Hello, and welcome to 2019*, where you kinda-sorta-have-ta keep up with social media if you want to find success as an online brand.
While social media might seem simple (you just log in and post stuff, right?), there’s a lot that goes into keeping up with it.
Have no fear, the content calendar is here! But seriously, creating a content calendar will help you make the most of your investment on social media (automated systems that do the heavy lifting for me? Check, please!).
So, what the heck is a content calendar? Glad ya asked. A content calendar is a blueprint of social content for an upcoming month. In other words, it’s a visual way of knowing what to talk about and when. Not to mention, it helps you plan ahead all at one time, instead of writing something new every day. Are ya with me?
An e-commerce brand’s content calendar is likely to be filled with photos and info of their products. For example, a life coach is likely to include photos of themselves and inspirational quote graphics. Personal trainers share before/after photos of clients. Local businesses share neighborhood happenings (Columbus Navigator, anyone?). You get the idea!
A content calendar will keep you organized so you’re pushing out thoughtful content, regularly (regularity is important 💩).
At The Wonder Jam, I work in a really simple spreadsheet to create content calendars. Back in October, we designed and launched Oak Studio’s website and assisted their Grand Opening by planning content around it. Here’s a snippet of what that looked like:
Cue: ohhs and ahhhs or Marie Kondo reference.
Some of my clients use writers, designers, photographers and videographers to help create content, while others are on a more bootstrapped budget. Whichever boat you’re in, the tools below can help you wrangle content and plan STRONG social content! Also, here’s a great place to start with your own content calendar.
I go to Pinterest when I need inspiration. I use it as a moodboarding tool to help me create an overall vibe for a brand—especially if they’re just getting established. What I love about this platform is that you can pin your Instagram posts. This is great for two reasons:
- It allows you to easily find related content for re-posting purposes (here’s a quick video on how I do this for Otto Skin Goods), and
- It extends the reach of your content (aka, more eyeballs get the pleasure of seeing your stuff).
2. Instagram Hashtags
I spend a lot of time searching for reposts each month (it’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it). It’s a great alternative for clients who have smaller budgets for things like photography or content creation.
There are a few things to keep in mind when sifting through user-generated content:
- Avoid using content from a competitor
- Be sure to give credit in the caption! (this will prevent any angry messages/comments, plus, let’s be honest, the creators deserve the credit)
- Don’t forget to tag them in the photo, too
I’m not a designer—I leave that to Allie + Erika—but sometimes I take matters into my own hands when a client needs a quick quote graphic or Instagram story. Canva makes me feel like the fancy graphic designer I’m not! There’s a free version that gives you access to editable templates and lots of click-and-drag style design elements.
Psst…join us for Branding on a Budget, where Allie will walk you through creating a logo for your brand using Canva!
4. IMG PLY
Social algorithms love video content, so adding it to your mix is important. We don’t produce too much video at The Wonder Jam—it’s not really our jam—but we do love photographing stop-motion-style video clips. I use IMG PLY to string photos or Canva graphics together into gifs for posts, ads and Insta-stories.
Planoly is an Instagram management tool that will change your life. It allows you to plan the overall look and feel of your Instagram page by clicking and dragging posts around a grid. You can also import posts (both photo + video) without losing any of the quality of the original.
Lots of my clients think social media is way more complicated than it actually is. It just takes a bit of time. With that, we’ll leave you with three things to remember:
- There’s a good chance that regularly hopping on Instagram or Facebook Live will be THE BEST thing you can do for your social accounts. Talking about your brand from your perspective is important when making those social connections.
- Social is not perfect. It doesn’t have to have perfect photography, and a typo will not ruin your business, so just fix it and move on with your day.
- Still feeling stuck? You can hire us!
*If you’re reading this and it’s not 2019, then greetings to you, time traveler.