“A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.” – Lao-Tzu
As marketers and business owners it’s often easy to get lost in marketing planning and realize that we actually didn’t do any . . . well . . . doing. Arguably one of the biggest hurdles for businesses embarking in social media marketing is committing it to a schedule. I hit on this sentiment in an earlier post addressing the importance of social media planning.
Honestly, I’m not sure why the concept of a calendar is so hard to grasp when it comes to planning promotions through social media. We live and die by our Google/Outlook/iCal etcetera calendars every day. Execute the same logic when it comes to planning social media marketing as well.
I offer you a two part series to help ease the fear. In Part one I offer tips for getting you started and in part two, I’ll make some recommendations on tools that help you commit to and execute a schedule. By the end of it, hopefully the fear of social media calendaring has disappeared.
1. Start with short bursts of time, i.e. a 30 day plan.
Starting with a short period of time plays two roles. Firstly, 30 days seems far more manageable to plan for then an entire quarter for someone just getting started, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Secondly, it reinforces a good habit for all marketers, to evaluate impact and make adjustments at the end of a time period and plan accordingly for the next period of time.
Early on in my career, I broke everything down into 30-day chunks. For my mind, a colorfully A.D.D. one, breaking plans into pieces allowed me to focus on what was immediately before me while also reinforcing good habits of planning, executing and evaluating. Fast forward 11 years and I’m still using that tactic to get social media programs off the ground for organizations I work for.
2. Have some flexibility
The very nature of social media is to ebb and flow in real-time. Yes, planning is good. But being so locked into the plan that you miss local topics and interests that are trending and provide an opportunity for you and your business to join a conversation is not. Consider social media a tool in a marketing arsenal for something I like to call “Opportunity Marketing.”
3. Think in themes
It’s amazing how themes can unlock mountains of ideas and content. This can be as simple as coming up with ways to engage an audience through questions and dialogue on a timely topic like say, March Madness. Themes also are a great way to group promotions and commerce as well. The commerce and promotions element also happens to be a great way to prove out the ROI of Social Media.
4. Commit the plan to paper, an app, something!
Perhaps the most important element of utilizing a social media calendar is taking that plan from your mind, and etching in the proverbial granite. It doesn’t have to be much, it can be a calendar on the wall, your Google calendar or one of a multitude of apps and tools that help with planning various aspects of your social media program. Those tools of the trade will be the focus of The Social Media Calendar Part 2.
How about you? Any tips to share to help those just getting started with a calendar approach to social media marketing?
In my next post I’ll dive into some resources available to help you get a social media calendar off the ground.