February 27, 2019
A social media calendar helps you plan each piece of content from inception to completion. These handy tools help you stay organized and track hundreds of social media posts to improve engagement and better understand your audience.
This introduction to social media content calendars is designed to help businesses understand why they’re beneficial. You’ll reap the rewards of increased engagement and be able to focus your time on producing and promoting great content. Learn how to create your social media content calendar in just seven steps.
A social media content calendar is a tool that helps you organize all of your social media posts. It enables you to schedule content regularly and keeps track of everything you've posted. It can help cover different content types from social posts to user-generated content and trending topics.
Essentially, a social media calendar is just like a content calendar, except instead of planning content, you're planning what you share on social channels. The process is similar and the calendar helps you track social media content from creation through publishing.
More than 90 percent of businesses use social media to share content (1). That means most businesses will need to have some sort of social media presence to compete. With so many players sharing social content, you need to produce high-quality pieces to stand out. Not only that, you'll also need to have a game plan when it comes to sharing different types of content.
A social media calendar is an essential part of your social media strategy. You can't just post random pieces willy nilly anymore. You need a social media calendar to provide a road map for content to help reach your marketing goals.
Trends and viral hits change like the weather. What's popular today may be out of style tomorrow. Having a social media calendar helps you stay on top of what's trending. You can plan for big holidays or national days that are relevant to your business.
One of the biggest benefits of a social media calendar is that it ensures you post consistently and regularly. Just like blog posts, the key is to post great content on a regular basis so your customers know what to expect. If you post once every three months and then several pieces in one day, customers may miss it since they aren't used to your posts. Use a social media calendar to improve and regulate your posting frequency.
Keep a consistent publishing schedule with a social media content calendar. Different social networks often require different post numbers. For example, it's normal to post several tweets of Twitter in a day, but posting like that on Reddit is a sure-fire way to get banned. A social media content calendar can keep everything organized and post on a consistent basis for different social media channels.
A social media calendar helps to keep the entire team up-to-date on what's going on with your social media marketing. In combination with an editorial calendar, team members from the marketing team to the sales team can see what type of content is scheduled to post next. The instantly see last minute changes to the posting schedule and can stay apprised of any social media campaigns.
Team members can also easily track publishing dates in the planning calendar and can see when new pieces of content are commissioned. A great social media calendar app like Trello or Asana will also enable the marketing team to assign tasks to specific team members, keeping everyone accountable for their part in the process.
Keeping a record of everything you post and when it was published helps you keep an eye on success and analytics. You can compare your publishing schedule to your analytics to find what days are the best to post content on specific platforms. You can also easily discover which types of evergreen content perform best so you can put your future efforts into that realm.
The first thing you need to do is figure out what social media platforms your business is already using and identify any new platforms that you should be using. Start by creating a document in Google Drive and list all of your existing social media channels. Create a second column to evaluate how effective those channels are. For channels that aren't currently effective, analyze whether you can do anything to improve your success on that channel or if you should focus your time elsewhere. Use analytics to find out who your audience is and what types of people are engaging with your content.
Analytics are your best friend at this step. Use those resources to discover what types of content perform well and what doesn't. If you have any significant spikes or decreases in engagement or traffic on social media, use your analytics to find out why. Knowing your target audience or buyer persona will help you create better content for social media platforms whether you have the strongest presence on LinkedIn or Facebook.
Based on your research, you should have a handle on what types of content perform well on which channels. Use this research to identify what types of content you'll create. For most businesses, this will be a mix of company-developed content and user-generated content. This allows consumers to feel part of your brand and that your business cares about their opinions and interests.
In addition, you can decide what type of content to post from videos and images to text and marketing links. This will depend on your different social media accounts, but it's usually a good idea to keep a balance among the different types of posts.
Based on your audit results, you should have an idea of how often you posted in the past. For some businesses that are just getting their marketing strategy started, posts may have been disorganized and infrequent. Settle on a posting schedule that includes multiple posts per week. For platforms such as Twitter and Pinterest, you can post multiple times per day. For other content platforms such as Reddit, you'll want to post less often. Decide whether you want to increase your posting frequency or taper off depending on your business history.
The best social media content calendars are the ones that are tailored to your business needs. Decide how in-depth you want your Google spreadsheet to be. You may need separate tabs or sheets for the different social media platforms depending on how intricate your strategy is. You can also set up sections to track your analytics and the performance of each piece week over week.
Most social media content calendar templates recommend listing the social media network, important dates, links, text, and images at the very least. It's also a good idea to identify where images and links should be stored whether you're using Google Drive or another platform. Start off by including as much information as you find relevant. It's easier to remove tabs or hide columns using the drop-down menu than it is to add entire new data sets.
At The Writer Finder, we find that it helps to color-code different sections to stay organized. You can use color-coding to highlight different team members responsibilities or to emphasize different types of relevant content. Don't be afraid to play with your content calendar a bit to see what works best for you and your team.
At Growth Machine, we use a combination of Google Sheets and Asana to track our content. In Google Sheets, we store all of our keyword research and content ideas. Then we identify which pieces we want to share and import those into Asana—a content management tool—using Zapier. Once in Asana, we can easily assign tasks to different team members including freelance writers and copyeditors. We also add followers to the content calendar to keep stakeholders apprised of the latest developments.
Once we've set up the content calendar, it's easy to schedule content to post. You can create due dates for different team members throughout the process and highlight the final due date for publishing. From here, you can use Zapier or Hootsuite to set up social media sharing to different platforms. The tool will automatically send your posts at a scheduled time and date so you don't have to worry about customers missing the latest news on your new product or updated content.
Social media management is exponentially easier when you stay organized. Having a social media content calendar helps you identify what content performs best and allows you to create consistent posts that users will love. You can stay on top of social media publishing and keep your channels engaged and in line with trends.