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Managing several social media platforms at once can sometimes be overwhelming and it can be difficult to maintain all aspects of your marketing strategy. Although this social media checklist will help you manage the business side of things, it may also help you arrange your time more responsibly. For many people, having a list that they can actively tick off, helps establish a realistic timeframe in which to complete these tasks during the day.
Having worked out how much time you need to spend on social, you may want to split up these tasks into more manageable pieces throughout your day. I use a tool called Plan to arrange my tasks for the day, including my social media.
Whether you’re new to using social media for business, or you’re a seasoned social media manager, having a checklist can be great for accountability and helps keep you and your team on the same page. Additionally, if you outsource some of your social media tasks, you can share the spreadsheet that accompanies this list with your freelancer, so that they can check off their tasks when they’re completed.
Both the social media checklist doc and spreadsheets can easily be edited, so if you have additional daily, weekly or monthly tasks that may be specific to your business or niche, you can add them. As the social media industry changes frequently, there maybe new features that can be used in marketing, and you may want to add these to the list as well. We’ll update the checklist and spreadsheet regularly, but we may miss something!
DAILY SOCIAL MEDIA CHECKLIST FOR BUSINESS
RESPOND TO MESSAGES ON YOUR SOCIAL PLATFORMS
Answering direct messages from your audience and customers is essential to building your brand loyalty. Your customers may ask questions regarding your niche and products which may be time sensitive. Responding quickly is in your own interest, as leaving your customers in the lurch may lose a sale or loyal fan!
REPLY TO COMMENTS ON YOUR POSTS
Your audience is probably leaving comments on your social media posts or retweeting with their own thoughts and opinions and you should reply to as many of these comments as you can. This will improve engagement and maintain customer loyalty.
CHECK FOR BRAND AND CAMPAIGN MENTIONS
You can use a tool or social media management software to track mentions of specific keywords relevant to your brand. People may be contacting you about an element of your business and not tag you, so you should keep an eye on these things regularly.
I use Hootsuite to follow specific hashtags and keywords for Twitter and Instagram, although Instagram now has a feature that allows you to track your keywords within the app.
ENGAGE WITH OTHER PAGES AND POSTS
One of the main things you should remember about engaging with other pages, is to add value to their content without appearing spammy (you know what I’m talking about). A good way to engage is to contribute to conversations on social media posts with relevant comments and without being self promotional (unless for some reason its relevant). You’ll soon build up a reputation in your niche and get noticed by your target audience. Don’t forget to ‘LIKE’ content you also think is valuable and share articles written by your partners.
CHECK YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA CALENDAR
Whilst you may schedule some of your social media posts for the week or even month, but you should view your social media calendar to check the times and content for your daily posts. If you outsource your social media scheduling, you should also take this time to check your already scheduled posts for mistakes or changes you might want to make.
CHECK FOR TRENDING EVENTS AND CREATE IMPROMPTU CONTENT
To keep your social media posts fresh, you should keep on top of trending events and create impromptu based on these events. Checking for trending hashtags in Twitter can often give you a good idea of what’s popular in your part of the world, or where in the world your audience is. You can also see what events your competitors and partners are talking about.
CURATE, SCHEDULE AND POST
To see what’s going on in the news, in our niche as well as personal interests, I use the RSS tool, Feedly. Feedly makes curating and managing your consumption of content easy, by separating everything out into categories. Once you’ve found relevant articles, schedule or post them on the relevant platforms or schedule them using a social media management tool such as HootSuite.
WEEKLY SOCIAL MEDIA CHECKLIST FOR BUSINESS
VIEW YOUR ANALYTICS
Each week, take a quick look at your insights and analytics for each of your social media platforms. Check to see how your social media posts are doing, so you can tweak and improve your content for the following days and weeks. Don’t panic if you have a post that doesn’t do well, try making small changes to your content and see if your analytics improve. This also may be a good time to experiment with different hashtags for Twitter and Instagram. If the ones you’re using aren’t really working for you, change some of them and reassess next week. You can see how your hashtags work for your Instagram posts within individual insights.
