Social media marketing is currently a go-to strategy for companies that want a quicker and better way to reach their audiences. It’s a good avenue for wide-reaching marketing campaigns that don’t hurt your budget. But to have a solid social media strategy, you need a comprehensive calendar to help guide you in achieving your goals.
This article is designed as a beginner’s guide to creating a social media calendar and includes tools and templates to make the process easier.
What is a Social Media Calendar?
A social media calendar is a tool that you use for scheduling your entire social media content campaign for the year. It can be either be a spreadsheet or software that allows you to plan content for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, Snapchat or whichever platform you’re using.
Why do you need a Social Media Content Calendar?
In order to create a successful campaign, it’s important to make sure that your content stream is being followed and organized accordingly. For quicker execution, your social media team should be able to understand everything found in the calendar at a single glance. A social media content calendar allows you to do the following:
- See the entire campaign in one place.
- Make sure that everything is done according to schedule.
- Enables coordination between various departments.
- Allows teams to see the direction of social media campaigns for monitoring and scheduling purposes.
Creating Your Social Media Calendar
1. Use an existing social media template you can download
One of the easiest ways to create a social media calendar is to use a downloadable template. When you have a template available, you only need to think about the contents and fill them up as necessary. However, as you gain more social media expertise, you will then find out that there are a lot of things that basic templates can’t cover.
Below is what a basic template looks like. As you can see, it includes the time of posting, type of content, along with the basic elements of the social media post.
2. Conduct a social media audit
Before you can start filling out your calendar, you need to conduct a basic social audit. This includes looking at the channels you’re looking to tap, where your audience actually is, and where you performed and could improve from the past year.
3. Figure out what social media content you’re creating
Variety is important in your social media strategy. If you put out the same content every day, your audience will eventually become uninterested. Most social media managers create variation gravitating toward the more visual platforms like videos and images to appeal to the general audience.
There are a lot of ways to treat your images for social media consumption. An important reminder is that you make sure that your image size is optimized according to the platform you’re posting in.
Similarly, learning about video formats is important in ensuring that your posts are optimized. Here is a guide on how to optimize your video content for any platform.
There are instances when a simple text post will do, especially on a platform like Twitter. And even if you’re posting an image, a snappy caption could make the post even more engaging.
Study about how links behave in the platform you’re posting on. Also, check how the link preview looks like, so can make changes to make it more attractive accordingly.
4. Use in-app analytics to determine spikes
In-app analytics can help you find out which posts are performing and where you can improve.
Go to Insights > Posts to see your posts’ reach, engagement, clicks, among other data.
From your profile photo, click the dropdown menu and select Analytics > Tweets.
On your profile, select the bar graph on the top right-hand corner and select Posts. This will give you an overview of your post impressions.
Use this guide for Instagram analytics to know more about what kind of content gets more engagement.
5. Figure out how to use your social media calendar
Filling out details in your social media calendar template is simple enough. The work comes in determining what exactly you’re going to fill it up with. This infographic provides tips backed by studies on what types of content perform on which platforms.
You can even use social media tools like CoSchedule’s Social Media Message Optimizer to help you out. Simply type in your message and the tool shows you how it’s bound to perform on different platforms.
It even gives you tips on how to improve on those scores.
6. Include visual content
Images and videos are important in making sure that your audience is engaged, especially on platforms like Facebook and Instagram where visuals perform best. If you’re looking for stock photos, use this guide for a list of photo resources, as well as tips on how to use them.
As well, it would be best to use cloud storage for your images and videos, so you can simply populate your social media calendar with links to images you’re going to use. This also makes them accessible to everyone on your team.
7. Plan a year’s worth of content
Most social media managers plan content by month or by week but it’s important to not only plan for the next month but the entire year, highlighting the following:
Seasonal buyers love businesses that jive with the season. There are occasions like Black Friday that entice shoppers to buy more than the usual. Brands often use this opportunity to do sales of up to 70% off.
Your brand should deliver fresh and relevant content according to various occasions like this Unicorn video posted by LEGO on Facebook during Unicorn Day.
- Sales and Promotions
Similarly, having regular promos is a good way of enticing your audience to stay tuned to your social media posts. And by planning it in your calendar, you can create anticipation for upcoming sales.
- Product features or launches
As well, if you have upcoming product events, it should be featured in your calendar just as the above. This allows you to stir up interest before a product launch, for example.
8. Figure out when’s the best time to post on each platform
After creating your social media calendar, you need to find out when it’s best to post on which platform. This infographic is an excellent guide for US audiences. It shows which times are best not only for individual platforms but for different industries as well.
And while you can schedule your posts manually, there are a number of social media management tools that go above and beyond simply automating your social postings.
Having a social media calendar is important in making sure that your campaign runs according to schedule, especially in the hyper-competitive space of 2019. The best thing about having a calendar is that you can see your entire campaign in one place, and you can make appropriate adjustments as you go along.
Which platforms are you making a social media calendar on? Comment your thoughts below.
Author: Naida Alabata