By now we’ve come a long way with this series; we’ve already been looking at where you might want to place your social media presence and what you might want to do with it.
The next stage is pulling all that together in a strategic plan to promote your insurance brokerage in the best manner possible.
The Editorial Calendar
An editorial calendar is by far the best way of planning your social media offering. You can use the calendar functionality in Outlook for this, or you can use a spreadsheet or any other way means of writing down and grouping information you feel comfortable with.
The best calendars use themes to group content of interest together. For example; if your main market is pet insurance you might want to deliver content on the most common pets (cats and dogs) regularly. You also might want to include some more unusual pets (say snakes and horses) at less frequent intervals.
So your one week editorial calendar might (from a very high-level) look something like this:
Monday – Cat Related Features (Content Curation)
Tuesday – Cat Related Features (Original Content)
Wednesday – Dog Related Features (Content Curation)
Thursday – Dog Related Features (Original Content)
Friday – Pet of the Week (Curation and Original Content)
Saturday/Sunday – No Content
If you remember content curation is essentially harvesting other people’s content and providing links to it. You could try YouTube, Flickr, Facebook, even a Google search to find interesting and informative content. You can’t just take that content and pretend it’s your own but you can provide links to it (and in the case of YouTube and Flickr you can even present it on your website as long as you give the appropriate references).
It would probably take 10-20 minutes to find enough content that you can Tweet about it, provide info on your blog, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. pages with just a line or two from your side explaining what it is.
So a more detailed editorial plan for Monday (Cat Related Features) might be:
Monday – Cat Related Features
1 x Amusing Cat Video from YouTube (for our blog and Facebook pages, links to be Tweeted on Twitter)
1 x Cat safety video from YouTube (for our blog and Facebook pages, links to be Tweeted on Twitter)
5 x Cat photos from Flickr (for our blog and Facebook pages, links to be Tweeted on Twitter)
2 x Interesting cat blog posts (links to be Tweeted on Twitter and short summaries plus links included on all social media presences)
You then repeat the process for your next day, this time it’s for original content:
Tuesday – Cat Related Features
1 x Blog Post – 10 Ways to Keep Your Cat Healthy
5 x Tweets (excerpts from the Blog Post)
5 x Photos of a staff member’s cat doing something from the blog post (to be added to Blog Post, plus Flickr, and links to be Tweeted too)
1 x Cat Grooming Tip for Facebook and a question to solicit reader’s tips
1 x Link to Blog Post in all social media channels
And so on…
An editorial calendar makes it very easy to manage your social media presence. You have a plan; you can execute it and then measure the impact of individual actions. Over time you’ll find that certain activities yield better results than others. When you identify those activities – you might want to allocate sometime in the editorial calendar for follow up activities. So if “10 ways to keep your cat healthy” gets 10 times your normal readership, the next month you might consider “10 more ways to keep your cat healthy” or alternatively running a dog, fish, snake, etc. related post “10 ways to keep your <insert animal here> healthy.
So that’s the editorial calendar, it’s a great way of communicating what you’re going to do and when. It can be circulated for wider input from your team (who are always a good source of new ideas). The next phase is tweaking that calendar just a little – to ensure that you get the best results from your social media campaigns, by helping them become interactive. Then finally, we’ll look at those automation tools to make your life easier while you run your campaigns.