ENGAGE WITH PARTNERS AND INFLUENCERS
Give your partners shout outs, compliment their newest blog post (whilst adding value, of course) and keep in touch so that your audience knows about other companies you’re involved in. It also keeps connections alive and promotes good business practices.
REVIEW AND CREATE YOUR CONTENT
Based on your analytics, make improvements to your planned social posts. If certain posts have been successful, try and use this as a template to create even more engaging content. You may need to change your image, develop your copy or change angles completely!
STAY UP TO DATE WITH SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING UPDATES AND TRENDS
Not only do social media platforms change ridiculously quickly, with new features or changes to their algorithm, but these also affect how we use social media for marketing purposes. Find some time once or even twice a week to read about updates to the platforms you use, up and coming platforms and suggestions on how to use social media for your marketing.
MONTHLY SOCIAL MEDIA CHECKLIST FOR BUSINESS
ANALYSE YOUR SOCIAL INSIGHTS & COMPLETE A KPI
Take a comprehensive look at your insights based on the goals you’ve set for your company. What can you improve? Are all your social platforms fulfilling your expectations? You might want to record the numbers in a KPI (Key Performance Indicators) report.
UPDATE YOUR SOCIAL STRATEGY DOCUMENTS
Based on your analytics, you can create or update strategy documents for the upcoming months detailing the strategies you can implement to improve your metrics and achieve your company’s goals.
UPDATE YOUR SOCIAL PROFILES
Take some time once a month to update your profile cover art and make improvements to your bio where necessary. You may want to change your profile cover to promote a social media campaign you’re running at the time. When you update your profile cover photo it will get posted on your timeline, which gives your page an additional boost.
LOOK AT COMPETITORS FOR INSPIRATION
As well as spending time researching new methods for improving your social media posts, you should also take a look to see what your competitors are posting about. You can also get a good idea of their new products and whether they’re providing their audience with valuable content.
UPDATE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA CALENDAR
Each month I create a new sheet in my social media calendar spreadsheet and fill in some of the important dates that are coming up that month. These may be specific holidays relevant to your audience or niche, or start dates for specific social campaigns. When I come to creating images and copy for each platform, I can consider these specific dates.
CREATE NEW CONTENT
After you’ve analysed content from the previous month(s) you can begin to create content for the following month(s). Perhaps some of your posts didn’t do as well as expected, how can you improve the images or copy to increase engagement or clicks. Once you’re happy with your content, add them to your social media calendar and schedule what you can.
You can get your social media checklist for business by filling in your email address in the space above and you’ll get your templates to your inbox!
WHAT IS A BRAND STYLE GUIDE?
A brand style guide, also known as a ‘brand book’, ‘brand guidelines’ or ‘brand standards’ is a visual breakdown of your brand ranging from font styles and colours to image style and design. A style guide can also reference the kind of tone and point of view you want to use for your brand ‘message’ as well as detailing your target market. Although some companies create beautiful visual representations of their brand, it can also be a simple document that can easily be edited as your visual style develops over time. This style guide template download provides guidelines for you to fill out and use for your company’s branding.
WHY CREATE A BRAND STYLE GUIDE?
A brand style guide is an essential tool for your company regardless of its size. Even if you’re a solopreneur you should create a guide. Why waste brain space trying to remember a colour hex code when you can easily access it within your style guide. Furthermore, if you’re planning on outsourcing certain design tasks, you’ll need a brand style guide for a freelance designer to follow in order to retain aspects of your visual brand.
The same can be said if you’re working as part of a team. You should have a brand style guide with as much detail as possible so that every member of your team can understand (or easily find) the central elements of your visual brand.
Although the reason for creating a brand style guide is to make sure all the members of your team are on the same page regarding visuals, the aim of a style guide is to ensure all the elements of your brand, when combined together, are easily recognizable by your audience.
There are many companies out there with very strong visual style, and we can see this throughout their products, social media and other forms of advertising.
WHAT DOES A BRAND STYLE GUIDE INCLUDE?
One of my favourites is Marmite (yup, you either love it or you hate it!), whose yellow and black theme and red and white logo is instantly recognizable.
