Our Approach to Social Media

Source: Janine Oss, Marketing & Communications Manager, TransCold Distribution Ltd. & Inc.

As we approach a new year, my attention shifts into planning mode for the upcoming year. Social media is an of-the-moment thing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t plan for it to avoid missed opportunities.

We start our yearly planning with a simple calendar workbook; I prefer using an Excel worksheet for this, but the tool you choose isn’t what matters here. We put into this, of course, all the regular holidays, but also some of the special awareness & fun days. For example, April is Earth month, and January 19th is National Popcorn Day. Think about how you can work some of these themes into your social posts. Then we add any dates special to us: anniversaries, product releases, special events, etc. Make sure to re-evaluate this calendar as the year progresses to adjust for real-world changes.

Next, we start adding actual posts to our calendar. There are perhaps three different types of posts that we make:

  1. “Product Awareness” posts focus on awareness of our existing products, be they our top sellers or lesser-known gems.

    Because we have A LOT of products, we create a rotation of every brand or product that we carry and determine how many times we want to post about each over the course of the year. Some products you will want to prioritize with a greater number of posts, but without this step, I guarantee that we would unfairly neglect some of our smaller products without realizing it. Once you decide on an annual quantity, you need to determine which month(s) you want to post each product in – This is the tricky bit because you don’t want to have too many posts each month/week, so you need to create a balance. We cap ourselves at 5 or 6 per month, so there is quite a bit of shuffling to make everything fit. The ideal frequency for yourself may be higher or lower than ours, but it’s important to maintain a limit so that you still have room to balance product awareness posts with other post types.

    What should you post about in these product awareness posts? Reference back to your calendar to see if it fits in with the theme of any of your events. You can also share “insider knowledge”, facts, or history of the product, but when in doubt remember that a good picture with a clever caption can say it all for you. However, if you didn’t take the picture yourself, make sure that you have permission to use it, and credit the source where appropriate. The product manufacturer should be a good source for images, with a little help from our good friend Photoshop. On some platforms (Facebook, X, LinkedIn), you can use links to external websites with more information, but by and large, they will not get as much engagement as posting images or video.

    The great thing about product awareness posts is that they can be completed and scheduled well in advance! Theoretically, you could do them all at once for the year, but we never schedule them more than a month in advance so that we can stay flexible with what’s happening at the time. All four of the social media platforms we use have built-in scheduling abilities, but to really manage this, I recommend paying a small fee for a 3rd party social media scheduler.

  2. Product Innovation posts may be more difficult for you to plan ahead, depending on your timeline. Here, a manufacturer has an advantage over a distributor with access to more early information. If possible, post a few teasers in the weeks leading up to the launch. However, make sure you check with all parties involved if any information is to be kept confidential; you control how much information you want to share in advance.

    Our main post on product innovation will be when we announce that it is available for purchase. However, don’t stop there! Schedule follow ups in two-week intervals to remind your audience and catch anyone who missed it the first time.

  3. News & Current event posts demonstrate who we are as a company, what we stand for, and what you can expect from us.

    Draw on your staff for these posts! We have 250+ employees out there, doing interesting things every day, but this applies to any size team. Encourage staff to capture moments or projects they are proud of, and colleagues doing exceptional work. Then make it easy for them to share those pictures with you. This is a win-win-win-win. We get great content. Our employees get public recognition for their hard work. Our suppliers see that we are prioritizing their needs. We can shine a spotlight on deserving smaller stores. Our employees are our greatest resource in more ways than one.

    Of course, to take advantage of these staff contributions, you need to be flexible because they can arrive in feast or famine fashion. Some weeks you will be overwhelmed with how many images they share, while other weeks…nothing is happening. While we don’t schedule the current event posts too long in advance, we do keep a bank of some of those feast weeks to draw on when things are slow. You may also want to set some rules in place for staff contributions. For example, will you require staff to be in uniform in all pictures? We have freezers in many cannabis retailers; will you decline photos taken in these locations? Setting these rules in advance will make easier decisions for you and avoid staff disappointment.

At the end of the day, remember that your audience is there because they want to know more about you. It’s up to you what information you provide to them to form their opinion of you.