NCET helps you explore business and technology
By Patrick McFarland
So, you’re running a business and finally using social media to market your products or services. You’ve got your upcoming event posted on Facebook, you put out a few how-to videos on YouTube, you even posted a nice product shot on Instagram and picked up a new customer!
Whether your social media strategy is to increase brand awareness, inform potential customers of your services, build your audience, or to generate sales leads, you need to organize your efforts to maximize your results. You wouldn’t plan a big family vacation around the world without creating an itinerary, would you? Of course not, and you shouldn’t be using social media without a coordinated schedule either.
You’re busy running your business, but in order to succeed with your social media strategy, you need to post on a consistent basis and keep your audience engaged—and a content calendar will help you accomplish that. So, how do you get started?
The first step is choosing a platform for your shiny new calendar. Microsoft Excel is a great place to start, or if Google is your jam, try Google Sheets/Google Calendar. There are also several free online organizational tools like Evernote and Trello, that are highly recommended. Or if you have the need and the budget, more robust tools like SproutSocial or CoSchedule are available.
With a platform in place, the next step is to organize your content into categories and get started on the path to social media scheduling nirvana. Here are a few that everyone can use regardless of service or product:
- Brand Awareness/Promotional: Sell your service, offer a deal, talk about your next event, etc.
- Conversation Starter: Post a timely news article, offer your thoughts and ask your audience theirs.
- Educational/Informational: Establish your expertise and give your audience useful and educational information.
- Fun/Entertainment: Why not be the first one to share that funny meme or crazy cat video?
- Inspirational/Motivational: Drop a motivational quote, recommend a good book or share your favorite healthy recipe.
Next, build out a simple template for each of your social media posts. There are a lot of options but let’s start with these key tabs:
- Publish Date: When the post is scheduled to go live.
- Post Title: Title of the post. (duh)
- Information: Main content of the post.
- Social Network: Which social media network you will post this on.
- Category: The category of the post.
- Media: Photo, video, graphic, etc.
- Approval: Have a system for proofing and approval before posting!
Lastly, brainstorm with your team and come up with some amazing topics and ideas to fill in your content calendar. All done? Great, now unleash your newfound organizational skills and social media focus on the world! I can’t wait to check out your “New Product Monday” or “Featured Customer Friday” posts. Good luck, and happy (organized) posting!
Patrick McFarland is Director of Marketing at ITS Logistics (www.its4logistics.com) and NCET’s VP of Creative Services. NCET is a member-supported non-profit that produces educational and networking events to help people explore business and technology.