Social media is a constantly-evolving marketing medium that keeps us on our toes. We have to monitor our platforms regularly and ensure we’re aware of who is interacting with our posts and who is posting great content that we should share with our followers. We have to stay on top of trends that emerge within the current platforms and new ones entering the arena. At times, this can be challenging, but the advantages of a positive social media presence far outweigh any negatives.
I manage our social media marketing at ConvergenceCoaching, including curating the content for our posts and making the actual posts to our platforms. If your firm hasn’t already, you should appoint one person as a central point to manage your social media activities to maintain a regular presence in your networks and to avoid confusion internally regarding who is posting and when. To maintain a consistent and valuable presence in our social networks, there are a number of best practices that I follow and I thought you might benefit from learning more about them. And, I’d love to hear any processes you follow that you think could enhance what we’re doing, too.
Planning posts with a social media calendar
Organizing and planning posts by week makes managing our social media easier to wrap my head around because otherwise, it can feel like an open-ended universe of possibilities that can make it hard to know where to start (or stop). Having a weekly calendar also will prevent you from scrambling to post something after a few days of silence.
I use an Excel spreadsheet and list the post date in one column and the content we plan to post in another column. If you prefer a calendar visual format, Microsoft Word has templates you can download. Start scheduling your posts first by scheduling in time-sensitive content – like specific announcements your firm plans on a specific date, or blogs you plan to post on a specific date. Then, fill in the calendar with other content that is more “did you know” and less date specific.
For example, if your firm contributed news or an article to a publication, find out the expected publication date and plan to post a link back to the article on the day it’s published if at all possible. If your firm is offering an educational seminar or a networking event, work backwards from the day of the event and plan one or two posts to let your networks know about the event and why they would be interested and how to register or attend. After you’ve planned your time-sensitive posts, other articles you find interesting can be planned as supplemental posts for other days.
As mentioned above, your easiest posts to identify are those that are time-sensitive. These are things like firm news, firm mentions in other publications, a recurring blog, events, recruiting announcements, employee accomplishments, special promotions as well as external news or events your firm wants to share (i.e. industry surveys for your network to participate in). I work hard to keep these posts concise and make sure to include necessary information for the reader to accomplish the call to action. If you want your readers to attend your event, let them know the date, time and location and include the link for them to register or find more information. If you want them to read your blog, provide a short, attention-grabbing intro to the blog post’s subject and the link to read further.
The more challenging content to find and share is the “other stuff” that isn’t necessarily in your face. I recommend you set up Google Alerts for key words that can get you specific content that your readers will appreciate. Examples of shareable content you may encounter include industry-related statistics or benchmarks, client or prospect-related news or articles, and community events and happenings. We find a lot of good articles and information through associations we belong to and industry publications to which we subscribe. You can also share information about your firm’s products and services, but do so sparingly and with strategic intention so as not to come off as “selling” to your networks.
When someone on our team reads an interesting article or finds out about something that would be of value to our social media networks, they’ll email me about it and provide me with the link to the information. I will then look at our social media calendar to see when I can slot it in to share with our readers. Encourage team members at your firm to do the same and you’ll be less likely to search for content as often and more likely to have a wider variety of content coming from many resources.
Tips for efficiency
- Determine a goal number of posts per week you’d like to make. This helps you maintain a recurring presence within your networks and keeps you accountable for finding and sharing valuable content. Our current goal is at least one social media post to our various platforms and we post a new blog once per week, on Wednesdays.
- Use a social media calendar to plan posts at least two weeks in advance. This allows you to plan ahead enough to gather any additional content you may need for your post, like a graphic or approval of a quote but is short-term enough to keep your social media content up-to-the-minute fresh, which is critical.
- Consider scheduling your posts with a social media management tool like HootSuite or SproutSocial. These tools allow you schedule your posts for a certain day or time (helpful when you want to post but know you’ll be at a conference or away from your computer!) and edit the specific post as needed in relation to the platform. For example, Twitter will need posts that are 140 characters or less, while Google+ posts encourage content that is valuable to the reader and can be of greater length. There are free and paid tools for you to choose from and many offer analytical insight into the success and reach of your posts.
- Encourage your team members to get involved with social media. If your firm is celebrating a milestone, has an announcement or is currently recruiting for an open position, consider writing a suggested social media post and share it with your employees so they may choose to post on their personal pages if they wish. Also, sharing pictures of team outings or volunteering events with your networks is a good way to get in front of your network and apply a personal and human touch to your online presence. Also, for your most social-media savvy leaders, consider giving them administrator access to your various sites and share the calendar with them. Then, they can post other independent thoughts, quotes or other ideas they have to supplement your already well-planned content calendar.
Is your firm active in social media? What struggles do you find posting to your social media sites or engaging with your followers? What tips do you have for making social media more beneficial for your network and your firm? Share with me in the comments box below, I’d love to hear from you!
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