The 20th March marks the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. Seasonable beginnings are a great opportunity to pause, reflect and make some meaningful changes both personally and professionally. There are 168 hours in each week, but organising them doesn’t need to be stressful!
What better time to embark on a digital marketing spring clean? From organising the work you’ve already put in, to expanding your monthly content, when it comes to building a social media calendar, we’ve got you covered.
Organisation: The Messy Stuff
It’s no secret that organising your professional schedule is half the battle to being an effective social media marketer. Productivity experts in recent years have reiterated the importance of writing things down; it helps you visualise your plan and understand your own mind. In our experience, thinking ahead allows us to not only have a good idea of where we are headed, but how to get there.
Productivity guru David Allen says “anything and everything that’s potentially meaningful, write it down… you will feel exponentially more appropriately engaged with your world.” For Allen, writing things down might create a list that looks like “Call Mum. Eat breakfast. Finish report. What TV show should I binge next?” and that’s no bad thing. But we can certainly apply these principles as digital marketers.
To help structure social media campaigns and manage projects at HdK, we use Asana. This software is great for supporting team work, as you can build out projects and assign tasks to colleagues. You can also create templates so that when you begin another campaign, it’s all laid out for you. By planning and building out comprehensive to-do lists, we can ensure that we are up to date with our social media campaigns and work as efficiently as possible.
To start your day with a visually appealing home page and an easily accessible to-do list, Google Chrome’s free extension, Momentum is an excellent tool. You can also group your tabs on Chrome to easily sort your work according to task or client, allowing you to switch between tabs without having to close them. This decluttering feature makes tackling your daily tasks far more simple. Now that you’ve set the groundwork, building your calendar should come much more naturally.
Building Your Calendar
The key to effective organisation in social media marketing is a trusty calendar. We recommend using Google Sheets – it’s simple, collaborative, and easily accessible. Essentially, using Google Sheets is a great way to create a completely customisable monthly plan. Whether you are working with clients or building your organisation’s social media calendar, start by blocking out your organiser by week. This way, you can easily keep track of smaller, bite-size tasks, while gaining an overall monthly picture of your goals and content output. It is useful to also include newsletters, advertising spend and outreach plans in your calendar to ensure that you are on track and monitoring all aspects of your digital campaign. There are some useful pages out there on how to format Google Sheets.
To help break down and manage your campaign, why not try colour coding tasks on your calendar according to their priority? This can be as simple as a traffic light system: red for urgent or short-term projects, amber for longer term tasks, and green for tasks you have completed. As the work week progresses, gradually watching your schedule turn to green is satisfying to say the least!
We recommend building out your social media calendars on a quarterly basis, this enables you to plan ahead in terms of scheduling posts. However, with the recent pandemic, we have found clients’ plans are changing rapidly. It might be more time efficient to build out your calendar on a monthly basis. This way you can still feel prepared, whilst allowing for any development and change that might come your way.
What To Include in Your Calendar
Your social media calendar should not only include your social media content. By going an extra mile in organising your campaign and including key marketing dates, hashtag information and outreach schedules, you can make your calendar a one-stop, all-encompassing campaign plan!
Key trends and marketing dates
To ensure your social media content is topical, it’s a good idea to be aware of national and international calendars. By noting down all relevant marketing dates in your calendar, you can plan content for any key marketing dates your organisation may want to celebrate! By no means does all of your content have to be seasonally, socially or politically relevant, but it’s important to consider what your company or clients want to engage with. For instance for April, you might include World Autism Awareness Week (29th March- 4th April) and Earth Day (22nd April). Not only does this ensure your organisation remains topical and current, but by using trending hashtags you can connect your organisation with a wider, like-minded audience, and expand your reach.
Social media marketing is all about connecting with people. Whether that be with our consumer audience or fellow industry professionals, we want others to share our message, support our events and help promote our current activity. To help support these goals and encourage others to share, we recommend building an outreach calendar. Collate any key contact, organisation or influencers that you want to share your message with and build out a calendar that highlights when and how you plan to reach or contact them.
Sometimes hashtags can feel like an afterthought, but by building in your audience hashtags to your social media calendar you can have a thoughtful and focussed collection to choose from. Hashtagify allows users to find the right hashtags for their campaigns and to plan ahead with hashtag insights. Wordstream’s Free Keyword Tool allows you to easily find keywords to maximise your marketing strategy. Putting together a thoughtful and effective group of hashtags on posts will boost your content’s reach.
With your calendar up and running, it’s time to start thinking about when to be posting. Audiences vary drastically, so when working with a new client or expanding your brand, it’s all about trial and error. Tracking your output allows you to replicate where you have succeeded. The most important thing in the early stages of planning your social media content is consistency. We always opt for quality over quantity, however, posting regularly helps build a relationship with your followers and encourages engagement.
To help keep on track of posting and to manage your time, there are a number of platforms you can use for scheduling posts. HdK loves Hootsuite. It’s a simple and effective way to manage content across a number of accounts simultaneously, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin. Sprout Social is another social media management platform with customisable plans. Sprout Social also has an accessible social media strategy page giving you tips for analysing your audiences and maximising your digital success.
This kind of software means you don’t have to be working around the clock to be producing engaging and successful content. By planning and scheduling ahead of time, you can work on being more responsive.
We hope this advice has inspired you to embark on your own digital marketing spring clean! These top tips for creating and organising your schedule as a social media marketer should ensure you are being responsive to campaigns, and performing at your best. Keep an eye on HdK’s Twitter for our webinars and latest projects, and as always, don’t hesitate to contact us.