Let me guess. You’re a 20-30 something and you have a brilliant idea. Something that would take the world by storm. It might be a business, a product idea, or maybe you’ve got a skill that people are dying to learn. You might even be a person who just wants to get themselves out there in a way that impacts those around them.
You’re off to a great start if you already have the idea in place. That’s the hardest part - being able to create something original. You’ve probably started writing about it, or drawing it out - mapping out tasks and goals to get it completed.
Or you might be stuck at a point where you’re telling people close to you about the idea, but you can’t quite figure out how to get it into the world.
No worries. I was there once. We all were. Shit, even Steve Jobs was (well...I’m not entirely sure, but probably).
You’ve probably told your significant other, your mother, and your friends. They have all probably gawked at the idea of their person creating something incredible. Good! They should be doing that. If they aren’t, find some new peeps.
Buuuuuuut.. your mother isn’t going to get you thousands of dollars in sales. And your significant other isn’t going to go out and tell the right people of this world to listen to what you have to say. You have to develop this yourself. Lucky for you (and me), we live in a world that is digitally connected in a way like never before.
Want to know the best thing? It’s a fairly well-kept secret. People don’t even realize that Digital Media - especially within the social realm - is the strongest marketing funnel we have today.
When I tell people I work in Social Media Advertising, most people either:
- Don’t know what that means
- Think it’s a fake job
- Are very impressed and want to know how I get paid to “play on Facebook all day”
All fair points. Some I take more seriously than others, but I digress.
Don’t be fooled - being a part of today’s best kept secret has its advantages. It means you get to try new things, find out what works, be the first to succeed, and market yourself in a way that previous generations haven’t experienced. It gives you a sense of “freshness” that your competition (the guy down the street doing the exact same thing, but by hanging up flyers around the neighborhood) is lacking.
If you’re a reader who already has an idea/business/product/service and you’re hesitant to get serious about your social media marketing, I will tell you that you are making a mistake. Flat out. You have an opportunity at the tips of your fingers that you are wasting. You don’t have to spend thousands on advertising! You just have to be smart about your plans and savvy with your advertising. You have to take it in a direction that you’ve never gone before.
Let me break it down for you by showing you how I developed a social media workflow that has boosted my digital presence, allowed me to focus on different area’s of my business, and streamlined the way I work daily.
I created Rock Your Creative Life after years of trial and error with blogging and social media. I went in with no advertising experience, and no educational background in Marketing or Social Media.
I am living proof that you can teach yourself shit and make it work.
My first blog was called “Dresses Before Dinner”. My goal was to post pictures of my outfits in an attempt to trick people into thinking I was a trendy fashion blogger. I had a Canon Rebel T3i and would set up my tripod in the backyard and take photo after photo of my outfits that summer, and then posting them on my blog and linking them back to websites that I had purchased from. I was simply mimicking what I had seen other bloggers do. I had no rhyme or reason for when I posted, the way my content looked, or the words I chose. I was just wingin’ it.
As time went on, I morphed Dresses Before Dinner into Peace & Blessings - which featured more writing and less fashion. I’ll admit that I love fashion and my many styles that I sport on the regular, but writing is my passion. Throw that into my passion for education and I had myself a nice little lifestyle blog.
This is around the time that I started thinking about my strategy and brand. I had been following a handful of bloggers, and had joined a network of college women who were all trying to find their niche, voice, and style in the blogasphere. The network is what really pushed me to organize my digital brand.
People were making careers around their online presence, and I wanted in. I specifically remember summer of 2014, a time in which I decided to make blogging my full time summer job. I gave myself a 9-5 schedule, starting planning out some major and minor goals, and started working closely with other online brands. At this time I was living with someone who was a remote worker, so I owe a lot of this to them. They handled all of the tech information while I focused on content creation and networking.
A few of my accomplishments in those summer months were:
- Being sponsored by a handful of companies.
- Running my first giveaway on my blog.
- Creating a media kit and a newsletter for my blog
- Having one of my blog posts go viral on Pinterest (you can see it here)
Fast forward about 2 more years, and we now have Rock Your Creative Life, a branch off of Peace & Blessings (you can still get to PB here. Although, I do not update it nearly enough).
When I started creating RYCL, I wanted to transition from a blog to a brand. I wanted to have a writing component within RYCL, but the primary interaction needed to be products, services and community. That required me to relearn most of what I knew about the digital writing world. I wasn’t just writing content and posting it to a website anymore. I wanted to interact with people on an entirely new level.
I wanted to go from blogger to creator.
I started this process inside of an Ingles grocery store cafe (if you aren’t from the southern US, it’s similar to a King Soopers, Lowe’s, Wegmans, or a Weis). I had a laptop, my bullet journal, and a conference call with my previous partner. I spent the next hour or so writing down everything, and talking through what I wanted to do with the new idea I had. I’m pretty sure the employee’s thought I was a psycho, because anytime I wanted to work on RYCL I would go back to that Ingles and work for hours.
You don’t need an office to bring an idea to life. That was 100% passion.
A large part of my conversations about RYCL were relating to processes. My roommate at the time worked for Zapier, an automation start up that I would use time and time again. Through Zapier I also discovered Teachable, a brand that allows you to create and sell online courses to anyone with access to the internet.
To test it out, I took a novel writing course. Loved it, wanted to do it myself, so I did (you can take my first FREE course right here)
On August 1, 2016, Rock Your Creative Life sprouted into digital existence and I was pumped. I had spent two months branding, designing a newsletter, writing content, and designing packages.
