How Far Out to Plan Your Social Media Marketing

Welcome to episode 403 of Hit the Mic with The Stacey Harris. That’s me.

I’m stoked today because we’re going to talk about strategy. And a lot of questions I get about what I do revolve around if I have a preference for a specific network, and I don’t. I genuinely don’t. Now, I have personal preferences of networks I like best and I enjoy the most, but I don’t believe that there is one network to rule them all when it comes to building your social media marketing plan. What I do believe is there is one rule that does rule them all, which is that you should have a strategy and a plan in place.

So today I wanted to answer one of the most common questions around strategy, which is, how far out do you plan? Instead of answering that with a, “Oh, I plan out for 12 months,” I’m going to sort of map out what we plan at 12 months, what we plan quarterly, and what we plan by the month. So this will kind of give you an idea of how deep we go. You’ll notice it’s a lot of the same things we’re touching on, but as we get to a smaller time frame, we get to a more specific window of what we’re looking at.

So that’s what we’re going to walk through today.

If you have any questions, the best place to ask them is Hit the Mic Backstage. The second best is on the Thursday Live show. Hit the Mic TV Live happens every Thursday at 2:00 PM Pacific. You can catch past episodes over on the Facebook page or on YouTube if you want to enjoy those. I highly recommend checking them out. We’ll be live again every Thursday, this Thursday at 2:00 PM. And I’m so excited because we have our very first interview of Hit the Mic TV Live. We’re doing either two or three weeks in a row where we’re doing live interviews on the show, so I’m super, super, super stoked.

We have Kyle Wright of Wright Wellness Center, which he co-founded and co-owns with his wife Rachel, who we will have next week on the show on June 7. So we’ve got Kyle on the 31st, and we’ve got Rachel on June 7th. Kyle’s specifically going to talk to us about working with partners. This is something I get asked about a lot, because as you may know, Charles left his full-time job and started working for me full time three and a half years ago in January 2015. And it was definitely a learning curve. And Kyle and Rachel, like I said, they co-founded and co-own Wright Wellness Center together, so they have also sort of navigated the adventures of working with a significant other. So we are going to talk about working with your significant other, partnering with your partner in more than one way, and kind of some of the things you can do to make sure that’s a smooth transition. It’s going to be a really great conversation, so check that out on Thursday.

In the meantime, let’s get into today’s content.

Annual Social Media Marketing Strategy

Number one, where I want to kind of start is big picture, so what do I plan annually. And I’ll be honest, guys, this is the same stuff I go through when I build strategies for clients. We start with a big picture. When I get on a call to the client who we’re building a strategy for or I sit down with my own strategy, I’m looking at what does the next 12 months hold.

Now, I want to be really clear. I’m not creating content for 12 months. I’m not creating social posts for 12 months. I’m just first looking at what’s on the calendar. Where am I speaking? Where do I have launches? Where do I have affiliate launches? Where do I have sort of lulls in past business years that I would like to un-lull, if you will, so where do I want to see things throughout the year?

And again, it always starts with what’s the event stuff, so events I’m attending, events I’m speaking at, affiliate launches, stuff I don’t get to pick the date of. If you’re somebody who maybe launches something on an annual enrollment basis and you launch at the same time every year, Marie Forleo is a great example of this. B-School launches at the exact same time every year. So when she’s laying out her marketing plans or her team are laying out their marketing plans, they’re looking at, “Okay, so in February, March, we’ve got the launch of B-School.” So if you have a similar kind of thing, where is yours?

Now, I have a membership, so I don’t have one specific date. So what I’m doing instead is I’m going back to that lull. Where did I see sort of it tick down in membership and where do I really want to add some extra oomph? For example, we are doing a webinar tomorrow, because we are doing a live round of the Rock Star Guide to Instagram. That’s because this time of year, membership enrollment tends to slow down a little bit. I want to make sure that I am setting up my community for success in the summer. So we’re doing something to pique that sort of interest in joining Backstage, growing the audience, all those things. Again, though, this is going to be specific to what do you have happening over the course of 12 months. So first thing we’re doing is we’re laying down those events, those things, those landmarks, if you will, of what’s happening over the next 12 months.

