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How to Create a Strategic Social Media Calendar
A social media content calendar is the heart and soul of your social media strategy. It might seem like a big commitment at first, but the time and effort you put in creating a social media calendar will prove worthwhile in due time. Whether you make a simple social media content calendar or a bespoke dashboard, your social media strategy calendar can be as simple and complex as you desire.
Many organizations use social media content calendars to plan out their social media strategy and avoid minor panic attacks. Moreover, a robust social media calendar can also help in preparing your content in advance. All in all, it's necessary to create a social media calendar for brand management and generating leads through social media. In this blog post, I have shared seven ways that you can use to develop a strategic social media calendar and work proactively. However, before that, let's review why a social media calendar is important.
Importance of Social Media Calendar
Besides being a proactive approach towards work, social media content calendars are helpful in many ways—some of which are mentioned below.
1. Unified Voice
One of the most significant advantages of social media content calendars is that it creates consistency and unified voice across all social media platforms. Moreover, mapping out your social media content strategy creates a consistent flow that leads to your ultimate marketing goal. As a result, your social media content is aligned with the industry benchmarks, and measuring growth becomes disentangled.
2. Consistent Timing
Social media posts revolve around consistent timing and posting at least twice a week. If your content is late, your posts will be lost in social media’s vast content market. To be consistent with timing, it's crucial to make a social media calendar. Likewise, your social media content will be created in advance, and you won't be panicking when Christmas is in full swing, and you need to brainstorm a quality Facebook post at the last minute.
To planning, a social media content calendar can help in reporting and follow-ups. Common questions, like "Did we meet our objectives?" "Did the entire social media plan go into action," and "What's the ROI of our social media plan," can be answered easily if you have a content plan for a month.
4. Excellent for Brainstorming
A social media content calendar is made through the collective efforts of the entire social media department. There are high chances that someone in your team might have a spark of creativity, generating new ideas. Moreover, by monitoring your social media content strategy, you can gain valuable insights into your target audience and uncover more unique penetration ways.
7 Tips to Create Strategic Social Media Calendar
A social media content calendar is an extension of your social media marketing strategy and a way to plan your ultimate marketing objectives. In other words, your social media content calendar depends on your marketing goals. As a result, your calendar will serve the purpose of your marketing plan’s visual representation. Additionally, your social media calendar will be better if you follow the seven tips given below.
1. Social Media Audit
Developing a clear picture of your previous social media content will help you highlight opportunities for improvements. Moreover, you will acquire better insights into your target audience and consumer behavior. Additionally, an audit is critical to fine-tuning your social media strategy and maximizing your return on investment. Likewise, social media audits will highlight posts that are outdated and creative strategies that no longer perform as they once did.
Here are various factors highlighted through social media audits. Moreover, you can use these pointers as a checklist for your social media audit.
❖ Imposter accounts
❖ Outdated profiles
❖ KPIs and goals for each brand account
❖ Most successful posts
❖ Most underperforming posts
❖ Number of engagements
❖ Opportunities for improvement
❖ Metrics for measuring future success
These pointers can be collectively summarized into a social media audit report. Once you have most of the points mentioned above within view, workaround ways to either mitigate failed posts or come up with fresh strategies to counter declining engagements. In summary, a social media audit is the backbone of creating a social media content calendar.
2. Choose Your Social Media Channels Wisely
In the hustle and bustle of the daily grind, marketing managers often forget to keep an eye on trendy social media channels. That's right! Aside from keeping track of market trends, news, and other activities that have the potential to go viral, social media managers have the responsibility to oversee new and coming social media channels as well. However, not all social media channels are beneficial for your brand. Although you might generate a boatload of brand awareness by marketing your real estate client on Tiktok, your chances of acquiring a lead or sale are significantly low.
Therefore, you need to choose your social media channels wisely, because you don't want to waste time in creating a content strategy for a social media channel with low ROI. The top social media channels where you can attract customers are Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Yet, each of these three social media channels has a different role. For example, Facebook can be smartly utilized to generate leads and even sales. In contrast, Twitter is the best place for interacting with your customers and increasing brand awareness.
As a result, your social media content calendar will be different for each of the three mainstream social media channels mentioned above. For instance, you might find success in using a brand awareness or brand activation marketing strategy for Twitter, but your efforts in Facebook for brand awareness don’t generate the desired results.
3. What Data Your Social Media
Content Calendar Needs to Track?
