We understand social media content creation can be a challenge for some companies, and sometimes there are just not enough hours in a busy day to get content made and posted. For clients that are having a hard time coming up with social media content every day, we often recommend batch scheduling content. Batch scheduling your content can help you increase your efficiency, and get a better overall view of your monthly strategy.
We know batch scheduling content can seem intimidating at first, but dedicating just a few hours a month to sit down and schedule can tap into your creativity and help your content flow better. In this article, we will walk you through the process and teach you some tips and tricks to make batch scheduling easier.
See what your competitors are posting to get ideas for types of content (Get our guide with tips for checking out the competition!)
Your competitors can give you the best insights on what kinds of posts reach your audience best, which ones fall flat, and what types of strategies to use to get people engaged in your products or services. They can also help spark new ideas for content that can help get the juices flowing when it comes to the drafting phase.
Don’t be afraid to expand your search outside of your area and your main competition–look in similar markets to your town or city and see what kinds of businesses in your industry you can find there. It’s also worth looking at larger competitors if one of your main goals is to help your business grow.
Check your analytics software to see how often to post, what days and times to post, and what types of content perform the best
In the backend of Facebook for business, there is a tool called ‘Insights.’ You can use this tool to see how your posts and your page are performing. Plus, you can start to take a look into what times of day more of your audience is on Facebook, what kinds of content has had higher clicks than others, and how however often you are posting influences how many unfollows or likes and shares you are receiving.
Clicking into each of these tabs is a great way to start to get a better look at what kind of person is looking at your content. Noting the average ages, gender, and general media consumption habits can help you start to put together a buyer persona to better target the average customer that interacts with your business.
In the analytics tab, there are some metrics you can check that can help inform your social media strategy, For example, you can check your total page views to see how people are viewing your content. This can help you know what your content should look like and you can format accordingly. It can also give you some good feedback on what types of content that you’re doing currently is working for you.
Brainstorming and Drafting
Sit down with your team to get input on things happening within the business for the next few weeks to a month
Brainstorming shouldn’t be limited to sales or promotions your business may be having. These conversations can include anything from a business you partner with having an exciting announcement, conferences or trade shows you’re attending, or even something as simple as an employee birthday. Taking the time to sit down as a team will keep you all on the same page with what and when you are posting.
This can also just be a great chance for your team to get on the same page about how you want the tone of your social media to be, the feel of the graphics you want to put out, and what kinds of events you want to have on your social media.
Make notes of any events your business is taking part in, any advertising campaigns you need to run (sales, product launches, new service offerings, etc.)
Ask yourself what is new in your business this month. Are you getting in a new shipment? Maybe you’re donating to a charity? Perhaps you’re having some company bonding time? All of these can make great posts that can help spark even more ideas.
This part can take a little more planning (these won’t be pre-scheduled with your batch) since often these are shared images of employees actually at the event. For this, we recommend setting yourself an alarm for the event day, so you don’t forget! It’s still crucial to have these pre-marked out on your editorial calendar though because otherwise, you run the risk of double-scheduling your content for the day of the event.
Create unique content posts that are similar types of content to your competitors, but unique to you
Does your competitor use branded quotes and images, or specific hashtags more than others? These types of posts are a chance to play around with creating content templates, so all you have to do is switch out the old information for new so you can post it.
Some tools can help you create branded content that anyone on your team can easily update. Canva is an excellent option for this! Make sure you save these templates into folders in Canva so you can keep organized and make sure you don’t accidentally use the same content twice.
Create content around relevant holidays for your business
There’s always a reason to celebrate! This National Day Calendar is a great place to start looking for content ideas to fill your calendar. There are a couple of ways to go about using these national days to promote your business. You can choose the ones that pertain to your business (for example, August 17th was National Nonprofit Day), or you can choose fun national days as enrichment for your company culture and a fun social piece (for example, celebrate national donut day by surprising your employees and add a fun post about it).
Gather high quality curated content (content that someone else has created that you are sharing)
Looking into your competitors in the earlier steps will help with this step of the content process. Now that you can see where they are sharing their content from, you can follow pages that are similar using the tab on the side (insert screenshot).
Another thing that can be helpful in finding curated content is using an RSS reader. An RSS reader is a rich site summary/really simple syndication that uses algorithms to show the best content related to specific industries that you can use. (We use Feedly!) RSS readers are helpful because they can help you narrow down what kinds of things could help your audience and what topics your audience is most interested in.
