Small business owners always seem to find themselves somewhere between working “for” the business and working “on” the business. What do we mean? Working “for” the business fills calendar time with client appointments, project work, and external deadlines. Working “on” the business includes strategy, planning, and putting forth initiatives that will help make the business more efficient and successful.
Since customers are the ones producing revenue, we find that many times those important internal projects, like social media, take a back seat. What starts as a goal to post three to five times a week quickly turns into one (or no posts) a week due to cascading client deliverables.
Well, we’re happy to share a strategy that will help keep you from falling off the social media bandwagon and keep your brand presence active and alive each month.
Start With What’s Current For Your Business
We often hear that setting aside time to brainstorm new content and create marketing campaigns is a drawn-out process that needs hours of dedicated time. We’re here to encourage you not to make it harder than it has to be! If you’re a business owner, your calendar is filled with meeting after meeting, and you have an innate understanding of what is coming up in the next month for your business—this is a great place to start when it comes to a monthly social media campaign.
For next month, try out the steps below to start a campaign arc for your business.
- What are three new projects you’re working on?
- List out what the projects are as if you were explaining it to a stranger who knows nothing about your business.
- Once written, go back through and highlight the key takeaways from each project (You’ve just created several social media posts. Congratulations!)
- What changes have occurred in your team?
- Have you hired anyone? Promoted anyone?
- Did you buy some new equipment?
- Are you planning any team events?
- List some things that are important to your industry?
- What changes have occurred lately?
- Are there any best practices worth sharing?
- What is something that you are currently doing differently than your competitors?
Creating Content the Easy Way
Once you complete the questions above, review your answers and identify two to three common themes. These “content buckets” will become the cornerstone campaigns for your social media in the following month.
For example, let’s say you run a car repair shop and you just hired three new mechanics. The content bucket or campaign could be “staff highlights.”
Once you identify a campaign, think about what would be important for your audience to know. For the repair shop example above, information on your new hires, including years of experience, training and skills, interests and hobbies, as well as goals and development, would be important items.
Look at the calendar for the following month and choose four to six days to highlight the campaign, and start with a four to eight-word summary of what the post will be for that day.
Do the same for the other one to two campaigns you identified.
Once this exercise is done, you should have a fairly robust calendar of post ideas that center around your two to three campaigns for the month.
Social Media Captions and Hashtags
With your completed calendar of posts, it’s time to get captioning. Using the calendar, think about what your ideal client would want to know from the post idea. Write one to two sentences, expanding on the summary. Try to make it on-brand and in the “voice” your customers would hear when they engage with your services or products. Work through all captions for the months first.
If you’re using Instagram as your primary social media outlet, we recommend working on hashtags once your captions are complete. There are tools that you can use to research hashtags to help streamline the process. We recommend checking out Buzz Sumo, RiteTag, and Hashtagify. If you’re able to define what the post is about through the captions, in a few quick searches, you will be able to come up with some effective hashtags.
Pro Tip: Saving hashtag sets that perform well can reduce time in hashtagging. There’s nothing wrong with reusing hashtags that work well!
Social Media Imagery Made Easy
With all captions and hashtags created, the only content left to create is the imagery. If you are like many small businesses, high-quality, professional photos of your business are hard to come by. Well, we‘re here to tell you that you don’t need five-star photography to create engaging content.
With a little time in Canva, you will be able to create a variety of social media templates that can work with several photos, text, and other imagery. Through Canva, you’ll be able to easily customize your images to fit the proper parameters for Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn posts, while adding your branding and style.
Suddenly a few photos snapped on your smart device will have framing that looks “on-brand” and speaks to the message you are trying to convey.
Set It and Forget It With a Social Media Scheduler
With the entire calendar for the next month complete, the last step in the process is to load the content into a social media scheduling tool. If you’re posting primarily on Instagram and Facebook, there is no need to invest in a third-party tool—Facebook Business Suite now allows you to schedule posts for both platforms in one hub. We also recommend Social Pilot and Later on the paid side (these tools can also post to other platforms and include reporting and analytics).
Recommendations To Make The Process Easier
While it seems like a long process, having an entire month’s worth of content complete before the 1st will lift a huge burden off your shoulders. To make the process even easier, we want to close with a few final recommendations.
- Social Media doesn’t have to be perfect. Not every post is going to land, and knowing that going into the process for the month will give you the freedom to keep going and not get stuck with analysis paralysis.
- Something is better than nothing—if a post a day is too much to maintain, scale back to three posts a week. Finding a cadence that works for your schedule is better than skipping an entire month.
- Work smarter, not harder. Social media doesn’t have to be done alone. Maybe you have someone on your team who is a great writer. If you come up with the ideas, you can have others on your team round things out.
- Don’t give up. We get it—running a small business can be challenging, but persistence is key. If you fall off for a month, that’s okay. Calendar some time to pick things up the next month. Practice makes perfect.