How to Create your 2019 Content Calendar (Plus a Free Template!)

Here at Saffire, our content calendar is our best friend! In fact, we just completed mapping out our calendar for the whole year. Whew! A content calendar is a plan, either for a few months or an entire year, of what you’re going to publish and where you’re going to publish it to further your organization’s goals. It is a complete roadmap of your outbound marketing efforts.

 

It took lots of time and planning to build our calendar, but we knew it would be worth it. Why? Because content calendars are the best possible tool to keep you organized all year long!

 

Most importantly, creating a content calendar forces you to put thought and creativity into your content instead of throwing it together at the last moment. (We’ve all been there!)

 

Imagine that you work at a festival known for its spectacular corndogs. Little did you know, today is National Corndog Day. You go on Facebook to see hundreds of festivals around the country posting their photos for #NationalCorndogDay. You search through your photo library but don’t see any great corndog photos available to post.

 

Instead, you miss out on the chance to gain some buzz and create some free promotion for you and your vendors.

 

A content calendar can help you make sure that you always have the perfect post for moments like this. Plus, you’ll never miss another National Corndog Day again.

 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, we’ve got you covered! Here are a few tips for getting started!

 

 

  1. 1. Identify your content

Before you start mapping out your content calendar, begin making a list of the topics you should cover. Start by asking yourself a few questions:

 

 

Who are your audiences and what do they want to see? Your audiences can include groups like: current and past customers, potential customers, vendors, board members, staff, etc. We recommend choosing 2 or 3 groups and creating content designed to keep them engaged.

 

 

What important dates, milestones or promotions does your organization have coming up this year? Ticket sales, box office times and promotion dates are obvious inclusions on your content calendar, but what about other interesting milestones? Anniversaries and holidays can make for lighthearted and engaging content! Make sure to check the National Day Calendar for other social media holidays related to your business. You can find it at www.nationaldaycalendar.com.

 

What kinds of assets do you have available? Who and what do you have available to help create unique content? Maybe you have a full creative team or maybe you’re using a simpler editing tool like Canva. Maybe you have a photographer or maybe you use Shutterstock. What about a videographer or even just partners that can contribute to your blog? Either way, take note of all people and tools available. This will determine what types of content you can post throughout the year.

 

  1. Decide when and where to publish

 

As little as a decade ago, there were only a few options for publishing. Today, however, there are dozens of options at our fingertips! Take a moment to take inventory of all the channels that your organization offers, and decide which content is best to post where. We bet that your organization already utilizes some of these channels: social media pages (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc.…), video sharing sites like YouTube or Vimeo, newsletters, e-blasts, an online blog, your website and advertisements.

Next, decide how often to post. You could try to publish a new blog every day, but if you don’t have the resources necessary that could get tricky.  Be realistic about what you and your teammates can handle. Then be consistent.

 

  1. Create your calendar

 

There are many different ways to create your perfect content calendar! Here at Saffire, we recommend using a good ol’ spreadsheet. You can find our downloadable template at www.Saffire.com/Calendar.

Make sure to include important information like: date, post type, author, prize winners, publication channels etc. We love keeping ours in an organized Google Sheet that can be updated by all of our marketing teammates.

Once you have it perfected, get posting!

 

Remember, the best thing about your content calendar is that it’s flexible! See what works best for you and your team then add or remove things as you go! Once you get it perfected, we bet your content calendar will be your best friend too! You don’t have to reinvent the wheel every year. Next year, edit the template you create this year. You’ll be surprised at how much easier it is to manage your marketing presence!

 

This article previously appeared in IFEA’s ie Magazine.

4 Top Social Media Trends For 2019

It’s almost 2019, and (along with some fun surprises from Saffire!) that means a whole new year to connect with your friends on social media. Social media is constantly changing, but new features and ways to engage with your followers make it an exciting time to connect.

Here are our top social media trends to try next year.

  1. Use Stories

2018 was the year of the “story,” and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. This year, the feature blew-up on Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, and is even being integrated on YouTube and LinkedIn. Gone are the days when posts were seen as highlights of the past. In 2019, it is all about in-the-moment content. With some 400 million daily Instagram Story users, it is clear that audiences expect to have a more intimate relationship with brands than ever before. This is especially true for Millennial and Gen-Z consumers, who rate authentic relationships and FOMO as key influences for engagement and brand loyalty. For brands, this means constantly keeping fans involved – and stories are a great way to get started.

  1. Try Marketing Through Messaging

Rumor has it that the internet has not slept since it was born in 1983. Nowadays, consumers are constantly on the go with their devices in hand. People have come to expect almost instant responses when sending comments and private messages online. Because of this, organizations are learning that they must keep up with the demand from their customers. Facebook has also been adding new features to its Messenger app and rewarding business pages for maintaining high message response rates. It is clear that the social media giant sees messaging as a key tool in 2019, and Facebook isn’t the only one who feels that way. Studies show that more than 1.5 billion people use WhatsApp and other messaging apps each month.

