How to Plan Social Media Content for Government

As government communicators, our mission is to make people care, and with multiple social media content formats (text, images, videos, etc.) available, what we post makes a difference. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the daily need to feed the social media content beast, but a little planning can go a long way in making that job easier.

Best practices for the largest social media sites are to post at least once per day (multiple times per day on Twitter). And, algorithms on Facebook and Instagram make the quality of what we post more important than the fact that we posted.

That’s why planning ahead is important. Keeping a content calendar will not only help ease the day-to-day stress of figuring out what to post about, it will also let you be more creative and ensure that you’re not missing important topics. Take an hour or two once a month and plan out what you want to say:

  • Mark down all of the events your agency is hosting in the next month. You can plan on posts on the day of the event as well as several posts promoting the event in the weeks prior to it.
  • Identify any awareness weeks your agency is celebrating. These are great opportunities to promote educational messaging that may be harder to tie in.
  • Think about “hot topics” that are relevant that month – for example, December, January and February are winter weather months in much of the U.S., and talking about snow plowing will catch your residents’ eye.
  • Ask your departments about what their priorities are to fill in the gaps.

To help with the task of keeping it all organized, there are a number of tools available to help with social media content planning:

  • Several social media management tools have built-in calendars that can work well to help plan ahead and create a seamless process.
  • Good, old-fashioned Microsoft Word or Excel work well, too. Housing this type of document on a public server in your organization and giving access to other departments can help you fill your content calendar quickly while also giving you a wide variety of topics.
  • Web-based tools such as Trello, Google Calendars and Buffer are great for allowing you to move topics around, keep drafts and access your calendar from both a desktop and mobile device.


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