Have you been trying to create an effective social media calendar? Well, you’re at the right place. This guide will highlight the steps involved in creating a social media content calendar that works in 2022.
It’s true that, on the surface, social media management seems all too simple. But it is only when you try your hands at it that you realize the complexity of coming up with content ideas and posting them on social media. Not to mention, the social media content that you create and the social campaigns you plan can end up completely unsynchronized.
The good news is, a social media content calendar can save you from all of this, and more, by automating and organizing your social media process, making the entire show convenient to run.
A social media content calendar gives you a bird’s eye view of your social content: what you’ll be posting, which channels you’ll be posting on, your posting schedule, and so on. With the organization that comes with an editable social calendar, you can save time and maintain consistency in posting on social media.
So, in this post, we’ll talk about the nuts and bolts of creating a social media content calendar. We’ll also shine a brighter light on how an editable calendar can help you, which content calendar software you can use to create one, and more.
Let’s get to it.
What is a social media content calendar?
A social media content calendar is a calendar that organizes all your social content. It layouts the content topics, publishing dates, and social media sharing schedule to assist social media and content marketing team members. It can be made on Google Sheets, Spreadsheets, or on content calendar software.
Why Should You Create a Social Media Content Calendar?
A social media content calendar improves your social media workflow and makes it easier for you to have no issues with your processes. Without content planned in advance, you’re likely to feel overwhelmed and end up struggling in coming up with content ideas.
When a content calendar is followed, teams inside an organization, such as social media and content marketing departments get on the same page. It gives team members a collaborative environment to sync and put out content more effectively.
A social media calendar also helps you be consistent and keeps your brand at the top of your audience’s mind. Most of all, a calendar helps you plan ahead, leaving you with time to respond to customers’ comments, queries, and mentions.
What do you need to create a social media calendar?
You can’t just sit in front of an open social media calendar and expect to fill it up randomly with any ideas pouring in. Instead, before you get started, you’ll need:
- A full-fledged social media content plan that includes notes on your brand’s voice and an account of the social profiles you will use.
- A complete understanding of your social media goals for the month and quarter.
- Your buyer’s persona so you can create content that resonates with your audience.
- A full account of the type of content you’ll share on social media.
- An overview of how often you’ll post on each network you are using.
If you have a big team with visual designers, copywriters, a social media manager, a marketing manager, and more, you should choose an interactive social media planner tool such as the one that ContentStudio offers.
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Since ContentStudio offers an editable social media content calendar, you can view, accept, reject and edit posts easily. This cuts down the chances of sending out wrong or error-filled content.
How to Create a Social Media Content Calendar [Step-by-step Guide]
Before getting started, decide whether you want to create a weekly calendar or a monthly one. If you’re a beginner, start by creating a weekly calendar so that you can get to grips with creating a social calendar. Then, move on to making a monthly one.
Note that it doesn’t help to plan far ahead into the year because content trends keep changing, and your calendar needs to be flexible enough to accommodate them.
With that being said, let’s walk you through the steps to create a social media calendar:
Step 1: Audit your popular content
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 planning content.
Successful content is the type that outperforms 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.
Step 2: Decide Content Types
Based on the audit you performed in the first step, buyer’s persona and research on your audience’s interests, prepare a list of topics that you create content on. While you’re at it, study your competitors’ social channels. Knowing what your competitors are doing will give you a good idea of what your audience would like to hear from you. At the same time, dive into the social media of businesses that interest you for inspiration (they don’t have to be in your industry).
Next, settle on the types of content you’ll share on your social channels. Some categories of content you can share include:
- Blog posts
- Product photography
- Quotes & Facts
- Promotional and announcement posts
- Illustrative images
- Behind the scenes videos
- User-generated content and more
A good rule of thumb is to mix these content types, so your audience doesn’t get bored of repetitive content.
You can also ask your team for their input, as 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.
