Social Media Content Calendar

I got a new trick I’ve started with my social media clients that I wanted to tell you about today.  It’s pretty simple: create a social media content calendar.

What is a social media content calendar, you ask?  Great question.

A social media content calendar is what I and my clients use to know what they’re posting that day to their various social media networks.  This helps you be prepared so that you don’t have to create a post on the fly that day.

This also helps you to tackle your social media content for the week all in one day.  One of the biggest complaints I hear from people is they don’t have time for social media.  I understand that completely.  This helps with the time factor because you already know what you’re going to post, to what network and when you’re going to post.

Let’s talk about how you create this social media content calendar.

The first thing you’re going to need is a template in Excel or Numbers.  I did a Google search for “calendar template” and downloaded that to get started.

Now that you have the calendar template setup in Excel or Numbers, open it up and find the month you want to work on.  I create shortcuts for each social media platform I’m working with.  For instance, “T” is for Twitter, “FB” is for Facebook, “IG” is for Instagram etc.  You get the picture.

Put down what you’re going to post that day to that platform in the grid.  It’s really that simple.  Once you do this for the full month, just start posting to that particular social media platform.

Let me give you one caveat: my social media content calendars are always fluid.  These are great guides.  However, if I need to insert something to that day, I just move that days post or cancel all together.

A social media content calendar has become standard in my social media toolkit.  Try it for a month, and see if it doesn’t help you manage all your social media platforms.

Creating a Great Stage Design, Part One

Paint CanIt was supposed to be an awesome stage set complementing our camp theme, “Under Construction.”  Aesthetically, it looked great!  Practically, it was an absolute nightmare!  The set depicted a wall of a house undergoing construction.  There were exposed wall studs, a few hanging wires, unfinished sheetrock, etc.  This part was easily portable.  The problem came when I thought it would be a grand idea to stack empty paint cans (at least 50 of them) on the sides of the wall to add a little “extra” to the set.  Our camp was going to be smaller than we had anticipated, so in order to create a more intimate environment our set was on the floor and not elevated on a stage.  We needed this same floor space for other activities; thus, several times each day my staff had to move the set.  Moving the set included unstacking and restacking every single paint can.  Every.  Single.  Paint.  Can.  What was supposed to be a great design turned into a programming disaster!

Recently I spoke with Jordon Rudesill, Director of Service Programming at The Journey Church in Murray, KY.  The Journey holds its weekly services on the campus of Murray State University, meaning the stage set has to be set up and taken down each week.  Here are four of eight key points I learned from Jordon on creating a great stage design.

  1. Adapt your design to the audience you will be reaching.  Kids love elaborate stage designs, such as the ones often seen during VBS.  Most adults don’t need a set like this to stay engaged.   Know your audience.
  2. Create something to enhance the service but not take away from the speaker and message.  If your set is a distraction to your group, you have not designed your stage well.  Sometimes simple is better.
  3. Make your stage lightweight.   Ask yourself, “Will those setting up and tearing down be able to easily lift the set?  How is this going to fit together on stage?  How will we store this?  How will we transport this?”
  4. Don’t allow your stage design to break your event budget.  Sometimes being restricted by money makes you become even more creative!  You can often find materials to “recycle” for use in your set.

Stay tuned for part two of this blog post where I will share the last four points I learned from Jordon, including great online resources for design ideas, recommendations for construction materials and more!

Don’t Forget To Plan Time

I had a boss one time who called a two o’clock meeting every Monday that she was routinely late for.  Sometimes we would start the meeting without her.  But whenever she arrived, we always had to start over.  It got so bad that people who didn’t work directly for her, started skipping the meeting.  It became a drain on everyone’s day.

Her tardiness told us our time was not very valuable to her.

My wife is the exact opposite.  She’s early to meetings, and if we’re going on a trip, she’s packing a week out.  She’s very meticulous in her planning.

What does this have to do with event planning?  Great question.  It’s certainly a life lesson, but to me it’s even bigger than that.

There is no doubt your time is important.  You’re being pulled in all different directions in planning for your event.  Your to-do list is a mile long.  One more call to make or email to send.

There is also no doubt your team’s time is important.  You’ve assigned them duties, and they now have to complete their assignments.  When you have meetings with them, keep them as brief as possible.  One great idea is to have a daily standup meeting to go over all planning details.  Why standup?  Cause it will be quick and then everybody is back to their assignments.

Another area to keep your time and deadlines in mind is when meeting with outside vendors.  These people can pull off miracles, but it’s certainly not the norm.  Always remember that old adage “An emergency on your part, does not constitute one on mine.”

Plan, and then plan some more.  And if possible add in flex time.  If it gets done sooner than you planned, the event will be that much better.