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June 24, 2018
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July 2, 2018

Building Your Social Media Tool Belt

If you’re just getting started on social media or are in the thick of it and could use some help getting organized then keep on reading.  There’s a saying, ‘Why reinvent the wheel when you can steal it?’ This is especially the case when you’re feeling inundated with projects or just need a good place to start or in some instances, the processes or templates you have just aren’t effective.  I know sometimes I wish I could just push everything off my workspace clear, but it’s probably better that we save those moments for the movies.

It’s always good to have templates and basic guides in your social tool belt.  Now keep in mind that having a template doesn’t mean it’s all going to be quick and easy. Depending on the task at hand you will need to put in some time and effort, which will pay off in the end.  It may take a bit more of your time in the beginning but after a while, it will all become second nature.

That being said, I decided to focus on the following areas because they provide a solid foundation for getting started or aide in re-aligning your social program.

    • Social Media Audit
    • Editorial Calendar
    • Social Media Image Sizes
    • Social Media Style Guide

Social Media Audit

Whether you are new to the social media scene or have an established presence it is always good to conduct an audit of your business.  After all, you need to protect your brand and part of that include its digital presence. Here are a couple of templates with guidelines on how to conduct an audit.

  • Hootsuite: Social Media Audit (blog)
      • Download Template here
      • Use Case
          • A high-level assessment of your organization’s current social media presence
          • Easy to integrate with your social media and brand strategy
        • Good for beginners or small businesses
      • Pros
          • Hootsuite Blog great list of templates to quickly jump start things
        • The pdf guide provides some very easy to follow steps
    • Cons
      • You have to create the tables/spreadsheets

Hootsuite_Social Media_Audit_Guide.png

  • SproutSocial: How to Perform a Social Media Audit w/ Template
      • Use Case
          • More for the intermediate to advanced user
          • Includes inputs for social media channel presence and channel performance metrics
        • An in-depth look at different areas that need to be considered as part of a much broader audit
    • Pros
        • The article gives some great details and insight on how to approach an audit
        • The template is very detailed and is good for more advanced social media user
    • Cons
      • The spreadsheet can be a little overwhelming

Editorial Calendar

At the risk of sounding a bit too cliche, ‘Content is King’, but hey it’s true.  Majority of your success will rely heavily on tailoring your content to your audience and ensuring you are leveraging the appropriate channel.  You should be leveraging everything you learned from your social media audit now and get your content organized. Here’s a list of a few helpful calendar templates.

  • Hubspot: The Social Media Content Calendar (blog)
      • Use Case:
        • Beginner to Intermediate User
      • Pros:
          • A tab dedicated to the listing of content pieces used
          • Helpful theme guide to help develop a stream of topics for the month
        • Separate content tabs for each social channel
    • Cons:
      • Monthly calendar tab is too basic, would like to see actual topic ideas incorporated in monthly tab

hubspot ed cal

  • CoSchedule: Free Content Calendar
      • Use Case
          • Beginner user
        • Businesses that plan out content, launches, or programs for the entire year
      • Pros
          • Helps consolidate topic ideas and brainstorming in one location
          • 35,000 ft view of planned out topics
        • A useful guide on how to plan out content for a year
    • Cons
        • Have to subscribe to get an editable template
      • Doesn’t actually have a weekly calendar template to use.

Coschedule_annual-calendar-2

  • Smartsheet: Social Media Calendar Free Template
      • Use Case
        • Beginner User
      • Pros
          • Simple easy to use template
        • Ability to adjust time slots as needed
    • Cons
        • Doesn’t have monthly or quarterly topic outlook
      • Not the best place to collect content metrics and I recommend a separate report file
  • Hootsuite: How to create a social media content calendar (blog)
      • Use Case
        • Beginner to intermediate user
      • Pros
          • Consolidates channels all one page with time slots
          • Includes columns to provide URL and image link inputs
        • Allows you to categorize content for tracking purposes
    • Cons
        • Not convinced that evergreen content tab is really needed
      • Doesn’t have a monthly or quarterly topic calendar

hootsuite_social-media-content-calendar-template

As you can see, templates are not a one size fits all.  It’s also good to keep in mind that it takes a few rounds of using templates to get used to them.  Therefore, let’s set some reasonable expectations here. Consider these as cookie cutter templates but you hold the scalpel and have the ability to make it what you want.  If you like a feature in one template that isn’t in the other one, then you combine them. Just remember our purpose is to increase effectiveness and efficiency in executing your social media program.  

Now that we’ve covered a couple of useful templates let’s talk guides.  Some of the templates above included use guides and link to the blogs, which I think are still great reads that help expand your way of thinking or approaching a situation.  Below are a few more guides that I also find to be very useful.

Social Media Image Sizes

SproutSocial’s up to date guide on image sizing is a great resource to bookmark. What would make it more complete is if it included ad sizes versus keeping those on separate docs or blogs like the blog for Facebook ads.  Either way, it is still worth sharing with other stakeholders like your designer or agency.

Then there are Shortstack’s pdf templates for LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter image sizes, which includes ad specs for each of the platforms and is quite handy.  The only thing I’m not sure about is how often they update this pdf.

Social Media Style Guide

Didn’t even think about something like this until I came across Coschedule’s blog, This Is How To Write For Social Media To Create The Best Posts.  I think the guide provides a good framework to get any business aligned with their content development for social.

Well, that’s all for now.  If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed with all the information (I know I was during my research) then I recommend prioritizing what your immediate need is and start there.    Do not try to do everything all at once as you will just set yourself up for failure.

Want me to check out some other tools or guides? Then provide them in the comment section below and I’ll be sure to take a look.  In the meantime, let me know if this blog was helpful by commenting below.

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