How long have you been hearing about social media content calendars? I reckon you heard this buzzword quite a lot in the past few years. So did I.
I have had a little bit of experience of building a content calendar when I was juggling social media content for several entities of mine such as a personal brand, an authority blog, and a YouTube vlog channel.
When you have gone through a process, it only makes it easier to explain to others with an authoritative voice. So I’m happy to report that you’re in safe hands.
I’m not sure whether or not you have dug deeper into the effectiveness of the social media calendar, not to mention how to create a content calendar for your brand.
So I decided to rip the band-aid right off. Not only would I explain it to you, but I’d also highlight the steps involved in creating a social media calendar.
Once you read this piece to the end, you’ll be able to put forth this content calendar concept to your team, but first things first, we need to make sure that everyone is on the same page.
If you just heard this “social media calendar” phrase in a virtual summit or a webinar, and have no idea what it is and how it works, then don’t worry because I’ve got you covered.
- 1 What’s a Social Media Content Calendar?
- 2 Why You Should Create a Social Media Calendar
- 3 A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Social Media Content Calendar
What’s a Social Media Content Calendar?
A social media content calendar is an online resource that encapsulates the entire social media publishing, schedule of a company or organization for a week, month, or year.
As far as the formatting of the social media content calendar is concerned, it’s usually made in a spreadsheet format through any social media management tool or Google Sheet.
You could come up with customized social media content calendar ideas or use the available social media content calendar templates. However, ContentStudio has a feature called Planner that does the same job. Sign up for the trial version of the ContentStudio tool to check it out.
If you’re curiously thinking whether or not you need a social media content calendar, then think about this: if you use social media to reach, engage, and attract more people, then the social media calendar could be of help.
Since many of you would prefer a freebie over a premium tool, so I’ll make sure to mention some of the download links to the content calendars that you can check out.
Before we hop on the steps of creating a social media content calendar, I want to share some key points on why you need such a calendar.
Why You Should Create a Social Media Calendar
A social media calendar could come in handy for lots of reasons. Let’s dig into this:
Organize your publishing schedule
It won’t hurt to put things in order. We all know how messy it becomes when we randomly post social media content on the go and want to keep up with the competition. It doesn’t work out this way. So organizing your publishing schedule is one of the main reasons why you need a social media content calendar.
Become more productive at work
Things could rapidly go off the rails if you have millions of things to look after at work. When you have a social media calendar in place, which means there is no rush to finish up a task to hop on social media to post content. When a team has a content calendar to follow, anyone from the team can jump to the driving seat and make it happen. Therefore, having a social media content calendar can surely increase your productivity at work.
One of the reasons why we don’t post on social media consistently is that we don’t have fresh content to share with our followers. Sure, you can repurpose your old content for social media but now and then, you need a flux of new content to feed your hungry followers. When your social media team is following a calendar, you could consistently post on social media because content creators would be on their toes to put out new content as per the content calendar.
Get more time to engage and interact
When you don’t have to worry about what to post on social media every day, you could spend some time interacting and engaging with your audience on social media. Listening to your followers goes a long way. A lot of influencers reply to their comments and try to build a connection with their followers.
Don’t miss out on important events
One of the perks of establishing a social media content calendar is that you may have more time to do other stuff. For instance, you can keep an eye on important events, occasions, and holidays. Events and public holidays are vital times for social media. People check up on social media to find out what’s happening around them and what their friends and relatives are up to.
Moreover, brands use the holiday season to get more eyeballs by offering discounts. Try to infuse important events and public holidays in your social media content creation, so that you could maximize on such important occasions.
Analyze the content performance
It’s highly unlikely that you keep putting out content without analyzing the performance and keep winning. Content analysis is a must when you’re creating and putting out any type of content on social media and blogs. When you have a calendar to follow, it becomes easier to keep going through the performance of your social media content.
A social media management tool like ContentStudio provides complete insights into your social media content. Check out the Analytics section of ContentStudio to see which social media posts are ahead of others.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Social Media Content Calendar
Ready to get started with creating your first-ever social media content calendar? Let’s do this:
1. Audit your popular content
Don’t hop on your social media scheduling right off the bat, take a deep breath and we’ll get there in a jiffy. Creating a social media calendar isn’t just about sharing or scheduling your social media content. Content creation is also an important part of the process.
Therefore, the very first thing you should do is to audit your popular content on the website as well as social media platforms. Analyzing your successful content would give you a sense of direction. It’s better to know what your audience wants before you go all-in with creating content.
Successful content is the type that is outperforming other content. It’s not rocket science to find your successful content. All you need is to check out the statistics and insights and voila.
Go through your social media insights separately or use the ContentStudio tool for social media management; it’ll help you analyze your social media content performance without being a social media guru.
Similarly, take a look at Google Analytics to find out the most popular pages on your blog.
It’ll give you an overview of what’s working for your brand. The purpose of auditing your popular content is to identify the top-performing content so that you could double down on the same approach and come up with more such content.
