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Genius Time Saving Tips For Social Media Planning – With Weekly Schedule Examples
One of the biggest struggles our clients (and ourselves in the earlier days of business management) tend to share is managing social media tasks. It is easy to feel like there is a never-ending list of things that need to be done, and we are rarely (if ever) caught up. Am I right?! So I wanted to take some time to break down some things that WE have done to strategize and organize our social media platforms- especially for MULTIPLE brands or businesses. This article is going to give you ALL the details about planning a social media schedule that works for YOUR business and brand.
Why is social media management such a struggle?
This is the age-old question. Okay, so maybe like a decade old question, because social media really isn’t that old. But here’s the thing- social media is ever evolving, constantly flowing, and trends come and go sometimes even before we notice them there.
So most small businesses and entrepreneurs find themselves struggling with two main things:
- What brand-relevant content to post and when to post it
- How to engage and grow meaningfully without spending hours and hours online
And there’s a super easy solution to BOTH of these problems- hire a VA (Virtual Assistant) or Social Media Manager to do all of this FOR you.
So why shouldn’t I just hire a social media manager or VA?
Seems like a perfect answer, right? Ah… but that costs money! And in the early stages of getting our business up and running, we might be pinching every penny until we generate a profit.
And even if we WERE able to afford to hire out for this time-consuming aspect of business, there’s a BIGGER reason why we shouldn’t.
I’m going to save the nitty gritty details of why doing your social media management for yourself is the BEST way to grow your reach for another day. But in short, you want to manage this yourself so you can see what your followers are responding to, what they aren’t, and the kinds of questions or statements they’re making.
These insights will help you stay connected to your target market and grow authentically.
Ok, so I want to do it myself, but how do I actually PLAN my social media marketing?
The first thing you want to do is determine what TYPE of content you are going to post, and what day to post it on. That’s what this article is all about.
In the beginning phases of growing your social media, it is best to keep your social media marketing plan simple and flexible. A predetermined weekly content schedule helps eliminate a lot of stress and wasted time.
I’ve created three EXAMPLE social media weekly content schedules to help you generate some ideas for different business styles. I drew these up quickly to give you some content ideas, but these are just sample schedules!
You can add, take away, switch things around, whatever you want!
These examples are just to give you a starting off point- so that you can start brainstorming your OWN ideas.
For example, if you are a food blogger or sell a kitchenware product, you might want to have yummy pictures of your food, baking or cooking tips, and maybe even some cool infographics to show common conversions (I can NEVER remember how tablespoons equal ounces or milliliters! Help a lady out, here, and tag me if you’ve got ‘em!).
There are unlimited ideas you can come up with depending on your niche.
So let’s take a peek at these three (very basic) examples. You can download these as a single image or pdf file at the end of the article, to save yourself some time later, too! *wink wink*
The first example I created provides content for a product-based business, like an Etsy, Amazon or Shopify store, for example.
The second example is a service-based business, like a yoga instructor, or a lifestyle coach.
And the last example is for a blog-based business, like maybe a Craft blogger, or a cooking blog.
But in reality, a lot of businesses could fit several of these models- a lot of e-commerce stores and service providers also have blogs. And a lot of bloggers also have affiliate products, services, etc.
Social media content isn’t one-size fits all. Get creative and come up with a schedule that showcases YOU and YOUR BUSINESS in the best ways possible.
How does planning a specific type of post for each day of the week help with social media scheduling?
Having your own weekly content schedule REALLY helps to eliminate some of the decision paralysis we tend to feel when deciding what to post.
Instead of sitting there at your computer (or on your phone), trying to think up some clever social media posts to schedule, you have already given yourself a jumping off point.
It is a thousand times easier to create content when the topic has already been decided ahead of time.
And if your creative juices are REALLY flowing, you can even get multiple ideas going on in one brainstorming session, making your social media scheduling even EASIER.
Once we decide to create a set content schedule, we need to determine WHAT TYPE of content we want to post each day. I personally think that having a schedule helps my followers know what to expect from me, and helps them to anticipate my future posts.
It also provides a sense of regularity, which helps my natural personality show through, which enhances and highlights my brand- whether it is my business brand or personal brand.
Sometimes we can get so caught up in intentionally trying to showcase our ‘brand identity’ that we end up smothering it right out.
I feel like having a set content schedule helps us focus on what we want to say, giving our brand a natural clarity without overthinking it.
What should I post on my social media platforms each day?
Monday is always pretty easy no matter what your business or niche is- you can always score big with something related to:
Just post a hilarious coffee meme or a motivational quote and BAM! Monday is done.
This is a great opportunity for your personality to shine through.
If you’re a naturally sarcastic person or your brand is sassy, that can show through with the right Monday meme!
Or if you’re a positive, encouraging person or brand, you can be motivating and inspiring with your Monday post!
