Excelling at social media doesn’t happen overnight. Building your audience takes time, dedication and consistent messaging. To help ensure your success, we recommend using a simple but powerful tool: a social media calendar.
A calendar helps you plan what messages you’re promoting on what channels and at what time. Through a scheduling tool, or by using in-app tools like Facebook’s Page Manager, your electric utility or telecommunications company can plan an entire quarter of posts and have them ready to go. Following are a few best practices your communicator can use to create your first social media calendar.
Think about your categories
You’re going to have different types of posts. Some will be to promote an event, others to encourage customers to enroll in a program. Develop a list of the different types of posts you have according to your goals. Some examples:
* Energy-saving tips
* Promoting an event, such as an open house or customer appreciation day
* Announcements, such as a planned service outage
* Interesting content shared from other sources (also called content curation)
* Education, such as explaining the cooperative concept or why public power is important
* Holiday messages
Develop themes for your posts
Consider “Broadband for Business” or “Energy Tip Thursdays” or “Did you Know? Tuesdays.” Develop graphics for each type of post, especially service interruptions. You can have a separate graphic for scheduled maintenance, minor outages and major storm damage to your system.
Being consistent with imagery helps your customers know what a post is about at a glance. It also helps lead others to your page when they share your posts. Good branding on a graphic could lead to many new subscribers to your page if a major service outage occurs and posts are shared multiple times.
Use color labels to track the different categories in your calendar. This visual clue gives you an overview of your editorial balance at a glance.
Post quality content consistently
Make sure your posts are engaging, well-proofed and easy to understand. If your communicator is the only person in charge of social media, have someone assigned to help them proof the posts. You want your comapny’s online presence to be just as professional as your lobby.
Post consistently. Once a day is a good goal, but you really never want to drop below 3-4 times a week. Your calendar should help you distribute your posts in such a way that your utility is a steady presence in the lives of your customers.
Review and revise at a set interval
Have your communications professional perform routine checks on what kinds of posts are well-liked by your customers, and which are not. Using that information, revisit your calendar to prune things that may not be interesting in favor of things that bring value to your customers.
Likewise, set a date each quarter to look at your analytics to see when posts earn the most interaction. Is your audience more likely to engage at 6 a.m. or 6 p.m.? What about on Sunday versus Tuesday? Find out when your audience is viewing your social media channels and adjust your calendar to fit.
Create a social media calendar following these guides and you’ll be posting quality, engaging content to your customers at times when they’re most likely to see it. That will help grow your audience, engage your customers and convey your mission.