Let’s talk about the tools needed to create a social media plan, execute it well and really enjoy using social media to grow your business.
The main items needed are social media Categories, Content, Images or Videos, Organizer and a Scheduler.
Social Media Categories
Categories are used to organize the content you create for social media. My categories are About Me, Industry Tips, Benefits, BTS/ Product, and Motivation. 99% of my posts are going to fit into one of these categories. This helps me know what type of content to create and how much I want to create.
Content is the bread and butter of your social media plan. Creating content can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be and I’m hoping this section of text will help you figure out the next steps to take in creating content for you business. You can either write your own content, hire a writer, use a social media strategist or use a copy writing tool like Copy.ai.
I recently found a copy writing tool called Copy.ai. I haven’t used this service yet, but I’m very curious about whether it would be beneficial to creating not only social media copy, but website and marketing copy as well. Of course, I’ll keep you updated on this service as I find out more.
You can also find a copy writer or social media strategist to work with. They typically charge per month for their services. You’ll want to make sure you know exactly how much content they will be creating for you, whether they will be scheduling the posts for you and make sure they are utilizing a social media marketing plan for you.
How I Write My Content Step-by-Step
I write my own content using the social media categories I mentioned earlier as a guide. Here is the process:
- Using Google Sheets I open a new spread sheet and add my Categories to the top
- In the left column I write out the month and days for when I want to post (For example – I’m only going to schedule posts for 3 days a week for the next three months.. That’s only 41 posts, so it’s easy to create this content together.)
- In the next column, I write the category I want to use for that specific day. Because I know that I want to post an Industry Tip each week, I write ‘industry tip’ in that column for each week and sprinkle the other categories through out those days. This helps me keep track of the content I’m creating. I end up with about 15 posts covering industry tips and about 6 posts to create for the other categories.
- Next to that column, I leave space to make notes for the media I’ll use.
- Then I write an idea I have for text in the next column
(View example below)
6. When I begin writing the text, I actually write it per category. For instance, I write all the motivational posts together. I think about what has been motivating me and jot that down to encourage others. I typically write about scriptures, quotes and stories that have motivated me as an entrepreneur. I only jot down ideas about the text I’ll write in the content column of the spreadsheet. I do the same thing for each category because as I’m thinking about one thing that has motivated me, I tend to come up with more ideas about what is encouraging and therefore those posts get written more quickly than if I were to sit down and write them individually. I also use this concept when I create the images for the posts.
Images / Videos
Let’s talk about different sources you can utilize for images or videos to use for social media. You can use professional photos/ videos, self taken photos/ videos, stock photo/ videos and mockup photo/videos. I’m currently using all of the above, but most of the time, my posts with professional photos have more engagement than others.
In 2019, I began investing in branding photos to add a more professional look to my feed. I knew that website design was a passion I would want to pursue for years and I wanted to communicate the passion and excellence I bring to this industry with professional photos. I haven’t always used the same photographer, but in 2020 I hired Traci Baker. She is incredible to work with because her photos are excellent, she’s experienced, fun to work with, and passionate about helping business owners create an authentic brand for their business! After one session with her, I knew she was my forever photographer. Now we shoot 4 times a year and I use those photos on my website, to create marketing collateral and to batch create 3 months of social media content.
Since the beginning of
time social media, we’ve used self taken photos (selfies) and videos for social media… so all I have to say about this subject is to keep the photos and videos you create on brand. Meaning that you probably shouldn’t post random blurry pics. As long as you can create content to go with the picture that relates to your target audience and community then I say go for it!
Stock photos were my go to before I started investing in branding photos. You can find free stock photos at Unsplash or Pexels, you can also purchase stock photos at Adobe Stock. I personally don’t use stock photos very often now that I have a steady steam of branding photos to use because branding photos are more professional and authentic. However, you can find high quality stock photos to represent your brand until you are ready to invest in professional branding photos.
I’m a sucker for a really good mock-up so I use Smart Mockups to create ones that show off my website and graphic design services. I’ve researched all the mock up creators and Smart Mockups is the best! They are consistently adding new images to work with, they offer the ability to add your own images or videos, the service is very affordable and completely worth it!
As you are choosing images or videos for social media, think about them as an extension of the content you created. They will further communicate what your text says and will solidify or hinder your branding message.
I also like to insert my branding photos and mockups into Canva templates to create beautiful graphics for social media posts.
Using my spread sheet, I can see how many images I need to come up with, then I just choose my templates, drag and drop my photos into them. Another cool feature of Canva is that if you name the photos with the date you will use them, they will save this way and make it easier for you to find the photo you need when you are scheduling your posts.
BONUS: Scroll to the end of this blog post to sign up for my email newsletter and get 30 FREE CANVA TEMPLATES to use when creating your social media plan!!
Like I mentioned before, I use google sheets to organize my social media marketing plan. There are most likely other tools to stream line this process, but for now I’m going with this free set up because it works for me and I hope it helps you create a planning system that works for you too.
When it comes to actually writing my posts content, I do this on separate google docs unless it’s just one or two sentences.
I schedule my content using Facebook Creator Studio. Over the years, I’ve used Planoly, and other premium scheduling tools, but my favorite is Facebook Creator Studio because it’s free and I haven’t encountered as many issues with it because it’s part of the Facebook service. With this tool, I’m able to add images and text one time, but schedule them to post on Facebook and Instagram at different times and days.
You can also look at a calendar view of your posts:
I created this post to help small business owners, entrepreneurs and free lancers gain a better understanding of how to use social media to grow your business, what the process of creating your own content can look like and help you decide if you want to create this content yourself or hire a specialist.
Please come find me on social @tidyspaces.design and dm me if you have any questions about this process!