Friday, January 14, 2011

How to Plan Social Media Updates

In my last post, I discussed how to plan your blog editorial calendar for the year. Now that you have your blog calendar nailed down, let's examine how to set up your social media updates. I know what you're thinking, "I don't have time to post my updates." Oh yes, you do! With these easy steps below, you don't have any excuses NOT to schedule your posts for the week (or even month, for that matter!)

Before you dive into setting up your updates, keep the following tips in mind for your accounts:

  • If you create a custom background in Twitter or Facebook, make sure it looks professional and include  your picture and/or your company brand.
  • Even master social media plans and goals can be changed. Evaluate your goals and objectives on a weekly basis. Has anything changed with your company? Do your social media accounts and/or profiles need to be updated as a result of these changes?
  • Is your messaging consistent? What could you do better to improve your social media message? Use social media measurement tools to help you research and evaluate if your social media message is working for, not against, you. Here are some helpful apps/widgets.
  • Are you tweeting or posting enough? Too little? Too much? Are you receiving positive feedback/comments as a result of your tweets/updates?
  • Make sure you create (or update) your LinkedIn profile and include your photo. There are certain marketing strategies when it comes to LinkedIn. Check out Victoria Ipri's LinkedIn for the Clueless - she takes you step-by-step through LinkedIn and teaches you how to build dynamic, optimized profiles. 

How to plan your social media posts:

1. Use a similar calendar like I suggested in how to plan your blog editorial calendar. Include an additional spreadsheet page and name it: "Social Media Updates."

2. Follow the same steps as I outlined in my previous post. Make sure that your content is consistent and pay attention to your company's "milestone" events throughout the year. Highlight key messaging, events, timely industry news, etc. 

3. Automate your social media so you don't have to do all the work. Implement social media automation & project management tools such as HootSuite, TweetDeck or Postling. Check out this comprehensive list of social automation software. 

4. It is important to post/schedule social media updates on a daily basis (for Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook).  You can automate posts (make sure to include links to stories, websites, etc.) but make sure you don't turn into a "robotic" social media user. Don't just post and never respond to other users' posts. It's important to comment on a regular basis. Be interactive but don't be annoying either. Don't go off on too many random tangents - stay focused with your messages and don't tweet about your kids or dog 24,7 either. 

5. There are different opinions on the best times to post updates. Suggested high-traffic times are: 10 am to 12 pm and retweets between 4pm - 5 pm. These time frames are highly subjective, and may not work for every social media user. It really depends on your traffic and social media measurement. Maybe 8am to 10 am are better times for your target audience. That's why it's important to measure your social media and figure out what time frames are working or not working.

6. Pay attention to the latest news and trends throughout the day. Don't forget to retweet other newsworthy and timely posts, especially when it comes to global news. Remember that social media touches the world so think beyond just your town/city, state and country. 

7. Don't blast updates every two minutes. Spread out your posts every few hours and don't be preachy or annoying with your updates either. It's easy to waste your day on Facebook so remember to spread out your social media usage throughout the day.

8. If you are busy, schedule your social media management into your calendar and do it on a daily basis. Even if you only have ten minutes to spend on your social media each day, stick to that schedule and be consistent. Schedule that time in your calendar and set up alarms/reminders so you don't forget to work on your social media.

9. Don't reinvent the social media wheel. Sync your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts together. I will discuss further tips and tricks in my next blog installment - how to sync your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. It doesn't make sense to update each individual account - it's all about automation! 

10. This is my personal pet peeve. Remember your manners! Use Netiquette at all times with social media - if you don't want your mother or boss to read it, then don't post it! The point behind social networking is to lend a hand and to share your expertise in a helpful, supportive way. It's perfectly acceptable to express your opinion in group discussions, but remember to be tactful and respect other people's opinions, cultures and backgrounds. Social media is all about real, authentic connection so don't come across as fake or egotistical. You'll easily lose friends and followers that way! 

Since time is a huge factor when it comes to staying on top of social media, don't miss out on my next post, How to Automate Your Social Media Accounts in 5 Easy Steps




Therese Pope, Copywriter/Content Developer & Digital Buzz-icist

Content Writing & Marketing Tips ** Online Buzz Branding

** Digital & Social Media Strategies