Start the New Year Off Right With an Easy and Doable Weekly Social Media Plan

Your Ideal Social Media Schedule

Did you meet your social media marketing goals for 2016? Or do you feel like you spent a lot of time on social media channels but just didn't make any headway? 

For many small business owners and solopreneurs, social media activities are just one more item on an already overflowing to do list—if they make it onto the list at all. Social media engagement then becomes ad hoc and reactive, which rarely leads to driving business results. 

Social media has the potential to be a significant business growth lever, but only if you make it a priority, and commit to using it consistently to build relationships with your existing customer base, and your ideal future customers. It's not enough to create an account on every new social media channel and wait for someone to engage you in conversation. To unlock social media's potential, you have to set goals for what you want to accomplish and align tactics to those goals and track as you make progress against them over time.

What is your reason for creating and maintaining your social media channels? Are those channels meant to drive direct sales, increase traffic to your website, build relationships, provide customer support, or all of the above? Once you determine the why behind each channel, you can set appropriate goals to track your progress towards that goal. For instance, if your goal is to increase traffic to your website, a measurement to track progress against that goal would be the number of clickthroughs on the URLs you are sharing or the amount of referring traffic from social media as recorded by your website analytics. 

Defining Your Ideal Weekly Social Media Schedule

Before you jump in and start making your plans for 2017, take some time today to reflect on what you accomplished (and what you didn't accomplish) with your social media activities last year, as it relates to your social media goals.

For the channels where you were on track with moving toward your goals, write down what worked well, and how frequently you deployed those tactics. For the channels where you were off the mark, what could you try doing differently? How could you change up the frequency of your activities? Take those lists, and make a chart on how you can chip away at those activities, one day at a time.

Sample Weekly Plan

In this example, the solopreneur planned to spend an hour per day on social media maximum, working his way through the daily activities, and holding himself accountable by tallying up his completed actions on a daily and weekly basis. 

Pew Internet Research to Help You Determine Your Ideal Social Media Content Scheduling

 In our example, more times was being spent cultivating followers and engaging with influencers than posting content, because that was aligned with his goals at the time. But how do PI_2016.11.11_Social-Media-Update_0-07 you know how often you should be posting to your social media channels? Although the answer depends on your specific audience, there are some general guidelines you can devise based on recent Pew Internet research on social media channel usage.

  • Facebook. With 76 percent of users visiting the site or using the app daily, you'll want to be present on Facebook daily if possible. Plus, since visual content memes move fast on Facebook, if you're checking in with your page and your followers less frequently, you may miss out on what could have been a great engagement opportunity. If you're sharing a viral video two weeks after it hit its peak, you're just not going to see a high level of engagement.
  • Instagram. Although half the regular users visit daily, a fourth visit only weekly, with another fourth less often than that. This means you'll want to focus on high-quality content that is relevant for a longer amount of time, and can get away with posting once or twice per week. Are there relevant weekly/recurring hashtags you can commit to posting content around? A regular #FlashbackFriday or #MotivationMonday post can become something your followers look forward to engaging with week-after-week.
  • Twitter. Although only 42 percent of regular twitter users surveyed visited twitter daily, the fast-moving new stream format of twitter means it's more important to understand when your customers are likely to be on, and to post content more frequently in an effort to reach them while they are active. And those less often than weekly users are frequently those who turn to twitter to discuss large-scale cultural events (like the World Series, the Oscars, etc.) and for news content. Don't be afraid to have a flurry of tweets associated with a relevant news topic—a frequency that could annoy your followers on another social channel can work well on twitter.
  • Pinterest. A fourth of Pinterest users said they used the site daily, with the largest group, at 43 percent, visiting the site less than once per week. Many Pinterest users chunk their time on the site, populating a board on a specific topic when it's relevant. For instance, spending time building a wedding-related board, curating holiday recipes and gift ideas, etc. As long as you aren't flooding the site with repeats of your pins, you can also batch your time on the site without fear of overwhelming your followers. However, if Pinterest is a significant direct sales driver for your organization, consider using an app like Tailwind to target the timing of your posts to when your best customers are most likely to be online.
  • LinkedIn. If your ideal buyer is in HR or sales, chances are they always have LinkedIn open on their computer or mobile device. But 82 percent of users visit the site weekly or less often. This means for more organizations, daily Linkedin posts are nice to have, but posting a few times per week is adequate. You won't want to repeat content links on this channel without switching out your images and writing new copy, otherwise, your infrequent user followers may unfollow you, feeling as though you are pushing your content and your company too hard.

