You've hit that mid-year lull, haven't you? That time when, instead of creating social media posts with an objective, you're posting a lot of cat videos. Instead of planning goal-oriented posts that express your personality, appeal to your fans, and move you closer to your business goals, you're re-sharing the tired memes from your friend's feed.
It's all right. The annual social media calendar we created in January can get a little dusty midway through the year. Today, we'll clean that calendar off and give it new life in your monthly social media calendar. A monthly social media calendar allows you to know what you're going to post EVERY DAY!! It helps you balance promotional posts with fun and personal ones, it insures you're talking about themes and topics important to you and your audience, and it focuses you so that your social media posts are moving you toward your goals.
And the time investment for this ease and focus? Only about two hours at the end of each month. Here's how to build your own monthly social media calendar:
Step 1: Write down your list of topics from your annual social media calendar.
If you created an annual social media calendar, then you already have a list of business goals, content topics, and personal events that you want to focus on in your blog writing, Facebook posts, Instagram photos, and other social media content this month. If you didn't create an annual social media calendar, then make a quick list now of those items.
Should writing this list give you ideas for specific posts, go ahead and write those down now, too. For example, I have "summer entertaining on deck" as one of my topics. I need new outdoor pillows, and I figured it would be a fun Facebook post to quiz my lifestyle-and-home-focused followers about what color scheme they prefer for the deck.
Step 2: List the dates of any business, personal, family, holiday, or fun events you having coming up. Use these events to inspire posts. I have a professional organizing client whose college-age son came home for summer break. We used his homecoming to inspire a Facebook post about how to help your almost adult get and stay organized over the summer.
Step 3: Determine the topics and dates of your blog posts for the month. Your blog post can be the foundation of a week's worth of social media posts. By creating posts that direct traffic to your blog, you are directing eyes to your website, which is property that YOU control. It's great to get Facebook and Twitter love, but traffic that stops there is ultimately benefitting Facebook and Twitter most.
Step 4: For each weekday, decide which social media channel you're going to post to and the overall theme of your social media posts. I don't post to every social media channel every day, and I don't require it of my small business clients. Who has the time? Determine which social media channels you're going to post to on which days.
Also, you can insure your social media streams are both useful and entertaining by balancing your business-related and personal/fun posts. Choose now which days you will post "business" posts and which day you will post "entertaining" posts. You don't have rigidly hold to this, but it does help you to remember in case all of your posts are listing to one side.
Step 5: Now, begin to fill in your calendar. Fill in your blogs first. As I mentioned, your blog posts can be the inspiration for many of your social media posts that week. The days before you publish your blog, you can build interest by posting a photo or tip as a "teaser." After the blog is published, you can continue promoting it by listing a new fact, thanking the sources mentioned in the blog, or giving a shout out to sites where readers can get more info.
Step 6: Fill in date-specific events. Use those book signings, holidays, and special events in your life to create posts that give your audience greater insight into you or connect you with your audience on a larger scale. Post a picture of your Mom on Mother's Day, post a picture of a fan from a book signing, show off your spangly gala dress, and give a thank you to that organization that invited you to speak. Your followers love the peek into your life, and they also love it when you show appreciation!
Step 7: Fill in the rest of the calendar using unused ideas on your list. Now that you have the "must-haves" filled in, you can use the rest of your calendar to discuss the "like-to-haves," the topics that are important to you and help define your message. Promoting my wonderful clients, providing tips on social media best practices, and highlighting fun things to do in the D.C.-area are all topics that are important to me and that I'll make sure to include now. Other go-tos to fill in your monthly social media calendar include:
- Ask people to follow you on other social media channels
- Promote other people or services in your community
- Share an article that might appeal to your fans
- Use an easy app like Recite.com to create and post a quote you enjoy
- Post a pic of your pet
- Re-share older blog posts from your website
- Ask your audience a question
Happy calendar building! And feel free to contact me if you need any help!
What's one topic or theme that you're interested in that could make your social media stream distinctive this month? How could you use that topic or theme creatively in a post?
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Angelina M. Lopez is a freelance copywriter and social media manager who helps solopreneurs and small business owners tell their story. She’s the cheerleader, strategy partner, and — if necessary — whip cracker for her clients. In her rare moments of spare time, she aspires to be a fiction writer. She and her family live outside of Washington, D.C.