2. Ask your team for input
The team’s input is an integral part of the process. Maybe, someone wants to pitch an idea or someone spotted a viral trend on social media that could turn things around.
Creating a social media content calendar doesn’t mean the social media manager is the only person who gets to decide what goes into the calendar. Rather, it’s a team game so try to involve other team members in the process. Not only would it make your job easier, but the team members would also feel part of the operation.
It’s not just about the opinions on the subjects or topics to cover, but instead, it’s about creating a collaborative environment that brews employee empowerment and human resource development.
If you’re wondering what tool you should use to set up a collaborative system within your team, then here’s my take on this: you surely can try out Clickup or Asana or any other project management tool which might be another entry to your expenses list.
However, if you’ve already signed up for ContentStudio for your social media management, then you don’t need another tool for taking your team’s input. ContentStudio has an approval workflow system that allows your team to submit social media posts so that you could approve or reject them upon going through them.
I’m not necessarily pushing you ContentStudio, even though, you can sign up for the trial version for free to see how it works out for you.
All I’m saying is that your team’s input could be vital to creating a fantastic social media content calendar. As I said earlier, it’s a team game, so it doesn’t matter where an idea comes from, but what matters is that a great content idea shouldn’t get wasted just because there wasn’t any chance to float the idea.
Creating a social media content calendar is incomplete without having a crystal clear approach to choosing the right platforms. You can’t choose social media platforms on a whim. Instead, do some due diligence before deciding which route you want to take.
Sure, you can choose multiple social media platforms but don’t have to go overboard with it. Choose the social media platforms you’re familiar with or you have an audience engagement on because that’s what matters the most.
Here are a few essentials of choosing the social media platforms:
⦁ The target audience must exist on the platform:
If you choose a social media platform where your niche audience doesn’t exist, it won’t work no matter how hard you work on it.
⦁ You’ve already seen the traction:
Selecting the social media platform where you already exist is always a safe choice. You may know the platform inside out because you’re already putting out content there.
⦁ You must enjoy hanging out on the platform:
Everyone has a different flavor. So choose the platform according to your personality, character, and nature. For instance, Reddit is one of the biggest social media platforms on the internet. I know it’s a popular discussion platform, but I prefer Quora. It just feels right to me.
⦁ The type of content you like matters too:
If you hate being on the camera or don’t like to get involved in video-making whatsoever, but hop on YouTube, then it’s a mistake. Rather, you should be on the platform that’s right for you. If you love photography, choose Instagram instead.
So these were a few key factors to consider before checking the options on the social media platforms list.
Furthermore, go through your website analytics to see where you’re getting your social media traffic from. It’ll also help you determine what social media networks to focus on and what social media platforms aren’t doing well for you.
The reason why choosing your social media platforms is important is that it’ll reflect in your social media content strategy, which will be discussed in the next step.
The social media platforms selection does have a connection with a social media content calendar. It’s important to create content that is coherent with your brand’s persona. Having a content calendar in place provides an opportunity for the team to double-check the social media content that is being produced.
Since my tool of choice is ContentStudio that does everything related to social media management for me. I mostly post social media content to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
I have had a little bit of experience with creating a content calendar.
ContentStudio helps schedule content to all major social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest. It has a Planner tool that allows you to create a social media content calendar.
Moreover, you can manage blog publishing with ContentStudio as well. It enables you to post or schedule blog posts on WordPress, Tumblr, and Medium. Therefore, you could manage blog post publishing/scheduling through this Planner tool.
The point is that you must have a clear picture of what you want to post on social media as well as where you’re going to publish it. Figuring all this out beforehand would surely come in handy.
4. Map out the brand’s content strategy
The content calendar seems to be a simple chart that portrays blog post titles and social media posts, but in reality, a lot goes into building it behind the scenes. Suppose you haven’t had a chance to create a content plan, it’ll be impossible to put up things on the content calendar.
Therefore, pay close attention to such fundamentals of creating a social media content calendar for brands. To make things happen the right way, you need to carve out your brand’s content strategy before you get down to the content calendar tool.
Building a brand’s content strategy for a social media calendar doesn’t have to be scary. You know your brand persona, target audience, and product strengths, so all you need is to capitalize on all these things while crafting a content strategy.
I’ve written an in-depth piece on creating a B2B social media strategy in the past, which could help you in creating a brand’s content strategy. The idea encompasses the following things:
⦁ Figure out the population segment to target, meaning you can’t make a difference unless you determine who to target in the population. Brands who clearly understand their brand persona often end up reaching the right audience on social media.
⦁ Understand where they exist on social media. One of the fundamentals of creating a social media content strategy is to identify the righteous social platform to tap on. Otherwise, all you’d hear is crickets.
⦁ Create content that matters to them. It means you have to come up with top-notch content that entices the audience to take action in the form of a comment, like, or share.
