This year marks the 35th anniversary of the founding of Callis & Associates. To celebrate this milestone, in January we launched the #CallisTurns35 campaign across our digital and social platforms. Every week for the first 35 weeks of the year, we shared a lesson from each year Callis has been in business and highlighted clients or projects from that same year, starting with 1987. Our CEO and founder Cliff Callis shared a blog post with insight behind each lesson, tying it to a project or business milestone from that year.
Building an organic content plan
Most companies have a solid plan for paid digital content and ads. The creative has strategic messaging and is reviewed by everyone involved, the ad spend is calculated within the budget, and the run dates are scheduled well in advance. On the organic side, however, many businesses seem to fly by the seat of their pants, posting irregularly, with little to no consistency in the content, and devoting little time to social media ideas, strategy, or creative assets.
Although social media has evolved into a pay-to-play game, you still need an organic presence to really have an impact. Through trial and error, we improved our internal processes of preparing, creating, and sharing weekly organic content. Here are some of our key takeaways from our Callis 35th campaign.
Start Planning in Advance
It was well known throughout our agency that 2022 was our 35th Anniversary. In the months leading up to 2022, we had regular discussions in our all-staff and agency planning meetings about the best ways to share this major milestone. We got input from everyone in the agency and considered a number of different ideas. Before our first post on January 3rd, we had already spent three months brainstorming, planning, and developing the components of our 35-week campaign. We didn’t have every post, caption, or minor detail planned out, but we had a road map to follow that allowed for flexibility and set us up for success.
Treat it like a client
Once we had our idea in place, we knew it would take time and resources to get it off the ground and manage it successfully. The first step was to recognize that we would need to treat it like any other client project. We set up a project number to log our time and materials accurately, separating it from other internal projects. Then, just like we would for a client, we identified the account executives that would manage the project, oversee the content creation and keep the project on schedule. We also identified support staff for graphic design, video production, and final reviews.
Finally, and arguably the most important, we budgeted for the time and resources we would dedicate to the campaign. It wasn’t perfect at the beginning. After two months we reviewed the time spent and made adjustments, just like we would for our other projects, before settling into what we were comfortable committing to each month. By treating this project just like any client project, we set standards, expectations, and accountability in our plan.
After everything was set up, it was time to do the real work – create the content and push it out. Because we were sharing information on past projects and clients, we knew there would be several assets we would need easy access to, so we built out a folder on our shared drive. As an agency, we use Google Drive, but any shared file system will work. Whether you’re using Microsoft Office or just a folder on a shared server, create a space everyone will have access to.
For our clients, we create a content calendar where we prep each post in advance and send it to the client for review. We took the same approach for this campaign. We built out a document for each month, January through September, to plan out our weekly blog content, social media content, and the digital assets that went with each post. Along with the virtual collaboration management, we also set a regular in-person meeting schedule to brainstorm ideas and manage the project on a week-to-week timeline. We started with a weekly meeting, then a bi-monthly, and adjusted it as necessary. Depending on your content and resources, your meetings may need to be weekly, monthly, or even quarterly.
Find Ways to Collaborate
Our #CallisTurns35 campaign hinged on collaboration. The primary content was centered around sharing photos, videos, and other project assets we had developed over the years. We could not have done this without permission and collaboration from past and current clients. Most were more than happy to be featured, but we had a few say no, as well. “Collabs” need to be beneficial to both parties. There were a few cases where we thought a project feature was cool or vintage, but the client did not feel it fit their current development plans or aesthetic.
If we did receive permission, we then went all out to make sure the featured client or project received all the credit we could possibly give. We tagged their Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts, used their current hashtags, and linked to external websites and pages when necessary. Our featured clients were then able to share our post to their followers, which in turn brought eyes and engagement to our page.
Schedule Posts in Advance
One of the daunting parts of social media is feeling like you have to be on your phone constantly, capturing and sharing content. While there is a need for spontaneous and time-sensitive content, it doesn’t always have to be that way. If you do all the proper prep work, you can save time by scheduling in advance. At Callis, we utilize the Meta Business Suite and Creator Studio to schedule Facebook and Instagram posts ahead of time for both ourselves and our clients. There are several tools available for scheduling content – the Meta Business Suite and TweetDeck are free to account holders. Other tools, like Hootsuite or Loomly, require a subscription fee but allow users to schedule on multiple platforms from one place.
Social media marketing can be an effective tool for building brand awareness, driving traffic to your website, and building a network of brand advocates and influencers. At Callis, our social media experts can help you create and manage a strategic social media marketing plan to build and leverage your social communities and provide a solid return on your marketing investment.