Top Tips for Creating a Social Media Content Calendar
By now you’ve probably heard of a social media content calendar, and you might be picturing complex spreadsheets or an expensive application. But your social media content calendar can be relatively simple or only as detailed as your business needs it to be. Having a social media content calendar prevents last minute panic attacks when you need to post something and your brain just isn’t working with you for something post-worthy, and it enables you to match your social content with campaigns the rest of the marketing and sales departments are running for a cohesive message from all points of the company. Believe us, the time you spend organizing your social media content will be well worth it, and you’ll end up saving time in the end.
So where to begin?
Social Media Audit
The first thing you’ll want to do is take a comprehensive look at what you have been doing on social until now. You can look at Facebook Insights, or in the analytics sections of Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, or any other platform you are using. This gives you a good idea of what kinds of content you usually post, along with some insights into what sorts of post are getting the most engagement. Try to put the posts into 4 or 5 buckets; maybe sales promos, company news, employee highlights, local news, and inspirational quotes (or whatever makes sense for your company). See how well these different types of posts are doing, and think about what other kinds of posts you’d like to start making (maybe you want to add a bucket). Keep these buckets in mind for later. Also take a look at popular hashtags in your industry, and note them down for use in your calendar. You may also want to take a look at the social media of some of your competitors for some inspiration.
Create a posting schedule
When you completed your social media audit, you will have noticed some trends, either in your company, your industry, or on a specific platform. These trends can be things like days/times with most engagement, when your competitors post, or the fact that you get more engagement on Facebook than LinkedIn. You need to use these trends to build your content calendar. There are some social media experts who recommend posting as often as possible to ensure your company is always top of mind, while others insist that you only post when you have valuable information for your audience. There’s usually a perfect middle ground for each company, and you’ll have to adjust your calendar to reflect what you learn by monitoring your social channels. There are many templates, such as this one from Hootsuite or this one from Hubspot, and you can absolutely create your own. Just make sure it has a full month of content and a way to differentiate between your buckets of content and social media channels. It’s often helpful to have the author responsible for the content listed as well, but that’s not necessary if it’s a one-person show. Look at the trends you have found and use them to schedule your posts on each channel at the right time. It’s also the case that you might not post everything on every channel, and that’s totally fine! You need to do what works with your content and your audience.
Tracking your social media efforts
The only way you will be able to dial in your optimal social media calendar is by tracking and analyzing your posts over time. The first month of your calendar, work off the trends you discovered, and then start tracking how well the posts do. Are the posting times right? Is the channel for the content the best one? Look at your engagement over the course of the month and see if there are patterns. You can optimize for these patterns in the next month’s calendar. Also remember that you can reuse popular content. Create a social content library with some of your most popular content and you can reuse this content later in the year. There’s no need to recreate the wheel every time you make a post. Look at what hashtags did the best, and note them down as well. They may be different than the ones you started off with, so you can use them from now on. Now is also the time to see if there were any patterns in engagement with the types of graphics that were used. Do non-branded graphics perform better? Does having a light watermark in a corner seem to do the trick? You can use these insights to modify going forward.
A social media content calendar can save you headaches and a freak out when the inspiration just isn’t coming to you when it’s time to make a post. It takes some preparation, but it’s the best way to dial in your social media content on the different channels to maximize engagement. Contact us if you want some help with creating your social media content calendar!