From there, I actually build out my editorial calendar. So again, we are not writing the post, we’re not recording the podcast, none of that. What I am doing is I’m going into Google Calendar and I am setting topic dates on the dates they’ll go live. So if you were to look at my Google Calendar right now, you would see titles of episodes for every Tuesday between now and December, because I do this stuff in October, November, usually. So I’m planning out. So if you’re doing this now in May, I would suggest planning out June through next July so that when you do this again in June you’re not bumping up against, “I got to do this in June because we’re out of content.” So I would go a month past when you plan to do this again.

And again, I’m just laying out the topic ideas. This can be done in Trello, this can be done in … We have it in my Google Calendar. We literally just have a calendar in Google that’s called Editorial Calendar. I told you guys, I’m not good at naming stuff. And it’s purple, and it has the topic dates. And we do have it scheduled for not just the podcast, but you’ll also see Thursdays’ Facebook Lives, because the Hit the Mic TV Live show is a part of my content creation. So those editorial calendar dates are also filled in. That’s all it is.

Now, if this is kind of overwhelming to you, the idea of thinking of 52 podcast episodes, blog posts, whatever, look at your overall strategy. How frequently do you post? What kind of content do you post? You have to have that larger content and email marketing plan in mind as you lay out your social strategy. Now, all we’re talking about today is social. So I’m assuming you have the things in place, like what you’re offering, who your ideal clients are, what kind of content you create. But I always make sure I build my editorial calendar for content at the same time where I’m building out my social media strategy, because I want to make sure that they are supporting each other, that they’re not independent of each other. So this is a key thing for me as I look at my annual planning.

Next up, I go in and I clarify that my two primary networks are still my two primary networks. Now, if you haven’t heard me talk about primary and secondary networks before, let me just recap it really quick. Primary networks are the places that I’m visiting daily. They are getting the bulk of my attention. They are getting the bulk of my time investment. They are likely where I’m running ads. They are where I spend the most time. I also like to have to secondary networks. These are primarily scheduled. I’ll check in on them a couple times a week. Don’t worry too much about being in these places daily.

Now, everything else, all the other networks, I still have my username reserved on, because I want to make sure that The Stacey Harris is me. If anybody goes to whatever.com, The Stacey Harris, I want to make sure they find me. So as much as I can, I make sure I go in and I reserve that name. And oftentime I’ll post a little note that says, “Hey, I’m not really here. I spend time mostly on,” whatever my primary networks are for me. Tends to be Instagram, Facebook. Those are my primaries.

So look at what your primary networks are in your annual, because we’re going to commit to that most likely for the year. Baring any changes that happens in social, which happens in social, right? So figure that out. So that’s all I’m looking at for my annual social media plans, because essentially, my social content is going to speak to what that content marketing pieces are. Okay?

Quarterly Social Media Marketing Strategy

Now, let’s get into our quarterly social media strategy. When we’re talking about a quarterly social media strategy, we’re looking at 90 days. Now, I go with pretty traditional quarters: January-March, April-June, July-September, and October-December, because I do my planning in Q4 for the year ahead. I tend to run on a pretty January to December kind of vibe. It’s what works best for me.

Now, you’re listen this in May, assuming you’re listening to it when it went live, so you may want to go June to July. You may want to go September to October. Whatever it is that works for you, pick that. Don’t feel like you have to wait until January for any of this to be relevant. That’s super-duper not true. Okay? So I want you to make sure that you are maximizing whatever time is right in front of you. If that’s starting now, it’s starting now. If that’s starting in the middle of the month, that’s great. There is no rule against starting on a Wednesday. Okay? Okay. I just had to get that little soapbox out.

So when I’m looking at quarterly, I look at the three-month period of time. I don’t care what your three months are. So for me, right now, we are in Q2, April, May, June. I’m right now looking ahead at July, August, September, because obviously Q2 is happening. That stuff is already done. So when I look at my Q3 stuff, I go back to that big calendar. What were the things that were coming up in these three months that I need to be aware of? Is there anything I need to get ahead of? Is there anything I need to prep for? Are there any big launches, affiliate or otherwise, that are happening that I want to make sure I get on my calendar? Right? Right.

