Do You Really Need a Content Calendar?

Blogging and social media have become the norm for marketers, and rightfully so. Marketers who have prioritized blogging are 13 times more likely to enjoy positive ROI. On top of that, there are more than two billion active social media users worldwide, representing a global penetration rate of 28%.

The question for most small business owners isn’t whether they should start a blog or send that first tweet. Instead, the problem is figuring out how to use these tools most effectively. The solution is simple: develop a content calendar.

What is a Content Calendar?

A content calendar is kind of like a daily planner. Except instead of using it to write down when you have your appointment at the dentist, it can be used to list the dates and times you intend to add a new blog post, tweet out an update about an upcoming event for your company, or upload a how-to video to your YouTube page. One look at your content calendar should answer:

  • What type of content you will be sharing
  • How often you plan on posting content
  • How you plan on promoting your content

Once you’ve created a template for your content calendar you can begin scheduling messages in advance using Hootsuite so that you aren’t stuck updating it everyday. Plot out your social media strategy and prepare to engage with your audience.

Is It Worth It?

Planning out your content may seem like a nice thing to do, but does it really have a strong impact on your online presence? Spoiler alert: the answer is yes. Let’s take a look at how a content calendar can ramp up your blog and social media strategy.

Greater Consistency

You’d be hard pressed to find someone that doesn’t describe their workday as busy. Meetings and projects make it easy to forget to post that picture on Instagram even after you told yourself fives times that you would. With a content calendar, you can keep track of dates and events that are important in your industry.

Checking your content calendar on a regular basis will guarantee you never miss a conference or product launch ever again. Drive engagement and traffic to your blog by looking ahead in order to make sure you have enough time to produce and edit the content your target audience wants to see.

Improved Content

The best way to plan for the future is by looking into the past. Scheduling some time every other day to monitor the success of your content is crucial. Tools like Twitter Analytics give you the opportunity to see whether or not your content is appealing to your target audience.

By carefully tracking the success of each post you can begin developing an idea of the type of content that is most successful in addition to what platforms draw the highest level of engagement. Use this information to not only adjust what type of content you post, but also where you choose to then promote that content.

Diversification

Developing a content calendar will give you a visual representation of how often you are posting to each social media channel. Be sure not to neglect a social media network just because of personal preference since you may be ignoring an entire portion of your audience.

Establish a research-based content strategy by testing out which type of content attracts more readers on specific social media channels. Once you have found a formula for success, continue to monitor data from analytics tools to refine your strategy.

Need a Push?

If you’re excited about the idea of a content calendar but aren’t sure where to start, check out this free template from Hubspot. This user-friendly template is a great starting point for anyone developing their first content calendar. If you try it out let me know what you think of it in the comments below!

The Do’s And Don’ts Of Listening To Customers On Twitter

There’s an old saying that the customer is always right. While that might be up for debate, there is no denying the value in listening to what your customers have to say.

One of the best ways to keep track of conversations about your business is using Twitter. If you already use Twitter to post valuable content and engage with customers regularly, congratulations! You’re doing a great job.

The bad news is this might not be enough. If you have more than 1,000 customers, it can be nearly impossible to keep track of everything being said about your business. That is where social media management tools like Hootsuite and TweetDeck come in handy.

      

If you’re wondering how the heck to use these tools to monitor conversations about your business on Twitter, check out the Do’s and Don’ts of social media management tools like Hootsuite.

DO Search for Key Terms

Hootsuite and TweetDeck allow you to search for tweets containing specific words or phrases. For example, if your business sells pizza, you might conduct a search for pepperoni, deep dish, and thin crust. You should also think about keeping an eye on what your competitors are doing on social media by searching for terms like cheeseburgers or tacos (sorry if I’m making you hungry).

The beauty of this feature is that it allows you to jump in on conversations that you otherwise would not have been notified of, thereby increasing awareness of your brand and enabling you to see the entire conversation about your business, rather than just what people choose to tag you in.

DO Be Timely

Show your customers that you care about what they are saying by joining conversations as soon as possible to maximize engagement. Just think about your own life. If someone started a conversation with you, would you wait a few days to respond? No, and the same applies to Twitter.

DO Create Lists

Lists on Twitter enable you to segment your audience based on their interests and conversations. For example, if you have a diverse product line, you may want to create a list for each product and then categorize customers that tweet a lot about a particular product or maybe even categorize customers based on geographical location.

The luxury of these lists is that they allow you to see tweets only from the people you have added to each list, giving you yet another way to monitor and engage with customers talking about your business.

DON’T Automate Responses

Please, do not give the same generic response to each customer, inviting them to visit a “Contact Us” form. This defeats the whole purpose of using tools like Hootsuite and TweetDeck. Set aside some time throughout the day when you can check Twitter and provide timely, helpful feedback to customers and engage with them by following the conversation about your business.

DON’T Become Hostile

Being able to see a larger conversation about your business through searches on Hootsuite is great, but sometimes people choose not to tag you in a tweet for the simple fact that they intend to say something negative about you and are afraid of you seeing it.

If you encounter criticism, address it head on so that customers can see you are both engaging and realistic. You will make mistakes, but honestly acknowledging those shortcomings and fixing the situation is a great way to demonstrate excellent customer service you want to be known for.

DON’T Be Inconsistent

Twitter doesn’t lend itself well to procrastination. Conversations take place in real-time, which means you need to be prepared to listen to what your customers are saying all the time. The workday might end at five, but you can be sure the conversation on Twitter won’t.

Now this doesn’t mean that Twitter has to control your life. Develop a schedule of when to check Twitter and for how long. Then stick to it! Experiment by monitoring conversations about your business at varying times of the day to see when most of your customers are active. You should also use tools like Twitter Analytics or Tweriod to see what tweets you send draw the biggest engagement and when your followers are most active on Twitter.

Want More?

If you’re interested in learning more about ways in which to improve you ability to listen to customers beyond social media management tools like Hootsuite and TweetDeck, check out 3 Quick Ways to Improve Your Listening for Content Marketing Success from Don Stanley, owner of 3Rhino Media, a digital marketing consultancy. You won’t be disappointed.