Do you know what you’re going to post on Facebook tomorrow? How about next week? If you’ve answered “no”, this could be a problem.
Sharing quality content across your social channels is one of the most important things a financial institution can do to engage its audience and attract new followers. And, by not being prepared, you could be missing out.
Creating your social media content in advance offers many benefits – the biggest one being that you won’t be left scrambling to find something to share. Unfortunately, if your bank or credit union is like most, content planning often gets pushed to the backburner.
It’s not surprising either. Employees and marketing teams are often tasked with multiple responsibilities and, by the end of the day, who has time to think about tweets? However, if you dedicate just a few hours at the start of every month or quarter to creating content, you’ll be well on your way to growing your social presence without having to constantly worry about what to share next. Allow me to explain.
To help you get organized, I’ve put together a step-by-step guide to building your very own content calendar.
What is a Content Calendar?
First off… the basics. What is a social media calendar?
A content calendar is exactly what it sounds like – a document outlining all of your upcoming social media posts and ideas. Your calendar can be as simple as just jotting down each day’s main topic points, or as detailed as outlining the exact messaging that is to be used, as well as the date and time each is to go live. Personally I prefer the latter, but to each their own.
Social media calendars can be created using many mediums, whether that’s a Word Document, an Excel Spreadsheet, or quite literally a physical or digital calendar. There is no right or wrong medium, but rather your personal preference. When selecting a medium for your calendar, you’ll want to make sure that you can organize content in a way that makes sense to your financial institution and that it can be quickly and easily shared with those that need it.
For example, I prefer to build content calendars using an Excel spreadsheet as I am able to collect and organize lots of information. I can then share this file with my team via shared network drives or cloud storage.
How to Create a Social Media Calendar?
Setting up a social media calendar is not as difficult as one might think. The following is a 4-step process for implementing and maintaining an efficient social media calendar:
Step 1: Learn Your Audience
Assuming that your financial institution has been active on social media for a while now, my first recommendation would be to learn as much as you can about those reading your posts.
What do they prefer to read? Do they react well to community related content? How about product or rate specials? Discover the type of content that best resonates with your community, and use that as the framework to build your social media calendar.
To get started, consider using Facebook’s Insights tool to audit your past content. Simply sort posts according to your desired metric, whether that’s clicks, responses, shares, total reach, or another. After a little bit of analysis, you should have a much better idea as to the kinds of content your social audience prefers and reacts to most.
Step 2: Decide on How Often to Post
One of the most difficult tasks in the calendar creation process is understanding when and how often to post your content. Post too little, and your audience might choose not to pay attention. Post too much and you risk annoying your online communities via oversaturation. It’s a fine line. Be sure to always keep your audience in mind. Ensure that you’re not bombarding them with posts that are irrelevant or inappropriate, and you’ll be fine.
If you’re looking for a more general rule of thumb for how often you should post, the following is what I would recommend for those in the financial industry:
- Facebook: 2-3 times per week
- Twitter: 6-10 times per week
- LinkedIn: 2-3 times per week
- Google+: 2-3 times per week
- YouTube: 1-2 times per month
Step 3: Create (or Source) Your Social Media Content
Once you have an idea of what kind of content your audience enjoys and how frequently you’ll be posting each week or month, it’s time to begin writing and/or sourcing content.
A couple of tips:
- Pull ideas from your newsletter. Articles you are already writing for your newsletter could be shortened to create social media posts.
- Utilize your team. Assign writing responsibilities to each person on your social media team. To keep things fresh, rotate the types of assignments that each person has every month.
- Use more than just words. Expect to utilize photos, stock images, videos, and more.
- Coordinate with your financial institution’s marketing and event strategies. In most cases, these items are planned out well in advance. Learn which products, services, and events are to be promoted throughout the year, and prepare your content accordingly.
- Coordinate with community events. Your social media content doesn’t always have to be about you. Share news and events that are happening in your service areas.
- Remember your holiday greetings and office closed announcements. These are easy and timely content pieces that will help populate your calendar and bring personality to your social media channels.
- Consider how much promotion each content item warrants. Some larger promotions or events should have multiple posts spread over the month while others only warrant one.
- Show some personality. Plan out posts that highlight your culture or showcase who you are as a financial institution. This can include employee spotlights, product spotlights, trivia days, contests, and more.
- Utilize relevant news and article websites. The content that you share does not have to be 100% written by your team. Determine which news sources best align with the type of content and quality you desire, and when needed you can share something that is fresh and timely of theirs.
Step 4: Fill In Your Social Media Calendar
At this point, you should have everything you need to begin populating your calendar. To start, I’d suggest that you look at the month or quarter that is to come and filling in any known holidays, special events, and scheduled promotions. Once these key pieces are in place, finish the process by dropping in your remaining content for this time period, according to the post-frequency that you wish to hit.