations, events, awards, media coverage, speaker slots you might be doing, plus team building days etc. All help to build up a profile of who you and your company are.
Your posts should be a mix of:
Sharing trade secrets – know-how, tips, nuggets of info etc.
The problem – how your client or customer’s problem can be solved by you
Reviews – if people give you reviews, share them! They are so powerful!
Behind the business – let your audience in, to see what goes on behind the product or services (birthdays, offices, fundraising etc)
Sales posts – keep these to a minimum and these should be straight-up ‘this is the product, buy it’ type posts. No beating around the bush, and don’t overuse them!
How to write a good post
The important thing is to try not to be too ‘salesy.’ Posts that are explicitly pushing followers to buy your products or services will soon turn people off. (Unless it’s an actual, deliberate sales post!)
Instead, try to get across the personality and ethos of your brand, while subtly highlighting what you have to offer.
Don’t forget to also encourage engagement among your followers. Ask questions in your posts, invite them to give their opinions, or share experiences.
Ask them to click on a link to find out more – they’ll then visit your website and might have a bit of a look around!
Always try to include a photo with every post too – nothing catches the eye quicker than an interesting image.
Video posts get great engagement and reach – especially if you’re on them! This could be used for your short and sharp tips. Keep them to 30-90 seconds though; no one comes to a social media timeline for a mini webinar that documents the weather, how they feel and what they had for breakfast before they even get to the point!
Time is precious and won’t usually be wasted on this kind of video – they will scroll on past.
Sign up for social media publishing tools
These are a content planner’s best friend!
Tools such as Hootsuite or ContentCal might sound complicated but are really easy to use. They allow you to draft and schedule your posts in advance so your timeline need never be empty.
You just select your date, add your text and image, then approve them, ready to go!
Many are free, too. There’s nothing more satisfying than knowing just a few moments each month will ensure you have an active timeline for the next few weeks.
Engage, engage, engage!
Once you have a bank of scheduled posts, remember to check in on your timelines regularly to ensure you respond to any engagement from your followers.
Also, be sure to follow key accounts within your sector – whether that’s particular journalists, industry bodies or influencers. Make sure you ‘give back’ by sharing, liking and commenting on other’s posts. It’s also a good idea to comment on or share any interesting and relevant news stories to demonstrate you’re up to speed with the issues affecting you and your customers.
Most of all, enjoy making new connections! And don’t be afraid to have fun with it – whatever business you’re in, humour is always welcome!
If you’d like help planning and drafting content, get in touch for a friendly chat and advice firstname.lastname@example.org