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When I first came across the idea of batching social media, I first thought “I don’t have enough time!” because the idea of creating a week or a month’s worth at once just seemed unrealistic.  You’ve got to find images, quotes, create graphics, grab hashtags and then make captions for it all – it totally sucks the hell out of your time doing a few days’ worth, let alone a week or a month.

Then I read an article by Emily at My Adaptable Career about batching tasks around your blog.

Batching is a simple idea – instead of doing one or two of something, you do a big batch.  As someone said, you don’t make muffins one at a time but in a dozen or two in one go.  It saves time, electricity and effort.

The same can be applied to any blogging task but the one that resonated with me was the idea of batching social media.

Why batching social media appealed

In her post on the topic, Emily makes a great case for batching a lot of tasks that bloggers undertake including writing posts and email newsletters.  Because I write every day with being a content writer for a living, I don’t worry too much about batching my actual posts.  But the idea of batching other items did appeal.

Another contribution to the idea was part of the Instagrowth course I recently took to get a handle on Instagram.  In it, Zoe Linda advocates setting up a system of post types – she uses nine as an example – and then using them to create nine days or nine posts at a time depending on your posting frequency.  I decided on six days with the seventh being to promote my newest blog post and this was my first attempt at batching.

Setting up a system

I’m going to detail the system I have set up in a minute although it is still in fine tuning and I’m mostly doing a week at a time at the moment.  My aim is to do a month in one shot eventually but baby steps.

There is some research you might want to do before you start.  For example, you might want to include social media holidays as well as real holidays to your monthly plan – they are great fun, a good way to get involved with trends and can help fill up your calendar.  One of the most comprehensive lists I found about these was at TrackMaven.

You might also want to get together some good stock images to use and some images to use in graphics.  My favourite place is (affiliate link) Ivorymix and you can see the header I’ve created from one of Kayla’s beautiful images at the top of the page.

Creating your batches of social media posts

So, let’s get started and I’ll walk you through my infant system to help you get started on your own.

Create a list of post types

Before I started, I went to Pinterest and pinned a load of Pins about what to post on social media – there’s a link to that board below so you can see the originals.  From them, I made a list in my notepad of all the types of posts that people recommend using on social media.

Next, I went to Airtable and made a list of them then categorised them into what they were for me.  Examples include:

  • Blog – quick tip, mini lesson, topical news, mini listicles, statistic, infographics, ICYMI (old post reshare)
  • Personal – introduce yourself, where am I, ask a question, share a book, quotes, fun personal fact, hobby or passion, end of week celebrate, fill the blanks, share your story, what inspires, introduce your pets (got plenty of them!)
  • Promotional content – follow me, promote offer, brand values, show products, email list, before and after, tag a resource, tag a biz buddy, regular hashtags
  • Tech – favourite tool, share a free resource
  • Workspace – work area shots, behind the scenes

Print a chart for the month

Next, I created a very basic grid with 31 boxes to represent the month and on it, I can put down what type of content is going to be in each day.  You can grab a copy of it below to help you plan.

Add any social media holidays and real holidays

Once I have the chart, I add in any social media holidays and any real holidays that are relevant to the blog.  There’s a lot more of these for food bloggers (which is my other project) but I can always find a few.

Look at what types of content can fill the gaps

Now you need to fill the gaps with the different content types from your list.  Look at varying types of content including a balance of promotional, blog related and personal stuff.  You can even assign each type of content a number to add in the box if that’s easier.

Start a table on Airbase with line for each day

Once I have a schedule for the month, I then go to another of my favourite tools, Airtable.  Here I have a spreadsheet with a line for each day of the month and the date at the beginning.  The next column is the type of post and then the topic I’m going to discuss.  I also have columns for hashtags, links, the image and a column for each social media site I’m going to share it on.  Last column is a checkbox once I have scheduled the content.

Another idea is to create a board on Trello where you can see the whole month at one glance once you have done your preparation work.  Here’s an example from my food blog with the types of post and some of the details of what I’m promoting in it.

Add any hashtags to use

Every social media holiday, real holiday and even days of the week have hashtags associated with them so I note these down to remember to use them in the relevant updates.

Add any links to use

If I am sharing a post, either mine or someone else’s, then I include it here for simplicity.

Add the image you will use

This is optional but if you like to see you have an image picked or prepared for the plan then you can add it to sheet as an attachment

Create the caption

Each social media site’s caption needs to be a little different to suit length and hashtag rules so I write those out and pop them in the box.

Add a tick box to show you have added to social media scheduler

When everything is ready and I’ve added it to CoSchedule (my choice of social media scheduler) then I tick that checkbox at the end so I know that update is finished.

Sit back and relax!

Or if you are like me, move onto the next job on your list!

Benefits of batching

I’m not saying this is a perfect system and no doubt I’ll be refining it the more I use it.  But the combination of paper based and software based methods helps me visualise what I want to say and make sure I’m not saying too much of the same thing.  And there’s always the satisfaction of ticking the box to say the process is finished!!

What’s your system for social media updates?  Do you batch or make up as you go?  I’d love to hear any tips you have.  And don’t forget to download your free planner to help if you fancy using my system!