10 Steps to Planning your Social Media Month

Last week I sent out a content calendar with ideas for what to post about on your social media for every day of the month of April. This week I wanted to follow up with these 10 steps I use to planning my social media month. Wait, you didn't get my email? You must not be part of my mailing list! Sign up here to get exclusive freebies not shared on my blog!

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Step 1: First of all, leading Instagram experts always suggest picking categories of things you will post about. The thing they can’t agree upon is how many. I’ve heard numbers from 5 to 12 most commonly. My opinion is that there is no magic number of categories, just pick what feels right for you. Categories span anything from talking about your kids to your clients and your morning coffee to the book you’re reading. Just make sure you can use each of these categories to point back to your business and why people should follow, book or buy from you! Once you have an idea of what these categories will be for you, you will be able to make your posting roadmap!

Step 2: Look at a social media holiday calendar. Social media holidays can be any major or lesser known, quirky holiday that instagrammers made popular via hashtag. For instance the third Sunday in July is my favorite: #nationalicecreamday, for obvious reasons! You can check out this social media holiday calendar for some other fun ideas!

Step 3: Now look at your own content calendar. Do you have any blog posts coming up that you want to promote? What about a sale or a special promotion?

Step 4: You will want to write all of the dates from steps 2 and 3 on a calendar for easy reference. I prefer to print one out and have a paper copy to scribble on, but you can use an online calendar for this if it is more your style.

Step 5: Now you can fill in the calendar with the other categories you have already decided to post about in step 1. Rotate them through so you know exactly how many posts you will need for the month in each category.

Step 6: Looking at your calendar you should now be able to visualize the photos you will need for the month. I like to make an organized shot checklist off the calendar at this point; and then start to plan what props I will need to gather for the photos. Don’t forget to think about your grid as you plan this. Make sure that the colors will flow nicely. This should be fairly easy to accomplish if you have a color scheme for your props and backgrounds (thinking back to your branding color scheme is helpful here).

Step 7: Now you can shoot your photos! I usually try to take a couple different arrangements or angles of each shot to make sure that when I put my feed together it is visually compelling. For instance I like to do a mixture of flatlay images and straight on perspectives.

A note here: while some brands are able to completely plan and stage photos ahead of time, some are more event based and time sensitive. You should still be able to plan ahead for these photos even if you have some time sensitive materials that you can not shoot ahead of time, just leave space on your calendar for it and make a note to grab the shot at the event!

Step 8: Cull, edit and organize your photos into your content calendar. My favorite planning software is currently Planoly but there are plenty of other options available too. Find the one that works best for you!

Step 9: Write your captions! It may sound daunting but you probably already know roughly what you need to say with each post after all that strategizing! (Stay tuned for more on writing captions next week!)

Step 10: Don’t forget to plan your hashtags strategically! Want to read more about hashtag planning? Read more here!