One of the most challenging social media content calendar design segments is deciding which data your calendar would track. There are many metrics and KPIs you need to pursue, but the most important ones are directly linked to ROI. However, social media content calendars are not entirely fixated on generating revenue. Sometimes, you might design a social calendar for brand awareness or product promotion. Therefore, you will need to document general information related to your monthly, weekly, or daily social media posts. Here are some key columns you can create in your social media content calendar spreadsheet.
❖ Content Type
❖ Publish Date
❖ Content Copy
❖ Image URL
❖ Post URL (after published)
❖ Timezone (if you are working with international clients)
❖ Link to assets
It would be best if you use Google Sheets because it's easy to work with. It can also be shared with your entire team. Additionally, Google Sheets allows real-time editing, and it tracks changes, including the person who made them. Therefore, monitoring your social media calendar and analyzing its results become fairly convenient.
4. Create a Content Library
You need to have your collection of social media assets in one place for everyone to use them. It’s also known as a content library, digital assets, and resource database. Regardless of what you call it, your supply of visual content should not be stored on your local disk drive. Instead, choose a cloud server like Dropbox to save all your purchased visuals. Additionally, keeping your content library on a cloud-based system has many benefits, such as real-time access from anywhere and safekeeping.
5. Establish a Workflow
Now that you have collected all data and information for your social media calendar, it is time to establish a strategic workflow. To start a social media content calendar, develop a publishing timeframe. This is a consistent approach where you post your social media content at the same time with slight variations. The best time to post your social media content is when your competitors are not posting and your customers are online. You can find the ideal time to post on social media over here. Otherwise, you can use a manual approach to determine your followers’ online timings.
You can manually track your followers by posting at random intervals and observing engagement rates. Do this for several days to determine the best time to post on each social media channel you use. The most significant benefit of manually tracking your followers is the level of engagement you can achieve. Instead of relying on online data, you will acquire first-hand experience with your target audience.
Remember, every brand has a unique set of followers on social media. So, your target audience might not be available based on the anticipated posting times shared by different social media researchers.
6. Start Crafting Your Post
At this point, you have all the necessary information for getting started with posting on social media. Your social calendar will help craft social media copy; however, you will need to create individual posts for your publishing dates. You can use tools like Canva or Crello if you aren’t looking for extensive editing and customized posts. Otherwise, Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator are best for creating original and unique social media posts.
As you work, evaluate your calendar's feel and determine whether your work has been simplified or not. If you feel your tasks have become onerous, dial back a little and remove a few columns from your content calendar. Alternatively, if your calendar lacks important information that might help in streamlining social media posts, you can add other columns such as:
❖ Post type (GIF, story, video)
❖ Paid or organic
❖ Analytics and results
These three columns should be enough to help you track your progress and share complete information within your social media content calendar.
7. Schedule or Publish Your Posts
The best part of promoting your brand or generating leads on Facebook is that it's semi-automated; therefore, you can schedule posts. Post scheduling has made Facebook convenient for social media executives and managers because they can focus on promotional tasks and activities without worrying about engaging with their audience at the last minute. This is one reason for social media content calendars being important. You can work proactively and schedule posts on a monthly, weekly, or daily basis by preparing social media copy and visuals in advance.
A social media content calendar aims to provide social media managers the ability to be moderately intuitive. You want your entire team to access your social media calendar to furnish timely discussions around your ongoing posts' findings and results. Moreover, published posts can be tracked through Facebook as well. Therefore, you can analyze whether your posts received as many engagements as you expected (mentioned in the social media content calendar) and highlight room for improvements.
The Bottom Line
Creating a social media content calendar is relatively easy, and you can do so with Google Sheets. Although you might need to access different tools and maneuver through heap loads of screens to craft and publish your post, it's a small price to pay for a proactive and agile approach. Moreover, social media content calendars can mitigate panic and last-minute brainstorming sessions.
The objective of a social media content calendar is to streamline your work so that you can indulge in engagement tracking and target audience penetration. If you keep yourself busy with brainstorming sessions and creative designing every day, you won't be able to track your progress. Therefore, you need solitude to determine whether your social media direction is in line with your ultimate marketing goals. Moreover, you can penetrate your social media audience by using social media software solutions. These tools can smoothen your workflow and automate most social media tasks. Additionally, you can send targeted leads and respond to all comments on your social media page with Post Profits and Engagement Monster.