After a seemingly silly mistake, American Apparel posting a shot of the Challenger exploding with the heading #smoke, #clouds on Tumblr, national media decried the stupidity of brands who don’t supervise their social media staff.
The bigger question is…why would any brand be posting something so trivial and unrelated to the brand in the first place? Yes, social media is a conversation with the brand’s consumers, constantly selling is not a good plan. But the brand DOES need to stay on message all the time.
That’s why building an editorial calendar is such a great idea. Rather than having a bored intern posting random thoughts just to keep to the schedule of posting on Facebook 3 times per week, what if he or she had a specific goal for the week that related to the brand message?
An editorial calendar lays out social media goals and topics week by week, considering holidays, new product launches and category events. It outlines the topics to be covered each week and focuses the conversation by platform. For example, last week during the Independence Day holiday, American Apparel’s calendar might have said:
Week Of: June 29- July 5
Theme: 4th of July
Pinterest: Posts pics of picnic/ holiday themed wear from our stock photos
Tumblr: Blog posts on: Made in USA, wearing basics for summer and pics from Pinterest ( linked)
Twitter: Post picnic pics, join in conversations on Made in USA
Facebook: Happy Independence Day graphic, BBQ photos
Note the broad nature of the theme, yet specific message about American Apparel that plays nicely into Independence Day. This keeps the posts on message while allowing for the individual creativity of the social media staff and the opportunity to have conversations with consumers around these themes. Ideally, the annual editorial calendar is included in the marketing plan and updated as needed.