So next I’m looking at what is the editorial content that we have scheduled for this period, because A, it might change now that I’m actually here, especially looking at … for me, I built out what this content was going to be in November-ish of 2017. We all know that a lot has happened since September of 2017. So now that it’s May of 2018, are there things we need to adjust? And I go in and I actually make those changes on the editorial calendar. I rarely delete. I rarely go, “I’m not doing this.” Now, if for some reason a change has gone to the point where I need to delete because it’s just no longer relevant, then I’ll do that. But more often than not, I just push it out to a further date.

Oftentimes when I go through to start doing my scheduling for the next year, I’ll find that January already has an epic ton of posts or podcast topic ideas put in it, because they’ve gotten shoved off. So I have something to work from. I’m not working from a blank sheet of paper, which is honestly huge for me. I’m not a huge fan of starting from nothing. So I like to work from a formula whenever possible.

So I’m going through and I’m looking at what needs to be replaced, what needs to be shifted, and I’m doing that. What I’m also doing is now I’m also outlining what content is actually going to go in that. Now, I’m not producing it yet, because again, for me, there may be changes. If I were in a more static industry, I might. If I was open to taking on that kind of massive bashing, it’s totally up to you. For me, social media changes so much, prepping content three months at a time is just too much, so I go monthly. And we’ll talk about that next.

But I do start outlining what the content’s going to be, so I’m actually saying sort of like, “Here are the three bullet points.” So when I bullet-pointed this episode in probably February, I actually bullet-pointed out, “We’re going to talk about annual, we’re going to talk about quarterly, and we’re going to talk about monthly.” And then I sort of put in here some of the things I’m telling you about now so that when I sat down to record this, I was ready to go. Again, we’ll talk about that when we get to monthly, but I want to put as much structure ahead of when I’m in production as possible. So I don’t script. It’s not what works for me. If you’re somebody who prefers to scripts, I still suggest putting that closer to your actual production time, ’cause again, things may change.

Unless you’re in a really sedentary network or it’s going to be one of your really foundational pieces of content. I could have scripted this one, because this likely wasn’t going to change, ’cause we’re not talking about any network specifics here. I’m not talking about you have to go live every Tuesday at 4:00 PM. What I am talking about here is pretty high-level big picture stuff. It’s not really going to change a ton. So I could have actually scripted this.

Again, it depends on what kind of content you create, how far down you want to go. It also depends on how you best produce content, how far out you want to go. So figure that for yourself. Cool?

Also in quarterly, I start looking at my social media categories. So promo. If I have sales messages, I do bulk prep those in advance as much as humanly possible. And I mean create Canva Graphics, put where they need to go, scheduling them, making sure that the queues in my scheduler, which is where my Evergreen content is, are up to date, are ready to go, and are targeting the message. We’re looking at targeting in that upcoming month. So I’m getting that foundational content as done as I can.

Now, I’m not creating social media updates to support my content yet, because I’m going to use my transcript to create those, because I’m lazy. If I don’t have to write something, I’m not going to write it. So I’m just doing the foundational stuff that is not necessarily related to my content, so sales messages, guest appearances. I’m also marking out where I need to make sure I highlight something when I go to create content later. Again, affiliate opportunities, my launches, events, speaking engagements, workshops I’m hosting, any of that stuff. So figure that stuff out for you. And again, I do all of that quarterly, and I start getting really specific.

I’m also being really aware during this time of what my goals are, because now I’m looking at really intently, what’s the focus for this 90 days? Now, for the year, maybe my goal is to get more members in Backstage. And usually I have a firm … Not usually. I always have a firm number attached to that. So for the sake of our purposes, let’s say I want to get 100 new members in a month. That’s going to be 1,200 a year. So I want to get 1,200 new members in Backstage, which would be amazing. Not anything I’ve done before, but let’s say it would be amazing. So let’s say that’s my goal, is 1,200 new members for the year. So I could break that down into quarterly and monthly goals, so that’s 100 a month. So now when I’m looking at my tight goal, I’m looking at 300 members this quarter. Great.

Do my marketing messages that I’ve create support that? Does my content that I currently have outlined support that? So I’m comparing all of this to the end result I want. I’m always working from the end result. All right. Does that make sense? I know you can’t respond to me. I’m prerecording this. But I want you to nod your head now. Okay.

Finally, and I know this is getting a little bit long, so I’m going to keep you with me here. Monthly.