Don't let social media be something you put on your "to do eventually" list for 2017. Take a few minutes now, and block time on your calendar every day to ensure you make the most of what social media has to offer for building the relationships that can grow your business.

 


December 19 Content Chat Recap: Our Year in Review

Erika Holiday Twitter #ContentChat

Content Chat 2016 Year in Review

This week we closed out our #ContentChat schedule for the year with a holiday GIF party, and sharing some of our favorite content from the past year. We'll be taking a holiday break from the chat for the next two weeks, and will be back on Monday, January 9.

Q1: What is your content super power?

 

Continue reading "December 19 Content Chat Recap: Our Year in Review" »


December 12 Content Chat Recap—Decoding the Top Secret Communications Formula: Content + Conversation = Community

Ken Twitter #ContentChat
Decoding the Top Secret Communications Formula: Content + Conversation = Community

This week #ContentChat was joined by chat regular Ken Gorden (@quickmuse) who shared why content and conversation are the keys to building a vibrant online—and offline—community. Not surprisingly, this chat featured a lot of conversation and resulted in a really long—and meaty—recap.

Q1: How do you define community?

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December 5 Content Chat Recap: 2017 Content Planning for Solopreneurs and SMBs

Berrak Twitter #ContentChat

2017 Content Planning for Solopreneurs and SMBs

This week, #ContentChat welcomed content marketing consultant Berrak Sarikaya sharing her tips for creating effective content plans for solopreneurs and owners of small and medium-size businesses (SMBs). 

Q1. Why do SMB owners and solopreneurs need a content plan? Doesn't it take more time than it's worth?

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Introducing the Content Chat Slack channel in the Spin Sucks Community!

Content Chat

That's right! We've created a place for #ContentChat regulars to keep the chat conversations flowing between chats! The #ContentChat channel in the

The #ContentChat channel in the Spin Sucks Community on Slack is your place to get the inside scoop on upcoming chat topics and questions, and access chat recaps and chat guests’  blog posts.

In addition to sharing news and content from Spin Sucks, the community also includes a job board where folks can post openings or note their availability for work and PR events networking.We're excited to provide a safe space for our awesome community of whip-smart comms pros a place where they could swap ideas and keep the Spin Sucks blog conversations going 24/7.

I hope to see you on Slack soon!


November 28 Content Chat Recap: Taking a Data-driven Approach to Your Content Planning Process

Allen Twitter #ContentChat

Taking a Data-driven Approach to Your Content Planning Process

This week we were joined by Allen Gannett, CEO of TrackMaven, who shared his perspectives on how to use data insights in your content marketing planning process. 

Q1: Why is it important to take a data-driven approach to your content planning?

 

 

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November 21 Content Chat Recap: Getting Started with Intelligent Content

Carrie Hane #ContentChat twitter

Getting Started with Intelligent Content

This week #ContentChat was joined by Carrie Hane (@carriehd) for a conversation around getting started with intelligent content.

Q1: What is intelligent content? 

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November 14 Content Chat Recap: How to Build Measurement Into Your Content Planning Process

Shonali Twitter #ContentChat
How to Build Measurement Into Your Content Planning Process

This week #ContentChat was joined by Shonali Burke (@shonali), who shared her tips for building measurement into your content planning process. We kicked the chat off with a quick poll to see how many of our participants had started on their 2017 content planning:

Q1: Why should we be thinking about measurement when planning our content?

