As the holiday season comes upon us, it is critical for brands to work out a monthly social media content plan backed by STRATEGY. Whether you’re a new or established business, everyone knows that the holidays get really busy really fast! Developing and sticking to a strategic content calendar will keep you on track towards your goals while freeing up more time and energy to work on other areas of your business (or even other areas of social media marketing like actually engaging with customers and followers).
At Media Á La Carte, we’re known for our comprehensive and detailed content calendars. Our clients love how having a strategic plan yields an incredible ROI (return on investment). When your social media marketing not only aligns with your objectives but is mapped out thoughtfully and creatively, you can sit back (metaphorically speaking) and watch your analytics grow!
For brands that don’t want to outsource their social media marketing to a digital agency like Media Á La Carte, we’ve come up with an offering that gives you everything you need to strategize your content calendar for yourselves! Let us introduce you to The Content Calendar Club, an exclusive subscription service delivering creative content concepts to your inbox every other week. Members not only get inspo for reels, carousels, static posts, graphics, and videos (complete with caption and story prompts), but they also receive access to a private Facebook group with support from the entire MALC team as well as unlimited access to our resource library of eBooks, guides, and templates. And at just $47 per month, The Content Calendar Club will give you ideas, strategy, and your precious time back to work on other areas of your business.
But whether you decide to outsource your social media marketing, join The Content Calendar Club, or take a stab at your own content calendar, it’s important that you understand the steps that go into effective strategic planning.
10 Steps For Effective Strategic Planning
1. Determine your goals
Are you looking to build brand awareness, boost sales, retain customers, increase subscribers, rebrand your business, or something else? Be clear and specific when it comes to setting goals. For example, how many followers do you want to gain, what value do you want to reach in sales, or in what way do you want people to view your rebranding? Create a deadline (is this a 3-month, 6-month, or 1-year goal?) and stepping stones to get you from point A to point B.
2. Get to know your audience
Who do you believe your target audience to be? What are their demographics and psychographics? Now, how does that perceived audience differ from your current customer base? Understand all you can about these audiences—their ages, likes, locations, interests, etc. The more you get to know your audience, the better your content will cater to them.
3. Choose the best platforms
You don’t necessarily need to be on every social media platform. Certain audiences prefer certain social media platforms. Additionally, content (should!) look different on each platform, whether Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or TikTok. Deciding which platforms will best suit your business can help guide your content creation.
4. Do your research
Conduct an audit of your current social media presence. What’s working well and what…could be improved? Take your time to scope out the competition. What makes them successful and why?
5. Create content pillars
Using your goals as your guide, break down content pillars. These can be different themes or even objectives like educate, inspire, sell, etc. Content pillars ensure all your marketing efforts are aligned towards your goals and that you engage with your audience on multiple levels.
6. Plan out your calendar
Use Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, or a social media management tool to lay out your content calendar. Include every detail from the title of the post, visual content, caption, call-to-action (CTA), hashtags, story shares, etc. We recommend working backwards from your ‘deadline.’ For example, if your goal is to attain X new followers by the end of the year, work backwards from December 31. Seeing your content mapped out in front of you will help you see if something’s off or missing along the way.
7. Post consistently
How often you post depends mainly on your social media platform(s) of choice. Facebook can be 1-5x per week, Twitter 3-5x per day, LinkedIn 1x per day, Instagram 2-10x per week, and TikTok 1-3x per day. This is not a hard and fast rule, but a reminder that posting consistently keeps you ‘top of mind’ for your audience. Content can be ‘shared’ on multiple platforms but should be adjusted to meet the standards (and main audiences) of each platform.
8. Engage with your audience
Social media isn’t just a matter of posting. It’s social advertising, meaning brands have the unique opportunity to engage with their audiences. Take advantage of interactive features like polls, Q&As, and CTAs to leave comments or share hashtags. Use the time you’ve saved creating content to interact with your followers via comments and direct messages. This is important data to help you better understand and serve your customer base (see #2!).
9. Analyze performance
Social media management systems and many of the platforms themselves (under business accounts) enable you to view your account analytics—your engagement, views, follower count, shares, and more. Use this data to inform the success of your content strategy. What’s working and what could be improved?
10. Adjust and adapt
Now that you’ve reviewed your data, put those insights into action. Your social media strategy can (and likely should) evolve over time. Use all of the above tools to keep learning and improving upon your strategy. And don’t forget that social media is ever-changing, too. It’s important to stay flexible and dynamic to new trends and technologies that arise.
We have a feeling you’re still thinking about our Content Calendar Club. Are we right? We can’t blame you! It’s a surefire way to kick off a successful social media strategy. And now is the perfect time to subscribe. Click here to sign up now!