Be a Social Pro! How to Manage & Implement the Ultimate Content Calendar Strategy at #SMX Social


Welcome back to more of AIMCLEAR ‘s SMX Social coverage! Day two of SMX Social was just as eventful (if not more) than day one. Folks were a bit Vegas tired (if you know what we mean) but still eager to learn. We had the pleasure of sitting in on an excellent session in the AM on managing your social editorial calendar with Director of Mediabrands Publishing, Karianne Stinson, Aviel Ginzburg, CPO at Simply Measured and Director of Corporate Reputation and Digital Communications for Sanofi, Stacy Burch,  moderated by Director of Audience Engagement for Search Engine Land and Marketing Land, Monica Wright.

Karianne Stinson kicked things off with 12 Tips for a Thriving Social Media Editorial Calendar. Karianne comes from a traditional PR background (like some of our own AIMCLEARians) and knows that the editorial calendar is not a new concept by any means. Publications have been using them to schedule content for years, but as brands become publishers developing an editorial calendar is a new development for them; and a must.

Plan for your success. Develop an editorial calendar that outlines your content for your blog and for your social channels. So let’s get into those 12 tips, shall we?

1. Know Your Social Media Marketing Strategy – your business goals should always be the driving force behind your social media strategy. Ask yourself what is your goal? How will you measure? What is it you are looking to achieve? Pay attention to the KPIs and setting those goals in place – go back to your business goals. Social is not on the side anymore. Your calendar will vary based on what you want.

2. Set Goals and Metrics – Have one clear CTA. Know that this is when you are putting your editorial calendar together. While writing it, you should know what your overall goal is. Ask yourself, what can you learn about it and how can you improve it? Use whatever style is best for you and your company.

3. Know Your Audience – Be clear about the audience you want to reach for each social channel and make sure the content is created with that audience in mind. Use Facebook Insights, Google Analytics, tools like Simply Measured, etc. It is all there at your fingertips. Think about your personas – whom do you want to reach? And make sure the audience is present.

4. Visualize Your Calendar – Use a whiteboard and post sticky notes to it with content ideas (old school but it works!). This will help you to have a visual reminder and make adjustments easily before finalizing an electronic document.

5. Work Collaboratively as a Team – Bring other departments and stakeholders into the planning process. People are more likely to support what they help create. Bring them in so they understand what you want to do. Make them a part of the process, they will be more invested. Remember, your organization has a wealth of content, it’s everywhere, it’s just a matter of finding a way to pull it out of them and finding ways to share it.

6. Know What Content Your Target Audience Likes – Create content that resonates best with the specific audience on each social channel. Provide value to the audience whatever it may be. Make sure it is something they care about! Can’t stress that enough.

7. Know What Time Works Best – Target the best time and day for your audience and each individual social channel. Tweriod is a twitter tool that helps show you when your twitter followers are online and active. Check it out! Could be very helpful for you.

8. Plan for Special Days and Events – Plan ahead for the holidays, industry events or popular culture events. What is happening and how can your brand can be a part of that?

9. Assign Content to Specific People – Make sure each person knows what they are expected to deliver including due dates!

10. Review the News DAILY – Social media marketers should pay attention to current events and what is trending on social channels. Pay attention to what is happening globally if you have global brands and know how it will impact your brand’s followers.

11. Editorial Calendars are Living Documents – Your editorial calendar WILL change so use a platform that allows for easy adjustments by various team members.

12. Measure Success, Rinse and Repeat – If a piece of content doesn’t meet your goals, try to figure out why and how so that you can improve the content in the future.

Put all those steps together and you will have a successful editorial calendar! Karianne leaves us with the following advice, “PAY ATTENTION!”

Thank you, Karianne, for another great presentation.

Next up, Aviel Ginzburg from Simply Measured discusses planning your social editorial calendar by using data to develop a social strategy. Basically, he dives deeper into the reporting and analytic ‘stuff.’ Aviel starts out with an overview of what he plans to cover in his presentation:

Reporting and Flexibility

  • Reporting vs. Predicting
  • Research Phase
  • Planning Phase
  • Analyzing and Adjusting
  • Measuring and Reporting

Let’s go into more depth on all of the above, shall we?

Report, don’t predict!

Predictive Analytics can tell you what kind of content is going to perform “okay,” but it can’t tell you what will perform great, and it can’t tell you what will perform terribly.

Reporting is data perspective, and a brain. Not a machine telling you what works and what doesn’t.

Reporting allows you to be adaptive to trends, which is a crucial mindset when managing a social calendar.

Research Phase: Audience Analysis

Identify Your Audience – Whom are you targeting? Before you can develop and create a calendar you HAVE to understand your ideal customer or content consumer. Who are you trying to reach in order to hit your social program goals?


Locate Your Audience – Which networks are they on? Your social calendar will be fundamentally based on the networks your audience is on. Is your ideal customer more likely to engage on Facebook? Twitter? Instagram? Other? Figure it out.

Build this audience and recognize that your brand is defined by this audience. Build content around them. Dive into data about them. Investing in reporting and analytics is a must and will help you to build confidence with your clients.

Develop themes based on interests and events. What is your audience already talking about? What do they want to learn about? Plan your calendar around the topics and events they care about, and develop a unique and novel perspective.

Research Phase: Time & Cadence

Here is an example of knowing where and when your audience is active.

B2B and Financial Companies are NOT active on Instagram. So who is? Data tells us that automotive, media and luxury industries make up 59% of total brand posts on this social channel. Why? Because they understand that they have a visual product, and build their calendar around the networks that amplify that component of their marketing strategy.

Days and Times: When is your audience active? What time of day is your audience most likely to engage with you? Which day of the week is your audience active? B2B customers are more active during work hours, while some B2C companies see better results on weekends.