When introducing a new ‘reduced salt’ product the usual bright yellow colour was replaced by a contrasting blue colour. Whilst retaining its signature black bottle and red banner logo, the yellow becomes a minor colour. The audience will still recognize the brand but know there is a difference between Marmite’s ‘normal’ bottle and their new product.
The brand style guide might also include some less obvious content, including information on your target market, as this can make a big difference when creating visuals. Granted, you will have probably already considered your target market, also known as an ‘avatar’ to choose various elements of your brand, including font type, colours, logo etc before creating this brand style guide. However, it will also help freelancers or designers who are unfamiliar with your brand to glean context about your visual style before creating graphics.
TARGET YOUR AUDIENCE
You should be as specific as you can about your customer ‘avatar’, even going as far as creating a visual representation of them. Detail their occupation, where they live even their hobbies. Each detail may help your designer make a choice that could be the difference between your target audience paying attention to your visuals, or not.
INCLUDE VISUAL EXAMPLES IN YOUR STYLE GUIDE
If you have existing graphics that you’re happy with and uphold your companies values, include these within your style guide. If you want your logo to be in a specific place and a certain size on your social media graphics then you should also include examples with these specifications within your style guide.
LINK TO YOUR VISUALS AND LOGOS
If you’re sharing your brand style guide with a freelancer or a designer, you should include links to all your visuals and logos within the style guide. Create a specific folder that includes everything necessary for your designer to create visuals that fit your needs. If you’re using Google Drive, you can simply share your Style Guide folder with your freelancer and they can access those specific files.
You can download the Style Guide Template and instructional SOP by filling in your email in the space at the top of the page and it will be sent to your inbox.
There are lots of tools out there to create your own social media images, but if you really want to make your mark on social, you can outsource your images and have a designer create your images by following this social media graphics checklist.
WHY ARE SOCIAL MEDIA IMAGES SO IMPORTANT?
Using social media images have been shown to improve social media shares, earn more retweets, and get more engagement. Your social graphics are also a great way to show your companies values and shows your audience what your brand is about.
UNIFORMITY AND BRANDING
To make sure your audience recognizes your social media graphics, you need to keep certain aspects of your images uniform. Many experts recommend keeping your companies logo in the same location on every image and using your brand colours or text.
Although you probably won’t use all of your brand’s colour or type fonts in every image, using 1 or 2 of them throughout your graphics will create a connection between your business and your social campaign. When your audience sees your images, they’ll instantly recognize your brand.
To make sure your designer and team use a consistent theme for your social media graphics, you might consider creating a style guide for your brand.
Buzzfeed’s Proper Tasty videos have the same visual style, making their recipes instantly recognizable on Facebook.
If you haven’t yet established type fonts for your business you can use several tools that can help you use find fonts that work together visually. Choose the main font for headlines, another for subtitles and a font that is easy to read for the body text.
For example, you might use a similar version of a font such as italics or bold for your subtitle and use a contrasting font for the body. Try to keep the body text as simple as possible, so that it’s easier for people to read. There are several fonts that fit the bill including Georgia, Helvetica, Open Sans and Verdana.
Selecting your brand’s colours is an important part of establishing your brand. You might employ a designer to help you choose colours that reflect the values and niche of your business.
Once you’ve chosen the main colour for your brand, you can easily find an aesthetic colour combination using tools such as Paletton to find complementary colours or Color-Hex for similar colours and to browse colour palettes.
To help your audience recognise your brand, it’s important to keep the colours of your social media images consistent throughout.
Marmite consistently uses their unmistakable yellow and black colours through their Instagram content. There’s often strong product placement too, with a jar of Marmite in almost every post.
SOCIAL IMAGE SIZES
Each platform has its own size guidelines for images, so it’s important to create your graphics for the social media platforms you’ll be using. Optimised images will look much better and also shows professionalism. Of course, cross-posting across platforms is a common occurrence now, and it is possible to reuse certain images over several social media platforms.
