Do you find yourself scrolling on the internet, looking for some social content to post because you have run out of ideas on what to post today?
Thinking about what to post each day on your social media accounts can be quite challenging., especially without a plan! That is why I’m going to introduce to you a lifesaver called a social media calendar. And yes… I have a free one you can grab if you subscribe to my email list, it’s in my ‘super secret google drive folder’ full of resources. Can’t find it? Send me an email and I’ll send it directly to you! (email@example.com)
Ok… so why do you need to have a social media calendar?
A social media calendar is an organized and planned schedule for your content. It’s otherwise known as an ‘editorial calendar’, and is an invaluable roadmap for your small business. It states what to post, and where and when you will publish it. It is the ultimate best friend of many social media managers out there as well! If you have hired a social media manager, make sure they have a social media calendar for you to look at and approve. It allows you to visualize your social media content for the month or for the whole year (we use a yearly template here on the EDS team because we like to be able to plan campaigns around events that we know will happen in the future for our business). With the constant flow of content, news and ideas, it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day of managing multiple social media accounts.
Here are some reasons why you need a social media calendar;
- It helps you to be (and stay!) organized
Making a social media calendar lets you plan ahead and helps to keep you on track. Scribbling your content ideas on a random piece of paper or searching for some generic quotes at the last minute before posting is seriously not a reliable method, it might work in the short term, but it will not help you identify a strong strategy for social media success. Having a content calendar gives you a better perspective of your overall marketing strategy as well. You know what type of content to create and share, and can also avoid gaps in your content to see if you’re focusing too much on one topic and neglecting something else that could be creating massive visibility for you or your products and services.
- You can post consistently (because your schedule will force you to) 😉
Posting consistently is one of the keys to growing your organic reach and showing up to new audiences. Having a content calendar helps you to achieve the consistency of relevant and entertaining content that your audience will love and come back for.
- You can avoid posting the same message
When you’re in a hurry to post something, you may randomly pick topics without realizing you have already posted the same content a short time ago. Things like this can hurt your engagement if it’s too soon sharing the exact same content . A content calendar helps you spot those kinds of mistakes and allows you to create new and fresh relevant content.
Note: this doesn’t mean you cannot recycle and repurpose content. Even giving your content a fresh new image will make it appear new to your peeps.
- Helps you plan your overall social media marketing strategy
Your content calendar plays a big role in your social media marketing strategy. You can see what kind of post works successfully for your brand, and what ones might be a total flop. If you’re planning to advertise your page, it is important to choose your best performing organic content. Your content calendar should include space for you to track likes and engagement on specific posts so you can highlight what worked really well for you. You will want to duplicate those ones!
- Keeps you from ending up in total stress mode
A hectic schedule can sometimes lead you to miss the important dates in your business. Having a content calendar, which was planned in advance will inform you of what’s coming up, so that you can prepare pieces of content or do promotions related for the occasion without stressing out last minute.
How To Create a Social Media Content Calendar
Now that you know the reasons why it is important to have a social media content calendar, it is time for you learn how you can make one.
These are some of the best practices that can guide you in making your very own content calendar.
- Do a social media audit first
Go over the things that you have posted in the past and see what kind of posts performed the best with highest engagements from your audience. To do this you need to use social media analytics tools (like facebook or instagram insights for example). Once you have the comprehensive information about the kind of content, the hashtags and the keywords used, you can use this information to plan your content. This would be a very basic audit, and you might wish to find a more robust audit template to track followers, growth, profile optimization etc.
- Set your goals
To make an effective social media calendar you must know what is your goal? This is likely different for different platforms too! Are you planning to produce new leads? Direct readers to your website? Grow your followers in Facebook and Instagram? Setting your goals inside of your social media calendar can give you a clear idea of expected results. You can decide when to post and what is the right platform and format for your content once you are clear on your intended results.
- Choose Your Tool(s)
There are numerous tools available for you to create and manage a content calendar. It can be a simple Spreadsheet or a complex one using a content calendar software.
You could use any of the following;
- Google Sheets (this is what we use)
- Google Calendar
- Microsoft Excel
- Hootsuite Planner
There are many more tools, this is just a small sample of available options. Choose whatever is the easiest for you to manage and don’t choose something that’s so complicated that you will never use it.
- Add Your Content Ideas
Now that you have chosen a tool or software, it is now time for planning – Woohoo!. List down all your social media content ideas and categorize them (use our content buckets planning sheet to generate 30 days of content ideas in ten minutes or less!). Think of how often you want to post according to your goals. You can now fill your calendar with your content ideas and themes. Add a variety of content to keep it interesting, it can be promotions, sharing blog posts, about you, or your workplace just to name a few. Make sure you touch on each of your content buckets throughout each week. Think of your calendar as your roadmap of themes and ideas. This isn’t the place you store your actual planned post copy, that lives elsewhere in your social media content document.
Now that you have your content ideas laid down in the calendar and planned, the only thing left to do is to craft your content – the magic is here! Keep in mind, there are several ways to create a social media calendar, and it actually depends on what works for you. A well planned social media calendar helps you to save time, and you can use that time to focus on the other aspects of your social media marketing strategy, or if you’re like me and have 4 kids running around, you can use all that time you save to play with those little ones 🙂
If you want to level up your content marketing game, I have a new program soon! Email me to join the waitlist 😉 firstname.lastname@example.org
Or if you’re looking for the quickest way possible to get a head start on your social media content, you can join ‘Confident with Content™ the Community here: https://www.emptydesksolutions.ca/confident-with-content-the-community/