Content Performance: When are you posting too much? How many social posts does it take each day for your audience to keep you at the top of their minds? How much content can you share before your audience gets annoyed?  Be careful not to be overwhelming. Pay close attention to what type of content gets the most attention.

Know where and when you audience is active, simple as that. One B2B Facebook page found that their best time to post content was in the last 15 minutes of every hour. Why? Their B2B audience was constantly in meetings that were about to end and, well, they were bored. Can you blame them?

Research Phase: Capitalize on Events

Measure past event volumes and topics to inform your strategy and create a tailored calendar. Another example is the event SXSW, specifically Panels vs. Parties. In 2013, Aviel and his team discovered by doing some keyword analysis, that people were much less invested in the conversations about panels and sessions than they were about the parties. Does this mean that you should ignore the event? No! But you should frame your content with this in mind. In short, look at what your audience engages with and react. Events are a perfect way to latch onto this.

Planning Phase: Creating Buckets

Don’t ignore your research! Start with an annual calendar with events and one central theme for each month. Your social content calendar should directly align with your other marketing initiatives, releases, events and sales.

Planning Phase: Filling In Your Buckets

Your social calendar should be completely integrated with overall campaigns. Think about what your brand is doing. At Simply Measured, for example, Aviel and his team publish one study on a different topic each month  and develop their entire content, paid and social strategy around that topic.

Analyze and Adjust

Which content is performing well?  Analyze your posts  and content. Which ones are driving traffic to your site and engagement on that social network. Adjust your approach and calendar to take advantage of successful components. Dive into the data and correlate it all together. Your social calendar CANNOT BE SET IN STONE.

Post Length: On Facebook, the top 100 brands in the world saw a steady decrease in engagement when posts had 100 or more characters in them. This decrease became more apparent in posts with 250+ characters.

Post Type: Of these same brands, engagement and photos absolutely crushed engagement on any other type of post. These brands have done their homework because 74% of their total posts are photos.

Learn what works with your audience and double down!

Lastly, Measure and Report on literally EVERYTHING. No excuse in this day and age to know if it worked or didn’t work. You really need to be looking at the data and figure out what is working, where it is working and why it is working in order to build a successful strategy and content calendar.

Thank you Aviel for the amazing data, case studies and advice!

Last, but certainly not least is Stacy Burch, giving us a corporate perspective on syncing social: the art of planning, training and building processes to reap the right content from your organization.

Stacy is from Sanofi, a global integrated healthcare leader focused on patients’ needs. Stacy decided to get her company into social media three years ago knowing it was time to build a corporate reputation and image online. In doing this, Stacy knew she had to ask herself, “How do we get the information across all of our businesses and where? And how do we get the content that our audience is looking for?”

Stacy first thought, well Sanofi has more than 17,000 U.S. employees – they should have content. Let’s go to them!

So now we know where to get the information, how do we get the information we need and make it work? Here are the three steps Stacy followed:

1. Raise Awareness – Get people trained and educated

2. Show Value

3. Build Habits – Develop different ways for how we look to do business

Let’s look more closely at these steps and how Stacy implemented them into the Sanofi brand.

Train and Raise Awareness

Tell your team what content to submit, how to submit their content and when you want them to submit it. Spend the time with your analytics and plan accordingly.

So what did Stacy do? She took road trips to train employees in social. She also created a toolkit – another way for people to get their information out there. This toolkit consisted of a check sheet for people to cross off as they dive into the process.

This helped Stacy to get the volume of content she needed but now, how to manage across the board? Set up an outlook inbox that more than one person could access. Don’t rely on one person to push this content out because if you aren’t doing anything with the content your staff is providing then they will not send it again.

People wanted to send information but it took a lot of reminders, so Stacy came up with an idea to host webinars by sharing examples of work – an open forum for people to ask questions and give feedback. She also recorded these sessions for people that couldn’t attend (smart!) and reminded people to look at business strategies when thinking about social.

So what do we learn from this tactic? Make sure to tell your teams, what is in it for them and why they should provide content. Help them to look at their existing content differently and how it could benefit the audience on social.

Stacy asks, “do you put results in your content calendar?” Sanofi does and you know what, it helps! Their content calendar makes sure it is charging all of their efforts. Share it and show people what is in it for them, “trust me, it will help drive efforts,” Stacy adds.

Show Value

So how did Stacy and her team do it? She created a plan across all businesses within the Sanofi brand, including a proactive column within the content calendar that was a placeholder and a reactive column to show results. In addition to that, she runs reports! Analyze the data so that you can better coach people about how it is working and the content they want to share. Take the time to learn what you are doing and be able to share it with people. Make sure it is information people want.

Build Habits

Tell your teams what to expect. Make sure you are building habits with them. Keep things active on the social channels, webinars, reminders, etc. Look at it as a way to do business. Show them how you as a team did it from start to finish. Get it to a point where they expect to see your reports by sending them out regularly. Drive traffic by getting more and more people involved. Make sure they know where the report is coming from, what has been posted, what is in the pipeline and keep an open forum for stuff that comes in on the fly. Make sure they know this exists. Stacy sends out a weekly distribution report and she reviews the plan on a quarterly basis.

Remember to have an internal toolkit, allowing people to upload to social channels if they have relevant content they want to share. This will help drive engagement internally. Stacy typically receives 15 things, each week, from outside the distribution calendar that comes from people internally. People want to showcase what they are doing. This is another way for them to get messages out and to share news about the company. Embrace this!

So remember there are three simple steps for getting your company on board with a social content strategy:

1. Raise Awareness

2. Show Value

3. Build Habits

Well, that about does it! Big thanks to Karianne, Aviel and Stacy for three excellent, informative and very different perspectives on managing social calendars. We appreciate you all sharing with us. Until next time!

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