It’s no news that social media is an excellent way to connect with your customers and promote your brand. But implementing an effective social media strategy requires a well-planned social media calendar. This tool can help you make the most of your time and energy while building relationships with your audience.
Creating a social media calendar can be a lot of work, but it’s worth it. With a social media calendar, you can ensure your social media accounts are always up-to-date and on-brand.
This article shows you how to create a social media calendar that works for you and your business. You’ll also discover the most effective tools to plan your social media posts, create engaging content and elevate your social media marketing.
What Is A Social Media Calendar?
A social media calendar is an editorial calendar for your social media content. It helps you plan and track your posts to be more strategic and consistent with your posting. It’s basically a schedule of when you’re going to post what.
A social media calendar can be as simple as a Google Calendar or as complicated as a full-blown editorial calendar. But either way, it’s going to make your life a lot easier and help you publish high-quality content consistently.
The beauty of using a social media calendar is that it takes the guesswork out of posting. You no longer wonder what to post or when to post it. With a social media calendar, you can plan and schedule your content in advance, so you can focus on creating great content instead of worrying about when to post it.
Benefits Of Using A Social Media Calendar
1. Improves Accountability in the Workplace
A social media calendar can help improve accountability in the workplace by providing a timeline and structure for your social media posts. This makes team members more accountable because they can see what needs to be done and when it needs to be done.
Moreover, it can help improve communication between team members. And when everyone is on the same page, it’s easier to stay accountable. A social media calendar is a must-have for brands serious about their social media strategy. By planning, you can ensure that your social media posts are aligned with your business goals.
2. Spots Opportunities for Partnerships or Sponsored Content
A social media calendar also allows you to see patterns and themes emerging in your content. This insight is valuable for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it will enable you to see if there are any gaps in your content that you need to fill.
Secondly, it allows you to see if there are any opportunities for partnerships or sponsored content. For example, let’s say you’re a travel blogger specializing in budget travel. You might notice that a lot of your content is focused on Europe.
You could use this opportunity to partner with a travel company specializing in budget travel to Europe. Or, you could pitch a sponsored post to a travel company that sells budget travel products. Either way, having a social media calendar helps you spot opportunities you might otherwise miss.
3. Improves Productivity
A social media calendar is an excellent tool for boosting your social media team’s productivity. It helps you organize your time as you plan out your posts, helping you stay on track and avoid wasting time.
Another way a social media calendar can help you to be more productive is by helping you to target your audience better. If you know when your audience is most active online, you can schedule your posts around those times to reach more people. And you get to do this consistently without repeating yourself.
By having a centralized place where you store all your content, you can easily refer back to older posts to ensure that you’re not duplicating any message.
4. Helps To Track Performance
When you post regularly, it’s easy to lose track of what’s working and what’s not. But when you have a calendar, you can see which posts performed well and adjust your strategy accordingly.
A social media calendar can help you track your overall performance by providing a central repository where you can see all your metrics. Such insights can help you identify patterns and areas for improvement.
Your total reach is another vital metric to track through your social media calendar. This data can help you determine which content goes viral or is shared most. Finally, a social media calendar can help you track your content strategy, and this can help ensure that your content is aligned with your goals and objectives.
5. Makes It Easier to Post Consistently
You must post consistently on social media to succeed with your marketing campaign. And it can be challenging to achieve that if you don’t have a plan. That’s where a social media calendar comes in. Scheduling your content in advance allows you to take holidays and weekends off without worrying about your social media presence.
With a calendar, you can map out your content in advance and make sure it’s aligned with your overall marketing strategy. This way, each piece of content works together to achieve your goals.
Social media can be overwhelming. But if you take the time to plan out your content in advance, it will be much easier to stay on top of things and avoid burnout.
6. Helps You to Create High-Quality Content
Using a social media calendar can help improve your content’s overall quality. When you have a plan for what you’re going to post, you can develop better content and avoid last-minute scrambling, which often leads to low-quality content.
