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The Social Media Editorial Calendar for Small Business

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The phone rings.

With three windows and 14 tabs open on your browser, your laptop gives you the evil eye.

You take a deep breath, push away from your desk and answer the phone, looking forward to the distraction of real, live person interaction.

"Hello!"

"Hey Friend! Haven't heard from you in a while. How are you doin'?"

"Oh, hey Friend! I'm great. Just super busy..."

And you go on to list a million reasons why you haven't called them, returned their email or otherwise been... in touch. Sound familiar?

This is the blessing and the curse of the social media age.

As a business owner, we are inundated with daily responsibilities, especially if your business model is service based. But, regardless of whether your business is product or service based, without a plan or schedule, you are going to end up feeling overwhelmed. This post will help you to take a big mountain of social media channels and organize them into daily tasks that move you towards your ultimate goal.

The Solution... The Social Media Editorial Calendar.

Without a specific strategy and action plan behind your social media activities, your time and efforts will be a waste. So, let's take the upside down triangle model of social media and direct all of your efforts into a schedule that will help you know exactly what you are doing and why.

Your ultimate vision for your business and your life is your why and social media is going to help you get there faster, but only with this plan.

Step One:

To create a cohesive, results based social media plan, you have to know exactly what your brand values are. Start by making a list of your top 5-10 core values. This list will help you to navigate through the creation of this editorial calendar on the deepest level. These values are the foundation of your messaging and will be critical in guiding your team to maintain your brand message.

Step Two:

An effective social media strategy will clearly outline what your ultimate goal is while supporting the vision of your business. While you can use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest to attract clients to your website, using each of these platforms for specific goals is a great way to build a well rounded social media campaign. Make sure that any social media platform that you participate in is moving you towards your end goal in business. If you don't know why you are using a platform- STOP- and wait until you get clarity on the value that your time and efforts in this medium will provide.

Step Three:

Now, it's time to break it down. Create topics or themes for the next 12 months that are common concerns or pain points of your core audience. What are the 12 most common problems that you solve for clients? What questions do you get asked most by potential clients? These are great topics for your monthly themes.

Once you have your themes listed, break those down into 4-5 sub-themes for each category. This will give you an overarching topic for each week. A basic example for a food based business would be to have a monthly theme of vegetarian recipes, broken down into green vegetables, orange vegetables, purple vegetables and red vegetables.

Your Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Facebook and Google+ profiles, that are strategically set up to support business systems like client attraction, client services, publicity and client retention will then drive traffic back to your blog for the desired result that you established in step 2. So, if your goal is to increase sales, your social media efforts will drive traffic to some sort of call to action, such as setting up a complimentary consultation.

Step Four:

Using a calendar application such as iCal or Google Calendar, enter your monthly and weekly themes, then create a daily action plan utilizing the themes that you came up with in the steps above. The beauty of these online calendars is that they can shared with our team members and can help you pinpoint where gaps may be. Daily activities on your calendar might include sending out three to five tips on Twitter, posting conversations on your Facebook page, pinning images to a board on Pinterest with the name of your monthly theme and posting a video on YouTube that addresses a common concern of your audience.

Remember, once you create this calendar for your team (and yourself) you are reducing the amount of busy work that everyone will be doing and increasing results that will move you towards your dream.

With every activity you do in your business and life, know what you want to achieve. Know your why. And remember that with social media, being organized will allow you to feel confident, clear and effective, which will increase the know, like and trust factor that your audience needs to support you.