Grow Your Book of Business Using Content Calendars for Social Media: Part 1
Parker Dickens from Beauty As A Business partnered up with Prosper U to teach us all about developing an effective social media strategy using content calendars in this two part blog series. Part 1 goes into theory, while part 2 puts it into practice. Beauty As A Business empowers the hair and beauty pro to do what they’re passionate about by teaching them to use social media to showcase their work, connect with clientele, fill their schedule, and in doing so, build a lasting career in the industry. They know social media fame isn’t for everyone, but believe every beauty professional should know how they can harness their online presence to build their dream job.
A career in beauty generally isn’t just cutting a mean head of hair or having the perfect exfoliation technique. As you’ve progressed in your beauty career you’ve likely learned that a large aspect of the industry is the business side of it. Managing relationships, keeping clients engaged with small talk, growing your book of business and more!
One of the more fun ways to grow your book of business that has emerged in the past few decades is social media. In the same way that the beauty industry as a whole is an outlet of expression for many creatives, so too is social media. This intersection has allowed the beauty industry to explode on social media, with some of the most followed Youtubers, Instagrammers and TikTok influencers coming from the fashion, beauty and makeup industries! Social media platforms are great for showing off your work, meeting new potential clients and getting your name out there.
As fun as it can be, it can also be work! Sometimes the grind of growing your following and knowing what to post can wear you down. That’s where content calendars come in.
Let’s Answer the Basics First
What Is A Social Media Content Calendar?
The basic idea behind a content calendar is that, instead of waking up and deciding what to post that day, you plan at the beginning of each month or week what you want to post. In its most basic form it could be something as simple as this:
From there, it can really get as complex as you need it, including writing captions, choosing the photos to post (or at least the type of photos), and doing research to find hashtags that are likely to get your post the most amount of engagement.
By documenting your strategy, you will be able to collect data on what works and what doesn’t. You can track days of the week, times of the day, and the types of content that resonate well with your audience and equally important, you can see what hasn’t worked well.
While you can use the tools native to social media platforms like business.facebook.com or Instagram’s newly announced professional dashboard, there are also a lot of tools out there where you can connect your profiles and get important insights. One such platform, Later.com was recently shared in a Virtual Hour with Prosper U. With tools like this, you can even get analytics on your hashtag performance, story performance or engagement on posts:
These tools allow you to schedule posts in a calendar format and you can click on posts to make edits or changes at any time pre-launch of post.
The goal is to save yourself time fretting about what to post and deciding when and what to post ahead of time.
How Do I Know What To Post?
The hardest part for many on social media is knowing what to post. Even having the right idea can be hard to execute on. How many readers have posted a single selfie before but their camera roll has 57 variations of the selfie to choose from? Don’t feel called out, feel at home. This experience is nearly universal. Fortunately, there are a few guidelines to keep you on track!
The 80-20 or 90-10 Rule
Perhaps the most widely known guideline for posting as a business is the 90-10 rule. The concept is largely that your posts should only be 10% promotional and 90% engaging. Some say it’s 20% and 80%, the truth is that it doesn’t matter. The point is people don’t want to be sold to. We all hate ads. But you’ve got to get new customers and grow your business, so you just need to find a balance.
That 10% can be filled with posts like, “Book before Friday for 10% of your service”, or “X product is on sale until Y date.” If you are a brand affiliate, affiliate posts would also fall into this 10%.
The 80-90% can be filled with portfolio work, social proof (like testimonials), memes, holiday/seasonal content, information or videos about you. Anything that you’d find interesting in your own feed.
The Sales Funnel
What this 90-10 rule looks like at a slightly more granular level would be something like the sales funnel. You can Google loads of information but the general idea looks something like this:
That “10%” is just the little bottom of the funnel. The principle is that you can filter people down to the conversion or decision stage without first introducing yourself to them and letting them get to know you in the first two stages. Anyone outside of the funnel hasn’t even heard of you yet. You wouldn’t propose marriage on the first date, so don’t ask for money on the first introduction.
The Content To Post
“Get on with it! What does this look like in practice?” Great question, let’s get into the meat of it. Here are a couple of ideas of what you can post to fill the various stages of the funnel.
