There is no denying that creating content takes a long time. You have to think about what you want to post, create a graphic, write a comment, choose hashtags, post the content, interact with your audience in the comments – then do it over and over again.
While the challenges of creating social media content may seem daunting, being seen consistently has huge benefits for your business. By consistently posting valuable content, you can:
- Grow your audience
- And increase brand awareness
- Build authority in your field
- Improve sharing
If you are looking to achieve any of the above benefits, it is worthwhile to define a sustainable strategy to save time planning and creating social media content. The key to achieving this is twofold – advance planning and creating content that works in batches.
Multitasking – a cautionary tale
Let’s take a moment to talk about something we all do – multitasking. Multitasking is often productive because you do “all things,” but in reality, multitasking is one of the least productive things you can do.
It is estimated that only 2% of the population is actually adept at multitasking. When you switch from one task to another, it actually takes 50% longer to get a task done. (John Medina, Rules of the Brain).
“Only 2% of the population is actually adept at multitasking.”
So what are the 98% of us who aren’t very good at multitasking supposed to do? The answer – when it comes to creating social media content – is to create a system and work in one go. Here is a process you can repeat every month to save time planning and creating your social media content.
Content planning process
Each month, make time to plan your social media content for the next month. By selecting the content topics you want to cover throughout the month, you can look at your content from a higher level and be more strategic about your content plan. Plan to spend 1-2 hours each month planning your content for the next month.
Plan to spend 1-2 hours each month planning your content
Things to include in your content plan:
- number of publications. How often do you post (or want to post) each week? Keep in mind that quality and consistency are more important than number of posts. Stick to a schedule and pace that you can maintain over the long term.
- Objectives. What are your overall business goals for this month? How can your content support these goals?
- No important dates. Do you have a new product or service launch, or event? Plug these into your plan first, so you can fill in the supportive content around them.
- The social media holidays you want to ‘celebrate’. Are there related social media holidays you want to celebrate on your social media platforms? This list has a good roundup of these types of vacations, or you can always search for those specific to your industry.
With this content roadmap, you can confidently go into the month to see what content to create each week (more on that later).
What Kinds of Social Media Content Should You Create?
One of the biggest challenges when it comes to social media content is knowing what to post. When creating content for social media, it is important to share different types of content. Your content should educate, entertain or sell.
Here are some examples of businesses that balance content that educates, entertains, and sells.
Bulletproof balances entertainment, education, and sales well in its content. They highlight their products, share recipes and answer frequently asked questions, and create funny, relatable GIFs.
Shopify shares inspiring personal stories for its customers, encourages conversation and engagement by asking questions, and sharing video content with its “how” and “why” to bring hackers to life.
Flodsesk highlights new features, shares tips and best practices for email marketing, and encourages engagement from their audience by asking “this or that” and “would you rather?” Questions.
Another advantage of planning your content for the entire month is that you can better distribute and plan the types of content you will share. Instead of looking for something to post and maybe posting too many sales-focused posts or too many funny memes, planning ahead allows you to be more determined and strategic in what you post. This ensures that you get all the tags to build the knowledge, like, and trust factor with your audience, serve them, and eventually convert them.
Let’s say you want to share four posts per week. To balance your content types, share two educational posts, one sales-focused post, and one entertainment post each week. As you plan your content month, you can begin to enter your content ideas in accordance with that rhythm and flow.
Bonus tip: This step of the process does not need to be high-tech. Just use a monthly calendar (you can print one at Print-a-Calendar.com if you don’t have one) get some sticky notes and a pen and start jotting your content topics. This process allows you to move things around as needed to achieve a better balance and distribute your content. Alternatively, you can plan in digital form on Google Calendar or in a program like Asana, Trello, or Cickup. Choose the tool that suits you best so that you are more likely to use it.
When planning content, it is important to remember that content does not have to be overly complex. Really anything can be foolproof if it is of value to your ideal audience. Share your knowledge, take your audience behind the scenes, introduce your team, share customer testimonials or reviews, answer frequently asked questions. Know that you have insight that your audience craves – they told you that when they chose to follow you.
Simplify content creation with Batchworking
Let’s get back to teamwork and how to apply the tactic to content planning.
What is work at once?
Teamwork is a highly focused and topic-specific work form. When working in batches, you divide your work into different hours/days and focus on only one thing at a time. Batches can be applied to all areas of your life and work, but here we’ll focus on how you can benefit from them in creating content.
The idea is that by focusing on one task at a time, you can get into a flow when your productivity and creativity really thrive. The end result is better quality content in less time. the win!
Step 1: Plan a month of content
As explained above, the first step in planning and creating social media content is to plan the entire month on content.
Assuming you have your monthly content plan and roadmap ready to go, each week you should follow the steps below to simplify the content creation part of the puzzle.
Step 2: Create All Visual Content
Using your content roadmap, decide which visuals to create for the week. Write a list of everything you need from stock photos, custom graphics, videos, reels, cover photos, etc.
Once you have the list, it’s time to start creating. For custom branded graphics, you can use a tool like Canva. Create (or buy) a library of templates that you can easily customize with different content each week. This keeps your brand consistent and also saves you time instead of starting designs from scratch every week.
Step 3: Write all the comments
Generating comments doesn’t have to take long. By grouping your captions and following the caption formula, you can write captions that convert your audience quickly. A good caption should include:
- Hook: Get their attention right away. Think of the first 7-14 words of your caption like the email subject line. You have to inspire your audience to click “read more”.
- Values: Deliver what you promised in your hook and share content that educates, entertains, or sells.
- call to action: Tell your audience what you want them to do next (eg share, like, comment, click, buy, sign up, tag, etc). Make your calls to action simple and fun to increase the likelihood of your audience being followed.
Step 4: Schedule posts
Now that you have the visuals and captions, it’s time to schedule your posts according to your content calendar. Using Buffer’s post tool, go to settings and set your posting schedule.
Then go to your queue, drag and drop images, copy/paste the captions and click on ‘Schedule Publishing’ or ‘Add to Queue’. Depending on the type of post, your post will be published automatically at the specified time, or you will receive an instant notification at the exact time to publish yourself.
Step 5: Add Hashtags (in case of posting on Instagram)
If you are posting on Instagram, when scheduling your post, you also have the option to add up to 30 hashtags to the first comment of your post. Buffer’s Hashtag Manager allows you to save hashtag groups directly to the platform. This makes it easy to choose the right hashtag group(s) to add to your post. When used thoughtfully and strategically, hashtags are a great way to expand the reach of your content.
Enjoy the benefits of planning and scheduling your content in advance
Imagine not having to constantly ask, “What should I post?”. When you get used to planning and scheduling content in advance, you’ll start to see your efforts pay off. Not only will your content strategy benefit you, but it will also save you time and reduce stress around social media content. Instead of “posting only to post”, adopting a content aggregation routine allows you to create high-quality content when you are in your “content zone” and schedule it according to your social media strategy.
When you plan content in advance, your content can better support your overall business goals. If you have a product or service that you want to promote, or a significant corporate event or event, planning ahead allows you to work backwards to create strategic social media content that supports these goals.
Finally, by saving time and energy in the content creation process, you allow yourself to spend more time in other areas of your work. This extra time can be spent building connections and relationships with your social media community, or in other areas of your business such as sales, management tasks, networking, growing your team, or even on self-care. Think about what you’ll be spending those extra hours each month, and use that as an incentive to stick to your new content process.
Social media is a powerful tool for businesses. By planning ahead, you can leverage social media strategically and thoughtfully.