Then, depending on your business model, you want to directly market yourself at least twice a week. (You can even market yourself three times if your viewers seem interested enough.)
So pencil in two or three days to showcase your products, your services, your customer reviews or feedback. You can even post a quote of yourself solving a problem that you usually help your clients or customers solve!
As your platform grows, and your viewers are pretty steadily responding to your posts, you can always throw more self-promotion in there, just add in a second post for another day! (You don’t want to promote yourself twice in one day, it’s a quick way to lose followers.)
I always like to throw a lifestyle (or personal story) post into the schedule once a week also, so my customers/clients can see who I am, what I do for fun, and feel more connected to my life and my products or services.
If your product/services are more in demand during the week, stick the lifestyle post into a weekend post. But if you’re blogging about date night ideas, for example, maybe save your lifestyle post for a Wednesday instead. Be flexible.
Lastly, I always like to toss something funny into the schedule somewhere. People like to laugh and they tend to remember things that make them feel good. It’s a win-win. Plus, it helps me stay engaged when planning, because laughing drives those endorphins.
See? Pretty basic, right?
And if you get stuck, you can always patch some holes with fun little holidays each month, like National Taco Day. (Psst… I post a #tiptuesday graphic at the beginning of each month with holidays you can throw into your calendar!
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So take a second to sit down and plan out what you want to post on each day of the week.
Okay, so now you’ve got an idea of what to post each day. That’s amazing!
There’s one last step to planning and scheduling your social media: You have to actually create and schedule your posts.
It’s a good idea to block off several hours to sit and plan, create, and finally schedule your content. This will, of course, change depending on how much time you put into making your own graphics, taking your own photos, etc.
For my brands and businesses, it takes me about 3-4 hours to plan two to three weeks of content. Sometimes it’s a bit longer, if I take extra time to make infographics or charts, etc.
I try to throw this into my Tuesday morning time block. (You can read about how the hubby and I rock our time block schedules here.)
What platform do I use to plan my social media posts?
When I’m planning my posts, I have a variety of apps that I like to use to speed up the process.
First, I use my own social media calendar spreadsheet on Google Drive. I can just type my content in, link a photo and move on to the next day. This helps me get around the limits of most platforms.
For example, Hootsuite, Buffer and similar scheduling apps typically only allow you to have three social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc) at once.
They also allow up to 30 post schedules, spread across the accounts, so that usually means 10 posts per account if you use all three accounts.
It is lightyears faster for me to just type all of my posts in back-to-back inside of my calendar spreadsheet. Then, every 10 days or so, I pop open my Hootsuite/Buffer/etc app and just copy/paste my post content into each day until you run out of your schedule allowance.
But wait- I have a hack to maximize that 30 post allowance, too! It’s a handy tool called IFTTT.
If I run multiple brands, I can set up my instagram for each brand on one platform (Hootsuite, for example).
Then I use IFTTT.com to set up an automatic action that will publish all of my instagram posts to Facebook and/or Twitter. IFTTT stands for ‘If This Then That,’ which is totally clever and the website has TONS of practical uses for small business owners. (Which I’ll discuss in a future article.)
Now, there are some definite drawbacks to using this hack, so it’s not universal for all businesses or brands.
For starters, some social media managers DETEST cross-posting across different platforms. They will tell you that it’s repetitive and that the platforms want original content. Okay, point made.
But I am a rebel, and I have noticed that my Twitter followers are NOT the same people as my Facebook page followers or my Instagram followers. So why not cross-post?!
Let’s save as much time as possible, guys! Am I right?
The ability to reach a unique and LARGER group of people with the same content is an invaluable tool for growth. Besides, the less time you spend posting, the more time you can spend engaging.
But there IS a second drawback to using IFTTT for automated cross-posting.
The photo and video formats are slightly different for each social media platform.
So it might be better (depending on what you typically post) to schedule your Facebook posts, then use IFTTT to post to Twitter, since the format size is fairly close.
You might need to schedule Instagram posts separately, so you can make sure the photo doesn’t get cropped funky and cut portions off in the wrong places.
This is something you want to consider when you decide to set up the automated cross-posting, and it is something I will go into depth about in a future article- because in my opinion, IFTTT is a lifesaver for small business owners.
But personally, the occasional cropping of my memes or images is a small price to pay for the time saved by automated cross-posting, although I do try to be conscientious of this when I plan my posts.
Some people will adamantly disagree with this advice, of course, and to each their own. *shrug* I wanted to throw IFTTT in here anyways, for the folks that it could benefit.
Okay, so I am realizing I can just keep going on and on about social media. But I am running on fumes, here, guys and need to go refill my coffee cup.
I hope that you have found some of this information useful and that the printables will help save you some time.
Please leave your thoughts in the comments- do you like the idea of a set daily content each week? What about the automated cross posting! I want to hear YOUR perspective! And of course, feel free to share your own time-saving tips with us!
Until next time guys, have an awesome week!
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