Chasing Rainbows | Why You Should Script Social Media

by Briana Campbell (@MsMatchGirl) Can I get a quick show of hands? Who thinks social media is all fun and games? Rainbows and unicorns, maybe?


by Briana Campbell (@MsMatchGirl)

Can I get a quick show of hands? Who thinks social media is all fun and games? Rainbows and unicorns, maybe?

A few weeks ago, I saw a post from Dennis Jenders on why you should script social media content. It was, in turn a reply to a post from Mark Evans on Sysomos, in which Evans wrote that not only is it wrong to script social content, but that the only companies that do it are afraid of social media.

Me? I’m more of the Jenders school of thought. There are a lot of reasons to script social media posts. More reasons than there are to not script it.

The reason that you, as a business, are using social media is to market yourself. And the reason that you are marketing yourself is to grow your business – to get new clients or customers or subscribers. To be crass – you’re using social platforms to sell yourself. To make yourself money.

Dan Zarrella of HubSpot is famous, at least in my circles, for saying that social media is not all rainbows and unicorns. He’s a scientist and he doesn’t work in fantasy.

And neither should you.

Scripting your content on an editorial calendar makes a lot of sense. And it certainly doesn’t mean that social media scares you.

Sure, sometimes news breaks or something amazing goes down at your company, and you want to share it with your readers. That’s cool. Scripting social media doesn’t mean that you lose elasticity and flexibility; it simply helps your company stay on message. For instance, when Steve Jobs passed away, we’d already queued a post on the iPhone 4S and the Apple keynote for that day. But we were also able to post a lovely missive on what Jobs meant to tech and innovation – and our CTO. Social media platforms have that ease.

When I script the editorial calendars for any of the blogs I manage, I have time to get quality content on them – whether it’s being written by me or one of the blogs’ many contributors. When I script social content, I can clearly see the direction in which we’re going, and, as it rolls out, I can see what’s working and what might not be, and tweak what’s coming up based on that. When I script social content, I can make sure to stay on message, working with the rest of the marketing team, to share what we feel is most important. When I script social content, I’m being smart and focused. I’m marketing my company in a way that the social and non-social efforts are fully aligned.

In his article on Sysomos, Evans wrote, “A big part of social media is being engaged and listening to what is being said about your company, brand, industry and rivals. It means having a good sense of what people are thinking, and then having the ability to react accordingly” and he goes on to say that “[h]aving a scripted approach, on the other hand, doesn’t allow much room for acting when required because, well, it’s not in the script. If you can’t play with other kids in the social sandbox, it really brings into question whether social media is really going to be effective.”

Here’s the thing. Having an editorial calendar doesn’t mean that you don’t get to play with the other kids. It doesn’t mean that you’re not listening. In fact, if you’re doing it right, you’re listening and responding, and using the metrics you’re gathering (exactly what the kids in the sandbox are saying about you) to grow better and more relevant content for the future.

When I make the editorial calendar for this blog, I know what types of Tweets, if not the specific tweet, are going to go along with it. I know what’s going to make it on our Facebook page and what posts won’t gain any traction there. That’s not to say that if someone is Tweeting at @Zemoga or leaving messages on the Facebook page or comments on the posts that I will ignore them. It doesn’t mean that if I see a funny or interesting Tweet from one of our Tweeps that I won’t share it. I think there is room in the wide world of social networks to stay on message and still be able to engage in a conversation.

But I know that scripting my content – at least to the point of a strong editorial calendar – makes me more focused and more productive in the long run. I spend more time making sure you get quality content and less time futzing about on Twitter.  Which makes my days a lot more enjoyable and gives my employer and our clients a lot more for their money.

What do you think? Do you see the need for scripting content on your social channels?