This process ensures high-quality content because you have the time to research your topics thoroughly, find high-quality images, and proofread your posts.
Planning your social media posts also ensures you have a well-rounded mix of content types and topics. It can help you identify trends and insights to better understand what your audience wants and needs.
How to Plan a Social Media Calendar
1. Audit Your Social Networks and Content
The first step in creating a social media calendar is auditing your social networks and content. This task implies checking out all your online accounts to learn which social media platform drives the most engagement and traffic.
The audit also includes examining the content you share, the tone and voice of your content, and your posting frequency. This step will help you to understand what content you have and how your target audience receives it. It will also help you to understand what kind of content you need to create, which platforms to publish, and whether or not you need to make any changes to your social media strategy.
To audit your social networks and content, start by taking inventory of which social media networks you are active on and what content you have posted in the past. Taking inventory will give you a good starting point for understanding what you need to do in order to maintain a consistent presence across all of your social networks.
You’ll also need to assess your content strategy to ensure that it is aligned with your business goals. This will help you to determine what content is most important to your audience and how often you should post it.
2. Choose Your Social Channels and Content Mix
Now that you understand the different content types and social media channels, it’s time to choose which ones will work best for your business. This step can be daunting, but it’s important to remember that it’s not about choosing the “biggest” networks or the ones with the most users.
Instead, you need to consider your target audience and what social media channels they’re using. For example, if you’re a B2B company, LinkedIn might be a better choice than Facebook. Or, if you want to share more visual content, Instagram or Pinterest might be a better fit.
You also need to think about your business goals and what kind of content you want to create. For example, a business might want to increase brand awareness, so a content mix heavy on visual content (videos, pictures, or infographics) would be more effective. Or, if a business is looking to increase website traffic, a mix of case studies and blog posts would be more effective.
Ultimately, it is essential to have a mix of content types, from blog posts and articles to infographics and videos. More importantly, experiment with these content mixes and see what performs best on each platform.
3. Brainstorm Content Ideas That Reflect Your Brand
When brainstorming content ideas, the key is to think about what your brand stands for and how you want your customers to see you. Identify your core values and brainstorm content ideas that reflect those values.
At the same time, keep your content varied, so you’re not always talking about the same thing. It would also help to take a look at what your competitors are doing and see if there’s anything you can adapt or improve upon.
You must know your target audience to determine the best content type that will resonate with them. If you are yet to find out who your target audience is, develop a strong buyer persona by looking through customer data in your CRM system.
Alternatively, use the social listening feature of tools like Sprout Social and SocialPilot to investigate your audiences and their actions across multiple social media channels. For example, if social listening reveals that people often complain that your product is difficult to use, you can use such data to create instructional videos or how-to guides to teach them how to use your product.
Keyword research is another method to discover excellent content ideas. This strategy involves identifying the words and phrases people search for online when looking for your product or service. You’ll need SEO software like SEMrush, or Ahrefs to find out what’s popular in your industry or what your audience is looking for.
4. Plan Content Around Holidays, Special Events, or Trending Topics
If you want your content to perform well, you need to start planning it around holidays, special events, or trending topics. And that’s because people are generally more interested in topics that are timely and relevant.
The first thing to do when planning content around holidays and special events is to find out which holidays and special events are coming up that you could create content for. You can use a Google Calendar to keep track of upcoming events.
Once you’ve figured out the upcoming holidays, develop a list of potential topics. You can get plenty of ideas by pulling up data from Google Trends. This free tool shows you the most popular keywords amongst users during specific periods every year.
Ensure there’s variation in the content types you create for your holiday marketing campaign. This way, you can share your content with your target audience across multiple social media channels.
5. Decide How Often to Post
When creating your social media calendar, one of the most important decisions is deciding how often to post. And this decision can be tough because there’s no magic number of posts that guarantees success.
