With just a few weeks left until 2015 you may be thinking about what you can do to be more efficient with your time on social media. If you aren’t already doing so, we suggest trying your hand at organizing and scheduling your social media content. We see tons of businesses that just wing it and post what and when they can. Committing to organize and schedule social media content is just as important as any other portion of your marketing strategy.  You wouldn’t wait until the last minute to send out a direct mail piece (I hope) so why wouldn’t you give the same time and effort to your Facebook or Twitter or even your Pinterest content?  I know you’re thinking “But April aren’t I supposed to be present and engaged on social media?”  Sure you are!  I’m not suggesting you plan, schedule, and walk away…. just the plan and schedule part.  Here’s why and how.

Why you should organize and schedule social media content:

1) You’re busy.  If you’re like most of the marketers I know you’re wearing many hats and juggling a whole lot of balls.  Organizing and scheduling social media content helps you coast through those crazy days without adding to your stress level.  Feel confident knowing that when things get hectic, you have content at the ready.

2) You’ve invested in social media, best get the most out of it.  Organizing and scheduling social media content will help you and your team feel in control of your content.  It’ll help give you a “big picture” and tie all your marketing platforms together.

3) You have more content then you think you do!  The only way to get a handle on it is to organize it.  Photos, case studies, reviews, FAQs, product/service descriptions, events, videos, blog posts….all these things make for great content on your social media platforms.  If you sit down and organize your social media content you’ll all feel empowered.

So what are some easy ways to organize and schedule your social media content you ask? At Coastal Mountain Creative we manage social media platforms for many of our clients.  Some of our clients have us manage all their posts and others work in tandem with us where we handle say the industry related posts and product/services related posts and they handle the day-to-day happenings at the company.  Needless to say we’ve seen a lot of different ways to do this.  Some use robust tools, some use paid tools, some don’t use any and just leave it to us!  Our most common request is be able to organize and schedule content using tools that can be shared (between myself and the client and/or amongst their team) and that they be free or low cost.  Here are a couple ways we go about this (please feel free to email april@coastalmountaincreative.com) for more ideas.

Here are a few tools to organize and schedule social media content:

1) Google Calendar –  I create a Google calendar for several of my clients.  Many are small businesses with a small staff and they love being able to access the calendar right on their phone or desktop and share it with other employees.

2) Hootsuite – I’ve used both the free and paid version and while I usually try to stay free…. you can add extra profiles in the paid version which is often needed, and I like the way the images display when using Twitter with the paid version.

3) Facebook Scheduler – I always use the native scheduling tool in Facebook. Its clean and simple to use, and you can access the same functionality on the Facebook Pages app on your phone. The only exception to this is if I’m using Post Planner (see below)

4) Post Planner – Let me just say I love Post Planner! It’s an app in Facebook that curates content for you and pulls it all together in categories for you to easily select and post to your page. You can search by topic or use their suggested content. The app suggests poll questions, ideas for posts, viral photos to use and more. It’s easy to navigate and saves me a ton of time. You can try it for free and the paid accounts run from $29-$99 a month.

5) Excel – Good ol’ fashioned excel! People still love using it. It’s not my first choice with all the synched options that are now available, but it gets the job done. I have a couple of templates I used in the past.  If you’re interested in snagging a copy to use, feel free to comment on this post or reach out to me, I’m happy to share.

So there you have it. Hopefully I’ve helped convince you to start organizing and planning out your social media content. You’ll find you’re actually more efficient with social media when you do this. By no means is this even the tip of the list of available tools you could use to schedule your content but these are a few of the cheap and easy tools I use with my clients. I’m here to help if you have questions or need a push to get started. Don’t hesitate to reach out to me. Have fun!