Investing a bit of your time in creating social media content templates can be worth it in the long run, as your agency balances valuable staff time with the need for consistent social media posts. A template can simply be a text document with generic language and fill-in-the-blank sections. Here are five template ideas that can help you and your team lighten the load and boost citizen engagement.
A headline template is a resource when you need inspiration for writing headlines, subjects, blog titles, tweets, or even the opening sentence of a Facebook post. Keep a file of ideas as you go, looking at how other agencies are naming posts and looking at private industry because they are especially good at this.
Your headline template might include:
- _______ Things You Should Know About _________________. (In practice, you might fill this in with “Three Things You Should Know About Applying for a Business License”)
- Top ________ Reasons Why ________ Work. (You could populate the blanks with “Top Four Reasons Why Wellness Checks Work.”)
We have found that using specific numbers works very well on social media. Start off with that general type of headline with a fill in the blank. It really gets ideas flowing.
Content Formula Sheets
This is the real meat of your social media posts and it works particularly well for Twitter. Again, write down ideas as you go. An example might be, “Need Advice On <insert activity>?”, then add your link to where they can find more information. When posting informational tips like this, consider using the hashtag #tips. Even if someone may not be seeking this particular information, often times they will share it or make a ‘social mention’ just to be helpful or because they know someone else who could use this bit of advice.
Keep a basic template of common question formats. Pose a question and literally use the word ‘question’, or even hashtag it. “#Question: How many of you have ever been to the Reno Balloon Races?” This is the type of post that you can expect to earn high engagement with. People like to share their experiences on social media, and posing a question will prompt them to do so
Fill in the Blank
Similar to a question template, create a document with several fill in the blank posts that you can use across many of your platforms when you need content. A great example would be, “Our family has visited ______ park the most often in our city”. There’s something about leaving an incomplete question on the internet – people just need to fill in the blank! Again, this type of post can encourage significant engagement
Hashtag Cheat Sheets
Another handy document is a reference sheet for the hashtags that your agency frequently uses. This is especially helpful in ensuring consistency when you have multiple people managing your social profiles. Utilize some of these commonly used hashtags, and also incorporate agency-specific hashtags:
- #TBT (Throwback Thursday)
On any Thursday, post an old photo and describe what it is. Government agencies typically have an archive with photos from past events, or a facility that used to look much different. Fire departments post pictures of antique trucks, counties post pictures of historical buildings, etc.
- #FF (Follow Friday)
Fridays on Twitter mean it is time to recommend profiles for people to follow. Make sure to include a note about why others should follow them. You might do this for profiles of a park, neighboring government agencies, or a cultural center. It benefits both of you when you are able to cross-promote to each other’s followers.
Simply ask any trivia question and include this hashtag. People will join in and try to answer. You are not required to offer a contest prize, but they will join in on the fun regardless.
Having quick and simple templates on hand make it easy to keep up with social media content, even on otherwise busy days. It is especially helpful when there is more than one person posting to your agency profile, making it easier to keep the same tone and voice.
What other templates do you use? Comment below!