Working on a social media strategy does not have to be overwhelming. Yes, it can be a ton of work and take tons of time, but if you are organized and take things step by step, you’ll have a social media calendar for the New Year ready in no time. The first thing you need is a template to work from (we’ll help you with that). The second is information. Let’s get you started on your path to a well thought out and effective social media calendar. Before you read on, take a few seconds to download our Sample Social Media Calendar. You can copy it, edit it to fit your needs, and make your social marketing easier than it has ever been.
What is a social media calendar?
It’s not as simple as saying it’s a calendar with your social media posts. The purpose of having a social media calendar is to help you stay organized when curating and creating content. Your Social Media calendar is there to keep you organized as you work out your editorial strategy for the year to come. It is there to help you always push out good content that is written in a way that will aid conversions and increase your return on investment.
Before you start thinking about what will go in your Social Media Calendar, you need to keep one thing in mind, simple is best. Anyone in your business or organization should be able to look at the social media calendar and easily implement it. How can you make sure your Social Media Calendar is easy to understand?
Organize it in a Monthly Basis
Have a separate section for each month’s activities. Then, break down the month into weeks and days.
Keep Track of Who Creates What
If there are multiple people collaborating on your Social Media calendar, make sure that each piece of content notes who it is created by. This way, if you ever have a question, you know who to ask.
Make Things Visual
If you’ve gotten to the point where you need a social media calendar, it probably means that you’ll be publishing to multiple social networks. Take the time to add icons or add colors for the social network you are working on so that when you are trying to find a Facebook post you’re not straining your eyes to figure out where it is at.
Why You Need A Social Media Calendar
If you’ve been posting to social media all willy-nilly, then you’re probably not getting results. You’re also putting yourself at risk. Why? Let’s break it down:
A Social Media Calendar Helps you Plan, Measure, and Analyze
Maybe it’s not even sub par content. Maybe you have gorgeous images with lovely write ups, but your content is still not performing right. It’s not getting likes, comments and shares. Now you’re starting to wonder if social media is worth it at all.
Having a social media calendar can help you plan. When you plan, you can measure. When you measure you can adjust things to make them work more efficiently. So come up with your target audience, then come up with your business goals, plan out your social media calendar, and each month take the time to measure. What should you measure?
Google Analytics: unique pageviews, number of clicks, and referral source.
Facebook: engagement, likes, comments, shares, clicks and reach
Twitter: favorites, retweets, mentions, clicks
Instagram: Engagement, likes, comments, clicks, reposts
Pinterest: Pins, repins, impressions, reach, clicks
LinkedIn: Post performance, page reach, engagement rate, demographics,
Once you’ve measured all these (should be done monthly, quarterly and yearly), then you will be able to adjust things. Maybe your posts aren’t performing well because of your publishing time. Or maybe you thought your audience was made up of a certain demographic, but it is not. Having a social media calendar and doing a deep dive on analytics can make you a much more powerful marketer.
Promoting Important Holidays
Have you ever forgotten your mom’s birthday? You probably got in trouble. In the least you hear about it at every single holiday. Imagine you forget to push out a promotion for a sale for your business. Suddenly, your return on investment drops and you can’t stop thinking about this. If you have a calendar, then you won’t forget anything.
Before you start creating content, sit down and look at the calendar (super easy to do if you have Socialdaft). Then think about each date and how it works with your business. Keep in mind that if you are pushing an promotion for Black Friday. You need to look at that calendar, check out the weeks before hand and think of how those days will affect your marketing. Think about when you need to push out your first post for the promotion. You need to think about how to adjust your time and your writer’s time so that blogs come out in time for your promotions. You need to think about evergreen content that can be reused. This is all much easier to do when you have a content calendar in front of you.
DOWNLOAD: Sample Social Media Calendar
Collaborating with Your Writers
Even if you run a small business, there is someone creating content. Maybe that’s you. Maybe it’s a VA or an intern. Maybe you have a professional SEO writer. No matter which set you fall into, you need to make that the time and money spent creating content is being maximized. If your content writer is running around like a chicken without a head, their (or your) work product will be inconsistent and the quality will decline. It makes no sense to put out any piece of content that is not optimal. That is what will happen if you ask your writers for a 500 page SEO optimized blog for the next day.
If you have a social media calendar, you can share it with your writers. This way they will have an idea of the type of content you need and when. Then, begin to assign their writing tasks. The sooner you do this, the better prepared they will be and the better content they will create for you. A social media calendar will also help you to prioritize. Are there pieces of content that are more important or time sensitive? Assign those first.
Keeping your Social Media Publishing Balanced
We all have a favorite social network. What tends to happen if you don’t have a social media calendar is that you’ll give that one tons of love and neglect all others. This can result in you not reaching your target audience and not getting results. Now that you have a calendar and you have an idea as to when each piece of content is coming out, spend a few seconds planning out which social networks you want to promote them to. Think about your audience, the past performance of similar posts on the various networks, and plan out the schedule so that you are properly marketing on social media and not neglecting networks that could have much value to you.
Having time to properly execute
Brilliant ideas are great, but sometimes, coming up with the perfect social media post for that idea takes a long time. This means there is research involved and suddenly you’re behind on schedule or end up with a piece of content that is sub par. If you have a content calendar, then you can do plenty of research before you set a due date. With a social media calendar, your writer will be able to gauge just how knowledgeable they are on the subject, and will be able to estimate how long research and writing will take.