Awareness & Interest Content
This stage is anything to get folks aware of your existence. It should be fun, lighthearted and engaging like:
- Memes/Motivational Quotes
- “What face shape do you have?”
- “What is your skin type?”
- “Match your personality to your lipstick shade?”
- “Top 10 Hairstyles for Summer”
- “3 Makeup Looks for Your Family Holiday Gatherings”
- Portfolio Pics
- Show off your best work of the week
- Disappearing Content
- Don’t just focus on your feed, post lighthearted low-effort content to your stories routinely. Story content that isn’t pinned is called disappearing content.
Research & Consideration Content
Now that people know about you, they have engaged with your content, maybe even followed you. What can you do to help them make the decision to book? Utilize research and consideration content such as:
- Social Proof
- Testimonials, either in video format from clients or copy and pasted from Google or Facebook or Yelp reviews.
- Helpful Tips
- “Top Tips For Smooth Skin”
- “How to Keep Your New Hair Lasting As Long As Possible”
- “Did you know…”
- Talking About
- Your experience
- Where you went to school
- How long you’ve been in the business
- Your favorite service to perform
This is the content you want to use sparingly. People know you, they like you, they feel that connection. But people often won’t take action unless you ask them to. So it’s time to ask! This content can come in many forms, but again, you don’t want to over do it.
- Loyalty programs
- “Book three nail appointments, get your fourth free”
- Upcoming sales or discounts
- “Book by Friday and save 15%”
- “10% off all product in February”
- Sense of urgency
- “I have an appointment open today at 3:30pm, 20% off to whoever fills it!”
- “April is filling up quickly, save your spot now!”
- The hard pitch
- “Now taking new guests, DM me to learn more!”
How Do I Know When To Post?
Just as important as what you post, is when you post! Do you know when your audience is most active? Mondays at 10AM? Saturdays at 11:29PM? If you don’t, you can find out!
The best time to post is going to be different for everyone. Generally, you want your content to be relevant and resonate with your audience, so post seasonal content, or content related to current events as you deem appropriate.
But there is a way that you can use data to drive your decisions. It might seem a bit intimidating at first, but it is not as scary as it looks!
You can use a tool like Later to get easy to read analytics that provide you at-a-glance details on the activity of your audience. It looks something like this:
If we were to use the data above, we could conclude that the best time to post would be Sunday through Wednesday at 6 or 7PM in the evening.
You can also get this data for free by logging into business.facebook.com, navigating to Insights, and then Posts. You can get a graph that shows you when your audience is online.
Pro tip: Instead of scheduling your posts right at the top of the hour or half hour (for example 10:00AM or 10:30AM), try and pick a time a few minutes after, like 10:03 or 10:37. Many other businesses use scheduling tools and frequently pick the easy times like that. Right at the top of the hour lots of new posts go live. Show up at the top by being just a tad late to the party.
For Facebook and Instagram, try not to flood your audience. You generally only need to post a few times per week.
How Do I Grow My Audience?
If you’ve made it this far and are planning your first social calendar, it may be tempting to think, “Hmm, I’ll just plan and schedule my posts for the next three months! One more thing off my plate.” You can do that, but you may be sacrificing audience growth.
It was mentioned earlier that the best content is content that feels personal and resonates with your audience. The reason for this is that the social media experience is meant to be…well, social! A relationship, a conversation.
To grow your audience, you will not only need to be posting content regularly, but interacting with those you follow and those who follow you. If you have a post that just went live, be sure to respond to comments (especially if someone asks a question). Scroll through posts of those you follow and like or comment on them.
Pro tip: Be sure not to comment the same thing on every post or be overly generic or your account may be flagged as spam!
You should be following local businesses, your current clients, people who use similar hashtags and any product brands you sell or support. You should avoid following a lot of celebrity or brand accounts or things not directly related to your business. You may get follow backs occasionally, or followers from accounts following their followers, but these individuals are unlikely to become your clients. Use local or specific hashtags for the same reason. This is your business account, every step you take should be towards growing your business.
Put It Into Practice
We’ve spent a lot of time talking about some of the basic principles and guidelines to be aware of before you create your own social media content calendar. Now that you’ve made it this far, let’s create your first content calendar. Check out Part 2 and get access to Beauty As A Business’ FREE social calendar template!