Ideally, your posting frequency depends on your social media marketing goals, your audience, and the platform you’re using. For example, if you’re trying to build a following on Instagram, you’ll need to post more often than if you’re just trying to maintain a presence on Facebook.
One way to decide how often to post is by trial and error. Test different posting frequencies and pay attention to the engagement metrics for each platform. This step will give you a good idea of how often your audience wants to hear from you.
If you’re just getting started, it’s better to err on caution and post less often. You can always increase your posting frequency if needed. Spreading your posts out over a week or month will help you avoid burnout and produce better content.
6. Plan the Best Times & Days to Post
Remember, the aim of creating social media posts is to reach as many potential customers as possible and engage existing ones. Thus, you must ensure your content is available when your audience is most active.
Every social media platform is different, and each has its unique user base. So, while one platform might be busiest on weekday mornings, another might be most active in the evenings. And while some platforms might be popular all week long, others might see a massive spike on weekends.
You can use a free tool like Sprout Social to find out when your audience is most active on social media. Once you’ve determined the period of maximum activity, you can start planning your social media calendar around those times.
You can also use trial and error to figure out when your audience is most active. Post at different times and on different days of the week, and pay attention to when you get the most engagement. Once you’ve pinpointed the best times for your audience, make a note of them in your social media calendar.
Endeavour to leave some flexibility in your schedule so you can post spontaneously when timely or newsworthy content ideas come up suddenly. Finally, remember to keep an eye on your analytics.
After posting for a while, take a look at your analytics dashboard and see how your social media posts are performing. This insight will help you fine-tune your posting schedule and ensure you’re posting at the best times for your audience.
7. Invite Your Team to Review, and Use Their Feedback to Improve
Now that you’ve planned your social media calendar, invite your social media team to review it. This step is essential because getting feedback from your team will help you improve the calendar and ensure it’s on track.
Start by sending an email to your social media team with a link to the calendar. Ask them to look at the calendar and give their feedback. After using their feedback to improve the calendar, send a revised version of the calendar back to your team.
Make it clear that you’re open to feedback and want to improve the calendar. Ask specific questions about what they like and don’t like. And encourage them to be honest. Then, thank them for their feedback.
Top 10 Tools You’ll Need to Plan Your Social Media Calendar
1. Google Drive
Google Drive is an excellent way to organize your social media calendar. You can create folders for each social media platform and then drag and drop your posts into the correct folder. This will keep your calendar organized and easy to navigate.
Additionally, it’s ideal for collaborating with your social media team. You can use Google Drive to share your calendar with your team so that they can access it and add their ideas.
One of the best things about SocialBee is that it’s designed to save you time. For example, let’s say you want to share a blog post on social media. With SocialBee, you can create a template for your blog posts and then quickly populate it with the new post’s information. Additionally, SocialBee makes it easy to track your performance over time to see what’s working and what’s not.
Trello is a great tool for planning your social media calendar if you want to get really organised. You can create boards for each month (or even each week) and then add cards for each post. You can add a title, description, due date, labels, and even attachments for each card.
You can also create checklists, which is great if you have a lot of details to include in each post. And if you’re working with a team, you can assign tasks to specific people.
4. Social Boost
Social Boost offers a suite of features to help you get the most out of your content. These features include a content calendar which allows you to plan, schedule and publish your content in one place. It also helps you to post content to your social media accounts automatically.
Its Social Inbox feature lets you stay on top of your social media communications with an inbox that collects all your mentions, comments, and messages in one place.
If you work with a social media team, you’d want to check out Basecamp. This project management software will help you keep track of deadlines, assigned tasks, and files in one place. You can create to-do lists, set up reminders, and even chat with your team members all in Basecamp.
So, here you have our top recommendations for planning your social media calendar. Of course, this is just a starting point, and many other great tools can help you streamline your social media marketing. But these tools mentioned above should give you a good headstart on creating a social media calendar that works for you and your business.