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What is a Social Media Content Calendar and why should you have one?

What is a Social Media Content Calendar and why should you have one?

img_3889Do you always find that you struggle to come up with interesting content to share on your social media platforms every single day? You could benefit from using a content calendar.

A content calendar is a working document, whether it is written on paper, or input into a word document or spreadsheet, where you plan and schedule out what content you will be sharing across your social media platforms in advance.

This can be planned either weekly or monthly, depending on the nature of your business, and while it does take time to sit down and plan it all, it has lots of benefits, which I will cover below.

Benefits of using a Social Media Content Calendar

Organization – as you will have a plan of what you intend to post ahead of time, this will enable you to prepare the content and keep it ready.  You can even use some apps such as Tweetdeck or Buffer to help schedule Tweets, Facebook posts or Instagram posts in advance. Please note that with Instagram scheduled posts, apps won’t post directly to the platform on your behalf but send you a reminder when it is time to post.

Visualise – having your content laid out in advance will help you visualise if it aligns with your overall strategy or marketing activity.

Time – It will save you lots of time as you won’t be desperately looking for something to post on the day. You will also be able to spend more time manually sharing other posts or replying to messages as your main content is ready.

Be more strategic and reactive – As you will be planning ahead you can check to see if there are any noteworthy events or holidays you could create content for. If you are running out of fresh content it gives you time to either re-purpose content or arrange for new content to be created.

Be consistent – Having your content planned ahead will enable you to post more consistently, which will in turn have positive impacts on your credibility, engagement and your followers will soon know when to expect what kind of content from your pages.

Team view – You will be able to share the calendar with your teams for input or to ensure everyone’s activity aligns and is on the same page.

An example template of a Social Media Content Calendar

You can find and download a free example of my Social Media Content Calendar template here.

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Helpful Tools for Scheduling Posts

Some tools I like to use to schedule my social media posts in advance to help save time on the day are:

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Twitter – I like to use either Buffer or Tweetdeck to schedule posts.

Facebook – I either use Facebook Pages Manager to draft posts and schedule them or I use Buffer

Instagram – I like to use the Preview App to see what my week ahead’s content will look like in a grid format.

To schedule posts on Instagram I use Buffer, however, it does not post direct to the Instagram App but instead sends you a reminder when it is time to post.

Content Ideas

  • Tip for the day
  • Blog posts
  • Inspirational quotes
  • Video demo/tutorial
  • Product/Service curated content
  • Flat lays
  • Sneak peeks
  • Holiday/Notable day related content
  • Giveaways
  • Product highlights/benefits
  • Behind the scenes curated content
  • An image of a place of interest close to your business
  • An interior shot of your premises
  • Re-post from a customer of them using your product/service
  • Offer of the week
  • Articles relating to your industry
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Avoid the “Microwave Mentality.” Tips on improving your Instagram strategy for long term BUT more effective results.

Avoid the “Microwave Mentality.” Tips on improving your Instagram strategy for long term BUT more effective results.

So what is the “Microwave Mentality” and why should we move away from this?

We live in a society where technology has sped up our expectations of the time it takes to do things or achieve results and we are continually living in an era where we feel the need for instant gratification.

This is known as having the “Microwave mentality” where instead of a slow cooked, satisfying meal with lots of different ingredients, flavours, textures and varying cooking times, we now want the equivalent of a ready meal which we can pop in the microwave and eat after 2 minutes. Yes it saves time, but does it taste as good as a meal cooked with love and nurtured at every step?

This approach often leads to frustrations when results don’t appear at lightening speed and often the temptation to attempt to “fast-track” success occurs.

Some businesses thrive from this weak trait and have launched businesses that feed that desire for instant results to exploit this.

My example is the frustrations many feel with the slow growth of Instagram audiences and follower counts and the temptation to spend money on buying fake followers or using automated bot services to try and speed up the growth of accounts to make them look credible.

DON’T DO THIS. You are essentially buying ‘dead’ followers who won’t engage with your posts or worse if they do, will leave totally irrelevant automated comments that will look fake to those in the know and this will tarnish your reputation.

What is the point of having a big following if they don’t add any value?

Instead work on gaining REAL followers who will engage with your content on Instagram by liking, commenting, or even sharing your posts.

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Tips on improving your Instagram strategy for long term BUT more effective results

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Everyone starts somewhere so don’t be disheartened if you have only gained a handful of followers since you set up your Instagram account and that the numbers seem to fluctuate each day.

Instead invest some time in a strategy for longer term but more effective growth tactics and here are my top tips.

