The importance of social media planning

According to Statista, 22% of the world’s population is on Facebook and 81% of millennials check Twitter at least once a day. LinkedIn boasts more than 520 million users and Pinterest accounts for 25% of all retail website referral traffic. These numbers aren’t to be taken lightly. But how can you take advantage of these stats?

A sound social media strategy results in improved brand loyalty, better brand recognition, more targeted reach for your advertising and promotion and real-time performance analysis, which is priceless when it comes to forming new ideas and strategising.

If you’re looking to enhance and shape your social media impact, the first thing you should do is put together a social media calendar.

What’s a social media calendar?

A social media calendar is, as its name suggests, a tool for you to plan and schedule content for your social media accounts. If properly used, it will allow you to schedule posts months in advance, saving you lots of time, leaving you free to concentrate on other facets of your business’s development.

Pre-planning your social media outreach is critical. It allows you to plan around appointments, time out of the office; events etc. and keep tabs on everything you share. It also allows you to collaborate on social posts, something which is otherwise impossible.

Scheduling will also allow you to stay on track with the golden 4-1-1 rule, which is often used to successfully govern social media sharing. Put simply, it states that you should be looking to post 4 pieces of original content for every piece of promotion. Adherence to this simple rule should ensure that you don’t alienate your social media following.

The best social media scheduling tools

Two great tools to help you with pre-planned content are Hootsuite and Buffer.

Both tools offer you centralised control over your social accounts, and allow you to schedule and post content with little fuss. While they’re both undoubtedly useful, there are a couple of differences worth noting

If pure social media management and customer feedback is something you’re looking to improve, then Hootsuite is especially useful; affording you the opportunity to respond to your client base, while Buffer is more of a content management and automation platform; and one which, in the right hands, is hugely powerful.

Mercifully, they both offer free service plans, so that smaller businesses can try them on for size without having to commit any funds, and we strongly recommend that you do. Although we’d recommend Hootsuite as a great jumping off point for small business users.

Of course, having a pre-planned social media strategy doesn’t mean that you aren’t able to post in real-time. Preparation means that you’re covered on days that you’re too busy or simply unable to be involved. Once that’s taken care of, you’re free to post in addition to your scheduled content, too.