Here’s a list of sizes for shared social images as of 2018:
CHOOSING CONSISTENT IMAGES AND FILTERS
If you’re using images, either stock or your own photos you should try and keep them thematically similar. They should be a visual reflection of your brand, whether you’re a company or a person. Your images are also a good way to show your businesses character.
If you’re using overlays for text in your images, you should consider keeping the location of the layer the same in every image, which will help to further your brand’s recognition.
Similarly, if you’re using filters or effects, choose 1 or 2 for your social images and continue to use them throughout.
By following and creating visually consistent social media images you can establish templates that will not only create brand recognition but will allow the quick and continuous creation of your social media images.
Download your free social media graphics checklist to make outsourcing your social media images a breeze.
Although it’s nice to be spontaneous on social media, if you’re using social for your online or physical business, you should really prepare your content in advance.
WHAT IS A SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY PLAN?
Before you start posting, you need to know WHAT you’re promoting, WHERE you’re promoting it and to WHOM you’re promoting it to. To make sure all these questions are answered, create a strategic plan to keep you (and your team) focused on your goal.
A social media strategy plan can be used to help you plan a specific campaign for your product or business across various social media platforms.
Your campaign or strategy is just a collection of social posts that all share a similar call-to-action, theme and also hashtags to promote an event, product or maybe a specific blog post.
WHAT’S YOUR GOAL?
So first you need to set your goals. What’s the purpose of your campaign? Maybe you want to increase your audience? Or maybe you just want to improve awareness of your brand.
When you’re setting your goal, make sure that they’re S.M.A.R.T!
S.M.A.R.T is an acronym that stands for the following:
You should bear in mind these 5 points when setting your social media campaign goals.
CHOOSING YOUR AUDIENCE
Selecting your audience is important in order to direct your social posts, including for example, ‘targeting’ posts on Facebook. You also need to know what kind of language to use with your audience. You need to use different words for a younger audience than with an older one. You also need to know who you’re targeting your product towards in order to make your images too!
WHICH SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS SHOULD YOU USE?
Some social media platforms are better at promoting certain things than others. For example, if you’re promoting something very visual like a physical product, you might want to use Instagram or Pinterest. However, if you’re trying to promote a video course for new business owners, you might want to use LinkedIn, and target a more ‘professional’ audience.
PLANNING YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN SCHEDULE
You need to decide the best time to promote your campaign and this might depend on your campaign goal. If you’re promoting winter jackets, you would obviously want to begin your campaign when winter begins. It might also affect the amount of time you have to post before your campaign starts (and ends), for example, if you’re promoting a sale, special event or challenge.
Social Media Calendar Template
Organize and outsource your content in 2018 with this social media calendar.
MEASURING YOUR RESULTS
In order to know that your campaign was successful, you need to set specific metrics. Once you’ve set your goals and chosen the social media platforms you want to use, you can decide on the best metrics to track. You also need to learn how to analyse each platform, and also have a good understanding of how your content is usually received.
CREATING AND SCHEDULING YOUR CONTENT
Once you’re ready with your campaign plan, you get to work writing the copy for each post, bearing in mind the right tone and character length for each platform. You also need to create your post images or send a brief to a designer to make them for you. Schedule your content using our social media content schedule template to make sure you don’t forget anything!
You can get your free social media campaign strategy plan template by filling out your deets below. Check your inbox for your template along with tips and advice on how to use it!
The blog post template that you can download above provides you with 10 areas that you should consider before, during and after you’ve written your blog post. It’s simple to use, just full in the details under each heading, and then transfer each section onto your blog. You can make one for to plan every blog post you write, not just to ensure you don’t forget to add these essential details that will improve SEO and readability, but you can also use it as a method to outsource your blog posts.
We use a version of this template for our SOP Template blog posts, and you can easily customize this template to fit your own blog post requirements.
Do Some Keyword Research
Before you start writing your blog content, do some keyword research. Although keyword research is becoming more difficult, you can still get a good idea of a keyword or phrase by simply searching for it using google.com/ncr and the Moz Chrome plugin. You will be able to see how your competitors are ranked for that specific keyword and decide whether you are able to write something that is quality enough to rank higher.
