Planning Your Year of Social Media Content

Picture of Aliza ShermanAliza Sherman is a web pioneer, author, and international speaker. Sherman is the author of 8 books about the Internet including The Everything Blogging Book, Streetwise Ecommerce, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Crowdsourcing and Social Media Engagement for Dummies.

Planning Your Year of Social Media Content

Engaging in Social Media Marketing can be a time-consuming endeavor. With the increasing demand for “in the moment” messages, strategies can fall by the wayside as the need for immediacy and frequency seem to take over. You can be both strategic and “spontaneous” with some advance planning. Here’s how.

Decide on the Type of Content to Produce

Take a look at your resources as well as the audience you want to reach and decide what type of content will be most appealing to them. You can choose a few specific types of content to establish a particular voice or style. Some popular types of content include:

  1. How-to articles
  2. Demo videos
  3. Humorous graphics (memes)
  4. Animated gifs
  5. Podcasts
  6. Lists (Top 10 list, for example)

Pick Monthly Themes

One way to be more strategic with your social media content is to come up with monthly themes that guide your messaging. These themes can be broad or specific and can be seasonal or holiday-related to tie into the larger social media messaging trends such as:

  1. January: New Year, New You
  2. February: Valentine’s and Romance
  3. March: Women’s History Month
  4. April: National Stress Awareness Month
  5. May: Mother’s Day
  6. June: Father’s Day
  7. July: Summertime
  8. August: End of Summer
  9. September: Back to School
  10. October: Women’s Health
  11. November: Thanksgiving
  12. December: Holiday Season

If your business is more health-related, you could look at National Blood Donor Month in January, American Heart Month in February, and so on. You could also pick monthly themes based on company-specific events and promotions.

Plan Out Marketing Campaigns

Once you have some overarching monthly themes, get more granular and pick dates of when you will run marketing and advertising campaigns related to your themes each month. Tie them to specific promotions that help you achieve your business goals. If you are a specialty chocolate maker, you know that certain holidays are strong sales days such as Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and Christmas. Running social media ad campaigns during those times makes perfect sense, but you can also run ads with theme-based messaging during typical downtimes that could generate new sales.

Playing off of holidays, you could come up with a special Father’s Day campaign running the entire month before the actual holiday in June with messaging around giving a gift of chocolates to fathers, not just mothers. Or you could position a box of chocolates as the perfect dessert after a big Thanksgiving meal.

By coming up with your themes, campaigns, and campaign content months in advance, your daily social media messaging is easier to develop and produce.

Fill in Your Social Media Editorial Calendar

Now that you have monthly themes and campaigns that can run between a few days, several weeks or even months, you can move on to filling in the gaps and come up with themes or specific messaging for the other days. If you’re a cosmetic company using female-specific and health themed months to guide your social media content, you can also pinpoint themed days that will help you plan out topic-specific posts.

For example, if you choose Women’s History Month as your March theme, you could feature messaging about women who made an impact in the cosmetic industry throughout history. If you choose American Heart Month as your theme, you’d want to promote February 3rd as National Wear Red Day for women's heart health.

Be Spontaneous

Once you have a solid social media content and advertising plan for the upcoming year, schedule key messages at least a few weeks in advance. With content planned and scheduled, you have more time to be “in the moment” and post about relevant and timely news and events. Even if you are being spontaneous, however, keep looking back at your annual content plan and make sure you have a sound strategic reason to post with a tie-in to an actual business goal.

Planning social media content requires that you take several views – the long-term, bigger picture view of your annual business goals; a mid-range view of monthly promotions and benchmarks; and short-term or more immediate goals of garnering attention and engaging your customers and potential customers. Having a social media calendar as a roadmap and crafting content in advance will give you extra time to be flexible and more interactive with your social media marketing while staying on top of your message and brand.