If you’re running the blog and managing the social media for your company, you will no doubt hear people tell you how important it is to have an editorial calendar ready. And for the most part, those people are correct. Having an editorial calendar to drive your blog direction is a huge bonus. Not only does it cut down on the worry of what you are going to post, it also allows you to better anticipate and react to industry trends, positioning you and your business as thought leaders.
But what about social media editorial calendars? While it’s easy enough to develop a social media calendar that coincides directly with your blog output and, from time to time, the products your business offers, how do one-off conversations and replies on social networks play into your initial editorial calendar? And more importantly, does it matter that you have one?
We play devil’s advocate on the SEO Inc. blog as we go over the Pros and Cons of having a social media editorial calendar.
Pro – Less stress on a day to day basis
When planning a social media calendar, just think of it as a basic guide for the next week/month/etc. You do not need to know exactly what you will be saying, but having a rough idea never hurt anyone. This will give your social media team the ability to look ahead to holidays or events that your company will be a part of. Do any of your past blog posts fit in with upcoming events or holidays? This is the time to do some research and see if you anything fits into the weeks to come instead of trying to make something fit on the day of the event or holiday.
Pro – Always Be Prepared
As the month goes on, having your social media calendar also allows a starting point for conversation with your audience. There is no wondering what you will be posting on various platforms throughout the day. There is already a planned formula for your department to follow.
Pro – Accessibility
Being prepared is the corner stone for a social media calendar and this is particularly helpful if someone from your department is out for the day. Anyone from the team can take over and run the social media posting for a short time without losing the tone and voice of your social media. Just be sure that whoever is posting on behalf of the regular social media manager is well-versed in how and when to post as well as how and when to reply on social media.
Pro – Consistent Postings
Having a calendar and pre-scheduling your social media communications will help your presence be less sporadic or out of control. If you leave your communications to be done only “when you have time” your brand may miss the window of when your audience is available and engaged.
Con – What about creativity/inspiration?
Maybe you’re thinking, “ Relying on a social media calendar leaves little room for creativity or spontaneity.” In order to be relevant on social media, your team needs to keep on top of current events, and breaking news, which can lead to great opportunities to interact with your company’s audience. If you are only following a calendar, you can miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Con – Your content can be stale
Most social media calendars are planned 2 weeks to a month ahead of time. The more time that goes by from the time your team developed the calendar the more likely the content can begin to feel stale, or irrelevant. Jokes or memes that were funny weeks ago may have outlived their social relevance, and now appear outdated. Has anyone heard from honey badger lately?
Con – TIME TRAP!
People not in the industry may think that doing social media for an agency or for your company is easy. After all, you’re just sitting around on Facebook all day, or reading Tweets, right? So designing a social media calendar should be done in a flash! The truth is that social media management for an agency/company can be quite time consuming, depending on the interaction your brand has with its audience. And when you’re not communicating with customers, your social media team is researching new trends, reading analytics, and writing up reports to help determine the ROI of social media efforts. Do you really want them to be spending days on writing up a calendar that will only have to be modified as time goes by?
There are plenty of pros and cons that can factor in to the benefit or detriment of having a social media editorial calendar. The fact remains throughout all of them though: Be prepared. An editorial calendar for an inexperienced social media team might be of benefit given their posting is less frequent, less interactive, and more formulaic. But an experienced social media manager / team will understand how to post and respond off the cuff. Who knows that Kanye and Kim might be doing tomorrow and how it will relate to your business? You can’t plan these things… But your social media manager will know how to handle it.
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