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social media content planning

Social Media Content: Are You a Planner or a Poster?

September 16, 2020

When it comes to social media, I find there are often two different types of people – planners and posters.  Planners plan their grid, thinking about how the visuals looks together and then pre-writing their content in advance and Posters write on the spot as/when they have inspiration, writing “live” as it were.

Here are the pros and cons for each:

Planners

Pros:

  • Their grid always looks really attractive visually
  • They think about the messages that they want to put together so there’s some strategy behind it
  • They have time to plan their message, write it and edit it, along with researching hashtags

Cons:

  • To me, it’s often obvious when posts have been planned, many feel like “filler” posts rather than anything I’m interested in
  • They can be almost too perfect – they look great and they sound great but they are too polished and perfect, lacking a sense of authenticity.  They can also sometimes appear a little surface level
  • They often don’t capitilise on opportunities because they are sticking to a pre-planned structure.

Posters

Pros:

  • These posts often sound different as they are written in the now, they have more life and energy in them (not always but I see this a lot)
  • The posts are unforced – often inspired by something rather than written because “I need to say something” – they are also agile according to what’s topical or of interest
  • These posts can feel more authentic (I see so many perfect pastel grids with the same pre-written content)

Cons:

  • There’s often no strategy behind the posts, with no time spent thinking about what to post (and more importantly, why to post)
  • It can be a bit kneejerk, sometimes the aesthetic isn’t as attractive and the message goes off-piste.  It’s harder to see the plan when you are up close whereas by standing back (and planning your grid as a campaign) everything comes into focus.
  • And the biggest one of all, not planning often means not posting – it’s easy to prioritise something else, to focus your energy elsewhere and forget completely.

For me, I actually advocate both of these as I think they work better together.  Naturally I’m a Poster not a Planner as I love the social aspect to social media, the live nature and I’ve seen way too many perfectly planned grids (with very little personality).

But I also really rate planning – as long as you can keep it real and not too rigid, that you talk about authentically interesting topics (I once knew someone who put out the same post every Monday saying “do you want web design?” – this is the sort of planning I don’t promote).

The trick is to keep your planned content engaging and to be ready with a bank of ideas to talk about but to have a strategy underpinning your posts – not just writing because you feel you need to say something. 

So how I approach it is with a hybrid version – part planning, part posting – I call this Panning – where half of my content is planned and half is live so that I’m real, I’m not too perfect, and I have room for inspiration and what happened that I can talk about.  But also, so my posts have purpose, there’s a plan, I know what I’m talking about when and why I’m talking about them – my overall content key messages and any campaigns I’m working on when.

Panning is also about sifting for gold (a big part of my approach) ensuring I am giving gold to my customers whilst simultaneously prioritising my strategy and targeting my content to the ideal customer.

If you’re interested in my approach and learning to create engaging content with a considered strategy on social media, check out my new course Contented.  It starts this Sunday.

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