Get Organised in 2022: Planning your social media content
Sara Lindsay, Digital Content and Social Media Manager
Get Organised in 2022: Planning your social media content
I am not a fan of New Year’s resolutions. I often feel there is a lot of pressure on us in January. We’re bombarded with ads and articles telling us we should be on a restrictive diet and we should be spending two hours in the gym each morning. Eurgh. Regularly setting goals for personal and professional improvement is one thing; but arbitrary resolutions made just because it’s January? Count me out.
One thing I can get behind as the New Year begins though, is making a good, old-fashioned plan of action. As a bit of a perfectionist who needs to know what I am doing and what time I am doing it (with good notice), there is nothing more satisfying than having a well-drawn-up plan.
Even if you are a bit more spontaneous than me, you can still benefit from mapping out your ideas – especially when it comes to your social media content. Planning some of your café posts in advance means you are always on top of seasonal content, you can ensure a good mix of topics that you post about regularly, plus it gives you one handy place to plot out your hashtags, images and videos. I think it’s crucial to maintain a social media content calendar and now is a great time to start.
To help you with this, I have developed a content planning calendar template that you can download for free and use to plot out your social posts for your café. It’s pre-populated with most of the national days, links to content from Matthew Algie that you are free to use, plus a few content examples.
To help you get started, here are my tips for using it to plan your content for 2022.
Before we get into the actual content plan, I wanted to briefly discuss using a scheduler. These are online tools that allow you to hook up your social accounts and schedule your posts in advance. That way, you can plan all your posts for the month in advance and leave it to the scheduler to post at the date and time you have specified. Easy, right? All you need to do is make sure you are available to respond to comments and engagements from your audience off the back of your posts.
There are plenty of platforms that will offer this for free (try Hootsuite or Buffer) for three or fewer accounts, or there are paid-for options if you have a few accounts to manage. Most of these show your planned content in calendar format, so you could use this alone to create your content plan. However, I think it is easier to plan outside of the platform so you can customise the view to your own needs, access it offline, share with colleagues and you can add your own notes.
2. PLANNING FREQUENT POSTS
I find it helps to plan ahead for the upcoming month or two. You don’t need to populate the plan for the whole year now (who knows what could change!) but plan at least one month ahead.
On desktop, use the content planner provided (or the one in the scheduler) to spread your posts out to 3 or 4 posts per week. This is a good benchmark for keeping your account active and encouraging engagement. I would recommend posting every day if you can, but possibly the days without scheduled content could be when you post more spontaneous content. The idea here is that you have a good level of content scheduled, but you can top it up as you need to with more of-the-moment posts.
3. POST ON NATIONAL DAYS
On your content planner, you’ll see space for National Day (and occasionally, national months). I have pre-populated as many relevant days as I can onto the planner itself, but if you find more, do add them in!
It’s a great idea to see what national days are occurring each month (and believe me, there is a day for everything!) as you can pre-empt some of the posts that will be trending on a given day and make sure you are using the hashtag for maximum exposure.
It can also difficult to come up with fresh content each day, so these give you a good prompt on what to post and can inspire more content ideas!
4. WHICH SOCIAL PLATFORMS?
The next box on the content planner is the Platforms box. Here you can plan out which social account you will send your post from. Sometimes, you’ll want to post the same thing on all your accounts, but others you may wish to post on just one. This box will help you document this so you can clearly see the coverage you will have across all your accounts.
5. LABEL YOUR TOPICS
I think it’s a good idea to choose around 4 topics that you want to make sure you cover in your social media calendar. This could be coffee, food, business, promotions etc. By documenting the topic of your post in the Topic box, you can make sure you have the right mix of each.
For example, you don’t want to inadvertently be only posting about the sandwiches you sell and neglecting to advertise your smoothies. Make sure you are promoting the offerings that matter to your audience evenly.
It might help to colour code this box so you can see your topics easily at a glance.
6. WRITE YOUR CAPTION
Next, an important bit – your caption! When writing your caption, keep it clear and concise. You do generally have a lot of space to write a long caption (except for Twitter, which is restricted to 280 characters) but try not to write extremely long posts every time. Save these for important information every so often. People skim read on social and they want to see the key points.
If I am writing a longer post, I like to add bullets and use emojis as bullet points. This breaks up longer text, makes it easier to read and makes it more eye-catching.
I am also a stickler for good spelling and grammar. Try to make sure yours is just right – you can use tools like Grammarly if this sort of thing isn’t your bag but trust me, it’s worth it. Especially in hashtags. If words in your hashtag are spelt wrong, you’re not going to get much traction.
Also, don’t forget to tag other companies to increase the reach of your post. You could tag @matthewalgie as your coffee supplier, other brands you use in your café, or individuals.
For caption and post ideas, visit our social media marketing assets Trello board and feel free to use the content there.
7. PLAN YOUR IMAGE OR VIDEO
Now the other really important part of your post – the image or video. These should ideally be original photos or video you have taken yourself, so it’s completely bespoke to you. Use this box to plan what the image will be of and to remind you to take the photo! I know that sometimes creating your own images is difficult; that’s why we have provided a library of images to use on our Trello board. If you are still stuck for pictures, why not try a stock image site like Unsplash or Pexels – just try not to overuse stock images (these should make up less than 10% of your content) as you want your imagery to be uniquely yours!
8. HASHTAG PLANNING
Next you have space to plan out your hashtags. It’s important to use hashtags to help people find your post. You can create your own hashtags and use existing ones so that your post will be found in that conversation. Here are my top tips for hashtags:
- Don’t spam by including loads of hashtags – use up to 10 really good ones
- Don’t string too many words together – it makes the hashtag difficult to read and the meaning can get lost. #itsreallydifficulttoreadthissodontusetoomanywords
- Research existing hashtags for your subject matter before you use them – if there are under 100 posts on one, it may not be worth adding it to your post. If there are 10 million, you may want to choose a more specific hashtag so your post doesn’t get lost within them. It’s sometimes about finding a good balance
- Try using a tool like All Hashtag to help you identify hashtags that could improve your social post
9. CALL TO ACTION
One of the last boxes to complete is a reminder to include a call to action. What do you ideally want your audience to do when they read your post? Sometimes this can be something relatively small such as ‘like’ the post, sometimes it will be to comment or share or to ask a question. Try to always have a call to action. You can document it on the planner, so you won’t forget.
10. SET THE STATUS
A top tip is to colour code this box – green when complete, amber when in progress and red when it hasn’t been started. If you aren’t planning out your posts already, then what are you waiting for? I guarantee that once you start arranging your content in this way, you’ll feel much more on top of your social media strategy (and you will feel very satisfied seeing those status boxes turn green!). This will help you to remain focused on your café’s goals and objectives and ensure you are posting a good mix of great content. So rather than making a resolution this January, let’s make a plan!
About Sara Lindsay
Digital Content and Social Media Manager
Sara has worked in Digital and Content Marketing for over eight years, with a focus on B2B web content & SEO, copywriting and Social Media. She worked with global healthcare brands for several years before moving to the coffee industry three years ago.
In her role of Digital Content and Social Media Manager at Matthew Algie, Sara is responsible for our websites and delivery of the lead generation strategy, our social media platforms and digital paid advertising.
Sara enjoys absorbing the knowledge and passion from the industry experts at Matthew Algie and translating that into engaging stories for our visitors and followers online.