Brainstorming Social Media Content For Clients
Content creators, rejoice! I am going tell you how to fill that content calendar for your clients each month.
Posting new content regularly can be daunting, whether you are doing it for your personal brand, for your employer or for multiple clients. Planning is key to keeping the content consistent and to keeping you sane. Here are five tips for planning social media content for clients PLUS some of the tools I use to keep it all on track.
Be sure to let me know in the comments what your tips and tricks are for coming up with new content every month!
Social media is about sharing interesting content that is current and relevant. It can be “in the moment” but it can also be planned. And it should be a little bit of both, right? In order to stay “relevant” to the algorithms, we have to post frequently and consistently. But it can’t just be a post just to have a post. The content has to be engaging, something your audience wants to see, that will prompt them to view it, like it, comment on it and share it. And many days you aren’t doing the most interesting thing or you just don’t feel creatively inspired or you’ve just run out of time to consider what your content should be that day because we all have jobs and lives, right? So that is where content planning comes in.
For my clients, I plan the content out by month. It aligns with how I invoice my clients, it has a nice beginning and end, and there some time in between each planning period to allow me to gather new ideas and just breathe! So each month, I carve out time to plan posts for the next month and once it is approved, I then schedule it using a tool like Sprout Social. This way I can monitor throughout the month and make sure content is getting posted consistently, and I can post current relevant content in between when it make sense.
Planning it out definitely makes the month of work easier, but sitting down to plan a month of content can be overwhelming. Where do the ideas come from? Here are my tips for coming up with social media content ideas.
Tip #1: Always Be Planning
Don’t wait until it is time to start assembling the content calendar to think about what you can post about in the coming month. A blank grid and a blinking cursor are never my friends. An easy way to keep content ideas coming to you throughout the month is to use Google Alerts. Set up Google Alerts for your client’s name, their competitors’ names, and words, phrases or topics related to the client’s industry. Then you will get articles delivered to you inbox with information you can reference and pull from when you start your content planning.
For a few minutes every few days, look through these emails, click on the articles that sound interesting, skim them to see if they have anything you want to reference later. If it looks promising, I use Pocket to save the article and maybe add some tags to the save so I can find it easily later. You can add the Save to Pocket extension to your Chrome browser on your computer and download the app on your iPad and iPhone.
If you have time, pop over to your planning calendar and paste the link with a few notes. If you don’t, that’s okay. At least you’ve saved the article and can reference it when it is time to put the calendar together!
Tip #2: Get Down with OPC — Other People’s Calendars
Here, I am talking about national holiday calendars that can include your real holidays like Memorial Day and your hashtag holidays like #NationalDogDay. These are “gimmes,” so go ahead and note all of these on your planning grid. I do caution against using too many of the hashtag holidays though. Only use what is relevant to the brand or things that you think can you come up with something interesting to say about. Too many of these things can turn your followers off.
Next, look at the marketing calendar, if you are lucky enough to work for someone that has one. Are there any scheduled product releases, public announcements, events, promotions, employee news, really just anything that is going on that you can leverage for a post? Note these on your planning calendar.
If you are working with a client that has a smaller geographical footprint, look at community event calendars. Go to the local chamber of commerce websites, city or county websites, neighborhood association sites and any others your Googling fingers can find. Borrow ideas from these calendars and leverage any events or news they are promoting. Be sure to note their social media handles so you can tag them in your posts, if it makes sense.
Tip #3: Take A Look Back — Last Year, Same Month and Analytics
It is not cheating to scroll back in the feed of your client (and their competitors!) to see what was shared during this same month last year, or even the year before. This may spark some new ideas for you or you will see that something was really good and maybe you can update it and reuse it this year.
You should definitely be creating monthly analytics reports, not only to share with the client that is paying you to perform, but also so you can look back and know what is working and what isn’t working when it comes to your social media content. Planning, creating, and posting social media content takes a lot of time. You don’t want to keep doing the same thing if you are getting no results. That is a waste of your valuable time and your client’s money. Review the analytics reports from the prior months and make notes about what did really well, then plan more of that! I’ll talk more about analytics in a future video.
Tip #4: Go To The Source
Talk to your client every once in a while. This is a hard one for me, if I am being honest. I tend avoid actual verbal conversation whenever possible and just use email and chat apps. But I am never disappointed in the ideas I get just talking to the client about their business. You can always ask the client for any ideas or information relevant to the upcoming month, but remember that they hired you to think through that so it is not top-of-mind for them. When you talk to them about what is going on in the business though, you can hear the social media content ideas between the lines.
Tip #5: Give Something Away
This one is kind of cheating, but it works if you don’t do it too much. Giving something away tends to get followers excited, encourages them to share the content, and can give you several days worth of posts promoting it and providing details on the giveaway. For entry into the giveaway, you can ask your followers to share, like, comment, tag friends, sign up for email, a review or testimonial, or create and share their own content with a tag to you. And your prize doesn’t have to be worth thousands of dollars to get people to participate. It just has to be something YOUR audience would be interested in winning. That could be a t-shirt or a gift card. Or it could the opportunity to attend an exclusive event. A chance to buy a product before anyone else. A free app download. An opportunity to be featured on your social channels. Get creative here!
So there you have it: my five tips for coming up with ideas for social media content each month. In another video, I’ll share my process and advice for actually creating the content and scheduling it to post automagically each month.