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Why a social media calendar can make all the difference

You know social media is important for your business, all your competitors are doing it and doing it well, but you just don't have time, drive or budget to keep your profiles active enough to actually generate a return on investment (ROI). So, instead you make a post at 8pm every second week and your aunt Marie is the only one liking the content.
There is a way for you to develop a social media presence with fresh and interesting content by allocating one to two hours a week of your time to develop a social media calendar.

Here are a few ideas that will help:

Step 1: Download...
Firstly, I recommend you download a social media management programme like Hootsuite. The free version is very effective and it allows you to load all your blog and social media posts for the week on one easy-to-use interface.

Step 2: Create your calendar...
It can seem like a daunting task coming up with exciting and engaging content that your community is willing to share and on which it will interact. This is where a little bit of logic and research can go a long way.

First, create a simple spreadsheet on excel or word with all the days of the week as well as all your profiles. Then, start developing your content.

Your calendar needs to accommodate the trends of your business. For example, if you are in retail and Monday's are always dead then you need to get people in your store on Monday.

Let's use a small Italian restaurant as a case study. If the restaurant has a #MeatMonday special, discount on meat dishes on Monday, then this needs to be the focus for Monday.

Your community is on social media for entertainment purposes, so entertain them. (Image: Wikimedia Commons)
Idea for a post on that day could be to post details of the special along with a photo one of the dishes that qualifies for the discount. Then, later that day post a list of all the meat dishes on the menu with the hashtag #MeatMonday. Then, for the last post of the day, get creative. It is important to understand that your community is on social media for entertainment purposes, so entertain them. Find a funny but relevant video on YouTube and share it.

For the rest of the week the same trend should be followed. Visuals work very well - photos of the restaurant, interesting yet relevant images online, or even a photo of two of the most popular menu items asking customers to choose between them and say which is their favourite. There are dozens of ideas.

Also allow for ad hoc posts. A photo of a big table, with everybody smiling and cheering and post it the following morning with a catchy caption. The people in the photo might tag themselves and then coincidentally grow the social media community.

Remember: You will soon be able to analyse what posts your community respond to most.

By doing a little research on your competitors and prominent industry role-players or even taking note of social media accounts you are inspired by you are able to gain a lot of insight.

Step 3: Schedule posts...
Hootsuite, or even Facebook itself, has a scheduling function that enables you to schedule the date and time you want your posts to be disseminated. Schedule each post for the week and your posts will go out while you focus on your core business.

A great start

These steps are a very basic start to generating activity on your social media accounts. In addition, there are many tricks you can add, like tagging to increase the search engine optimisation of your website or effective community interaction. My best advice is to hire a social media and communications agency that does not charge an arm and a leg and get them to help you. It makes all the difference.

However, the above steps are a great start and will do wonders for your profile.
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About Rudi Massyn

Writer and Digital Media and Communications consultant. Director at Massyn Media. www.massynmedia.com