Social media marketing is the Internet age’s gift to small business owners. It enables anyone to reach out directly to a large market of potential customers, with the immediacy and intimacy of a Facebook post, a Twitter tweet, a YouTube video upload, or a website-blog entry.
But all that immediacy and intimacy also means social media marketing runs at livelier, faster pace than traditional mass media marketing. You and your business are expected to generate interesting content for your potential customers to read, sometimes as often as once every 2-3 days. In other words, it will take up lots of your time—something you don’t have lots of.
And that’s where old-fashioned editorial calendars can come in.
What is an editorial calendar, anyway? Before the Internet overtook mass media and advertising, the editorial calendar was the planning format that executives and PR experts used, and which everyone on their team or organization referred to. It was an overall “snapshot” or “script” of a marketing campaign, with each activity already sequenced and assigned a scheduled date and time of execution, who would do it, and how. It also gave everyone a clear sense of the campaign’s overall goal, and how each aspect of that goal would be addressed by the “script.”
Such pre-planning was possible back in those days because mass media’s generation and flow of information was simple and rather predictable. Content producers (i.e., show producers and advertisers) would broadcast or disseminate information (i.e., an episode from a show, a press release, or an ad) to the intended audience (and sometimes to everyone and no one in particular). The audience would simply react to what they received by either liking the product and buying it, or ignoring it. Very rarely would the members of that audience actually produce related content of their own, influencing both other audience members and the original makers of the product and original content. (Mass media—TV, radio, print—were not equipped to provide quick and direct interaction between them, anyway.)
Applying the same editorial calendar-planning format can help you manage your time between running your social media marketing campaign, and running your business. Just because it’s social media doesn’t mean marketing and public relations conducted through it are totally different from the way they were conducted years ago. This is especially true in the aspect of marketing management. How to use social media is still governed by proper planning and scheduling of activities.
However, adapting the editorial calendar to social media means it should be a lot more flexible than editorial calendars of old. Instead of being a fixed schedule of events, your plan should make time for you to occasionally create and “curate” your posted content, sometimes on the last minute, just so you can adapt your product’s image to whatever is trending among your audience’s members.
A Layered Calendar
Instead of creating one linear schedule, create a layered editorial calendar.
The first schedule layer should plot out your marketing campaign’s long-term goals and deadlines. Activities that are meant to fulfill such goals are treated like projects, with early starts and long lead times.
The second layer should be more like a schedule of customer relationship building activities. In other words, what activities should you do to drive up audience interest in your product or company? Time is allotted for responding to seasonal trends, as well as creating monthly trends (e.g., catchy memes or promos) that will persuade people to pay attention.
The third layer is the most flexible schedule of all. It’s basically a rough idea of how often you expect generate content (i.e., posts or Tweets) on the fly. Actual activities here are made up or cancelled as you go along, but must still align with what’s being done in the first and second layers of the editorial calendar.
- Google Tools Every Marketer Should Know
- Facebook Marketing for Your Online Business Ventures
- Getting to Know Squirrly