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Your Lack of Social Media Guidelines is Killing Your Employee Advocacy Program

Social media guidelines

Why You Need Social Media Guidelines

Over the past two months, between attending Content Marketing World and MarketingProfs B2B forums, I’ve had a number of conversations with marketers who are working on launching or revamping an employee advocacy program. Most of these conversations centered around finding ways to gamify and incentivize employees to share company content, or finding tools to make it easier for employees to automatically share content to their social networks.
 
Although these are important considerations to take into account in building an effective employee advocacy program, they don't address one of the primary reasons that employees aren’t sharing about their employers on social media—they’re simply not clear on what’s allowed.
 
You may think that your intentions are obvious when it comes to encouraging employee social
engagement. But recent research from Bambu by Sprout Social found one of the most common obstacles that businesses are facing is hesitation from employees. Specifically, 77.3% of those surveyed don’t feel encouraged to share company news on social media. The survey further found that employees aren’t sharing because they don’t know if their company is OK with them sharing news.
 
Having well-defined social media guidelines in place, and including social media training in new employee onboarding is a prime way to fix this.
 

Focus on the Activities You Want to Encourage

 
I’ve heard more than once that organizations shy away from documenting and publishing a social media policy for fear that employees will react poorly to being told what not to do in their off work time, on their personal social media channels. 
 
This, however, makes two assumptions: first, that social media guidelines are about telling employees what not to do, and second that employee social media activity is something to be done outside of the usual course of work. Neither of these assumptions are necessarily the case.
 
In fact, your social media guidelines are your opportunity to directly inform employees of your social media strategy, what they can do to help you achieve it, and the resources available from you to help them do it. 
 

What to Include in Your Social Media Guidelines

 
With this perspective in mind, what exactly should your social media guidelines include? At a minimum, you’ll want to cover:
  •  Why your brand is using social media. What are you hoping to achieve through the brand social channels? Are you looking to cultivate crowdsourced content? Quickly address customer questions and concerns?
  •  What kind of content your brand is creating and curating on social. Are the latest memes in keeping with your brand personality? What about Buzzfeed quizzes? Is it acceptable to use emojis in brand-affiliated social content? Are any sources off-brand for curation? Clearly outlining your social content strategy makes it less likely you’ll need to go back to employees after-the-fact and ask them to remove social content that contradicts your brand promise.
  •  How employees can act as social ambassadors. Be clear about your ask of employees. Are you looking for them to help amplify brand social content? Or do you want to encourage them to be creating their own blog posts and visual content that supports the brand promise?
  •  Any restrictions on employee social media use on the job and why. No one is psyched about not being allowed to use social media while on the job. But there are some industries, such as healthcare and financial services, that regularly block the use of social media platforms on company computers in order to protect customer confidentiality. If you block use social media at work, let employees know versus them finding out when they try to access a website and can not do so.
  •  Do’s and don’ts for engaging with customers on social. Do you want to encourage employees to engage with customers and fans on social, or to flag customers needing assistance to a specific brand point of contact? Make the rules of engagement easy and transparent.
  • Employee social media resources. Do you have a social media training program? Or a monthly lunch and learn for employee brand ambassadors? Include them here. And don’t forget to note whom employees should contact if they have any questions about social that the guidelines don’t cover.
 
Are you using your social media guidelines to encourage your employee brand advocates? I’d love to hear in the comments. 
 

November 7 Content Chat Recap: Writing Audience-Friendly Content to Boost Your Online Engagement

Rachel Moffett #ContentChat twitter

Writing Audience-Friendly Content to Boost Your Online Engagement

This week #ContentChat was joined byRachel Moffett  (@redheadrachel) from Express Writers who shared her tips for creating audience-friendly content.

Q1: How do you define audience-friendly content, and why is it important?

Continue reading "November 7 Content Chat Recap: Writing Audience-Friendly Content to Boost Your Online Engagement" »