By now you understand that you should be posting to your brand's social media with purpose and strategy. Once you've determined what that strategy is, the next step is to plan out your content. Posting to your brand's account shouldn't be "when I have time between customers today" or "in the morning while I'm still laying in bed". Trust me, I've been there and I've heard it all!
Before the days of social media scheduling platforms, there was no such thing as a break from social media. I still have stress dreams every once and a while that I forgot to post that day. I'm sure you know the kind... Like, the ones where you get to class realizing you forgot to study for a test or you forgot to greet a table in your section. Thankfully, while I may still have those dreams I can go back to sleep relaxed knowing that my content is planned and scheduled out, this way I can give more attention to the other stressors that come with running a business.
It pains me to see small business owners and people running their own personal brands still managing their social media like this. When there's no planning behind an account it shows, not to mention the added stress of "finding" something to post each day. By creating a social media content calendar and scheduling your social media posts in advance, you'll find you save a lot more time each day and eliminate unnecessary stress.
Building Your Social Media Content Calendar
A social media content calendar can come in many shapes and sizes. There are plenty of ways in which you can approach your content calendars. From spendier platforms such as Sprout Social and Hootsuite to free platforms you're likely already familiar with such as Excel and Google Calendar, or you can even jot down a posting schedule on one of those paper desk calendars or planners. When choosing how you approach your content calendars, the number one thing you should focus on first is determining a process that works best for you. You want to find something that is easy for you and your team to use and refer to on a regular basis. As long as your planning your content, there really is no right or wrong way on how you do it.
For our team, we have found that we prefer to use Asana's calendar feature or we create a Google calendar for each client where we note campaign dates, holidays, ongoing specials, etc. Once we've completed this rough draft, we then go back to our client or discuss internally and review the content calendar together to make any final adjustments, such as changes to campaign suggestions or new specials we haven't been made aware of yet. After we have a clear idea of what the next month of posting will consist of, we move on to the creative planning process.
The creative planning process involves a detailed list of the content we will need to create in order to move on to the final step, which is scheduling out the content on a scheduling platform. Again, rather than snapping photos and videos or creating Canva graphics spur of the moment this is all prepared and planned in advance based on strategy, current social trends, and, of course, the content calendar. You may also already have a large selection of photos and videos to choose from, which is always helpful! Use those where you can and take note of the content you will need to capture and create in order to successfully execute your content calendar.
Scheduling Your Social Media Posts
The final step of social media content planning is to schedule your posts. During this step is when you need to focus on writing engaging captions to go with the creative images, videos, and graphics you've curated, in addition to scheduling your posts for optimal posting times based on your social media marketing strategy. For scheduling, we use a hybrid of Sprout Social and Creator Studio, Facebook's free scheduling platform for Facebook and Instagram. Once we've completed this step we not only double, but triple check to ensure there are no spelling and grammar errors, we didn't miss any important details, or we didn't accidentally schedule a post at a weird time or something. This step is extremely crucial because there's nothing that stresses you out more than finding a major error in a post an hour after it was posted.