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Step 3: Settle on Your Goal
This is important so that the posts you curate or create from scratch take you further towards your goal with little deviations. Your goals can include encouraging customers to purchase from your sales promotions, leading them to join your brands’ social channels, spreading awareness of a new product line, etc.
A good example here is that of Kylie Cosmetics. Every time the cosmetics giant comes up with a new product range, the marketing team creates several posts related to the release of the new collection to promote it. In August and September, Kylie Cosmetics’ social channels regularly shared content centered around its latest Sailor Collection. To this end, the brand shared different types of posts such as product photography, makeup looks, a peek behind the scenes, and more.
Step 4: Choose a Content Calendar Tool
Once the content creation process has begun, the content manager or the social media manager must also start working on the content calendar. To get started with this, you need a content calendar tool to put together your content calendar. A content calendar tool makes the whole process a lot easier.
Feel free to choose any content calendar tool as per your requirements and affordability. Below are some of our recommendations:
ContentStudio’s Planner: ContentStudio is a popular social media management tool that provides content automation, social media scheduling, and content planning. It allows you to look at the details of when and where the content is being shared or published; it happens in the Content Planner section of ContentStudio.
Google Sheets: Google Sheets is a rather simple tool as compared to the previous two, but it could give you different content templates to utilize. It’s one of the free tools that come with a Google/Gmail account. It does have a collaboration facility, which means you can invite others via email address to contribute, edit, and manage your content in Google Sheets.
Step 5: Create a Skeletal Framework of Your Editable Calendar
Once you have decided what content you’re going to share as well as the goals of your social media strategy, create a template of your calendar. Creating a skeletal framework will help you organize your ideas so that you’re all set for creating & publishing content.
You can use an Excel spreadsheet or Google sheets as a free editorial calendar for this. Here’s what to do next:
- Open a separate sheet for each social channel to avoid clutter.
- Resize the rows and columns to your preference for clarity
- In each sheet, use the columns to separate posting days, time, campaign details, the goal of the post, image details, text to post, link to multimedia, and any other details you deem necessary. Here’s how:
Step 6: Start Filling in Your Calendar
Once you have your spreadsheet ready, it’s time you start creating posts. If you’re creating fresh content, don’t forget to take a look at your buyer’s persona to understand what type of content your audience is likely to enjoy.
Know that you don’t always have to create social content from scratch. Here are some types of content you can share to save time:
- Repurposed content: reuse old content into social posts. For instance, you can collect stats from your blog posts and make them into social content.
- User-generated content: also known as user-created content, are photos, videos, or other multimedia that consumers create. As part of your social strategy, you can reshare images that your followers have shared with/using your product or service.
- Testimonials: you can also convert customer reviews and testimonials into social posts.
- Curated content: gather content such as news updates or blog posts relevant to your audience’s interest using tools such as Feedly and Content Studio to share on your social channels.
Additionally, you can share content centered around upcoming international holidays and events relevant to your business.
If you don’t have a graphic designer, you can use tools such as Canva to make social media posters and gifs. Once the visuals are ready, your copywriter can get started with captions for each. You can also switch it the other way around.
Step 7: Tweak Content According to Each Social Channel
You might assume you’re done now. But here’s the thing: you can’t post the same content on each social channel. It is likely to bore your audience.
Each social network has different requirements too. For instance, on Twitter, you have a low character limit for your tweets, while Instagram and Facebook don’t bind you as such with a caption word count. Also, the dimension requirements of the images and videos you post on Instagram and other channels differ. This is why you should tweak your content as per the platform and audience preferences for each social channel before adding it to your calendar.
Step 8: Review and Schedule All the Content
Reviewing your content will help you spot any typos in your posts and captions or mistakes in your plan. While rechecking everything, remember to open all the links to make sure they lead to the intended/appropriate destination. Getting a second pair of eyes is strongly recommended.
When you are done reviewing, you have to follow one last step: scheduling content for publishing. In this regard, you can either invest in a content calendar or choose a social media management tool that also enables you to schedule content for publishing (Psst! ContentStudio can help with both). With scheduled posts, you wouldn’t have to hop on to each social channel at different times to post your content.
