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There are many benefits to planning your social posts in advance. First of all, it’s a time saver. If you spend one or two hours at the beginning of the month to plan, then it will save all those disruptive ten minutes each day and free up that time for you to do something else.
It’s also just a great organisational tool. You can see what you’ve posted, when you posted it and what the topic was. It’s easy to look back when you’re measuring analytics and see what you did and if it worked.
And the best thing is that it can be as rigid or fluid as you like. It’s not a one-size-fits-all tool for all businesses to model their social presence on.
One of the first things you should consider is how often you want to post. This can vary depending on your brand tone and experience, and more realistically it can depend on your time and budget. Posting daily can be useful (if you have the resources) because you can appear more competent with social media and ultimately more approachable by your clients or customers. However, if you’re prone to repeating content than daily posts can become very ‘spammy’ and followers will respond negatively if you post repetitive content on a regular basis.
If you don’t have the time to post daily then posting around 3 days a week can be just as effective, but you just need to make sure that what you post is high quality and is engaging.
You may also decide that you don’t want to post on all of your social sites on the same day. You might just want a weekly Instagram photo but publish a daily tweet on Twitter, for example.
You should think carefully about what type of posts you want to share on your social pages. By ‘type’, we mean industry articles, blog post promotions, case studies, events, tutorials, questions, conversation starters etc. The list can be endless.
First of all, you want to appear natural and human so post in a wide variety of formats. Don’t focus on one or two templates and alternate them rigidly.
It’s also okay to have ‘ad-hoc’ days where you can post something more topical that’s happened that week, or even just post something you’ve seen that day and liked.
With social algorithms getting updated regularly, some post formats are being hidden more than others in today’s social landscape. Photos, videos and links are the main formats to include in your posts. Exclusively posting links or plain text can, in all honesty, make your feed look boring. Make it more interesting by deciding to feature a video every week or by making sure that every other post includes an image.
You should aim to do this naturally and choose what post format suits the post on a case-by-case basis. Not all articles will need an accompanying image, but if you’re just starting on social media and haven’t quite caught the grasp of which posts would appear better with photos/videos, then plan it out for the first few months until you’re more comfortable.
Sometimes you might decide that themes can be a great way of keeping your social posts related and topical. Weekly themes can sometimes be more engaging because viewers have a slight expectation of what you might post next and be more inclined to join in with discussions. Having a theme such as ‘Exercise Week’ (or a theme relating to your industry) can help give you a structure when planning an editorial calendar. You can even relate to your calendar events in that week such as Valentine’s Day or if there’s an upcoming industry event such as a conference. It can be a useful loose guide if you’re struggling to find news to share or articles to post.
Depending on your follower demographic, more or less users will be online at different times of the day. Clearly, you want to post when you’re more likely to receive engagement so post when you’re likely to have the most users online. You may need to do some research on this first, but there are also some great infographics online that give you an indication. Our favourite is this one. Or to give a more specific indication, Facebook Analytics have some great indicative tools that let you know when your followers are most active.
You might want to research if there are any local hashtags that are in use in your area. In Wakefield and in the surrounding areas there are useful hashtags that are in use at certain times of the week where local businesses can connect and network with each other. We use some of these ourselves, including #WakefieldHour and #YorkshireHour.
The point of having an editorial calendar is to plan and schedule social posts a few weeks in advance, and in other circumstances you could plan months in advance.
One problem that does arise with this is that news and industry updates can become out-dated very quickly. If you specifically reference an article that you want to post in a few months, make sure it’s evergreen content. Evergreen content is basically content that does not go out of date too soon and will appear quite timeless.
Or alternatively, check everything a few days in advance. An editorial calendar is not a concrete document that you have to strictly adhere to, it’s a guideline. So make last minute changes if you want. Switch articles around if they become inappropriate or outdated.
There are many tools online to help with creation of an editorial calendar (for both social media and content marketing) but most of these are to aid big companies who have lots of social profiles and many followers. If you’re just starting out and want to explore the benefits that social planning will give you, then you can’t beat the simplicity of Microsoft Excel!
Image Credits: Sumall