Social Media Strategy, Part 2: Content & Scheduling

Erin Lewis

A social media strategy will look different for every business, but there are some core, universal elements to consider when forming a plan: what to post and when to post. After establishing our baseline, we turned our focus to content and scheduling to further define our strategy for both Bright Umbrella and CTRL+CLICK CAST.

Our exact choices may or may not work for you, but the thinking behind them might.

Content

We started off with a modest schedule of social posts to promote the Bright Umbrella blog and CTRL+CLICK CAST episodes. Basically a “hey check this out” type of thing.

While we did have some engagement, there wasn’t a ton of growth so we took a closer look at exactly how we were saying what we wanted to say. We changed three things that had a noticeable effect:

  • We incorporated more rich descriptions in our social posts about exactly what you find when you click through. This took the form of quotes from the show or article, tips and best takeaways. We essentially added a little “this is why” to our previous “hey check this out.”
  • We got strategic about using hashtags on Twitter. We started researching hashtags using Hashtagify.me and Ritetag. We created a searchable log of hashtags based on popularity and relevance, which Emily, Lea and I update weekly.
  • We started sharing resources that were not ours, but that we used either for the business or for the show. We found that our followers engaged the most when our social content included real resources that they could use professionally, so we incorporated that into our strategy.

All said, we initially knew that we were sharing quality content, but we needed to tailor our social messaging to match that quality. We then focused and expanded what we shared based on what worked.

Scheduling

How often?

At first we were pretty conservative (and maybe still are!). We have no interest in spamming our followers with too much of anything. But over the past two years, we’ve incrementally increased our frequency of posting to double what we started with. We did this not for the sake of posting more, but so we could accommodate the content that our audience was responding to and to reach a broader range of people.

More frequent posting turned out to be better for us, but there was purpose behind making that choice.

When?

To be honest, content and frequency have more of an effect on our results than when to post. We’ve never looked at something that’s done really well and thought “wow, we really got the timing right on that.” Timing is part and parcel of creating a schedule, but it’s not the key to anything. Moving on.

We started with some questions. Who is our audience? When are they online? What do folks recommend? Using that as a starting point, we then tested posting the same content a few times a day for a few weeks, to get a more focused bead on interaction. We also used Hootsuite’s autoschedule feature which happened to align with our findings.

From there, we created a schedule that we pretty much stick to today. We’ve also recently been experimenting with off-hours posting on Twitter and Facebook to expand our reach to folks who live in other time zones or who operate on different schedules than we do.

Calendar?

Since we started using a calendar for our schedule (only a couple of months ago!), organizing is so much easier. But we don’t use a calendar for content; we use Inc for outside content curation and a combination of Google Sheets and Basecamp to communicate about in-house content.

Using a calendar for scheduling purposes, however, has cut down on both mistakes and time. Here’s a screenshot from our calendar. It isn’t pretty, but it works.

Sm Schedule Calendar
Our Social Media Calendar

From the beginning, we based our content and scheduling decisions on our own intuition and research on what was working for other people. But as we’ve evolved, we took a measured view on what was working and what wasn’t for us. It involved a lot of data, spreadsheets galore and a wrong turn here and there, but we learned a lot along the way.

And even still, that only got us to about 80% of our strategy. The remaining 20%? Tracking, which I’ll cover in part 3 of this series. Subscribe and stay tuned!

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