  • Make sure you have a profile picture on your Instagram account.
  • Optimise your Instagram Bio.
  • Create a content schedule to help plan the week ahead.
  • Consider a theme and stick to it. Some examples are below from my own personal account and Aldi.

  • Share high quality images. Avoid the temptation to put up pictures that are blurry/poor quality for the sake of having content.
  • Use videos in a creative way to show sneak peeks of your business or location or a related topic.
  • Post frequently but not excessively. I would suggest minimum once a day, maximum 3 times a day, and with gaps in between.
  • Use Instagram stories and Instagram live videos to show the raw behind the scenes content.
  • Write an engaging caption and try and incorporate a call to action, such as asking a question.
  • Share content about or from local businesses or places of interest to vary the content in your weekly schedule slightly.
  • Use relevant hashtags. Read more about the Do’s and Don’ts of Hashtags here.
  • Commit time each day to engaging and interacting with other users and responding to comments on your content. Even if you set aside 30 minutes a day it is time used wisely.
  • Follow the right people. Not anyone and everyone. Check out who your competition is following, for example.
  • If you are a business or service consider switching to the Business profile. It is free to change and offers more call to action buttons for your customers.
  • Ride on trends or special holiday days for on trend content, such as National Chocolate Day or National Book Day, as examples.
  • Make sure you use the geo-location tag when uploading an image. My example below highlights a checklist to consider when uploading content.
  • Do measure your interactions to suss out what times are best for you.
  • Do use scheduling apps such as Later or editing apps to improve your photo quality such as Insta Editor, Instagram itself, or Lightroom.
  • If you use someone else’s content always credit them in the caption.
  • Tag in relevant accounts/brands/locations to increase your reach.

Checklist for uploading an image

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Some Don’ts are:

  • Don’t set your account to private. People are less likely to attempt to follow you.
  • Don’t steal other people’s images. Make sure to credit if using photographs from another source.
  • Don’t use banned hashtags.
  • Don’t just mass follow a load of unrelated people.
  • Don’t post irrelevant images or content.
  • Don’t post irregularly.
  • Don’t use bots or automated services claiming to increase your followers.
  • Don’t get disheartened if at first your photos don’t get much love. Things take time and you just have to persevere.
  • Don’t abuse hashtags. You might end up getting shadow banned.
  • Don’t desperately Direct Message people.

If you would like some help and guidance or training on using Instagram correctly, do get in touch. I offer competitive packages and would love to help you grow the right way!

 

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The Do’s and Don’ts of using Hashtags

Once the symbol for the pound sign as well as used to denote a number, the # symbol is now popularly known as the “Hashtag” and it is here to stay. So much so that it is has even officially featured in The Oxford Dictionary since 2010.

noun. 1A word or phrase preceded by a hash sign (#), used on social media websites and applications, especially Twitter, to identify messages on a specific topic. ‘spammers often broadcast tweets with popular hashtags even if the tweet has nothing to do with them’

You will have seen it used all over Social Media Platforms and its primary use is a way to categorize content. If used correctly they can help you grow your audience, increase your content reach, help grow your social media account following and increase engagement with your posts.

Here are some Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to using Hashtags:

Do’s

  • Use short, punchy and powerful hashtags that create a buzz
  • Create your own unique hashtags
  • Customize hashtags to help promote a special event you may be hosting
  • Use hashtags with a narrower scope to get more reach
  • Research popular hashtags used by your competitors and industry
  • Use more than 11 Hashtags on Instagram but less than 30
  • Pair your hashtags with visual content
  • Group your hashtags at the end of your post
  • Use unique hashtags for running a campaign – this will make it easier for you to track all connected content for your campaign

Don’ts

  • Use very long hashtags – these are difficult to read and at risk of being spelt incorrectly
  • Use too many hashtags – this can look spammy
  • Use over 30 hashtags on Instagram – your caption will not be posted and will be blank
  • Construct sentences using hashtags e.g. #I #Am #Using #Hashtags – this is annoying to read and looks unprofessional
  • Have more hashtags than words in a sentence
  • Put hashtags in the #middle of a sentence like this
  • Use any banned hashtags such as #IG #instahot #valentinesday. You can find a full list here.

What are the optimal number of hashtags to use on Social Media Platforms?

 Use more than 11 hashtags on Instagram.

 Use 1 or 2 hashtags on twitter. When you use

more than 2 hashtags on twitter engagement tends to drop by an average of 17%

So what about Facebook?

 Don’t use ANY hashtags on Facebook. Through testing both I can confirm that posts WITHOUT hashtags actually do better than posts with hashtags.

Facebook’s news feed does not cater for hashtags and customers will always see new content in their news feed regardless of whether you add a hashtag or not.

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