What’s more, automatic posting will ensure your content goes out at the time your audience is most active. This also enables consistency in posting and streamlines the process of sharing content.
Free Social Media Content Calendar Template for 2022
To help you get started, we’ve prepared a highly customizable social media content calendar template that you can use to create and plan your own social media content.
Marketers can use this template to schedule every post they plan to publish in a given month. This is a great way to get a bird’s eye view of your social strategy while keeping track of the smaller details as well.
How to use Social Media Content Calendar Template:
The social media content calendar template is created on Google sheets, you can easily start using the calendar using two easy steps,
- Open the calendar link
- Click on “File” at the top right section and click “Make a Copy”
The Social Media Content Calendar Template Includes:
Content Categories: These are the content categories that you can simply copy and paste to your calendar according to your needs.
Content Calendar Template: This section includes the actual content calendar that you can use to plan and create your content. You can make its copy by duplicating the sheet to use the calendar for upcoming months.
Useful Apps: This section includes some helpful tools and apps that’ll help you better manage your social media.
International Holidays: This section includes the list of all major international holidays for the year 2022.
Best Practices While Creating a Content Calendar
Before wrapping this up, let’s leave you with three best practices that you need to keep in mind as you create your content calendar:
Make your calendar flexible
Don’t fill the entire calendar to the brim. You can leave one post every day or a few spaces each week to add whatever you like. These spaces can fill in posts regarding trending topics relevant to your industry or any unplanned announcements that you need to make.
Study your analytics regularly
Before you sit to create each month’s social media content calendar, take a look at how your previous month’s content performed. Analyzing your social media posts to see how well each content type performed can help you identify what resonates with your audience and when so you can create more of it during peak activity hours.
Colour-code your calendar to make it manageable
Colour coding your calendar can help you identify which posts are accomplishing what. For instance, you can mark all promotional posts green and all educational posts blue. This way, you’ll be able to see how balanced your plan is at a glimpse.
Optimize Your Content Calendar
Building a content calendar doesn’t mean the job is done. Once you’ve built it, and you’ve scheduled some content for the next few weeks—it may sound like it’s over, but in reality, there is one step that is crucial to getting better results from your content calendar. It’s the optimization of your content calendar by analyzing the performance of your content on different levels.
Give your content calendar a good four to six weeks before you start to make any changes in your content planning or social media posting. It’s essential to understand that optimization doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with your content calendar. It’s just a final step of the process to ensure the best possible outcome from the content calendar.
However, there are many signals that will determine how you can improve your content calendar strategies, for example:
Number of Comments: You can simply go through your content management system and check out the comments ratio before and after building the content calendar. Your comments on the content would significantly improve over time, but it may not seem to happen within a couple of weeks.
Number of Shares/Retweets: You’d notice that when your content is being published and scheduled on social media more often, chances are, you’d get more shares on social media, let alone your followers would increase.
Total Engagements on Social Media: Engagements on social media mean all the likes, comments, and DMs as the result of content publishing. Once you’re publishing and sharing content on a regular basis, thanks to the content calendar, you’re likely to increase your engagement on social media.
So optimizing the system refers to improving the content calendar strategy. It means from content topics to frequency of sharing on social media—each and every step needs a microscopic analysis to make it better. It seems perfectly clear that the optimization of the system would help us achieve great results.
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Working on your social media content calendar now?
A social media content calendar can make social media management super convenient. While you can use a traditional planner, an intuitive and editable content planner can make collaborating with all your social media resources easy and therefore organized. It also enables you to schedule your posts in advance, saving you precious time.
Related Read: Social Media Marketing for Restaurants
Masooma Memon is a pizza-loving freelance writer by day and a novel nerd by night. She crafts research-backed blog posts and articles for small businesses and app companies who aim to employ quality content to educate and engage with their audience.