You simply can’t do social media on the fly and do it well; it takes some planning and preparation to create good campaigns with good content that will get results. It isn’t an impossible task, though, and can be a lot of fun, especially when you are working on your own business and figuring out what it is about you that your fans just love and want more of.
You’ve heard this before from me and now you are hearing it again (and no doubt you’ll hear it in the future). Adhere to the 80/20 rule. Make 80% of your tweets, posts, and updates about just anything except selling. You can pick out your best attributes – do you have a killer sense of humor or are you the best at picking out color palettes or patterns in a scene? Is your staff so awesome that you want to have an entire category on the people who make up your company? Is your brand connected to social causes or a larger organization or activity that you can post about (hiking if you are an outdoor retailer, for example). Do you have behind the scenes activities (photo shoots or product production) you can highlight without giving away all your trade secrets? These are the types of posts that will get people interested in you and your brand. Sneak previews, photos of the office dog(s), what’s happening in your neighborhood. The list can be endless, really.
I often compare it to good cocktail party fodder. To engage at a party it helps to know a little about a lot – recent football or hockey scores, current events, the latest viral YouTube video. Your social media content should also be varied – and once you figure out what you’re going to use for that 80%, you can start plugging it into a spreadsheet (or what is known as a social media content calendar). You’ll determine how many times a day or week you will be posting for each social media platform you are on, and on your spreadsheet pencil in the topics & times. Or, if you are super-organized and feeling productive, go ahead and write up those tweets and posts. Gather your images into a handy folder. That way, all you have to do when it is time to post is copy and paste and link.
You can make up your own content calendar or find templates here and here and here. I like the last one, from hubspot, and I keep it on google drive so that I can share it with other members of my team. It really doesn’t matter which one you use as long as it becomes a tool that is useful to you. Whenever you sit down to work on your social media campaign, you open up that spreadsheet and use it. Update it frequently.
Save archives – you can update and reuse them. Remember, your network is always growing and changing. Your current audience doesn’t see every post you make, and your new followers haven’t seen anything you’ve posted in the past. You will eventually get to the point where you are creating new content and recycling older but still relevant (evergreen) content on all your social media platforms. And then? Oh happy day! Social media will become manageable. You’ll spend more time interacting with your fans and followers and less time on creating new content (although you will still want to create new content – since fresh is where it’s at in social).
In short, spending a little time to set up your content and a calendar will start to pay off in many ways. You’ll end up with a good variety of material, a schedule that you can live with, and a library of original content that you can use alongside the current content you are producing.
Now, get to it! And call me if you need help.