Starting on the right step is necessary for any social media campaign. But before you take any actions, you must develop a social media planner that will help guide you to success and consistency on social media.
To help our fellow social media managers and marketers, we have developed a guide to creating a social media planner.
Choose Your Platform
Choosing a suitable medium is the first step towards creating a social media schedule and planner. Microsoft Excel is our preferred program, but Google Sheets and Pages might be better for you. For a comprehensive social media planner, we recommend that you choose something easy for everyone to follow visually and also software that allows for further enhancements later on. In addition, your planner should be friendly even to those not adding to it, such as your directors or agencies you are collaborating with.
Find a Way To Share It
This might seem basic, but sharing a planner document with your team can be a moderately obscure issue, especially if you have a complex hierarchy and structure. Email is the go-to for many, but what if they miss it? Open it and forget it? There are many solutions to this problem, including using a shared cloud drive for many people’s documents. A company dropbox account or a Notion account could be a good option.
Select Your Goals
Every social media planner should contain goals and objectives. These can include vanity metrics such as views but should also have goals such as leads created and eCommerce orders. All goals should be time tracked, measurable, relevant, and specific. For example, naming a goal ‘Gain more views’ has no apparent objective. If you’re hoping for an increase, you’re more than likely to achieve that goal. But, you should set specific goals such as ‘Convert 150 (20%) more orders through Instagram in Q2.
Here are some possible goals you may select:
- Increase engagement by 20% in Q1
- Have a 100% response rate via all channels
- Drive 100 leads to our website
- Build a community of 1000
Develop a SWAT Analysis
Your social media objectives and goals should utilise the technique of SWAT (Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.) By understanding all the dangers you may face with your social media objectives, you’ll know how you can avoid them and thus make notes and preparation in advance if something occurs. For example, if you run a risky ad campaign throughout your Instagram, you might face backlash from your followers. Through a SWAT analysis, you will understand that the potential for a backlash exists, and therefore, you will develop a plan B to avoid it or a plan on how you will handle the social media crisis that may come your way.
Create a Competitor Social Media Audit
To grow your social media channels, you must also identify your main competitors. To understand who you are competing with, you need to research their campaigns and understand their engagement rates. Your competitors may be missing opportunities that you can leverage by offering something they don’t provide their audience.
These are some things you should know about your competitors:
- Understand their strengths & weaknesses
- Their USP & your USP
- Their content creation time schedule
- Their most and least engaged content
Create a Social Media Audit for Your Channels
Knowing information about competitors is excellent, but you need to know what works on your end too. So, develop a comprehensive social media audit that includes your content, top content, low-performing content, copy, imagery, and metrics such as conversions, reach, clicks, and more. You should be able to understand why your content did well and why it underperformed.
Your social media audit should also help you understand which social media is being used by your audience. This knowledge will help you push that platform further with your new social media plan. All social media planners should weigh heavier on platforms that produce effective results. Thus, don’t focus on all social media platforms equally, which will hurt your productivity and efficiency. Work smarter, not harder.
Lastly, analyse imagery and copy throughout each platform. This step is more specific to descriptions and profile pictures used on all platforms. Make sure your descriptions match and fit the goals of your company. Also, double-check any hyperlinks. You don’t want to miss out on potential customers by leading them to the wrong website or 404 page.
Develop a Style Guide
You should develop a design guide if you haven’t yet, better known as a style guide. The guide should include fonts, colours, logos, shades, imagery, image sizes and templates to make your work faster.
Your style guide doesn’t have to be made in the same software as your planner; it can be made in various apps such as Adobe Photoshop, PowerPoint or even Word.
Remember: Style guides can go beyond design and include language that people in your company should use and shouldn’t use.
Create a Calendar
Finally, we are getting to the fun stuff, the social media calendar. At Talks, we prefer to divide content calendars by each quarter and then sub-divide them by each month, week and day. However, for every company, it’s different. For example, you may want to plan everything weekly and have 52 tabs for each week or have a specific schedule for every day of the year.
As part of your content calendar, make sure to set specific content for each social media channel. Each channel should include unique identifiers and content pieces that relate to the goals you set for your social media.
We recommend creating SKU-type tags for goals and content. For example, if your goal is to gain 10,000 new followers on Facebook, a code like G10K might be used on all content related to that goal. This method will help you understand your progress internally in more depth and keep track of content posted when you are adding to your planner throughout the year.
Develop Content Ideas
After you have the primary calendar ready, you need to find content ideas to fill it with. Again, we recommend looking at previous content and finding brands that indeed gain success from their channels. There are a few questions we always ask ourselves before we make a piece of content. It would be best if you asked these too:
- What is the purpose of this content?
- Does it serve a purpose for my KPIs / goals?
- Do the copy and the image/video of the post fit within my brand?
- Should I include a CTA (Call to action)?
- Most importantly, why should my audience care for it?
Set Your Content Schedule
After your content calendar is set up, it’s time to set up your content schedule. Before you go crazy, we recommend only setting up the first quarter or first period of your social media content. We do this because you need to analyse each week, month and quarter. Your results will tell you which strategy changes you need to implement and how you should alter your content for the next period.
As part of your content schedule, make sure to have a clear separation between social media channels and types of content. We’d recommend using various colours and icons to make it look professional but also readable. Moreover, try minimising text by using keys and having more than enough space as crowded schedules look messy and unreadable to you and your colleagues.
Alter Your Social Media Planner & Rock the Social Media World
If you’re running with it and feel like your planner is at a ready-to-go stage, you should go with it. However, don’t forget to make changes to your planner as you progress through it. Not everything will work, and some strategies will have to be adjusted. While social media planners are great as proactive tools, they should easily be reactive to your schedule, company changes and goals. Not everything will go to plan, no matter how much time you plan it, so don’t be afraid to make changes. Psst… make sure to mention any changes you make within the file you are working on, as your co-workers will need to know.