25+ Ways to Fill Your Social Media Calendar

Social media calendars are being created, modified, enhanced and utilized on an ongoing basis to better manage blogs, microblogs and social network content and messaging. Previously I wrote about these behind-the-scenes planning tools in “Why You Should Have a Social Media Calendar” and “Elements Of a Social Media Calendar,” where you can see some early iterations of these content grids.

As you are looking to fill in the blanks in your social media calendar? Here are some ideas you can use to develop the content for your blog posts, tweets and status updates.

Start with some “Marketing 101″ questions:

  • Who are you trying to reach?
  • What are you trying to get them to do?

Next, you want to think in terms of “big picture,” longer-term items, then narrow your view to the more immediate and daily. Here are some questions you can answer to start filling in those blanks:

Annual, Quarterly and/or Seasonal

Start by thinking of “big picture” umbrella events and messaging:

  • What events are taking place six months to a year out that inform your marketing efforts?
  • What other marketing efforts do you have scheduled — or do you need to schedule — including press releases and social media releases?
  • What are touchstone issues for your company that can inform messaging that expresses your company’s values?

Monthly

Concentrate on you want to achieve each month, including date-specific events that you can use to anchor your messages:
  • What are you promoting?
  • What actions do you want your audience to take (particularly ones that are measurable)?
  • What’s happening with your company this month?
  • What’s happening in your industry this month?
  • What’s a hot, current or trending topic this month you can comment on?


Daily

Here are some ancillary ways to keep conversations moving and draw out the lurkers in your social networking communities:
  • What are you reading?
  • What are you thinking about?
  • What are you doing?
  • What do you want to know about your audience (i.e what questions you can ask them)?
  • What’s happening with your company today?
  • What’s happening in your industry today?
  • What’s a hot, current or trending topic you can comment on?
  • What are your friends, fans and followers saying that you can repeat?
  • What are your friends, fans and followers doing that you can acknowledge publicly?
  • What calls-to-action can you announce to attract attention and stimulate conversations and participation?

Also think of the types of conversation starters you can use to achieve particular goals while taking your community’s needs into consideration. Here are some ideas for posts, tweets and updates:

  • Brand-related: Something about your company or brand to establish values, tone and “personality”
  • Fun facts about your company or industry
  • Press releases with specific company news announcements
  • Coverage of real-world events
  • Creation of online events
  • Hybrid online/offline events
  • Customer service oriented
  • Crowdsource a FAQ for your company
  • Ask for feedback
  • Respond to feedback
  • Ancillary but relevant or related topics
  • Current news (relevant but not too controversial)
  • Twitter trending topics
  • Customer recognition (birthdays, accomplishments, etc.)
  • Quizzes, polls and surveys
  • Quotes (but make sure they are relevant and don’t overuse them)

An important thing to remember when you are filling in your social media calendar is to stay focused on useful messaging, but even more important is to be present and genuine. No amount of planning can ever take the place of those spontaneous moments in your social networks when you act or react in the moment and your friends, fans and followers respond in kind.

How are you planning for the content you produce and messaging you publish in your social media channels?

Related GigaOM Pro content (sub. req.): Social Media in the Enterprise

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