For many businesses, social media is a marketing afterthought. If this rings true for your business, your team may be missing the opportunity to leverage social media for the greater goals of your business. The easiest way to make social media a more strategic part of your marketing plan is by investing time into the creation of a content calendar. Thoughtfully plan your posts in advance to ensure that you are sharing actionable, compelling information that clearly ties back to your goals.
If you’ve been creating content post by post, you might have to put a little more effort into the process initially. But, don’t worry – once you get organized, you’ll see the value that social media can offer your business. Let’s get started.
Pick a Calendar Format
The first step in the process is to pick a calendar format. A simple search in Google will produce a range of content calendar templates, and the formats vary. Your team can pick one based on your needs or develop a custom one, taking into consideration how far in advance you want to plan your posts, how much information you need to outline, etc. You should also consider who needs access to the calendar; if a team needs access, then make sure to select a format that makes it easy to share and edit.
Our team uses calendars that follow a basic format but are customized for particular clients so that we can ensure each client has access to the amount of information that they require for approval. We typically plan out the date of the post, the post text, the imagery that will accompany the post, and any URLs that will be included – and we do this up to a month in advance. Others may want to include the exact time of a post, which team member is responsible for posting, or other details. Ultimately, the calendar facilitates quicker and more organized posting on an on-going basis.
Decide on Frequency
How often you post on your social media pages is an important element of the calendar because it dictates the general number of posts you should draft. You don’t want to post so often that your audience gets sick of you, but at the same time, you want to stay active and present in your followers’ newsfeeds. If you have a following of more than 10k, posting multiple times a day on outlets such as Facebook is encouraged in order to maximize clicks and engagement. However, for smaller businesses, posting too much can actually result in fewer clicks per post and hurt overall engagement.
You should also consider your followers’ general age range, interests, and social media habits. For example, if your business caters to a younger generation, you will want to publish content more frequently to compete with the hundreds of posts that they are exposed to on a daily basis. Taking these elements into consideration, you should select a general frequency for posting (which will likely vary by platform). When you fill in the content calendar, you will ensure that you have enough posts to match that frequency and get the best return on investment.
Develop Resonating Content
Finally, the content. When deciding what to post about, your first consideration should be the goals of your business – and the best practices for that platform. For example, if you have a lead generation goal for events or training classes, make sure to share links to those things on social media! Writing the posts in advance will give you time to craft a message with an appropriate call-to-action. If you really want to stay organized, you may want to consider using tools such as Hootsuite and Buffer to schedule your posts ahead of time.
If you have previously posted on your social accounts, visit the analytics function of your social platforms. You can use that information to gauge which of your past posts were successful, using that information to better understand your audience and deliver what they want. If you are new to the social posting scene, you should brainstorm content ideas with the rest of your team, and then routinely check the analytics to get a sense of what works and what doesn’t.
Content ideas include:
Again, the key is to post with purpose! For each post that you write, consider why you are writing it. As social media becomes more of a routine within your organization, you will be able to better understand and report on its impact – and use it as a tool to support your goals.