Picture the scene: you open LinkedIn, click 'start a post' and are met with a big, grey box demanding, “What do you want to talk about?”. Your mind goes blank, you haven't posted anything for a week, and you think, 'I need to write something…anything'. The cursor blinks at you, mocking you for not planning ahead.
If you’re responsible for managing the social media accounts for your professional services firm, you’ve probably been in this exact scenario more than once, and the memory haunts you. Unfortunately, with the stress of the day-to-day and general firm management, planning social media content even two weeks ahead might be the lowest item on your priority list, so you’ve fallen into a 'just post anything' weekly recurring nightmare.
But it doesn’t have to be this way! OK, pulling together a social media content calendar might sound like a lot of work. But, in the long run, it will save you time, energy, and a lot of unnecessary stress – trust us.
So, what is a social media content calendar?
A social media content calendar is an incredibly useful tool that social media managers – both in-house and agency – use to plan, visualise, and manage all upcoming social media content across all channels for the next week, month, quarter, or even year!
It is a super detailed plan which can be made using a social media management platform (usually for a premium) or a simple Excel or Google Sheets spreadsheet. At a minimum, a content calendar will cover dates, time, platform, and post copy but may also include details such as:
- Links (to websites, blogs, products etc.)
- Media (images, video, documents)
- UTMs (if the post is part of a specific campaign that you want to track)
- Space for comments and notes by other collaborators
- Paid vs organic post details
- Approval status (if your social content needs to be approved by management)
Taking a few hours a month to fill in even a basic social media content calendar will give you breathing space to get on with your ‘day job’, knowing the social media content is practically looking after itself.
But what exactly are the benefits of using a social media content calendar for professional services firms?
Good question – we’ll tell you.
1. Joined up thinking and planning ahead
If you’re posting ad-hoc, it can be easy to miss important activities such as product or service launches, attendance at events, new starters or company milestones that make fantastic, easy and authentic social media content.
By taking some time to look a month or two in advance, you can ensure that you've got it all covered and that you have a solid foundation for your content calendar. Why not consider posting about:
- Company and employee celebrations, e.g., work anniversaries, significant birthdays, new clients, new starters, academic and industry qualifications and award nominations.
- Relevant awareness days; can also help you plan broader campaigns too.
- Service or product launches; are you releasing a new training module or service area, or have you written a white paper? Post about it.
- Events, whether you’re attending or hosting, spotlight on speakers or venues, give details of talks and workshops and then repurpose the event content to fill in your content calendar after it’s finished!
Regularly speak to colleagues and other departments and find out what they’ve got coming up that they’d like to shout about; this can also help you inform your wider PR, events, and marketing activity.
2. Maintaining consistency
An overview of the upcoming month can help you keep on top of your posting schedule and ensure there are no huge gaps or you're not posting too much.
Unfortunately, there is no golden rule for posting frequency; it depends on your industry, audience, and the algorithm of the platform you’re using – amongst a whole host of other things – but a consistent presence will ensure that your content keeps you front of mind with your target audience. Using a social media content calendar will give you an immediate visual representation of how your upcoming weeks will look, so you can spot any heavy or light weeks and adjust the schedule accordingly.
Composing a bunch of posts together will also help you maintain your tone of voice and house style, keep your feeds consistent and on brand, and allow you to spot any typos or grammar mistakes before the posts go live.
3. Promoting creativity
Once you start working with your colleagues and pulling together posts and content for your calendar, you will begin to see themes and topics that could become future posts or even wider campaigns.
Using a social media content calendar gives you a chance to look at your wider, longer-term social media strategy and spot upcoming trends that are relevant and interesting to your audience instead of scrambling to post something reactive or just falling back into the 'post anything' trap – which will tank your feed's engagement!
4. Keeping content interesting
Having an ongoing plan will also help you keep your feed interesting and engaging by offering a variety of content types to your followers and connections. Consider splitting your content into three groups and peppering your schedule with a mix of each:
- Evergreen content: testimonials, products and services, animations, videos, and blogs (unless they’re out-of-date).
- Campaigns: upcoming events, launching a new product or service, recruitment.
- Ad-hoc or reactive: industry news, recent trends, award nominations, team news, charity and wellbeing events.
Over time, by looking at your analytics, you can pinpoint the exact types of content that engage your audience best and use this data to inform your content calendar going forward.
It’s all connected!
To avoid that blinking cursor of doom on your social media accounts, we would strongly recommend pulling together a social media content calendar.
At Cal Partners, we work closely with our clients to develop content calendars that suit their objectives, target market and overall business strategy, and we can do the same for you.
We work exclusively with professional services businesses, and we can set up and administer your social media accounts, create and manage your content calendar (with as little or as much input as you like) and manage your incoming messages and engagement.
Marketing for Professional Services
The go-to strategic marketing partner for ambitious professional services