Put your content together in an Editorial Calendar
A content calendar is a layout of all the content you share for the month, including Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, etc. Seeing everything you are posting for the month can help you unify your strategy across all your social platforms, and make sure your messaging is consistent.
This step is crucial for the success of a good social media strategy. Seeing your content for the month laid out can help give you a better sense of what your posting, and help you understand the “why” to your posting behaviors.
Need more help with content calendars? Download our editorial calendar here!
Batching and Scheduling
Gather any photos you’ll need or make reminders for when they need to be taken
We won’t sugar coat it. Gathering photos can be a somewhat painstaking task. If you don’t have images on hand to accompany your posts, there are many free stock resources that you can use including Pexels, Unsplash, and Reshot, or paid stock photos from Shutterstock. Just make sure whatever images you have, you have the royalties for them. Still confused on what images you can use in your marketing? Here’s an article on finding online marketing images that will help!
There are some photos (of events, etc.) that need to be taken at the moment, so make sure to write notes and schedule those alarms we talked about in the brainstorming and drafting section, so you remember pictures of those.
Make any graphics
If you don’t have a graphic designer on staff, you can still make branded content via a design software called Canva (it’s free!). Before you make branded graphics, make sure you have a brand standards guide to work from so you know the colors and fonts to use. Having brand cohesiveness makes sure you have a unified presence across your social media platforms and on your website. Once you make your branded graphics, it is easy to copy them and just replace a few elements, so it’s ready for the next week.
Record any videos
“Videos?! No way!! I can’t be on camera!!” It’s something we hear from a lot of clients, but when it comes to the Facebook algorithm, it’s a necessary evil.
Video content still ranks higher than any other content you can post, including images, blogs, industry article shares, etc. There are so many content opportunities for video, from a tour of the office to promote a new product or service, to highlighting a customer experience or explaining a common customer question.
There are also video apps that can help you create compelling content, without you even having to be in front of the camera (check out Animoto). When it comes to engagement, however, your audience loves to be able to put a face to the company name. Once you get a couple of videos under your belt, it will begin to be more natural, and the content ideas will start to flow!
Schedule your content using an SMMS tool
One of the frequent concerns we get from clients is that content takes too much time, and is too much of a worry every day. Scheduling content via SMMS tools can help to take that weight off.
SMMS stands for social media management system. These platforms allow you to batch-schedule content for months in advance and see your strategy from a weekly and monthly view. That means sitting down and taking a couple of hours a week can give you content for an entire month, so there’s less stress involved in your content marketing strategy. It can also help to make the content review process easier because your team can log in to the system at any time to review and move around content. We recommend either Hootsuite or Sprout Social as user-friendly SMMS tools that can make your monthly scheduling easier.
Have your team members check over and reorganize your content accordingly
When you have finished scheduling all your content, make sure someone else on your team has a chance to review and check for any errors. It’s easy to make little mistakes, but they can be embarrassing when they post with an unintentional typo or factual inaccuracy. Who knows, looking over your content may help your team spark some new ideas you hadn’t thought of before!
Start publishing content
This is the fun part! As your content starts to roll out throughout the month, or however long you have batched your content for, keep an eye on the engagement. Do certain types of posts get more likes, shares, and comments? What was your favorite content to create? What times of the day do you seem to get more engagement on your posts? These questions will begin to inform your social media strategy as you move forward, and will start to make you feel more confident about your posting ability.
Check your analytical tools to see what days and what times you get the most traffic
Ah, the joys of reporting. You may be wondering what the ROI on creating a strategy and investing your time and energy into this batch-scheduling process is, and this is the time to explore that.
One of the best things about social media is that you can track your exact impressions on your channels, unlike traditional marketing like a billboard, where you have no real way of knowing how many eyeballs viewed your advertising.
For instance, on Facebook, you can use your Insights tab to search and see what the most successful types of content were. What were the best times of the day for engagement? Don’t be afraid to take chances. Sometimes the most engagement can come at unexpected times, even after regular business hours.
Going through this process can be time-consuming at first, but after a couple of months of practice, your content will start to become muscle memory. You should begin to notice how much easier your social media strategy becomes, from planning posts to measuring results, and adjusting accordingly to ensure the best engagement possible.
Need more help in scheduling your social media content? Schedule a consultation here or download your editorial calendar below!