Managing the online presence of a fast-moving firm can be overwhelming but it is one aspect of your brand that you can’t afford to neglect. Abandoned social media profiles with outdated posts can actually look worse than not appearing on certain channels at all. On the flip side: consistent, thoughtful, and well-timed tweets plus relevant, informative blog entries and visually stunning Pinterest posts can do more than impress your clients—they can create inbound leads.
To make an impact through social media, you need to be posting and responding to your channels on a regular basis. Sporadic bursts of activity are not going to cut it. How do you make sure it happens….and happens consistently? Creating a killer social media calendar is the first step.
1. Create a Calendar to Fit Your Firm
As you start building your social media calendar, there are three important factors to keep in mind:
First, consider the overall purpose for being on a specific channel. Does your firm want to draw more visitors to its website? Are you trying to build a stronger connection with its clients? Do you want to showcase your firm’s culture? Use these goals to help you plan your social media activity calendar, laying out your marketing strategy in concrete steps. Having a clear direction forward will help get everyone in the firm on the same page and you’ll have metrics to assess the success of your social media efforts.
After you establish the purpose, you need to pick the social media channels that you intend to populate. They all have their pros and cons: YouTube and Pinterest are great for visual content, but Twitter is better for text. Facebook is ideal for engaging prospects on a personal level, while LinkedIn favors more professional networking. Your challenge is sorting out which channel is best for your firm.
Let’s say you’re an accounting and financial services firm. A Pinterest page might not make much sense given that accounting isn’t renowned for being a visually stimulating industry.
Leave that to the photojournalists.
Instead, why don’t you Tweet a financial news story every morning, post a couple informative blog entries a week, and engage clients on LinkedIn every few days?
How often you post will affect the layout of your social calendar as well. Firms with a more rapid-fire media strategy might have to adopt a calendar that allows for hourly updates.
Social media calendars can be created using Excel, Google Calendar, HootSuite, or any of the templates readily available online. Take a moment to think about how detailed you want it to be—should you break the tasks down by day, by week, or by month? Making this decision will help you decide which calendar tool to select.
Remember that you do not have to do what other firms are doing, and you do not have to be on every single channel. Do what makes sense for you and your firm. Here’s an example of a social media calendar we’ve created.
2. Assign Team Members to Social Channels
Now that you’ve sorted out the purpose, channels, and layout of your social media calendar, it’s time to pair up people and platforms. Designating a single individual to each outlet is important because it improves accountability, consistency, and originality.
When individuals see their names attached to a task, they’re more likely to take ownership. After you’ve selected a team who feels confident using social media, provide them with autonomy, and enable them to take pride in the content they’re sharing with others. They will also be held accountable if they do not meet the determined milestones.
Having a “one person, one channel” policy helps maintain a consistent voice as well. If a reader favors a certain social media post due to its upbeat, carefree style, switching to a more abrupt, cut-and-dry tone the next day can detract from the message the firm is trying to deliver.
Finally, by having one person in charge of each channel, you can avoid redundancies across posts. That eliminates the scenario in which clients feel like they’re experiencing déjà vu each time they look at their Twitter feed.
3. Follow the 80/20 Rule
And now for the final step in deploying your new social taskmaster: keep it selfless. Whether you’re posting on Google+ or sharing a YouTube link, follow the 80/20 rule.
On social media, 80% of your promoted material should consist of other people’s posts or industry-related news, with a maximum of 20% of content related to your own firm. Re-tweeting others’ information is ideal for promoting pertinent content without going over 20%, with the added benefit of creating goodwill when the author sees that you’ve shared their stuff. In fact, sharing other people’s content is often a great way to start partnerships.
This rule-of-thumb keeps your social media campaign from sounding too self-promotional, and it also ensures that your avid listeners are getting a mix of educational content on topics relevant to them.
You have a brand spanking new social media calendar…now work it! Stop posting willy-nilly, and start posting consciously and strategically. Get a game plan, pick your dream team, and put your social media calendar on the clock.