Over the last decade social media has become a major part of everyday life. The first thing most people do when they wake up is go on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Are you utilizing social media in the best way to promote your brand? Planning your content around a flexible schedule will help get your social media on track. The benefits of using a schedule are keeping your social media fresh with regular content and spreading responsibility among team members.
Considerations while developing the social media schedule:
- Your schedule should always be evolving. Like all marketing plans, this is not something you will do once and be done. You should always be reviewing, testing and updating your schedule.
- Create separate mission statements for each social network. They all have different purposes and the statements should reflect what you are posting. How to create a mission statement.
- Customize your content plan/editorial calendar to reflect your resources. If you only have one person that can post, then you will need to make a good deal of use out of Hootsuite or another program where you can auto-schedule posts. If you have several people who can post, then there is less need for scheduled posting.
- Research and understand your viewers and customers on social media. Update/create your posts based on what they like or share.
- Create a content matrix. This will reflect what, how much, and when certain content should be posted.
- Keep promotional posts to 25% of all posts on social media. Using a content matrix and a social media algorithm will help to keep these posts to under 25%.
- Test, test, test! There is no right answer and it takes time to find the right formula, so take your time and test different posts and schedules.
Steps to develop the schedule for a pharmaceutical brand:
1. Create content: If you are promoting a pharmaceutical brand, be sure you are up-to-date on the FDA Guidelines. You may need to run content through med-legal before you begin publicly sharing the information. This means that you will be creating your content before you can schedule your social media posts. If you choose not to promote your brand, but instead, share information or educational material on a disease state, it is still a good idea to prepare some of your content before you develop your schedule so that your team can hit the ground running and begin social media posting immediately.
You will be scheduling two types of content: original content created by your team and shared content. Shared content is also known as reposting, repinning, or retweeting.
To help you develop original content begin with these two steps:
- Create a mission statement for each social media platform. Your content should reflect your mission and purpose.
- Create a profile of your target audience. Here are some pointers for defining the ideal customer.
Once you have these two things, you can begin writing your posts. It is not a bad thing if many people are writing and responding to social media. It makes it easier, especially if there are different conversations going on around different topics that relate to your mission. Also read 5 Best Practices for Optimizing Organic Social Media Content for information on content development.
2. Determine your resources: Your schedule will be developed around your available resources. The schedule should be flexible enough to add content on-the-fly. For instance, if some timely news comes along, you will need a resource that can develop this information into social media content.
However, your schedule should also have a stable source of content. For instance, for one brand we use an RSS feed from their blog to post continual content to their social media sites. On another brand, we use articles that are posted each day on their website, these articles are then fed into the social media channels through a feed. Anywhere that you have continual content being created, you can develop a feed to push a steady stream of content into all of your social media channels (where appropriate).
3. Develop the schedule. After you have determined the sources of your content, it is time to develop your editorial calendar. The purpose of developing an editorial calendar is to ensure that you always have new content to post and know when to post it. The calendar will also allow you to keep track of what content your audience preferred the most and how you can tailor the content to fit your audience’s needs.
To determine the best content create a few Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to define the best content for your audience and reflects the mission statement you determined for each social media site. For example, click-throughs to your website or other types of engagement. Monitor how your posts are hitting the KPIs and evaluate whether you should continue with certain types of content.
Here is a sample calendar:
What should your editorial calendar look like? There are many for you to download and customize to meet your needs: sample editorial calendars. The editorial calendar might include dates, times, what platform you will be posting and the topic of the post. The more detailed the calendar the more organized and smooth all the posts will be. It may take a few tries to get the calendar to be the most beneficial, so take your time and try a few different types to see what works best.
More resources on social content and the editorial calendar:
How to create a Healthcare Social Media Strategy
How to Organize your Editorial Calendar by Content Type
Planning your Healthcare Social Media Presence…Your Digital Footprint
Planning your Content Marketing: Bricks vs. Feathers