You absolutely need to create planned social media posts to achieve the goals you’ve set. After all, it is very difficult to stay fresh and consistent in your social media efforts if you don’t create and follow a planned editorial calendar.
Unfortunately, if you get too focused on following that calendar and accomplishing your business goals, your followers will notice. Your posts will all feel like advertisements to them, and they’ll forget why they followed you in the first place. Before you know it, your follower count plummets.
So, what do you do? How do you balance genuine, spontaneous, valuable posts with your planned marketing and outreach posts? There are several things you’ll want to keep in mind when you attempt to restructure your social media presence to remain structured and planned but also include a little more spontaneity.
Finding the Ideal Ratio
It’s possible to plan spontaneity. In this scenario, you want to plan how often you can afford to be spontaneous. The main goals of your social media strategy need to be taken into account above all else, making those posts the most prevalent and frequent content you share. The remainder should be off script (but appropriate and relevant) posts to keep your followers engaged.
Most social media marketing experts suggest that the ideal ratio is 80% planned and 20% spontaneous. This split will work well for the majority of companies, but yours may have different needs. If you’re posting for a B2B company that runs a notoriously tight ship, 90% planned and 10% spontaneous may be more fitting. If you’re a conversational brand that caters to a primarily millennial audience, you might see success with a 70% planned and 30% spontaneous strategy. Some companies use 50% and 50%. It all depends on your audience and what you’re trying to achieve with them.
Keeping Planned Posts Fresh
You likely use multiple social media channels to communicate with your audience. Most people in your audience also use multiple social media channels. If you’re posting the same exact thing on every platform, those people will see the same exact post three or four times that day. They’ll unfollow you on all but one platform to avoid this redundancy. You need to achieve balance not just between planned and spontaneous posts, but with all planned posts across all platforms.
It’s simple to avoid sharing the same things on different social networks. Simply utilize those networks for their specialties. Twitter is great for small blurbs or useful quotes pulled directly from blog content. Instagram is great for photos or short video content. Facebook allows for longer videos and easily interactable comments, so save your conversation sparking planned posts for that platform.
Keeping Spontaneous Posts Effective
Spontaneous posts don’t necessarily serve a purpose, but they have the potential to be wildly effective. Funny, relevant, and useful spontaneous posts have a tendency to be shared and interacted with far more than most planned posts, as long as spontaneous posts are approached correctly.
There are some things you’ll want to be cautious about when you’re utilizing spontaneous posts. Wendy’s, known for their unique brand of grating wit, got into trouble with spontaneous social media posts. Someone with access to their account created a version of a meme co-opted by an anti-Semitic group stylized to look like their logo. Because this post was spontaneous, no one had a chance to review or approve it before it was posted. The individual who made the post was unaware of the connotations behind the meme, and inadvertently upset a lot of people.
The individual making your spontaneous posts needs to be able to move quickly and precisely without upsetting anyone. Some jokes may be a step too far, and some statements relating to current events may translate as offensively opportunistic.
That’s why it’s best to hire someone who is reliably current with the news and highly socially aware to work on your social media team. Leave the spontaneous posts to someone who is more likely to be spot-on with their delivery, and let them create posts that people will want to share or interact with.
Keeping the Tone Uniform
Your spontaneous posts and your planned posts need to be in the same exact brand voice. The opinions, sentiments, and suggestions need to match. The values and missions need to stay the same. It won’t be effective in any form of balance to utilize snarky spontaneous posts in conjunction with very cold and professional planned posts.
You want the two to seamlessly blend. In keeping the voices the same, you’re making it harder for your audience to tell what was planned and what was spontaneous. That’s exactly what you want. Consistency translates as authenticity.
When to Shift the Balance
Don’t be so rigid in your ratio of spontaneous to planned posts that you wind up doing more harm than good. There may be times where a surplus of planned posts is necessary. A lot of businesses rely heavily on planned posts to get them through busy seasons, especially retail brands during the winter holidays. Utilizing too many spontaneous posts during time periods like those might derail your overall strategy and harm your sales.
On the other hand, there are times where it may be worthwhile to prioritize spontaneous posts above everything else. These posts may help people find you and become acquainted with your brand during a slow season, or after a major sales event has already ended. Using spontaneous posts to interact with people will help you amass a larger audience. The next time you have an important sales events, your planned posts will reach more people.
Variety is the spice of life. Be sure to incorporate an adequate amount of spontaneous posts to break up the monotony for your audience. It also helps to listen to them. If they love your spontaneous posts, let them become a larger part of your social media strategy.