Monthly Social Media Marketing Strategy

This is where the bulk of the work really happens because this is where I’m recording podcasts, this is where I am finalizing guess reach-out. This is where I am creating social content. This is where I am actually making sure … You know what? This is clich√© time. It’s where the rubber hits the road. It’s where stuff actually happens, because I don’t want to be daily having to produce this stuff, because that keeps me from being able to engage, which is my priority, ’cause that’s where community end results really happen, is when you treat people like people.

So this is where I’m going in and I’m making sure that as much as I can have prepped is prepped. So one of the things I’m doing monthly right now is setting up the broadcast for the show reminders for Hit the Mic TV Live. Bettie Bot sends out a reminder to everybody who signed up asking for reminders through Facebook Messenger. So I have all of those created for the month with my little blurb, “Hey, join me live. Don’t miss it. We’re going to be talking about,” whatever the topic is. “Hey, join me live. Today we’ve got Kyle Wright on the show. It’s going to be a great one.”

So all that’s missing is the actual link for the show, which I can’t get until I schedule the show. So I want to make sure that I have it ready but it’s not actually scheduled. But again, I want to have as much ready as I can, so I prep those. I’m also prepping the actual content by actually recording based on those outlines I created in the quarterly. So I’m going in. All those podcasts are recorded, and they get transcript created. I use Rev, R-E-V.com for my transcripts. When I get those, they actually get turned into the blog post content for the podcast, as you’ve seen if you’ve ever gone to the website.

I actually pull those out for social media posts. So again, I’m not reinventing the wheel here. I’m using the words I already said in this podcast to create all the other things. And now that I’m at my monthly space, all that stuff starts happening.

I also go through my calendar and I schedule my engagement time. The reason I do this monthly and not on a larger scale is because the time of day for me can really adjusted by what kind of projects I have going on. Now, I do have client-specific days, so Tuesday are when we do our band calls for Backstage Amplifier Mastermind. That tends to be when I do my calls for strategy clients. I try to keep it to Tuesday. Sometimes it leaks onto Wednesday, but that’s kind of when I’m in my client space. Thursday I try to be really content focused as much as I can, and Friday I try to be really education focused. Mondays are my sort of marketing day. I’m prepping larger Facebook ads, marketing strategies, funnel reviews, BotFunnels, all of those things.

But sort of what’s inside of those days is going to adjust month to month, week to week, really. So at the month level, that’s where I’m going and I’m putting on my calendar actual engagement times, so post-Instagram Stories. And in many cases, as I’ve gotten more invested in Instagram Stories and gotten more engagement, I’m actually now mapping out Instagram Editorial Calendars. So I actually have sort of not just on my calendar, “Hey, do an Instagram Story,” but what that Instagram Story’s going to be about. And again, sometimes that changes, because I just get super excited to talk about something. But oftentimes that’s just an extension of the editorial calendar I’m working from.

So do you see how all of it’s kind of tying together? So again, monthly for me is really where we get into production. It’s really where we get into, “This is what I’m doing. This is done. This is when I’m doing this. This is done. And executing.” Does that make sense? I hope it does. If it doesn’t, join us in Backstage and ask me questions, because this is the exact kind of conversation I want to be having with you in Backstage.

If you haven’t joined us Backstage yet, you can right now for just a buck. There’s the $1 7 day trial. It’s still up at hitthemicbackstage.com. I highly recommend you taking advantage of it, because in June we’re working Thursday the Rock Star Guide to Instagram Live, so we’ll have live calls every week. I’m really excited about this.

I hope you have a better idea now of kind of where this strategy stuff maps out. Again, you’ll notice it really just sort of got more and more specific. Annual, big picture. What we’re doing every year is just big picture stuff. Quarterly, we’re getting more prepped. Monthly, rubber hits the road. We’re in execution, we’re in production. All right? So kind of think about it that way. As we get closer to delivery, it gets more specific.

Again, any questions, hitthemicbackstage.com is the place to go. I will see you on Thursday for our very first guest of Hit the Mic TV Live. I’m so excited. I’ll talk to you guys later. Bye.

Thanks for joining us for another episode of Hit the Mic with The Stacey Harris. Want to keep the show going? Join us Backstage. Join us at hitthemicbackstage.com right now for just one dollar, and get access to everything you need to know to make your social media rock.

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