If you have a search bar on your site, you can use a plugin or service such as Swiftype to see what people are searching your site for. This may give you clues as to what to write about in future blog posts. You should also consider that certain content will be searched for in Google at different times of the year, so you may want to write content associated with a specific holiday or event.
Write a Compelling Headline
In order to persuade people to read your article, you want to craft a headline that will captivate your audience enough to click through and read more. To improve your SEO, try and use your chosen keyword or a variation in your headline.
It can sometimes be difficult to know if your headline is catchy enough, and there are tools and resources that can help you write a headline that your potential readers will be interested in. Coschedule have a great tool, called the Headline Analyzer. It breaks down your headline and gives you a score out of 100 based on a variety of elements, including how ‘wordy’ your headline is and the emotional and unusual words you have included.
Check that your headline does not exceed the limit for Google results, as the title will be truncated once you hit a certain amount of characters. You may do this on purpose to create suspense and add further interest to your content. Also take into consideration if you want to include your site’s name at the end of your title.
If you’re using the YoastSEO plugin for WordPress, you can see a preview of your headline before you publish your blog post. You can also see a basic preview if you use Coschedule’s Headline Analyzer, but Yoast also allows you to edit your SEO title, post URL and metadata.
Include Optimized Images
Having an eye catching feature graphic will help attract your potential readers attention, whilst also promoting and increasing the chances of shares on social media. Images help break up your text, and hold the reader’s attention as well as providing a relevant visual aid to your content.
When choosing images either for your blog post’s featured image, or images that appear in your post, make sure to use royalty-free images, or include a citation if you have taken the image from another source. There are plenty of resources for royalty-free images, including Pixabay, Shutterstock and GraphicStock. Some of these resources offer free images, but many provide a yearly subscription of high quality, unlimited downloads on vectors, photos and video content, or a package of X amount of downloads for a one off payment.
Alternatively, you can create your own images using a graphic design platform, such as Canva and BeFunky or you could outsource image design to a freelancer, if you want something different and customized.
If you optimize your images, which is explained in the SOP, your images may also help your SEO and drive traffic to your site if they’re found in a search engine. Don’t forget to resize and compress your images as big files will slow down your site and affect your SEO.
Categorize and Tag It
Your blog post categories should be decided before creating your content and all of the posts that you write should fit into one of these categories. There are some ways in which you can decide which categories to choose for your blog
Consider the ‘tone’ of your category names, and try and make sure all the categories have a similar level of specificity (the category shouldn’t be too broad a topic, or too narrow). You should also try and have as few categories as possible.
If you’ve already got your blog up and running, you may want to do a ‘cull’ of your existing categories, if you only have 1 or 2 blog posts under one category or rename those that aren’t self explanatory or too broad a subject.
Tags are a way of narrowing down content that may overlap across several categories. They should be more specific than categories, and are also a great way to help your visitors navigate your site more easily. If you’re using WordPress, you can keep track of your existing tags from the Posts area in the menubar. When you’re adding tags to your blog post, you can choose from ‘Most Used Tags’. The larger the text, the more posts include the tag. You can also hover over the tag to see how many blog posts contain that particular keyword.
External Links to Other Blogs
Although you might think that linking to external sites will take your audience away from your site, this is a great way to improve your SEO, as it shows that you content has been researched and therefore more valuable. Linking to other sites that may be related to your content may also promote positive engagement between the sites and lead to further cooperation down the line.
When you link to another site, you can have the page open in a new tab, instead of replacing your site with someone else’s. You can do this simply in WordPress by ticking the ‘Open link in a new tab’ box when adding a link.
Your blog’s meta description provides the reader with a brief overview of what the blog post is about, or what they will get from reading your post. If you don’t edit this before publishing, Google, or other search engine will pull the first few lines from your blog post and use that as meta. It’s best to customize this to ensure click throughs to your site. If you’re using the YoastSEO plugin, this can easily be edited and you’ll see a preview of how it will appear in a search engine. The meta description should ideally include your keyword(s) or a variation of them.
