SOCIAL MEDIA CONTENT CALENDARS
A social media content calendar is an essential tool used to support an overall social media marketing plan. It is no play on words and is exactly what it sounds like; a pre-planned calendar with important social media dates for your particular business type. A social media content calendar is a map of events throughout the year around which content is planned.
Imagine tomorrow is International Donut Day. Everyone has gone home, content providers are offline, your video team is off recreating, and you have nothing. You either miss out on a marketing opportunity or the ensuing mad scramble produces average-quality content. In both cases, your business will suffer, and nobody wants their business to suffer.
A social media content calendar provides sufficient warning about approaching marketing opportunities. Your team can be well-organized and ready in advance. The ideal material can be produced, edited, and prepared for release with confidence.
Let’s look at why your business should use a social media content calendar.
8 REASONS WHY A SOCIAL MEDIA CONTENT CALENDAR IS IMPORTANT FOR YOUR BUSINESS
A recent survey by the Content Marketing Institute found that the most successful marketers of 2017 had a well-documented content marketing strategy. This includes an ample social media calendar that supports the larger media marketing campaigns.
1: NEVER BE LATE OR MISS A DATE
A content calendar should include all dates of importance to your business. Product launches, holidays, and events specific to your business are some of the things that need to be tracked. By establishing these essential dates beforehand, you’ll never have to produce lacklustre work due to lack of preparation.
2: TRACK PERFORMANCE
A calendar is a great place to document performance. This includes establishing how holidays affect your business. For instance, if your brand is B2B and you know your audience will not be at work because of a holiday, an efficient use of resources would be to repost older content, rather than publish new material. This way, you keep your original content for when it can be used most effectively.
3: BE ORGANIZED
Social media calendars keep your publishing schedule well-organized. Efficiency is the name of the game and a calendar not only helps you remember important dates, but tells you what you’re publishing, as well as when and where.
Content calendars ensure that you apply the same cadence to each of your social channels and stick with it. It is important to have a cohesive image. Consistency is key. You need to make sure you don’t pay too much attention to one network while neglecting others.
5: EASY COLLABORATION
With a social media calendar, your whole team is on the same page at the same time. You may be sharing with stakeholders or updating your entire team of collaborators. In any instance, the content calendar is the touchstone of truth for your what, when, and where of publishing. When using cloud-based platforms like Google Sheets or Excel in Dropbox, collaboration is especially easy.
6: TIME SAVING
Calendars are inherently efficient and can supply answers at a glance. This useful tool will remind you when to push new content, share evergreen assets, or curate items from other creators. Well-organized pre-planning of content will save you time in the long-run.
7: PLANNING AHEAD
Effectively allocating resources means you will rarely miss a deadline. Assigning your copywriters and video team their tasks well in advance leaves plenty of time for research, creation, and publishing. A content calendar makes sure your content is of the highest quality and is always published precisely on time.
8: ANALYZE YOUR CONTENT STRATEGY
Freeing-up time provides more opportunities for analyzing performance. Rather than frantically producing content, time can be spent finding out what really works for your business. Knowing what your audience wants to see will increase your overall success rate.
Carefully structured, clear frameworks surrounding your campaigns means you are more likely to notice patterns. For example, by establishing how and why some posts outrank others, you can determine optimal post times and find out who your audience really is. Ultimately, a clearer understanding of your audience means you can duplicate what really works.
HOW TO CREATE A SOCIAL MEDIA CONTENT CALENDAR:
1: CONSIDER YOUR AUDIENCE
Your best content always starts with your audience. It is important to know every aspect of your potential customers.
You can’t know and understand every single person in your audience, but you can construct customer archetypes. Your target demographic – what they look like, their goals and dreams, even their weaknesses can be more easily grasped. Creating ideal customer personas allows you to identify and evaluate relevant types of content, well in advance of publication.
Mapping your existing audience and creating more of the content they want to see remains important. Aspirational personas let you explore ways of appealing to new customers you want to attract. Creating content calendars allows you to construct content that suits your existing customer base, but appeals to your target demographic as well.
2: CREATE RESONATING CONTENT
In order to create content that resonates, you need to know what works and what doesn’t. Examining reactions to previous content lets you know what success looks like. Ask yourself these 5 basic questions to gauge the success of past content.
- What content received the most likes?
- What content received the most shares?
- What content received the most comments?
- What content received the highest engagement rate?
- What content received the most views?
3: AUDIT CONTENT
After identifying what works and what doesn’t, it is time to examine what content you have in your library. Your business may produce diverse content like blog posts, videos, and webinars. Within these categories may contain how-to’s, Q&A’s, listicles, and more. Asking yourself these 4 questions will help uncover potential evergreen material that will form the core of your content calendar.
- What is still useable?
- What can be updated?
- What can be repurposed?
- What can be reused?
4: MAJOR EVENTS OVERVIEW
When creating your calendar, you must determine the most important dates and events. Whether you are using a spreadsheet, doc, or real calendar, mark important dates throughout the year. Some examples of dates that are important to many businesses include:
- Holidays – big and small, local, national, and international
- Product launches
- Annual events and features
- Relevant yet novel celebrations like King Tut Day or International Tongue Twister Day
5: EBB & FLOW
If your business is affected by seasonal lulls in activity, mark these fluctuations on your calendar. If you know things will slow down at a certain time, planning accordingly promotes efficient use of resources. Reducing the amount of content published during downtime means saving the best content for times of high traffic.
6: THE NITTY GRITTY
Now you have the bare bones of your calendar laid out; holidays and other special marketing opportunities are highlighted. You also have a library of evergreen content. Now it’s time to figure out the processes of your calendar.
How often are you going to publish on each social network?
What content categories and which types of content will you use? When should original material be published vs content shared from other networks?
A good rule of thumb is the 80:20 rule. This is a ratio of informative, helpful, and interesting content to straightforward marketing material. Obviously, your audience on social channels doesn’t want to exclusively see marketing material, therefore only ⅕ of your content should be direct advertisements.
7: NEW IDEAS
You will need to determine a strategy for the generation of new content ideas. This could involve monthly brainstorming sessions, boot camps, or whatever idiosyncratic, creative environment you choose for your business type. Plug new ideas and assignments into the editorial calendar.
From here, identify and share your quality content. If you are a sole trader, you are going to be busy. If you are a business, allocate a person who will be responsible for updating the calendar and scheduling content for social networks.
8: CREATING & SCHEDULING CONTENT
Now that the planning work is done, it is time for the fun stuff. All your major events are laid out and you have a process for content execution. It is finally time to create suitable content.
Start by strategizing, using major themes throughout the year. Map your chosen themes into your calendar. Once larger themes are decided upon, it is time to determine detailed content pieces. Remaining flexible and responsive to the market means not detailing more than a month ahead. Unforeseen circumstances like the death of a prominent individual can turn content into a waste of resources.
IT’S EASY WHEN YOU KNOW HOW
Plan. Schedule. Create. Three easy steps to an effective social media content calendar. With a little organization, your team will be able to create and publish high-quality content on time, every time.