Social media teams live in a unique and evolving position within media organizations. Their employees must maintain daily coordination with every department–content, sales, marketing and public relations. As the public voice of the company, an understated challenge is keeping a variety of departments content with the programming on each platform.
Every talent manager believes everything that their client does is of the utmost importance and must be featured. Every account executive believes their sales campaign is the most innovative and deserves the most promotion. Every producer believes their show is the most worthy of aggressive marketing. Everybody trying to develop a new business relationship is looking for a shout-out that will help push discussions over the top. The list of requests only grows as companies expand and stakeholders diversify.
There is nothing wrong with employees having passion or confidence in their individual projects, but unfortunately, there are only so many posts available in a given day. This becomes a larger challenge when you are striving to develop a consistent brand style and tone. You cannot be everything at once. The more streams of content trying to be jammed into a single funnel, the more convoluted a brand image becomes.
How can a social media team effectively create a programming calendar while keeping the most people within a company satisfied?
It is impossible to please everyone
First, accept the reality that it is impossible to please everyone. Once you unburden yourself and your team of this expectation, it makes it easier and more efficient to make decisions.
In accordance with this, do not allow too many cooks in the kitchen. There needs to be an individual or a small group of people who have final call of what and when something goes live across any platform. Social media moves fast. There is no time for a congressional hearing on each post.
At Whistle Sports Network, our social media programming manager maintains all of our platform calendars. If a request does not come through him and get sign off from the rest of our team, it does not go live.
Set a defined strategy for each social platform
Second, have a clearly set strategy for each platform that is regularly articulated to each team throughout your company. Everybody should have an understanding of how each platform is utilized for your brand, if they have this, there should be less difficult conversations.
Create and distribute calendars for each platform that clearly shows available inventory and sets expectations for what is on the way in the coming weeks. This will show sales what space can be placed on the market and an acceptable ratio of branded content overall for your platforms. The calendar will also create internal deadlines and expectations for when content needs to be delivered by.
With the understanding that real-time events can cause pivots in strategy and posting priority, Whistle Sports lays out upcoming posts across YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat at least two to four weeks in advance.
Despite this, it is important to consistently monitor your pre-scheduled posts to avoid content that unintentionally makes you look insensitive or out of touch. Brands like Live Nation, Epicurious and The Gap unfortunately had to learn this the hard way.
Every quarter, we also reassess the prioritization of our platforms and how we will drive on them, and then socialize the strategy to all necessary parties.
Create a consistent brand statement and mission
Finally, it is important to work with the leadership team on articulating a consistent brand statement and mission that the entire company understands. Your platforms should be a representation of that statement and mission, allowing pieces of content that are illogical fits to easily fall by the wayside.
Make sure your brand has a clear personality and tone. Taco Bell has perfected this strategy with its fan-centric consistency and innovative posting. Southwest Airlines has enhanced its credibility by being highly responsive to its customers.
Programming social platforms is often an imperfect and evolving process, but with clear communication and a well-articulated strategy, many potential headaches can be avoided.
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