3.Engage with Micro-Influencers

Anyone with an Instagram page knows that influencers have quickly become this generation’s celebrities. While working with powerful well-known influencers can get you big results, it can also be costly. That’s why many brands are now choosing to work with smaller social media users called “micro-influencers.” While they may not be celebrities, studies show micro-influencers still have great influence over their audiences – think of it as word-of-mouth marketing for the internet age. They key is to find relevant and trustworthy accounts to partner with. The best part? Unlike celebrity influencers like Kim Kardashian, who are known to charge up to $500,000 a post, 83% of micro-influences charge under $250. Try searching for accounts using hashtags related to your organization. Keep a lookout for profiles with high engagement and eye-catching posts.

4.Set up Shoppable Posts

Every marketer has been faced with the question – “how will social media directly contribute to the bottom line?” In 2018, Facebook and Instagram finally answered our question with shoppable posts, allowing users to buy their favorite products without ever leaving the app. Shoppable posts on Instagram and Catalogs on Facebook are a great way to help customers discover and purchase your merch. The key, however, is to remember to distinguish your post from other e-commerce by keeping it fun and interactive. It is still social media, after all.

 

Social media is all about creating a stronger relationship with your customers. In 2019 remember to build genuine relationships, put your customers first and have fun! That’s the magic recipe to a successful and profitable year on social!

How to Use Facebook’s Magic 3D Photo Feature

The world’s most used social media app added a brand new feature! It’s called 3D Photo, and it does exactly what it sounds like it does – well, kind of. The new feature adds distance between the foreground and background of a photo, making it look “3D.” Or, as Facebook puts it, like you’re looking at something “through a window.”

When you view a 3D photo, you can scroll or tilt your device to make the foreground of the image look like it’s moving in space. Facebook says the feature is “a new way to share your memories and moments in time with a fun, lifelike dimension.” The bad news? It’s only available on iPhones 7+ and up.

Here’s how to use it:

  1. Take a photo using portrait mode on your iPhone.
  1. Open your Facebook app.
  1. Search for and like the Facebook 360
    This is the secret trick! Facebook has given a few select people automatic access to the feature. For most people though, liking this page is the key to unlocking the 3D photo option in the app.
  1. Close and reopen the app.
  1. Create a new post. You should now be able to see the “3D Photo” option in the list of features to add to your post. Click it. A list of available photos should pop up.
  1. Select your photo and wa-lah! Your 3D photo should now be available to post.

We see this feature adding all kinds of fun to our timelines! Photos with backgrounds that pop (we’re looking at YOU fairs, festivals and destinations!) come to life with 3D effects. For some eye-catching options, have a staff member ride your Ferris wheel with midway lights blinking in the background. If you live in a destination with water, waves crashing to the beach in the background is sure to be a pleaser!

Have fun! We can’t wait to see what you create.

Analytics Don’t Have to be Scary: What to Measure for Social Media

So, you’ve got great graphics, interesting content and even some fun videos, but your posts aren’t performing as well as you expected. What gives, and where do you go from here?

Analytics can be scary for beginners. With so many numbers and terms, how do you know what’s important? Using analytics to drive better social media performance can take some time to get right, but when you do, it can make a huge difference!

The most important thing to remember is that, just like the rest of your marketing strategies, everything you do on social media should tie back to your company’s audiences and goals. Take some time to figure out just what it is that you want from your social media pages – is it brand recognition, sales or maybe to provide important information to customers? Then, you can use analytics to assess how close you are to meeting your goals.

Audience

Audience size does matter, and often it’s the first thing that people see when they click on your profile. While there is much more to social media than your follower count, having a sizeable and targeted audience is the easiest way to make sure your posts are reaching the right the people. Although it might seem easier to quickly build your audience through family, friends or other filler accounts, your goal should always be to shoot for quality and not just quantity. That means gaining followers that are likely to appreciate and engage with your content, and ultimately support your business both on and offline.

When investing in a high-quality audience, look for analytics that tell more of the story than just follower count. Who are your followers? Facebook Insights, Instagram Insights and Twitter Analytics all allow you to view simple demographics for your followers. Check out your demographics tab to make sure your followers are in line with your company or event’s preferred audiences. If not, try running targeted ads, using growth tactics to target specific groups, or even switching up your content strategy to attract the right people.

Post Reach

When it comes to social media, “reach” refers to the number of people who viewed your post. It used to be a sure thing when you posted something that your followers would see it. Now, thanks to tricky algorithms, it isn’t quite that simple! Watch your reach to see how many people are paying attention to your content. On popular sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, reach typically works like a snowball effect. The more people that view, like and positively engage with your post, the more people your post will reach. More people reached can mean more followers and ultimately more customers!

Engagement

If you take a photo and nobody likes it, was it ever really posted?  Likes, reactions, comments, clicks, shares, ect… all count as engagement. High engagement is a sign that your audience feels connected with your content. It can be hard to predict which posts will get the most engagement or even “go viral,” but by looking at previous patterns of success, you can get a better idea of what your audience is interested in. Which kinds of posts are your followers most likely to engage with? What text did you use? What kind of content did you feature? See if you can link periods of high engagement and growth to specific posts or events. You can also calculate your engagement rate or percentage to get a better idea of which posts are doing best. Use this knowledge in the future to help build a more successful content strategy.