How to Create a Social Media Calendar

When working on a social media campaign, be you a business owner, Social media intern, freelancer, or advertising firm, you need to take the time to create a plan for your social media efforts. This will include creating a social media calendar.  Creating a social media calendar will make it so you can measure your results, get engagement, and generate ROI (return on investment) from your efforts.

If you’ve been working in Social Media for a while, you’ve probably heard people tell you…but you just play on Facebook all day. You and I both know that just because it only takes a few moments to check out a social media post…that it doesn’t just take a few seconds to write one. Sometimes it takes an hour, sometimes it takes days…

CSV social media calendars are great for clients who need approval

Why You Need To Use a Social Media Calendar

While in Social Media you need to have authenticity, this does not mean that you need to be tied to your computer, tablet, or smart phone all day. The whole idea of a Social Media calendar is that you have clear, defined goals; and that you are going to create posts to convey and achieve this goal…while realizing that at time things change…and that you may need to go in, edit, and/or re-schedule according to whatever is happening that day. It would be rather difficult and time consuming if you worked Social Media without an editorial calendar. The calendar you’re going to create is going to keep you organized, save you time, and get you results.

Not all of your Social Media posts will be scheduled. You will also be responding to other’s posts, interacting with influencers, or crafting posts on the spot to ride on the popularity of whatever relevant thing is trending at the moment…but you need that social media calendar to set the tone of your campaign.

How to Create A Social Media Calendar

With Socialdraft there are two ways you can easily set up your Social Media Calendar via CSV or right on our drag & drop calendar…but before we get to that. Let’s begin with the planning stages of setting up your Social Media calendar.

1. Set up the Content Creating Process

Have a clearly defined goal and keep this in front of you while crafting your posts
Come up with a concept for your communications – a theme
Craft the copy for your post
Edit your post
Proof your post (Grammarly is a great tool for this).
Craft your image – posts with images perform way better than plain posts – if you’re not a Photoshop wiz, we recommend you use Canva or WordSwag – our two favorite tools

2. Scheduling Your Posts

If you aren’t using a system like TrueTime™ (which pulls from your Social Media account’s analytics to get the best posting times), you will need to look at your social media analytics and analyze the optimal times your posts get engagement. We recommend that if, for example, Facebook tells you that 2:15 pm is the best time for you to post on Wednesday that you post at 2:10 pm. This will give you a little cushioning and make sure that people see your posts.

Now you need to decide how often you are going to post each published piece. Each social network works differently. Let’s break them down:

Facebook: Depending on your demographics and audience, you should be posting an average of 3-10 times per week. We suggest starting with 7 posts, one per day, and testing to see what is working best for you. With Facebook, you are competing with your audience’s friend’s baby pictures, all those buzzfeed “and you won’t believe what happened next” type articles, as well as with companies that have the money to advertise on Facebook. This means you need to keep a few things in mind:

1. Posting Time is Incredibly Important: Use TrueTime™ or do a deep dive of analytics to a/b split your optimal posting times.

2. Be Captivating: Easier said than done, but you need to be damn charming to get your audience’s attention.

Twitter: You should be posting to Twitter at least 5 times a day. Why? Twitter has a transient nature. Things that are posted now quickly get moved down the funnel and lose visibility. This also means that you can and should duplicate posts so that all of your audience has a chance to see it (our duplicate post feature is awesome here). Just keep the 80/20 rule in mind. Only 20% promotional content. This means you should be sharing content from influencers in your industry, shareable information, and spending lots of time interacting.

LinkedIn: There are two facets of LinkedIn; your personal profile, and your business page. You should post 2-5 times per week to your business page, and at least once daily to your personal page. Keep things professional here. Keep the memes to a minimum and make sure that all your links are formatted properly so you lose no potential business. You can use Socialdraft to schedule posts to both your personal and business pages.

Google+: Let’s be honest here. Nobody is really on Google+, but none of us can afford to take the chance that the big G will count these posts when it comes to SEO. Post to G+ 3-5 times per week just to be safe.

Instagram: Instagram yields great ROI. Luckily for you, you can get away with posting once daily. Be consistent in this and spend your time interacting. Follow people, like their photos, and comment on their content. This is where you will get the most out of all those gorgeous photos you take. With Instagram, time really varies by industry. Some thrive late at night, others in the morning, others during the day…so it really depends on you testing what works best for the demographic you are looking to reach.

Measure Your Process

Once you’ve created a few posts, you should have a good idea of how long the process of pushing out one piece on all social networks will take you. This will allow you to look at the process and see how you can save some time…as well as set time aside for this content creation.

This will take a little longer if you work with clients or bosses who require approval, so keep this in mind as you figure out your timing.  This is where the Socialdraft calendar and CSV bulk posting both come in.

Socialdraft Drag & Drop Calendar: If you work with/for someone who must approve your posts, you can work directly on our calendar. When you’re done, export the calendar. It will come up as a PDF (with clickable links) and you can send this to the person for approval. Once they send the approval back, you can simply edit directly on the calendar.

Socialdraft CSV Calendar Upload: If you work with a stricter partner/boss/client, you can work directly on a CSV (downloadable from your dashboard) and send that in for approval. Once you get feedback and make changes, you can simply upload the CSV to the dashboard and it will generate the posts onto the calendar…these can be edited at any time before posting.

Start Generating Content

Now that you have a good idea of how your process works you need to begin strategizing…but not just on your content, but on the content that is going on around you. What is relevant to your industry? Are there trade shows, local events, holidays? What is of interest to you demographic and target audience that you can use to indirectly promote your brand. Make a list and then work your content around this. Think ahead of time…that’s the nice thing about a Social Media schedule, you can plan months ahead…and edit if need be.