Category Digital, Insights, Inspiration
You’ve heard the term “drinking from the firehose” before, right? Well, without a plan of attack, that’s what social media marketing can feel like. Make your online marketing life easier by using a calendar that takes your social media strategy and gives it an action plan with dates and deadlines. If you are looking for efficiency, this is where you find it.
Can You Really Plan Social Media?
Yes and no. You can plan tactical elements like your Twitter promotions, blog posts, Facebook contests, LinkedIn updates, YouTube videos, Flickr albums, etc. You can’t plan resulting (and vital) interactions like audience feedback, conversations and online reputation issues. But, luckily for you, there are a number of monitoring tools we’ll look at later that make catching those conversations a lot easier.
How Planning Helps Your Online Marketing
Online marketing can be a tough job with all of the moving pieces and parts. Keeping up with your online marketing strategy can include everything from SEO to PPC to email marketing to mobile advertising. Social media strategy is just another element you must keep on track to get where you want to be online.
The fact that you have a strategy for social media is a step in the right direction. But now, to make sure you hit your goals and stay consistent for your audience, you should consider using a social media calendar to keep you and your team on track. Why a calendar and not a checklist? Because social media marketing, no matter what channels you choose, has daily activities (at least effective social media plans do.)
Also, if you have the luxury of having a team of individuals work on your social media marketing, a calendar will let you assign different activities to each team member. The calendar also serves as a good agenda for checkpoint meetings and for your monthly review meetings of items completed.
We’ve created a social media calendar template to get you started with your scheduling. If you’re not using the channels we list, you can simply edit the excel doc and add in your own planned channels. Also note the SEO strategy integration with targeted keyword fields.
Planning the Unplanned
I know, thinking about planning the unplanned is like staring into the sun, but I promise– it’s not that painful. For the “social” in social media, you must converse and interact with your audience. Just because you planned out your tactics using the calendar doesn’t mean you’re done. If you only did that, you just became the social media newsboy shouting out random things on the social networks. To truly be effective and “social”, you need to interact with your audience.
Hopefully, you have planned out messages that invite your audience to participate in the conversation with you. Do your blog posts ask for feedback? Do you ever try to start conversations in Twitter? What’s the social element of your Facebook promotion? Think about things like this as you craft your messaging.
Once your audience responds, you need to engage them. One option to know when this happens is to constantly monitor all of your social media channels. Not efficient at all.
Thankfully for us, there are a number of tools to monitor when somebody responds to you or mentions you on the different social media channels. These include:
- Google Alerts (free)
- SocialMention email alerts (free)
- Topsy.com email alerts (free)
- CoTweet email alerts (free)
- Facebook Page RSS feed (free)
- Trackur (free & paid)
- Radian6 (paid)
Also, setting daily times to review your feeds and followers (like morning, lunch and 4pm) helps limit the “got lost down the Twitter rabbit hole for 3 hours” issue.
So that’s why you should consider planning out your social media marketing using a calendar. I hope this helps you with your online marketing goals and if you have any suggestions on how to plan things out better or differently, I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments.
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