Something I neglected though, was a social media workflow.
Now, this wasn’t a terrible mistake, because naturally I found myself on social media during the launch. I was excited about my creation, so I turned to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to publicize that. What was missing, though, was a strategic plan.
I didn’t notice the neglect until I started working full time in the Social Media industry. Not just through creating my own packages that clients book through RYCL, but within my 9-5 job today. Having a natural presence online was a drawback because it resulted in me putting of a social media workflow for so long.
This stage is like the “brain dump” page in a notebook. Messy, hard to understand, but eventually creates something great. I always start with brainstorming - whether it’s a project, a brand, or a new month. The goal here is to get everything on paper (or onto a computer, although I really detest this method). I learned about mind maps in a Special Education course at Western Carolina University, and have used it for the majority of my brainstorming since. I start organizing my thoughts here, usually in a two page spread. Once the messiness is onto one page, I’ll organize it into categories on the page beside it.
This is the longest process since I’ve adapted slow blogging and pillar content. I used to crank out 3-5 posts a week on Peace & Blessings, now I’m lucky if I get two blog posts published a month. I’d like to bump this up to three posts a month, but with the schedule I’m on right now, it’s nearly impossible. Within this large task is a smaller process.
First, I create a Google Document with a page for each blog post I want to publish for the month. If I’m unsure about what will go up that month, I’ll choose three from a running list that I have in my bullet journal.
Then, I’ll quickly map out the main points I want to make. It looks a little something like this:
After that, I’ll design any content upgrades I want to include in the blog post. I usually do this with Canva or Google Slides (spoiler alert, there’s a free content upgrade at the end of this blog post. You’re welcome).
Finally, I’ll start writing the content, not really editing as I go. I like to get the thoughts down completely, and then go in to revise and edit. If I sat down and did all of these mini steps without stopping, it would probably take me an entire 9-5 day to write one blog post.
Content isn’t always a blog post, though. I also broadcast on Facebook, Periscope, and post on Instagram. I’ll spend time outlining the broadcasts, and taking the occasional Insta.
Scheduling - Monthly
Now the fun part - or the part that most resembles what I do at my actual job. Mapping out when my content goes live, when I have events (like a Facebook live broadcast), and finding niche content that I can promote along with my own.
Just a quick tip - if you are a brand or a blogger and you aren’t sharing/retweeting/pinning awesome content from your peers, you are doing it WRONG.
About 5-7 days before a new month, I print out a blank calendar. I personally like to write everything, but if you prefer a digital method, just use Google Calendar. I’m also a psycho who enjoys color coding things, so I break out all of my pens that I use for Bullet Journaling.
I try to follow the 80/20 rule. 80 percent of the time you are sharing other people's content, 20 percent of the time you are sharing your own.
I also split my month into halves and use one half to post quotes, questions, personal stories, and polls on twitter.
Because of my brand type, the main social media platforms I focus on are Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Honestly, Twitter is a passive social media source that I rarely pay attention to, but my scheduled tweets do bring me a lot of followers, so I keep it around.
Some basic goals for my social media are:
- Scheduling one tweet a day
- Scheduling one post to my Facebook page a day
- Interacting on my Facebook group at LEAST once a week
- Getting into Facebook live.
As a creator, you should utilize the ability to post a live video. It’s going to explode in the next few years. We are visual creatures. Advertising is going to rely on this.
I color code my calendar by social platform. I also plug in my blog posts, and try to write down what I want to talk about in my Facebook group.
From here, I start scheduling one week at a time through Buffer
Scheduling - weekly
I still use the free Buffer plan, because I don’t have a need for the paid subscription yet. If you are unfamiliar with Buffer or Hootsuite, they are social media scheduling websites that help you plan your content and distribute it at specific times. It eliminates the constant pressure to be “online” at peak times.
Om Sunday’s, I’ll pull out my monthly calendar and plug in all of my social media posts onto my Buffer dashboard. This usually takes me about an hour - definitely worth it.
So, I’ve planned, created, and scheduled all of my content between all of my platforms. I can relax now, right?
NOPE - building your brand online is a 24 hour job, no matter how much scheduling you do. It’s impossible to completely automate social media because eventually your fans/clients/customers are going to want interaction. They’re going to want to know you’re actually there, talking/listening to them.
So, take 15-30 minutes of your day (more if you need to, and if you have the time to) and interact organically with your audience. That means tweeting AT them, responding to Facebook comments, pinning some pins on Pinterest, and exploring the hashtags on Instagram. Keep the idea of community in your mind during this time.
You want to humanize your brand through the daily interactions.
This social media workflow with probably change as my brand grows and morphs throughout the years. That’s okay - changing workflows is fine; NOT having them in the first place is the problem.
Trying to find your own social media workflow? Here are my quick tips:
1// Start with step one - brainstorm! Think about the platforms your audience are on. Who is your audience? Where do they hangout online? How do you want to engage them? What kind of content do you want to promote?
2// Write it all down. Or type it. Don’t keep it in your head or just assume that you will naturally follow this workflow. I wrote mine down in my bullet journal.
3// Scoop the free printable that comes with this blog post! You can download it below.
4// Feel free to pick my brain! Schedule a consultation call and we can chat about how to improve your social media - or just jump right in with a social media package.
Social media doesn’t have to be a hassle - utilize your resources and create a process that works for your business.