I don't know about you but whenever I sit down to plan out a project it's always easier for me to print one out and mark it up (write on it, highlight it, cross things out).
When making the decision to take my freelance online marketing career one step further and create a company that will be able to help every small business achieve the same online marketing results that the "big boys" can pay for, I knew having a strict schedule was very important. Now I wasn't just executing work for clients but also recruiting top community managers, developing systems for our team to follow, creating company manuals and standards, designing the work atmosphere, running payroll, working with web designers and merchant processers for our website, and the list goes on. As I was playing all these rolls, before I could start to duplicate and replace myself for certain positions, I needed to use design a system, and stick to it.
The most important part of my schedule was going to be each client's social media editorial calendar. Becuase if we were extremely organized and everything was running smoothly, all our reporting and documenting was taken care of on a daily basis, but our client work wasn't as magical as promised, well then we would lose clients and a take a step away from our company vision. We were not about to let that happen.
The first thing we do is take a look at each client's plan that we developed and made a monthly social media editorial calendar for their marketing. We schedule social media posts at certain days and times to market the company according to their customer base. Any social post that was put up was going to emotionally speak to their audience.
Then we take any promotion, event, company milestone and new features, new product development and schedule these out over the month as well.
So what we have done so far is scheduled out social media posts for the major marketing campaigns for the company.
Then next part is on a daily basis to keep the profiles and accounts active, non robotic, and current.
We made a general social media schedule for each profile, for each client, so that we could keep everything consistent. So, for example, if every thursday we would write a new product feature for a client - people knew to check on thursdays for this information. We would set up google alerts for the top news that client is interested in - again staying inline with their marketing plan. Also added rss feeds to google reader to watch influencial people within the industry and build relationships with those people.
The last part of the schedule was to create certain times to monitor each clients presence and engage with fans, followers, critics etc. 3-4 times a day we check these so every comment is responded to quickly.
Hootsuite has a great dashboard for monitoring conversations, searching conversations, setting up streams of conversations and topics you want to follow, scheduling out monthly and daily activity, and much more.
The last thing I want to touch on is ways to keep your social media editorial calendar and your other business calendars, projects, and tasks in order and consistent.
You are going to want specific times to do scheduling - adding tasks for the next day, implementing a new idea, marking off what you have completed, adding a project, finishing a project, and more.
You are also going to want time to do some personal thinking. It is always a good idea to have an hour just to write down thoughts, strategies, important occurances that took place. Just write and capture ideas and thoughts - You will be amazing at the passion this sparks within you. Just make sure you do it everyday.
Everyday write down everything thing that you do throughout the day. Everything! Do this with great discipline for a month. Next to each thing that you do categorize them into different roles at your business. This way you will begin to see how much time you are focusing on being a manager, a hands on worker, an entrepreneur and visionary. Then you can begin setting certain times a day to focus on each section. These are practices I have learned from reading a few books by Michael Gerber (one of my favorite authors).
A few things to assit you in this scheduling process.
Omnifocus - Great tool, follows Getting Things Done practices and keeps you very organized - one of my personal favorites. Also syncs with all your devices if you like your scheduling and projects electronically.
Franklin Covey - Another great tool that follows some great organizational and productivity practices.
Google drive - has calander, tasks, documents, and more build in to make everything easy.