With a lot of extra time on small business owners’ hands right now, I wanted to pull together a comprehensive resource on social media. Throughout the years, I’ve done many social media trainings. Of all of the questions I’ve received, this blog post covers all of the basics. If there are other questions you have, feel free to drop them in the comments below. Enjoy!
Social Media Content Calendar
When it comes to social media, content calendars are one of the first resource I introduce to clients. Content calendars are something I use with all of my clients, and they allow me to organize my posts and ideas, instead of scrambling to post last-minute each day.
Even better, this calendar allows you to schedule out your content each week so you can stay organized, save time, and get into a good groove.
So what is a content calendar? A content calendar is really just an organized calendar with topics to post about. What is it not? It’s not a library of all of your posts. That just means, the calendar is high level and doesn’t have to get into the weeds of things. You don’t need to include the caption of each individual post- those I create when I’m actually scheduling the posts. But you can include what types of posts you want to create each day.
This method helps save you time by having a gameplan going into the week. Instead of wondering what to post each day and spending time trying to locate a resource, you can simply whip out your calendar and get to writing.
I utilize a content calendar on a weekly basis, similar to this free download. I set aside one hour every Monday and get to work!
1.To start, I pull together a list of topics to post for every client. For you, this may look similar to the “content to share” section in the downloadable content calendar. It’s basically just big picture types of content you can share on your various platforms including employee spotlights, new projects, blog posts, announcements, any local press, and more. So sit down and write out 5-10 categories of posts.
2. Secondly, create your calendar. Here is also a blank version of the content calendar I created. If this method works for you, feel free to use it! If you’d prefer to set up an Excel spreadsheet with columns including the date, type of content you’re planning to share, any additional resources (such as photos, videos, or website links), and the platform you’re sharing the content on, that works, too. The real key to social media is finding a method that works for you.
Like so many things in life, there are a million ways to achieve the same end goal.
3. Next, begin filling out that calendar. What makes sense to post on what day? I try to keep in mind things like holidays, when blogs go live on your website, when news articles will be published, and general schedules of the audiences who are following each page. You may want to create “reoccurring posts” that go live on a specific day each week such as throwback Thursday posts (every Thursday) or quotes you might share each Sunday as “food for thought.”
4. Whatever your content calendar looks like, I usually aim to post 3-5 times per week on each platform, depending on the business and their industry. And remember, you don’t need to dominate every social media platform. Twitter, for example, is a great platform for quick updates. If you don’t plan on monitoring your Twitter page 24/7, you may not want to utilize this platform.
Here is a breakdown of some popular platforms:
- Facebook: great for company culture posts, a place where prospects look at your business reviews, and a wonderful platform for events.
- Instagram: very photo-centric, a great place to post short videos and updates, not the best platform to reference or add hyperlinks to.
- Twitter: great for short updates, very on-demand, a great platform for businesses to direct customer service inquiries to.
- LinkedIn: used for professional networking, a great place to highlight things happening in your business, you can pose thoughtful questions, ask for business input, and other business-related posts.
- YouTube: you should share all of your business videos on YouTube as it’s the largest video search engine. Utilize their options to add descriptions and keywords to all of your videos to help others easily find them via search.
Hashtags are talked about frequently but little description is often given. If you missed the boat on hashtags, sometimes you may feel too out of touch to ask questions about how they work. Lucky for you, here is the general breakdown.
A hashtag is a way for posts on social media to be connected and categorized. Similar to categories in blog posts, hashtags are used to identify keywords or phrases relating to a post. Hashtags are especially popular on Instagram and Twitter. To use a hashtag, you want to start your tags with the “#” symbol. Don’t include any spaces in each individual hashtag, but do add a space between each separate hashtag. For example, if you wanted to hashtag the words, work from home, remote work, and WFH (which is just the abbreviation for work from home), it would look like this: #WorkFromHome #RemoteWork #WFH.
Capital letters in hashtags don’t matter, but I recommend using them to help with readability. Capitalizing the first letter of each word in a phrase, such as #WorkFromHome is easier to read than keeping everything lowercase and writing #workfromhome. You also don’t want to use any special characters in a hashtag, but you can use numbers.
#WorkFromHome #2020BusinessTips #CompanyCulture
I usually use anywhere between 1-10 hashtags per post. If you use too many, your posts may start to look like spam and seem less trustworthy to your audience. If you use too few, you may miss out on the opportunity to connect with other posts or be seen by a larger audience.
So how do you know what to hashtag? Like lots of things, I recommend doing some research. Find an Instagram account you really love that is in your industry and check out the hashtags that they are using. You can search for specific hashtags, too, and see what relevant information comes up.
You want to use hashtags that are established, meaning there aren’t just one or two posts using it. In contrast, you also want to use hashtags that aren’t used too much. There is a balance when it comes to hashtags, as people may not search them if they’re obscure or unfamiliar but your posts may also get buried if too many other people are also using them.
Lastly, I recommend creating a branded hashtag, such as #FoxcrestMedia. Your branded hashtag can be utilized on any and all content you post, with discretion. The branded hashtag will link all of your content together for people who stumble across your profile or a phot but who may not already be following you. It’s easy for those people to find your hashtag and view all of your content in one easy place.
If you’re planning to kickstart your social media game, reputation management is an area we must discuss. Please understand that by using social media, you’re signing to your audience and community that you’re accessible and are wanting to create an environment on your platforms.
This means that when someone messages you on Facebook asking a question or comments on your Instagram with their own personal story, you need to respond. If you don’t people won’t trust your brand, they may unfollow you, and they certainly won’t turn to your social media as a tool in the future.
Like most businesses, with good responses and engaged customers also comes the few who can’t be pleased. If you receive a negative review online or a not so nice comment on social media, I encourage you to think of an appropriate response. Don’t allow your emotions to get the best of you.
Many studies actually show that businesses who receive at least one bad review are oftentimes viewed as more trustworthy than those who have all 5-star reviews. Why? Because potential customers will read those bad reviews and decide what the worst outcome could be. For many rational and understanding people, they see the comments which are genuine and those that look like someone was just having a bad day. They may think, “Wow if the worst thing that could happen is that company is 10 minutes late, I can deal with that.”
Put It All Together
So social media. Do you feel more comfortable yet? Above all else, remember that social media should be fun and is definitely a place to be real with your audience. If your goals are to develop valuable content that people want to engage with, then you’re already on the path to success.
If you have other questions, feel free to shoot me a message, and let me know what tips and tricks have worked best for you!