BY JULIE A. PALM
What’s more important to managing your store’s social media efforts than a mobile device? A calendar, of course.
When you are responsible for creating and managing social media content, those social media “streams” can feel more like flooding rivers. One way to manage the flow and keep yourself afloat is to create a calendar—a weekly, monthly or quarterly schedule that includes all the social media platforms your store uses and outlines many of your posts in advance.
“An effective content calendar saves you time and energy. It keeps you organized and on track throughout your hectic workday,” content marketer James Scherer writes in a January 2016 blog for Post Planner, a social media scheduling app. “Most importantly, it keeps your readers and audience engaged by preventing your content from stagnating—or getting repetitive or overly random.”
Start by outlining how frequently you want to post on each social media platform and then map out specific days and times for regular posts. Next, think about what types of information you want to share. One of the biggest benefits of a schedule is, as Scherer says, ensuring variety. As a mattress retailer, you want a mix of promotional posts (product launches, sales, events, etc.), sleep tips, shopping advice, industry news, interesting quotes, health research, quizzes, behind-the-scenes glimpses, explainers, etc. Sprinkle each type throughout your calendar.
Here are some more specific ideas for setting up your schedule:
- Never forget. Note the dates of national holidays, annual sales, your store’s anniversary and other important events, adding reminders about them weeks and days ahead so you don’t get caught rushing at the last minute or forgetting altogether, writes social media strategist Osly Sorokina in a November 2014 blog for Hootsuite, a social media management platform.
- Be platform specific. Many posts, such as sleep tips or shopping advice, work well anywhere, but others are best targeted. For instance, job postings and industry news are ideal for LinkedIn or even Twitter, but not so great for Instagram. Longer, explainer-type videos are well-suited to YouTube; shorter Vines and GIFs are great for Facebook.
- Enlist help. There are countless apps to help you schedule and automate posts either for individual social media sites or across several. Use them! They save time and help you ensure posts go live when followers are most likely to see them. Two caveats about set-it-and-forget-it scheduling. First, scheduling posts is no substitute for spending time each day posting in response to news of the day. (Remember, people love social media because it’s timely.) Second, breaking events can turn an innocuous preplanned post into a mild gaffe or, worse, a PR nightmare. Keep up with the news so you can pull all scheduled posts if there is a tragedy (plane crash, mass shooting, etc.) or adverse industry news (massive product recall, vendor bankruptcy, etc.).
- Don’t set it in stone. Regularly review each social media platform’s engagement metrics (likes, new followers, comments, shares, clicks, retweets, etc.), writes former content manager Ryan Pinkham in a February 2014 blog for Constant Contact, an email marketing firm based in Waltham, Massachusetts. Pay particular attention to what posts have been most successful and on which platforms you are getting the most engagement. Adjust upcoming calendars accordingly.