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Determining a Social Media Strategy

Social Media Calendar

Determining a Social Media Strategy

This is the fourth post in our series of understanding how Social Media works and how to tie it into a Digital Marketing Strategy. The first post Into to Digital Marketing and Social Media addressed the subject of Should my local, small business be on social media? The second post started us on the path of Social Media Research. The third post explored testing social media tactics.

Our fourth post deals with creating a Social Media strategy. Why it is important and what makes up an effective, doable SoMe Strategy.

Plan to Work

Ask any and every marketer, or anybody who manages a business, the age-old saying Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail is tried and true. By this point, you have already mapped out who you are and where your audience is. You have tested channels and gained an understanding of what works and what is a complete waste of time. You have determined your identity, your audience, your budget, your social media platforms, and how this all fits into the grand scheme of your marketing efforts … so now it is time to put this all into a plan. With all of these spinning wheels and social media channels, the most critical next step is to create a social media editorial calendar. While your editorial calendar may differ based on your client, your posting consistency and the detail of your postings, you must have a shell to keep your efforts in control and on pace. Here is how we do things at Sanctuary (and for a number of our clients):

  1. Monthly Editorial Calendar: A thousand foot view of your social media efforts provides you the opportunity to keep things in check. In the same way that the CEO of a business does not need every intricate detail displayed for day to day work, the overview portion of your calendar lets you look at what you have in store for the month. In an effort to tip my hand a bit and show you how Sanctuary Marketing Group does things at this higher level, here is a screenshot of Sanctuary Marketing Group social media efforts for January 2015 (Note: Most all documentation in house is done within Google Docs so that we can easily share and collaborate). At the monthly view, not much is listed aside from the date, the topic, and the channel. We color-code the days to show what went live (green), what is scheduled (yellow) and what we failed to go live (red, oops). In addition to this information, we will add particular initiatives (i.e., a monthly theme or a social channel to push) and ad spend to the monthly calendar.
  2. Social Media Calendar Day to Day Editorial Calendar: While the monthly keeps our overall identity and initiatives running smoothly, a day to day calendar is an absolute must. Each daily entry on the post editorial calendar includes the date, the topic (copied and pasted from the monthly editorial calendar), the copy for the post, the URL that will be added to the post, the specific social media channel, and any important additional notes for the post. Some daily social media editorial calendars include channel specific copy (i.e., Twitter only allows for 140 characters) or links to dropbox images that need added to the post. The day to day editorial calendar allows for ample planning ahead as well as client review of the posts if necessary. Here is a screenshot of what our daily editorial calendar looks like (again, color coded based on completion):

While it may seem overkill to schedule out the posts and review the copy in this much detail, these two editorial calendars provide the framework for organized longevity in your social media digital marketing efforts. Failure to plan is the #1 reason why ongoing marketing efforts are unsuccessful or inconsistent.

Work the Plan

What is the #2 reason why Social Media Marketing does not continue to work with a business’ digital marketing efforts? The beautiful plan does not ever get put into action or, more likely, the plan gets off the ground at roaring speeds before ever so slowly grinding to a sad hault. What does it mean to work the plan? Here are some points to make sure that it happens!

Places Everyone! Have you ever been on a play or movie set right before the scene is about to go live? Everything from the props to the well-rehearsed performers scramble to their predetermined spots. Once curtains rise, it’s show time! You have a commitment to fulfill and the entire scene rests on your shoulders (no wonder stage fright is such a big issue). Much the same, the script has been written (the editorial calendars) and the cast has been chosen (the social media channels); now time to execute. It’s showtime! Make sure that each person understands their roles, from the manager, the communications director, the business’ intern, and so on. SoMe Calendar

Execution: Whether it is the required posting or routine checks to whatever social media channel you decided to move forward with, have a very specific, precise plan to execute your editorial calendar. At Sanctuary Marketing Group, we check our clients Facebook and Twitter channels every morning, noon and right before we leave for the day. Additionally, posting is done daily. While many agencies and businesses will schedule posts to go live so that they do not have to visit their feeds daily, a lot changes and needs to be monitored daily. For that reason, we manually add posts from editorial calendars daily. Channels beyond Facebook and Twitter, like Pinterest and Instagram, we check periodically and update whenever noted by the editorial calendars.

Reporting: Having a regular system in place for reporting adds multiple levels to your digital marketing social media campaign. Primarily, scheduled reporting provides accountability to your efforts. Is it wasted time and money? You’ll know by looking at your results! Reporting also keeps your head on the ground instead of in the clouds. While social media requires quick replies and flexible management, there must also be a rhythm to your work that encourages you to reflect on your efforts. At Sanctuary Marketing Group, we have manual reporting that is done for social media but we always have our numbers backed up. We can check our numbers by visiting Twitter Analytics, Facebook Insights, Sprout Social Reporting, and SumAll.


Kissmetrics shares about Facebook Insights. Social media #digitalmarketing ROI.

Remember “failing to plan is planning to fail.” Come up with a plan, execute and report. Next up, the final installment in our Digital Marketing and Social Media series The Inside Scoop on Social Media.

Sanctuary Marketing Group has a dedicated team of Social Media professionals who are ready to help you with the advice, research, testing, development and implementation of a social media strategy. Contact us today and request a quote or call (330) 266-1188.

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