Social media, that’s just 140 characters, right? Easy!
Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Social media is a lot more than writing a tweet. It’s knowing how your audience is going to react before they do. It’s not just knowing what to say, it’s knowing when and how to say it. A good social media manager will back every single one of those 140 characters with experience and research.
But when we’re so pressed for time, as digital marketing professionals often are, it’s easy to simply write your posts and move on with your day without dedicating the time necessary to build an effective social media content strategy.
So we’re going to break down how, in just one hour a day, you can create the foundations of a solid social media content strategy.
Monday: Streamline your content sources
Part of your job as a social media manager is to establish your brand as an expert in your field by sharing diverse, stimulating content that expands beyond your own website. Unless you want to spend your entire day on Google, you’ll need a steady stream of content you can quickly review and push out.
I just started using Feedly and my only regret is not signing up months ago. Feedly is like an RSS feed on steroids. You can add all your frequently visited blogs and websites to your personal content feed, and divide it into as many categories as you want. Feedly will then display articles in a visceral, magazine format (or a list, or cards – whatever you want) for a more relaxing reading experience.
You can directly post articles to your social feeds, bookmark them to read or share later, or, with a premium account, send them to Buffer, Hootsuite, Pocket and more.
And don’t forget to add at least one feed for social media industry resources to stay on top of trends and updates. Externally you need to be an expert in your brand – but internally you need to be an expert on social media.
There are ebbs and flows (thankfully) for any brand, which means there are bound to be days when you have no new content or updates to share. However, these slow days can become some of the strongest in terms of your social media content strategy. This is, simply, because you have a chance to polish and repurpose your strongest content so it’s ready to go in pristine condition.
First, identify high-performing pages on your website, blog posts or videos that are “evergreen,” or are not time sensitive (so not breaking news). Save them in an Excel document or in a spreadsheet on Google Drive. Document the last date they were posted on social media, and to which channels.
Then, think about different angles you could tackle. For example, this feature on myths about women and girls on CARE’s website always performs well with our social media audience. It premiered in 2011, but over the years, we continue to promote it in a number of ways. Sometimes we’ll highlight that it’s a top 10 list, while other times we’ll focus on individual myths or stories.
Basically, you want to keep an ongoing list of content that’s guaranteed to do well because it’s done well before. And, it’s always an advantage to have content ready to go when there’s no new content available, or other priorities or time off prohibit you from posting on your normal schedule.
Wednesday: Identify your influencers, peers and competitors
Your influencers aren’t going to raise their hands to let you know that they’re among the upper echelon of your social connections (ok, some might). You may never even realize that some of them are following you. Maybe they’ve been using the retweet button so you’ve missed them in your mentions, or maybe they haven’t been properly engaged at the level they’re used to. Either way, it’s a missed opportunity if you don’t identify them ASAP.
Use tools like Followerwonk or SocialRank to identify your most engaged and most influential followers on Twitter. Then, add them to a private Twitter list titled “Outreach.” Add this list to a Hootsuite stream and keep it open on your desktop all day so you can watch for opportunities to engage this high value audience.
You should also create lists of your competitors and peers, and stream them on Hootsuite as well. This will help you get an idea of best social media practices for your industry. Plus, you won’t have to worry about missing the boat on important conversations your brand can contribute to.
You need to figure out what success looks like for your brand on social media. Before you start plugging in numbers, take an hour to figure out which metrics you’re going to track and where you’ll get your data. How frequently will you pull the numbers? Who needs to see them and how often?
This post will get you started on tracking social media metrics over time. It includes a downloadable social media analytics template.
Friday: Look at all the pretty pictures
Photos and graphics are a crucial part of any social media content strategy. Some brands have a constant stream of photos of their services, work or products, while others rely heavily on stock images. Regardless, use today’s hour to organize them.
Arrange them in folders on your desktop or Dropbox by topic. Add textual overlays and your logo. Purchase those stock photos and save them for later, or download free images at freedigitalphotos.net or from Flickr’s Creative Commons collection. (Visit here for a comprehensive list of free and low cost stock photo sources).
Not only will you have easy access to an appropriate photo for your next post (rather than settling for second best to save time), but you’ll familiarize yourself with the collection so you can spend less time browsing overall.
Saturday: Have a beer
Seriously, you deserve it.
Sunday: Get your playlists ready for the week
With all those lists and feeds you created for your social media content strategy, you’re going to have a lot to read tomorrow. Plus you have to write the day’s posts. This job is exhausting.
Luckily, as the digital expert you are, you have accounts on Spotify and Pandora, among others. Use the last light of your weekend, and the last hour of your 7 day boot camp to put together playlists of those jams that relax you, motivate you or just make you look busy enough to keep the office gossip away from your desk.
Oh, and get some rest. Did we forget to mention that?