Call Your Readers to Action
Your blog post’s call to action is probably one of the most important sections of your post after the actual written content. A call to action is meant to prompt the reader to take the next step or ‘action’ after reading your post. Your call to action might be a free PDF for your reader to download in exchange for their email address or a prompt to get a free trial of your product. Your call to action should combine an attractive image with text that is to the point and interesting.
Get ideas for your next blog post’s call to action from HubSpot’s article, 8 Types of CTAs You Should Absolutely Try on Your Blog.
As mentioned at the beginning, you can use this blog post template in a few different ways; fill it out yourself and use it to make sure elements of your blog aren’t forgotten about, outsource your content by handing the template to a freelancer for them to complete. You may even want to complete the template yourself and then pass it onto a colleague who put the content onto your blog.
You can also use this Blog Post Template in conjunction with our Content Calendar Template.
Download this Blog Post Template at the top of the page to start planning your blog posts today!
A domain is a URL or website where you can place your written content or products for your customers to access online. In order to write your blog posts, or sell your products, you need a platform to host it on. We like using WordPress, because it’s pretty simple to use, even for beginners, but is still versatile enough to allow for customisation. Take soptemplates.com for example, we started with a template, but found that we wanted something quite specific, so we hired a freelancer to implement the design we wanted. Although there are many custom features on our site, we are still able to add our own content with our limited knowledge of coding websites.
The SOP that you can download above will instruct you or your freelancer how to ‘point’ your domain at WordPress. WordPress allows you to self host your website. This means you purchase a domain name, such as soptemplates.com, but use WordPress to create and publish your content. The other option, which is more popular with casual bloggers, is not to purchase a domain, but use a WordPress subdomain instead. This means that while you choose your own name, the end of the domain will include wordpress.com.
Buying a domain is an important step in creating a professional image for your website. While WordPress and other blogging sites also allow you to use a free domain, it will have the name of the blogging platform within the URL, and it will make your blog appear less professional. If you purchase your own domain, you can then also set up your own email address, which includes the domain name. For example, firstname.lastname@example.org. You can set up your own email address by following this SOP Template for Setting up a Custom Email Address. Having your own domain will also protect your identity and ideas, especially if you choose your own name as your domain url.
If you haven’t settled on a domain name yet, now may be a good time, to think about doing some keyword research in order to take advantage of free organic traffic from Google. Google tends to put a lot of weight on the URL of a website when it comes to their search results. Although you might want some jazzy name for your business you might consider choosing a website domain that is keyword rich, in order to reap the benefits of free traffic from google.
Choosing a name that contains keywords that many people are searching for means that you are not only extremely lucky, but maybe have a higher chance of ranking well in Google and being found by your potential customers.
Check out these 10 Tips for Choosing Your Domain Name.
When purchasing your domain name, you should not also consider buying your.com but also .co.uk and other TLDs (Top Level Domains), especially if you trying to build a reputable brand.
Many domain name providers will allow you to buy the TLDs for your chosen domain as a package, so if you are sure about your domain, you will want to protect it from potential competitors. Buying them as a package will also be cheaper, and safer in the long run.
However, this isn’t something you need to agonize over. It may be better buying one TLD domain to begin with and testing it out before putting more money into your site.
Occasionally, a domain is bought by someone who have the intentions of creating a site but the domain ends of sitting empty. Other times a ‘squatter’ will purchase a domain that looks as though it will become popular so that they can sell it, or make a site when the keyword is more in demand. Godaddy offers a service that will contact the domain owner on your behalf, but if you’re interested in buying a domain from someone yourself, take a look at the following articles:
I want to add here that you should probably stay away from trademarked brands that get a lot of traffic, such as iPhone and Apple. To learn a bit more about this, you can listen to episode 0714 of Pat Flynn’s podcast ‘Ask Pat’ here.
Now you have your domain name, you need to create a WordPress account. Just go to WordPress.org and follow the instructions. If you want to make a simple blog without self-hosting you can visit WordPress.com and signing up for an account.
This SOP will show you how to direct your domain to WordPress. This can be quite a complicated procedure, especially if it’s something you’ve never done before. You may want to hand it over to a freelancer, who will be able to complete the task quickly.