Why do I Need to Plan my Social Media Posts in Advance?

‘Fail to plan, prepare to fail.’ The old adage is as true as ever, not least for social media marketing.

Once a low-priority task left to the intern to keep them busy in between tea-runs, most businesses now take a more strategic approach to social media, recognising it as another important branch of their usual marketing.

Planning social media posts
Image credit: MKH Marketing

This means delivering a regular output of on-message content, with a set tone and accompanied by appropriate imagery where suitable.

The problems tend to start when you have multiple social media admins; without adequate planning, you can’t hope for a consistent output, and you’ll risk confusing your brand’s messaging. A social media management tool can help your admins to keep track of who is posting what, and where they’re posting it, but a rolling calendar of content is also crucial to align your social media content with your overall marketing strategy.

Even with a single designated admin, it’s much harder to maintain a consistent quality and output of content without posts planned in advance. Planning social media posts in advance makes meeting your publication time and date targets more achievable; if you’re aiming to post 4 times a day, it’s much easier to have a dated platform and messaging framework to consult.

Forward planning of social media posts gives you time to review them, avoiding the sloppy social media posts seen on so many corporate accounts. Spelling mistakes wouldn’t be acceptable in a banner ad or promotional email, nor are they on Facebook.

If you’re active on multiple social media platforms it can be difficult to switch between messaging when writing posts spontaneously. A calendar outlining the messaging for each post will enable you to keep your key messages in mind and plan posts in advance for consistent branding.

It can be difficult to get tone of voice right, especially if it differs between platform audiences. Planning posts in advance batches can help you to review and modify tone accordingly.

One final benefit of planning your social media posts in advance is the promise of variety it offers you; with all your post topics lined up in advance you can prevent duplication and promote a more varied selection of posts.

Platform Admin Audience and key messages Publication date Post example This week’s posts Reviewed and signed off?
Facebook Sam Recruitment-related – family feel, amazing training Every day x 3 ‘When coming to work feels like “coming home”, you know you’ve found a job for life. Join us! [link]’ ✓ / ✗
Twitter Laura Business-related – 95% customer satisfaction rate, experts in our field Every day x 3 ‘Trust one of our #email and #telephone experts to manage your business #comms. [Link]’ ✓ / ✗
LinkedIn Sam Recruitment-related – family feel, amazing training Every day x 1 ‘Our amazing training will help you to grow and develop your skills while you earn. Find out more [link]’ ✓ / ✗
Pinterest Laura Recruitment-related – family feel, amazing training Every day x 1 Another amazing team night out. We love our staff! [image] [Link] ✓ / ✗
Google+ Laura Business-related – 95% customer satisfaction rate, experts in our field Every day x 1 ‘Our 95% customer satisfaction rate speaks for itself; read some of our reviews [link]’ ✓ / ✗

Ready to get planning? Your first step is to create a calendar outlining your different platforms, audiences, admins and key messages. A simple matrix like the one above is enough to get you started, complete with ‘example posts’ and space for the admins to draft new ones. You may wish to plan on a weekly basis or a monthly basis. Appoint one person to manage the calendar and to review prospective posts regularly to check for duplication and that messaging aligns.

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