⦁ Analyze what’s working for you. Don’t neglect the analytics no matter what type of content you’re putting out on social media. Keeping an eye on the analytics would help guide you to identify winner content.
There aren’t any hard and fast rules for creating a brand’s content strategy. However, some indicators influence the process.
Here are four key indicators that could make the job easier:
Are you ready? Let’s take a look:
I. Answering Industry-related Questions
Now and then, we stumble upon industry-related questions whether it’s on social media or Google’s autocomplete feature. Answering those burning questions through our content can surely turn things around. Not only would it bring more eyeballs around, but it could also assist brands in producing high-quality content for the audience.
II. Following Hot Trends on Social Media
Viral trends are okay to follow for the time being, but they don’t last long. Does anyone do ALS ice bucket challenge anymore? I’m afraid not. Have you ever heard of Google Trends? I’m pretty sure you’ve seen it. Just type in any keyword or phrase in Google Trends and see the popularity of that phrase or word.
III. Studying the Top-performing Content
Go to your both website analytics and social media insights to find out what content pieces are outperforming the rest of the content. You can always create content similar to your popular content to get more traction. A lot of brands are missing out on this opportunity.
IV. Responding to the Followers/Customers
If you have been neglecting social media engagement, meaning you don’t respond to the DMs and comments on social media, then it’s time to start paying attention to these things. You can simply take ideas for your next content from comments and messages you get from your followers. You can use those questions to create content afterward.
Mapping out a brand’s content strategy isn’t a difficult thing unless you don’t know what product or service you offer, which would be weird.
So don’t panic the next time your boss asks you to create a content plan for the social media calendar. You got this!
5. Use a content calendar tool to keep track
I’ve spent some time explaining what goes behind creating a content calendar. It would have been easier for me if I started by “selecting a content calendar tool” and get on with it, but I cracked open the whole thing to help you understand the basics.
Now you know some essential steps that will help you materialize a solid plan for a social media content calendar. Let’s jump to step #5, which is about using a content calendar tool.
A content calendar could be a chart for the whole month’s content that is posted next to your computer at work. I’m advocating creating a content calendar for your brand using a content calendar tool. A content calendar tool makes the whole process a lot easier.
When I think of a content calendar tool, it immediately reminds me of ContentStudio’s tool called Planner. The best thing about using Planner is that you don’t have to manage a content calendar through a different SAAS product. ContentStudio is a one-stop shop for your social media management.
Here’s what ContentStudio can do for you:
⦁ Provides Workspaces feature to manage social media for multiple brands
⦁ Allows Approval workflow for managing clients’ social media
⦁ Schedules blog publishing on WordPress, Medium, and Tumblr
⦁ Showcases Social media analytics to measure the performance
⦁ Offers the Planner tool for creating a content calendar
If you aren’t ready to invest in a social media marketing tool like ContentStudio, then don’t worry about it.
You still can do this. There are free content calendar spreadsheets available on the internet that you can use.
What you must focus on right now is that what you’re going to use a content calendar for, and that’s keeping track.
You’ll have the access to the following information at your fingertips:
⦁ What articles/videos have been published?
⦁ What’s the status of the content in the pipeline?
⦁ What’s going to be published on a specific day?
⦁ How much content is going to be published in a week or month?
⦁ How much traction are you getting on the previous content?
So these were some of the perks of creating and keeping track of a content calendar. Let me remind you that a tool like ContentStudio gives you an inside-out look at social media content.
6. Start posting or scheduling content
At this point, I’m sure you’ve developed your social media content calendar using the system/tool of your choice. I highly recommend trying out ContentStudio’s Planner.
There are several other standalone tools and WordPress plugins available for creating a content calendar, but Planner is a built-in solution inside a social media scheduling tool called ContentStudio.
One of the perks of using the Planner tool of ContentStudio is that it flawlessly integrates with the ContentStudio Analytics section, which means your content calendar also showcases social media statistics under the same tab.
Once you’ve developed your social media content calendar, let’s don’t stop here. Instead, go ahead and start posting or scheduling content.
One of the reasons why you created a content calendar is that you wanted to be organized so that you could consistently post on social media.
So try to create a wide variety of content such as blog posts for the blog, infographics for Pinterest, image posts for Instagram, and status for Twitter and Facebook, and see what works the best.
Will You Create a Social Media Content Calendar for Your Brand?
I’ve spent a few hours writing this blog post, and I feel that I’ve managed to provide enough details that even a beginner could come up with a social media content calendar now.
It doesn’t matter whether you have a small business or you’re working for a large organization — if you somehow using social media for business or marketing, you have to try out building a content calendar even to test it out. Let’s see how it works for you.
You might have heard this saying, “what gets written down, gets done.” I have no idea why creating a social media content calendar reminds me of that saying.
Perhaps, it’s the same thing; when you put it out on a calendar, either it’s ready to go live or sends the signal to the team to get it done.
The question is that, will you create a social media content calendar?
I’d love to know your answer with a reason.