When your firm’s social media team has a content schedule they can commit to, their social media efforts not only became easier, they became more productive. The biggest benefit of creating an effective social media schedule is that stakeholders can view the information in one place, if you keep it in a central location, such as an Intranet or cloud-based space.
Before you commit to creating a schedule, it’s good to understand the benefits of having one, such as:
- Developing an editorial strategy: Each month a key topic could be highlighted to reflect the content’s focus. This content topic could center on taxes, services, products, technology, industries, etc. No matter what the social media topic, it should reflect a theme for the month.
- Increasing productivity among content developers: Proving the content team with a yearlong strategy, they may begin developing content at a more rapid pace than if each month or week they are presented with an idea.
- Listening to clients: If you’ve posted content in the past, you can tell what items your audience responds to. If you have not, then look at your competitors to see what they are posting and the types of content their audience responds to. By listening to what your audience wants, you can create the content they need rather than randomly choosing content and hoping it sticks.
- Avoiding missed publishing dates: Without a schedule that’s automatically published, you may find days go by without any social media posts. Creating a schedule and using a publishing tool, like Hootsuite™, helps you to post content at specific times each day so your audience knows when to expect it, and your team knows when to monitor it.
- Completing background research before a topic is due: The accounting profession is filled with technical details and regulations. Without the proper research, content developers may feel stressed and write incorrect or less than impactful content. Providing them with a schedule allows research to be done months in advance to avoid incorrect or lackluster content.
A social media schedule may be done in Excel®, with a simple format with cells such as these:
Tip: If you are using a posting scheduling tool, you may want to put each platform’s, e.g., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, post on a separate worksheet; then save each sheet as a separate CSV file. Once saved, upload the CSV file in bulk to the up-loader. Remember, this will only work on tools that have a bulk-uploading feature.
One of the greatest benefits of a schedule is that it leaves room for real-time updates. When a topic comes to light that you need or want to share, you have the flexibility to fit it into the posting schedule at any time. Existing items may be rescheduled or deleted to fit your firm’s needs.
Lastly, according to some regulations, there needs to be a record of social media posts on file. For example, FINRA Regulatory Notices 10-06 and 11-39 provide guidelines about retaining records of communication related to the broker-dealer business made through social media sites, as well as the supervision of interactive electronic communications via a firm’s blog or social networking sites.
Sharing is Caring
Once the social media schedule is created, it is easy to share with staff. Sharing the information lets them know when things will be published; what the topics will be; where they will be published; and how they can share content on their own social media profiles.
Engaging staff is a great way to increase brand exposure, develop a consistent and clear message across multiple channels, and provide them with information they can share with their clients, leads, and colleagues.
Remember, if your firm is leveraging social media in its marketing mix, provide staff with easy access to the firm’s social media policy, which should outline the dos and don’ts regarding the firm’s messaging, client confidentiality, and more.
Creating custom content developed by or for the firm is your best mechanism to draw in new clients and inform existing clients. However, there may be times when sharing content from other sources makes sense as well. For example, if your clients represent several industries, you’ll want to provide information about those industries during the month.
You may also want to share posts that many types of businesses can use, such as IRS updates, tax updates, and general business accounting tips. RSS feeds from reputable, accounting-based resources can be monitored for that type of content.
Also, following state societies, accounting influencers, and popular financial blogs is a great way to keep on top of trends and hot topics.
In addition to serious content, consider financial trivia, quizzes, tips, and how to’s in the content calendar. Remember to sprinkle in different content formats, such as pictures, infographics, video, and polls to help keep visitors engaged.
Now that you’re armed with the information you need to create a social media schedule, what will be on your firm’s first schedule?
- The Accountant’s Social Media Handbook
- HootSuite Scheduling Tool Sample Calendar
- The Social Media Publishing Schedule Every Marketer Needs (Template)
- The Social Media Content Plan
- Boost Content Engagement by Injecting Trivia and Quizzes
- 10 Things to Tweet When You’re Stuck for Ideas
- 10 Best Practices for a Lawful Social Media Policy
Disclaimer: This post originally appeared in the CPA Client Bulletin Resource Guide, © 2016, AICPA. Reprinted by permission.