Using a Message Calendar for Social Media
"I saw the message calendar. I'm having some difficulty navigating the color-coding." President Bartlet, The West Wing
Message Calenders have been in use in political campaigns for a long time. They help to make sure that the topics the candidate is speaking on match the advertisements that are running, events being scheduled, and any other campaign activities. Businesses should use a Social Media Message Calendar to ensure that their online message and branding remain consistent, scheduled and present on all platforms. Such a methodology will give your business a strategy for success.
Choose a Theme or Topic
It's important that your messages are consistent, so come up with an overall theme or topic for a period. The period can be a week or a month or whatever makes sense for your business. For instance, most businesses switch to a Holiday theme leading up to the Christmas Season.
Use a spreadsheet or calendar to schedule your messages. A spreadsheet can be more useful for more complex campaigns where you may have multiple individuals or departments involved on many fronts.
Social Media Platforms
Use color coded entries for each social media platform so that you can easily verify that you have activity scheduled on every platform at all times. Make sure, of course, that you have a complete profile on all platforms and that you're using them to the fullest advantage. At a minimum, you should be on:
- Facebook - http://www.facebook.com
- Twitter - http://www.twitter.com
- LinkedIn - http://www.linkedin.com
- YouTube - http://www.youtube.com
- DiGG - http://www.digg.com
- Google+ (once they allow business pages)
- Del.icio.us - http://del.icio.us
What to Schedule
First, start by breaking your year into convenient topic periods and selecting your theme for each period.
Next, slot in your blog and article posts and brainstorm possible writing topics. These are not written in stone - you should feel free to modify and change blog content as needed, in response to market trends and current events.
Next, work through each of your social networks and plan activity. The point here is not to schedule each and every Tweet or Like. Instead, you should focus on major activities and initiatives. For instance, you might plan to Post and Tweet an older blog post during a week where you're discussing and writing on that post's topic.
What Activities Should Be Included
The following are examples of activities that you can and should include in your activity schedule:
- Website updates including product releases, landing pages, and other new content areas.
- Press Releases
- Case Studies
- Articles and White Papers
- Discussion Forum topics and posts
- Facebook posts
- Twitter statuses
- LinkedIn statuses
- Online / Offline Events
- FAQs and Microblogs
While planning is important, it's critical in social media to be present in the moment and genuine. Engage and interact with your customers and followers at all time, making an effort to stay on message when possible.
For more information, or for assistance with your social networks and your social media message calendar, please contact us.