When you’re running a business and you have so many moving pieces, scheduling your tweets seems like the last thing on your priority list, #AmIRight? But with social media being increasingly important for promoting your business, driving traffic to your website or blog, and creating loyalty and connection with your followers, it can make your life easier if you have a plan!
SMART Goals for Social Media
Any good plan starts with goals, and so I apply that to social as well. I start with SMART goals and ask myself, what am I looking to accomplish with my social media efforts? A SMART goal is defined as one that is specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time-bound. For example a SMART social media goal might look like: Increase engagement on Instagram from 3% to 5% by January 2018. If you’re planning quarter by quarter, aim to have 3 social media smart goals. They can be 3 that are focused on one channel or one goal for each channel.
I like using SMART goals, because they are already binding you to think about analytics and measuring the results of your plan. They also force you to look at your baseline, and audit where you are currently in order to create a measurable goal.
Social Media Audits
After you’ve done an audit of your social channels and have set your goals, you can get to the meat of your plan–the content! Let’s take my Instagram goal for example. I want to increase engagement, so I am going to look at what tactics I can implement to get me to that goal. I will probably start by looking at new market research that has come out on best practices for Instagram. Then I’ll start mapping out a content plan that is focused on engagement.
Batch Planning your Social Media
For busy entrepreneurs I recommend planning out your social content one month at a time if you can. I like to follow the 5:3:2 rule when it comes to content. What that means is that for every 10 posts, 5 should be curated content from other sources that are relevant to your audience, 3 should be content you’ve created that’s relevant to your audience, and 2 should be personal, fun content that humanizes your brand to your audience.
Some examples of topics that can help you decide what to post are: Events you are attending or speaking at, seasonal posts (pumpkin spice lattes anyone?), articles you’ve read or written, fellow entrepreneurs or businesses you want to show support to, posts that drive to your blog or website (think infographics and images that provide value), tips and advice you have, and even posts about your food (who doesn’t love a good foodie post?).
When you are building your calendar of posts, start with the things you know you need to get out that month. Maybe even start by identifying a theme you are going to work around. That will probably be made up of your created content. Then move on to the curated content. Be sure they are in line with content your audience is consuming. Then even out the calendar with some fun, personal posts.
Tools for Managing Social Media on Your Time
Now that you’ve planned out your content, you should identify a few tools that can help you schedule, manage and post content all in one place! Everyone is different when it comes to how they organize and manage their content, so you should figure out what your style is. Some people like to have a physical calendar that they can write on and then input it into a scheduling tool, while others prefer to go digital and plan and schedule out their content online.
I do recommend scheduling out as much content as you can. That way, even if you’re having a busy day and forget to share your latest blog article, you can rest assured that it will get posted. For channels like Instagram, where you do have to post it live, an app like Planoly can keep you updated on what needs to go out and when. Otherwise tools like Sprout Social, Hootsuite and Tailwind, allow you to schedule out your posts and monitor the activity and metrics associated with them.
With the right organization and tools, you can run your business and stay on top of your social media game!