One thing I have learned along the way is the importance of having a PLAN with your social media posts.
I used to just fly by the seat of my pants each morning, and figure out what I was going to post that day as it came. But then, I realized that it was actually taking WAY more time and energy to operate this way than if I just took the time to sit down and make a plan beforehand!
Not to mention that there was always a constant, low-grade stress about this portion of my job. Not having a plan and constantly having to search for one is anything but relaxing!
After a lot of experimentation, I have found what I like to do best. I PLAN out my schedule for the month, and then BE FLEXIBLE as I go.
You can read more about the balance between those 2 in this post here.
But for now, I am going to share with you the process of planning 1 month of social media posts at a time.
1. Set aside a time where you can focus for a couple of hours.
This time should be at least 2 weeks before a new month begins. This will allow you time to plan the month, give it some detailed thought, and act on any necessary assignments before the month begins.
Plus, it allows you to be actually planned ahead! (No more low-grade daily stress for you!)
2. Collect your necessary tools for the planning session.
- You will need calendar to use.
If you like to access your plans online, pull up Google Calendar and plug in post ideas.
If you are like me, and just like having paper and pen in hand, print out a month’s calendar to use.
One of my favorite ways to do this is with the Living Well Planner.
This is one of the most detailed planners out there. I like to use the month pages to sketch out my social media post ideas, and then break down assignments for each of them in the daily pages. (We will talk about that process in a minute).
- Collect up any details about coming promotions for your business.
Do you have details in emails? Pull those up, or print them out.
Do you need to find out any dates/ details before you plan? Make the calls or send the emails and get the details.
Do you have blog posts planned to go live? Pull up that calendar or print it out.
Will there be a sale in your business? Write down the details and dates.
Basically, anything that will be going on in your business next month – have the details and dates on hand.
- Pull up a holiday and National Hashtag calendar.
It’s always a great idea to tie into things that are trending on social media, and holidays and popular hashtags fit the bill! Here’s a great hashtag calendar that you can check out. Pull it up, or look through it and highlight hashtags that your business could tie into on that day.
- Create the environment.
This may sound cheesy, but it’s really not! What will help you to think best? What environment will make you relaxed and ready to create?
Think through WHERE you want to be: At home? Outside? At the coffee shop?
Think through WHO will be around: While your kids are at school? Do you need to be alone? Or does the hustle and bustle of a public place inspire you?
Think through WHAT the environment will be like: Would you like music? A pleasant candle? The window open? Good coffee?
3. Start planning out your month’s calendar!
- First – Put your business’s big promotions on the calendar. These are the primary things you are promoting throughout the month. Do you have a new product coming out? A book launch? Will there be a big contest or giveaway?
Put several posts about each promotion on your calendar. (if you are writing, use a pencil! Because you may be changing things up as you go.)
If you have blog posts scheduled, now is a time to sketch out a social media post about each of them. You could plan a link to the post, a snippet or quote, or some way to tease out the content that people will find on your blog.
- Second – Make sure you have a healthy rotation of your pillar ideas for your business.
There are several key truths about your business that you need everyone to know. These are the things that set you apart from your competition, and that you need to be communicating regularly. (read more about determining what those are for your business here.)
Plan several posts throughout the month that are in line with these pillar ideas.
Tip: There are several ways to post about your pillar content.
For example, if one of your pillars is that you purchase your supplies locally, you could post about that in a few ways.
Idea #1 – Create a post that is a photo of one of your suppliers that you purchase from, introducing them to your audience.
Idea #2 – Show a photo of your finished product, listing what local supplies you used to make the product.
Idea #3 – Ask your audience for local supplier suggestions, since that it important to your business.
All three of these post ideas communicate your pillar truth without having to say, “This is important to us.” This allows you to communicate the same pillar ideas regularly, but still keep the posts fresh and unique.
- Third – Plug in some posts about events, topics, or days that are coming that your audience would be interested in.
How can you post in a way that is in line with those things? Example: If you know your audience would be really into National Selfie Day, how can you tie into those hashtags? Could you make a contest around it? At the very least, YOU could post a selfie and participate!
- Fourth – If you have open spots left on your calendar, head to this post for a list of great general social media post ideas. Pick a few and plug them in.
4. Make assignments
Here’s where you get detailed. After you have your monthly social media sketched out, it’s time to break it down into some action steps. If you have a team or an assistant, now’s the time to give them some assignments.
Who will be taking any necessary photos?
Who will be scripting out your live videos?
Who will be creating event pages?
Who will be making graphics?
What emails do you need to send?
What phone calls do you need to make?
All 3 of these are relatively simple tools for managing things among teams. (My husband and I even use Wunderlist for family things, and it works perfectly!)
Bonus Step: Start creating posts
After you’ve made assignments, technically your planning session is done! If you still have some time, you can move on to this step. If not, this will be where you pick back up another day.
This is where you start going through your assignments and start getting the posts complete and actually scheduled into each social media platform.
Find a way to check off posts in your calendar as you get them done. For example, you could change the color of the item on Google Calendar. Or if you are using a planner, you could simply cross it off. (Crossing things off with a pen and paper is one of the most satisfying things! Anyone else??)
TIP: I have found that it saves the MOST time to create posts that are alike all at once. It’s tempting to just start working through your month in order, which is fine. But for maximum efficiency, work on posts that are alike at the same time.
For example: If you are posting about your new book 4 times that month, write all 4 posts at once. You are in the same photos/ videos folders so there’s no searching around. And also, it’s easier to make sure each of the posts has some variety and doesn’t sound the same as the others.
At this point, you have a month of post ideas planned out, assignments made (so that these incredible plans actually happen!), and you’ve started working on the posts themselves.
I guarantee that you will feel much better waking up each morning knowing that your posts are planned and scheduled for the day.
Instead of stressing about it, have an extra cup of coffee!