Ben Franklin had a lot figured out in his day despite logging only 2 years of formal education, aged 8-10, before leaving school to work in the family wax candle and soap business. He was, however, a voracious reader and sometimes went without food to buy new volumes.
Aside from the above factoids, Ben can teach us a few things about business marketing - social media, in particular. It is a short, yet poignant phrase from one of our Founding Fathers, we gain insight and truth. But, you won’t find this nugget in “Poor Richard’s Almanac”. It is in fact a quote that may not have originated from Benji at all. For the purpose of this blog, however, we’re gonna go with it!
“Failing To Plan Is Planning To Fail”
SOMEone once said, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” Many are familiar with the adage. Many still agree with the principal. It makes perfect sense, right? Doing it, though, is another proposition indeed. Planning your social media strategy, and the execution of that plan, is often left so low on the priority list that it is rarely accomplished successfully.
There is a much smaller number who know the quote, agree with the principal and faithfully put it into practice. Why is that? We have very good reason (or should I say rationale). We chalk it up to being too busy, which is not necessarily a bad thing if the “busy” is contributing to your bottom line. Doomed is the plan relegated to “when there is time.” We all know what happens then. That’s right. Nothing.
It Could Be A Matter Of Life And Death (but probably not)
Hey, look. I am not totally above reproach here. In two extreme instances I didn’t properly plan, and it could have cost me my life - or at least, great bodily harm. Once on a mountain off the shores of Mexico while in the Coast Guard and another while surfing in Galveston, Texas.
Wait! What? Surfing in Texas? Yes. But, barley. And that was the issue. It was a rare occasion when the waves were more than knee or waist high. So, when there was an offshore storm kicking up the surf, you had to take full advantage. I was a “noob” as they say in surfer speak, and on a particularly ill-tempered weather event, jumped out of my car parked on the boardwalk and straight into the ocean, paddling furiously for the next set.
That’s a BIG no no. The strong current quickly scooped me up and just about dumped me onto the jetty made of Volkswagen sized boulders on my right. Undeterred, and hard headed, I collected myself, paddled out and was quickly sent hurtling through the massive pilings of the pier on my left! How I was able to navigate the myriad of tightly constructed tree trunks bracing the pier above while fighting the force of angry, churning waves drove me ever forward , I’ll never know.
And it was after this experience I understood why the other seasoned surfers took their time on the beach waxing their boards and watching the breaks; watching the sets. They were studying the patterns of the ocean. They were keeping an eye out for telltale signs. They were planning how to maximize their time in the water, and more importantly, staying away from dangerous situations.
Out of the murky Texas gulf coast water, I have taken off on more than a few ideas or campaigns without a well thought out strategy or plan. It sucked! It was stressful, rushed and not near as effective as it could have been. And, in the long run, it took MORE time to enact my scatter-brained scheme than if I had sat down and put a few hours into a creating a cohesive game plan. We’ll come back to that!
Panic At The Disco
No need to elicit a raise of hands, but, who among us has felt the panic as your hand reaches for the office lights and just before shutting them off and locking the doors for the evening, suddenly realizing you haven’t made a social media post for the day? (I’m raising my hand, by the way)
Best case scenario is you trudge back to your workstation and wrack your spent brain on what you can post. You sit there, uninspired, as the clock taps you on the shoulder reminding of other pending responsibilities (kids to soccer practice, dinner, errands, etc.). So, you quickly slap something together, hit post and check that box off as you hurriedly head out the door.
Worst case scenario is you blow off posting with a “I’ll just do one tomorrow” or “I’ll add an extra one this week to make up for what I missed today.” It’s the lesser of two evils as both are ill advised and a waste of your valuable time, frankly.
A Calendar Takes The Guesswork Out Of The Day-to-Day Posts
So, what is one to do? That cohesive game plan for social media posts can come in the form of a well thought out calendar. A template calendar can take the guess work out of the day-to-day posting and provide a direction, a road map if you will, for your content. We wouldn’t dare venture out on a road trip without our trusty GPS app locked and loaded, right? It should be the same with your social media strategy.
The benefits of a content calendar are many…
Opportunity to plan and create content for a specific set of goals. It’s the difference between fishing with a net versus fishing with a pole - you catch exactly what you intend.
Avoid missing important dates or events. Being able to capitalize on a widely held theme or celebrate a national holiday with a personalized post (group photo of staff dressed in red, white and blue for July 4th) is a great way to increase visibility.
Occasion to establish a balanced variety of posts. Your social media feed is not a coupon circular full of discounts, specials and “act now” sales. It’s social. Don’t ditch the “social” in your social media. Your posts should be 20% sales related and 80% “other”.
Ensure posts are consistent and relevant throughout the year staying on brand and on message. Consistency, not only with post frequency, is key to building brand recognition.
Ability to include those involved (which should be the entire staff) with the social media content. Like a football playbook, everyone knows their role and what needs to happen on order to successfully execute the play. More on this later.
You Already Have Everything You Need To Get Started So, a calendar, right? That has 30-31 days on it. That means 30-31 slots to fill with content. Good grief! How will I ever think of what to fill each day with? Impossible!
The good news, you have a majority of the ideas already laid out before you! If you know your USPs (Unique Selling Proposition), a good idea of both your online persona and buyer persona and a website that details your products and services, you have all you need. Below are just a few ideas of how to pack your calendar with primo content…
Highlight a particular treatment (peel, skin tightening, body contouring, etc.) with an explainer video and post on Tuesday with hashtag #treatmenttuesday for increased visibility.
The same concept can be applied featuring a happy customer and their personal story of renewed self-confidence after completing a specific protocol. Upload on a Tuesday using hashtag #testimonialtuesday for increased visibility.
Every Wednesday can be a #wisdomwednesday post where you educate your audience on the importance of aftercare, hydration for enhanced results, the science behind radio frequency for skin tightening, etc.
Choose one Friday a month to feature a staff member highlighting a personal or professional accomplishment using hashtag #featurefriday for increased visibility.
Work The Process
Now that you have a few ideas, and hopefully a fair amount of inspiration, utilize the AIG social media content calendar to create a monthly post template. Fill in the appropriate days and stick with it! You’ll find your stress levels dramatically decrease when you know you have a plan in place and a blueprint to follow week after week.
And since two heads are better than one, include the social media calendar template as part of your weekly/monthly staff meeting/s. Briefly detail the upcoming month to get ideas and/or buy in. Collaboration breeds ownership and with a staff that is actively taking part in providing content, the workload is shared. Level up by running a contest for the staff member with the best Boomerang for the week/month. Winner will see their content used in a post!
Still stumped? Wish there was something to help put your plan into action? We’ve got you covered! Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for our calendar template!