In this time and age, if your brand is still not marketing on social media, you are missing out on a lot of potential customers and opportunities. With around 270.1 million active users in the US alone, social media is one of the most powerful channels to engage with your customers and attain brand loyalty.
However, with the fast-paced and continuously changing landscape of social media, it can be difficult to keep up with the trends and create content that is relevant to your audience. Not to mention, keeping up with the various requirements of each platform.
That’s where a content calendar comes in. Without a content calendar, you risk your social media presence becoming dormant, which can lead to a loss of followers and engagement. But how exactly do you create an effective one that will help drive traffic to your site and grow your brand? Let’s find out!
What Exactly Is a Social Media Content Calendar?
For those who aren’t quite familiar with the concept, a social media content calendar is a schedule or plan that details the topics and posting times of your content. Think of it as a map that will guide your social media strategy. This will help you ensure that your content is timely and relevant to current trends, and that your pages aren’t left inactive for too long.
Why Should You Have One?
“I’ve already planned my posts for next week in my head, why bother creating a content calendar?”
While winging it may be okay for some, in the long run, you’re likely to find yourself struggling to keep track of all the content you need to post per platform without a content calendar. And if that does not convince you enough, here some more perks that come with having a content calendar:
It Helps You Stay Organized
Creating and sticking to a content calendar helps you ensure that your posts are created and published in a timely and organized manner. This is extremely important for businesses that want to stay on top of the competition and maintain a consistent communication with their followers.
It Lets You Streamline Your Team’s Workflow
If you have a team working on your blogs and social media posts, a content calendar lets everyone know what needs to be done and when it should be published. This helps to avoid any confusion or overlap in content, and ensures that everything gets done just in time for your deadlines.
It Keeps Everyone on the Same Page (Literally)
If you’re working with external freelancers or guest writers, ensuring that they stay on track with your schedule is crucial to the success of your content marketing strategy. Through a content calendar, you can easily communicate with these individuals and give them the information they need to create quality content that stays true to your brand.
It Helps You Find New Opportunities
By analyzing your content calendar, you can see what topics and formats are performing the best and use this information to create similar content down the road. Not only does this help you save time, but it also allows you to focus on creating quality content that your audience loves.
It Keeps Your Schedules Consistent
Without a content calendar, you’re more likely to forget about certain social media platforms or post haphazardly, which can lead to inconsistencies in your posting schedule. While this may be fine for personal accounts, this can have a negative impact on your brand as your avid followers might start to lose interest and move on to others that provide them regular updates and relevant content.
It Allows for More Visual Inspiration
From photos to memes and infographics, visual content is one of the most popular forms of content on social media. By having a calendar in place, you can easily identify upcoming events and holidays that might be great opportunities for visual content. In addition, if you’ve been posting on social media regularly, you can also look back and see which visuals performed well in order to replicate that success.
Your Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Social Media Content Calendar
Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of creating your social media content calendar. Some steps may seem intimidating at first, but once you get into a groove, you’ll find that it’s really not as complicated or time-consuming as it seems.
Assess Your Brand’s Needs
Before you start creating content, it’s important that you understand your brand’s needs. What are your business goals for the next quarter or year? What does your target audience want to see? What kind of content will help you achieve those goals? Once you have a good understanding of what your brand needs, you can choose the right platforms and types of content to help you accomplish those business goals.
Choose Your Primary Platforms
Speaking of choosing the right platforms, you can’t just create a content calendar for all of your social media accounts. Each platform has different strengths, so your focus should be on the ones you believe will benefit your brand the most. For example, if you’re a B2B company, LinkedIn would be a great platform to focus on, whereas if you’re a consumer-focused brand, Instagram or Facebook would likely be better suited for your needs.
Choose Your Tools
Once you have finalized the platforms you want to focus on, it’s time to choose the tools you’ll use to finally craft your content calendar. If you’re the type who enjoys creating spreadsheets on Google Drive or Excel, you’ll probably enjoy color coding and organizing everything to your heart’s content.
However, if you prefer something a little more user-friendly, there are plenty of great content calendar templates from different sites such as the following as listed by Influencer Marketing Hub:
List Down Your Priorities
Which days of the week are you going to post? What will your topics be? How often do you want to publish content? Once you have answers to these questions, you can start filling in your calendar.
It may also be helpful to designate a certain topic on each day so that you know what to write about. For example, if Mondays are meant for motivational quotes and Wednesdays are filled with tips on entrepreneurship, knowing this beforehand can help make the content creation process much smoother.
Take Note of the Dates That Matter
Marketing is all about connecting to people and one of the best opportunities you can do so is by acknowledging special dates that matter to them. These can include holidays and seasons that your target audience celebrates, as well as anniversaries related to your brand.
According to Clipchamp, these are some of the most important dates content creators should not miss:
- Super Bowl- February 1
- Valentine’s Day- February 14
- St. Patrick’s Day- March 17
- Easter Sunday – April 17
- Mother’s Day- May 9
- Pride Month- June 1 to 30
- Halloween- October 31
- Christmas- December 25
And the list goes on, so be sure to review your calendar at least once a month and note those dates that are close-by. With these in mind, you’ll be able to post timely content whenever they’re approaching.
Always Keep an Eye on Trends
As mentioned earlier, social media changes all the time. New platforms are constantly emerging, new features are being added, and what’s popular today might not be popular tomorrow. Thus, while having a calendar can help keep you on track, you should always be ready to make changes whenever necessary.
Flexibility is key when it comes to content creation, so don’t be afraid to experiment from time to time. Try out new content formats and see how your audience responds to them. You can also assign a day in every batch of your fortnightly or monthly content calendars for posts that are based on current trends such as memes and relevant events.
Brainstorm With Your Team
Creating your calendar doesn’t have to be a solo effort. As long as you’re working with people who understand your brand, you can use this as an opportunity to brainstorm and collaborate ideas with your team.
Have a regular weekly or monthly meeting where you can discuss upcoming campaigns as well as existing content that’s performing well. You can also use this time to think of ways to improve your calendar moving forward.
Plan at Least a Month in Advance
June is just around the corner, how ready are you?
While it may seem intimidating to map out content that far in advance, doing so can actually help streamline the process. It also saves you from feeling overwhelmed as the date draws nearer.
Monitor Your Progress and Adjust As Needed
You don’t just create a content calendar and then call it a day. Just like with any other marketing strategy, you need to track your progress and see if there are any areas that need improvement. Are your Monday motivational posts getting the most engagement? Is your current format working well for you?
Keep in mind that creating a content calendar is an ongoing process, so be sure to frequently review your progress and make the necessary adjustments along the way.
Today’s Your Day One!
That’s right! There’s no better time to get started than now! While crafting a content calendar for your social media pages can be a bit challenging, the benefits it can bring to your business are well worth it.
So what are you waiting for? Take these tips into consideration, muster all your creativity, and start filling up that calendar!