I get it. It’s hard to write social media statuses.
As someone who’s been doing this professionally for years, sometimes I forget that not everyone has spent significant portions of their workweek simply writing statuses or responding to other people.
When you haven’t spent years thinking about social media in a business context, figuring out how to fill a social media calendar for an entire week (or month!) is a daunting prospect. How do people come up with 3 to 5 statuses a day, all different, and all potentially interesting to their audience?
The first step to social media content creation is to make it easier on yourself.
It wasn’t until I was training a new marketing assistant in social media that I realized how important one of my earliest tactics was in teaching me how to write a lot of statuses about a single blog post.
I set my new assistant up with the concept of a Share Sheet, and had her get to work creating one for each piece of content we were working on – which was quite a few, to be honest.
Her statuses improved immensely after only a couple of completed share sheets, and she was able to get them done much faster than trying to come up with statuses one by one as we went through an editorial calendar.
So your first step to easy social media content creation?
Set yourself up with a share sheet.
The core idea is fairly basic: You include the link to the piece of content, the title of the content, and original publish date.
Then, you identify what statuses you want to write. I usually break up statuses into long form (suitable for LinkedIn and/or Facebook), and short form (ideal for Twitter). If you’re posting to Instagram, Pinterest, or another social media network, you may want to include those as well, but they don’t respond as favorably to recycled content.
Then you identify the types of statuses to write. I like to do quotes directly from the article, how-to type of statuses, questions, and alternate headlines. I list out at least 4 of each type for both long form and short form statuses, and then I sit down and spend the 30 minutes to an hour to just write them all out.
When you have your statuses, then you move to phase two.
The next step to making social media content creation easier? An editorial calendar.
The only difference I’ll suggest to you is to add an additional column to your preferred editorial calendar format: category (if that’s not an option already).
You’ll have 6 categories:
- Alternate Headlines
- Curated Content
- One time posts (for holidays, etc)
Next, you plan out your month – you have the frequency of posts per day for each network, right? At least once a day for Facebook, once a day for LinkedIn, and say three times a day for Twitter.
You also have a general rule of thumb for curated content to original content. 1 or 2 original content posts a day to Twitter, with the rest being curated content, and, let’s say, every other post on Facebook or LinkedIn is curated vs owned.
Now you just plot out the days. Assign categories to each day – for Twitter, in one week, you might have Monday with curated content, a question, and a quote. Tuesday would be two curated content posts and a how to post. Wednesday would be an alternate headline, then curated content, then maybe another question.
See what I’m getting at?
You’ll be able to spread out your content over a week or month, and see exactly how much curated content you need to find, too.
For Facebook, with only one post a day, and every other day being curated content, that means two things:
- You only need 3 or 4 pieces of curated content
- You only need 3 or 4 of the statuses you already wrote – with 4 statuses in 4 categories, you have your entire month of Facebook statuses about your own content written already.
Curated content you’ll still have to find each week, but surely, you see at least 3 articles a week related to your industry that could work, right?
It’s tough at first, but it gets easier – fast.
The hard part for pretty much everybody (including me) is sitting down and writing out those statuses the first time. It’ll probably take you an hour or two (or three) the first few times.
But after that?
You’ll blaze right through.
And on top of that, you’ll have that collection of statuses you can easily refer to again and again to recycle your content and ensure it never dies. If you use a tool like MeetEdgar, this share sheet is exactly what you input into it and embrace. After you’ve put it in the first time, you won’t have to think about it again.
How easy is that?
Let’s look at what this looks like in practice.
Because I’m a big fan of efficiency – time is money, plus the easier you make a thing, the more likely people are to do it – let me outline for you what my actual week looks like by following this strategy.
In a perfect world, as soon as a piece of content is approved for publication, it get scheduled at least a week or more in advance.
The share sheet gets setup, with the eventual live link added to the document.
The same day or week that the content was approved, an hour or two is spent working on the share sheet. By doing all the statuses at once (maybe returning to it a few days or a week later), this encourages creativity in the way the same titles or content can be diced up for a social media post.
Your brain may work differently, and you may think you prefer to do the statuses one at a time as needed…but this generally fails in the long run.
For one thing, when you do statuses one by one as you think you need them, you generally fail to have a strategy, even a loose one, about them. They end up sounding repetitive, or you don’t take the time to look at past statuses that performed well, and adapting new statuses to reflect the techniques that worked.
For another, you also are pretty unlikely to develop a good habit around generating content. Writing the statuses gets tiresome, putting them into your editorial calendar gets tiresome, and soon, why even bother at all? From there, it’s just a spiral downward into the stereotype of “social media marketing doesn’t work for my business”, and it’s no one’s fault but your own.
So set aside the time to write your statuses, and do them all at once.
Plan em out, drop them in to your calendar, and then schedule away. Set at least one day a week to look up curated content, and schedule that in a block too.
Scheduling is the secret sauce to social media success. Consistency and quality matters to your audience – you can’t just dump a bunch of content into a particular channel every few weeks and expect results.
What this translates to on an average week is less than 4 hours total spent on social media – up to 2 hours on the day I write the statuses, 30 minutes looking up curated content, and the remaining 1 1/2 hours spread out over the week on routine daily engagement.
Once a month, I or my assistant spend an hour or two outlining the calendar for the month.
The end result is not just a better planned social media strategy, but one where we can actually examine trends, look at methods that work, and begin tailoring specific statuses and strategies to individual channels.
Additionally, it’s easier to read and review the statuses being prepared for content, send it off to the C-suite for approval as needed, as well as manage time in a much more efficient way.