Filling In Your Social Media Calendar
A Monthly Investment
With the exception of taking advantage of real-time marketing (breaking news, live events, conference coverage), it is not an effective practice for marketers to log on to social networks each day and hope the "right" message comes to them. By taking the time to build out a monthly social media calendar, marketers can create rough drafts of their posts, return for edits, get others' feedback/approval and schedule posts in advance - all of which can help create a comprehensive, consistent and creative social media presence. Here we include daily sample concepts and copy for various industries using popular pages/profiles in those fields - chosen based on their use of best practices. At the end, we'll share a quick template to begin filling in your posts.
Mondays: Push Product
Mondays are second only to Sundays for the most popular day to shop online in the United States according to mid-2016 data from SimilarWeb. While it will be up to individual retailers to look at their own conversion information by day of the week, posting a product as Alex & Ani does here on Mondays (or other busy shopping days depending on the retailer’s data) will provide those shoppers ready to buy motivation to do so when a promotional post (hopefully) reaches their news feed. Make sure the post is scheduled for an optimal time of the day (Sprout Social says anytime between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. is a safe bet), that product images are of high quality and that additional formats are considered (video, slideshow).
Regardless of industry, products and promotions cannot be pushed every day as social media followers will become disinterested. As engagement slips, organic reach will likely as well. Understanding who an audience is (Facebook Insights provides information on age, location and gender; Google Analytics offers basic demographic data as well and "interests," which can be helpful for framing posts) will help marketers know what kinds of non-promotional content to post. When they speak to the company’s audience, inspirational and motivational quotes or stories are a good way to build engagement as those who relate to them are more likely to align themselves to the content and share (the best case scenario as shares increase the number of people who see it).
Whether it is the shop next door or a charity thousands of miles away, there is a good chance that a business has – or can form – partnerships that benefit both organizations. Jet Blue has partnered with Amazon to provide airline points when new subscribers sign up for Prime. This benefits both enterprises as 3,000 points likely won’t make a dent in airline fees for people just starting to build their status with Jet Blue’s loyalty program but could put loyal, frequent flyers over the top as the points they needed to book a trip. Amazon, of course, gets new subscribers. For a local business, perhaps it’s donating five percent of sales to a partnering school once a month or a B2B company partnering with a complementary service for trials, interviews, videos.
Who doesn't like to have some fun? Brands should consider hosting a challenge for their audience. Of course if the challenge involves incoming messages (which it should) marketers will need to monitor their accounts and engage with participants. For companies with smaller audiences, they may want to host and promote the challenge in an ongoing manner as they may receive minimal response initially. If it's a contest, be sure to follow the platform's rules. In this post from Macaroni Grill, for instance, it is giving away dinner to the best doodle that is submitted in the comments. It's on-brand as diners draw on the paper-lined tables at the restaurant and it increases engagement directly on Facebook (to the betterment of reach for future posts).
Fridays: Ask for Content/Use It
User-generated content typically performs substantially better than material created by the companies themselves because people can relate to it better. Brands should come up with a few ideas of how they can encourage their audience to submit content they can leverage in future posts. One Friday can be used to ask for the content (scheduled within the calendar) and submitted content used for the following three Fridays in the month. Around Mother's Day, USAA asked its members to tag and thank military moms (good for the initial post of asking and the follow-up posts of sharing). What's more, with each interaction USAA is increasing engagement levels, which is good for the post's reach, brand awareness and, likely, future news feed placement.
Saturdays: Suggest Away
Weekends tend to be prime times for people to act on suggestions - either because they researched an activity, product or service throughout the workweek, are looking for something to do, can speak with a partner more in-depth about a purchase or a plan or they simply have more free time to explore option. So, whether it's a suggestion in the form of a promotion or a suggestion in the form of an event invite, Saturdays are a time to push those conversion-focused messages. Last Saturday, Care.com encouraged parents to act now in order to secure a summer nanny and linked to their blog post on the subject, which included data that the best babysitters are likely gone by June (which their data suggests is when most people start looking).
Sundays: Give them a Dream
Sunday posts can be difficult to conceptualize because people tend to spend the day in so many different ways – some catching up on work, some attending religious services, some doing work around the house, some taking day trips, some binge watching a favorite TV show. While Facebook in particular does provide marketers the ability to target audiences so posts can be delivered to those who are most interested in the topic, marketers can confidently schedule Sunday posts that have to do with a person's next steps – posting about a new wardrobe collection, job openings, career advice, a higher priced item, etc. (anything that is future related). This is because Sunday does tend to be a day for preparation and reflection for many.
Every Day: Keep Going
Creating a social media calendar is a very time-consuming process. While it shouldn't be finished in one sitting (since creativity will likely hit a wall), it should be part of a marketer's monthly routine as brainstorming can help provide more messaging options than on-the-fly posting. What's more, by keeping track of previous posts in a centralized location, brands can ensure they're not repeating failed concepts. Finally, it should be noted that (1) previously scheduled posts should be moved as real-time news is announced or to make room for holiday messaging (which can be planned well in advance with a calendar) and (2) posts for the various networks must be tweaked based on their formats and features (like hashtags, mentions, tagging).