Before you can create a content calendar, you need to understand what you can handle based on resources and time available to your team. This is the foundation stage for assembling a social media plan.
Strategizing, creating, and distributing content for a multi-platform social media presence can be chaotic. And to be honest, it always kind of is a tad crazy just due to:
- The sheer volume of content to produce
- The fact you, your team, and your business are constantly evolving
But it doesn't need to be impossible to manage. The key is finding a flexible middleground to create structure yet still allow for the flexibility to pivot quickly.
In fact, I don't believe in mapping out everything in your social media plan a full year ahead. Only a few things like major campaigns around a launch or holidays are planned far in advance. My personal and professional opinion is too much structure creates strategic and creative roadblocks when it comes to assembling and following a social media plan. Content is a fast-paced growing ecosystem. A post can become irrelevant if it takes too much time to go through processes and departmental approvals.
So to map out your starting starting point for your social media plan you'll need to ask yourself the following.
How Much Can Your Social Media Team Handle?
If content as a whole is brand-new for your team, start a notch below of whatever you assume is probably easy to handle. You don't know what expectations to have until you're truly in it. Same goes for you if you're a solopreneur. But if you have an experienced team member helping you with social media - run with their judgement of what's realistic.
It's easy to think content creation is quick and easy. Just post it, right? But there's loads of work that goes in behind the scenes of social media to strategize, design, write, schedule, distribute, and analyze for every single platform. And this doesn't include the hours of community management and networking you need to invest in. If you're doing it right, you're actually spending more time nurturing connections rather than creating content. Good looking content and good information isn't enough to grow. Content is an experience that begins with human connection in every comment and private message you reply to or initiate.
Keep this in mind as a social media plan is not just the creative work alone but also the networking and analytical work.
Things to Consider for Your Social Media Plan
- How much time will you allot for social media work every day? Every week? Every month?
- What are everyone's strengths and weaknesses when it comes to social media? Based on this, will you need to outsource or delegate tasks?
- Do you already feel like you're drowning in content? If so, which platform is not providing an ROI so you can put that platform on hold?
Great content is not about being everywhere at the expense of consistency. Great content is about the experience you consistently provide to your audience. This is why it's better to be consistent with three posts a week rather than an unpredictable schedule you cannot maintain. How can you build a social media plan where you distribute your time and human resources to create maximum impact through your content efforts?
This now brings us to selecting the social platforms you'll be on.
Which Social Media Platforms Do You Need to Be On?
It's great to be everywhere online. But it's not a realistic starting point for most brands. Instead, set realistic expectations for a sustainable social media plan. For example, a musician might find YouTube and TikTok to be ideal for them due to the nature of these platforms. Being on more than two platforms might prove to be overwhelming. And not keeping up would disappoint their fans on those platforms.
Things to Ask Yourself or Your Team
- Which platforms are a major opportunity for us?
- Are there any platforms that are particularly useful to facilitate our goals?
Maximize Social Media Efforts by Repurposing Content
Content doesn't need to be 100% brand-new for each platform. The key is to repurpose and distribute content to multiple platforms. Once you have the platforms you'll use in mind, take some time to think how they can work seamlessly together as part of your multi-platform social media plan.
- YouTube channel whose audio feeds into a podcast
- Instagram account whose IGTV's and stories are repurposed for TikTok.
- Podcast with blog show notes and Pinterest pins to drive traffic
Look at competitors. Take note of content that does and doesn't get high engagement for them. This will give you ideas of formats you can try for each platform to recreate success but in your own style.
Create a Workflow for Your Social Media Plan
Think about what goes into everything from idea to creation to publication. Jot down the steps you normally take to bring an idea to life. Now you have a visualization of your process. You can have different workflows for different platforms or even different types of content within a platform.
For example, here's my process when I write a blog:
- Publish blog
- Rework copy into a caption
- Organize text into 10 slides for an Instagram carousel micro-blog
- Design graphics for each slide
- Perform hashtag research and place inside caption
- Schedule post on Later
- Share PDF version to LinkedIn
If you haven't created content before with your team (or solo) just begin. With time you'll begin to piece together what your process looks like. This will also help you realize what you need to delegate or outsource.
What are you not good at or don't like doing?
I'm great at...
- Mapping out social media strategies
- Being the face and voice of my video content
- Writing stories for my post captions
But I don't need to do these things myself like...
- Design graphics
- Run hashtag research
- Distribute the content
Let's Put It All Together
At this point you should now have a good visualization of the following:
- The resources and time available to you so you know who does what and what needs to be outsourced (or a new position created).
- Which platform(s) you'll be starting your social media plan with and how often you will post.
- Types of content you'll make and ways you can repurpose and distribute it.
- Your step-by-step process to use as framework for your team
Before I end this, I want to emphasize how you should expect change to happen even once you've created your initial process. Change is a normal part of life, business, and especially in social media content where trends are born every day. Think of your social media and it's processes as living breathing organisms that adapt alongside you and your team.
If you enjoyed this blog, these articles bel0w will help you build on this lesson.