If you’ve ever wondered how huge brands maintain their massive social media presence, you’re not alone. It’s an impressive feat to manage several channels, let alone respond to customers and other questions in a timely manner.
With that being said, I want to let you in on a not-so-secret secret. Those huge brands (and a lot of other companies, too) leverage a social media content calendar with scheduling and automation to publish their content.
As a social media manager, you wear a lot of hats. But, creating a social media content calendar of your own can help lift some of that weight off your shoulders. Are you ready to demystify social media content planning for good?
You’re in the right place. Keep reading to learn more about why you need a social media content calendar and how to create one that flows seamlessly from one month to the next.
What Is a Social Media Content Calendar?
A social media content calendar is a strategic plan for social media posts in the future. Although it sounds daunting preparing everything in advance, your social media content plan will help you save time in the future.
Every business is different and so is its social media content. But, it’s easier than it sounds to create an effective social media calendar unique to your business.
If you’re wondering why you should use a social media content calendar, don’t worry. You’re not alone and that’s exactly what we’re going to cover next.
Why Do You Need a Social Media Content Plan?
Active engagement on your social media profiles is important. But, having a bigger social media content plan takes the everyday load of posting fresh content off your shoulders.
Aside from that, there are countless, less-obvious advantages to planning social media content in advance. So, let’s dive in!
1. Monitor and measure social media campaigns and processes
Although your social media content calendar functions as a planning tool, it’s also a great way to monitor and track social media analytics.
A content intelligence hub makes this easier than ever by combining data from every platform in one location. Want to check your performance on Instagram vs. Facebook? Done. Twitter vs Pinterest? No problem!
When everything is centralized, you can analyze the performance of specific platforms, campaigns, and post types. That’s hard to do if you’re pulling information from five different dashboards.
Furthermore, you’ll be able to tell right away where your social media bottlenecks are. You can use your social media content calendar to identify and solve holdups in your publishing process to create a well-oiled content machine.
2. It makes company-wide collaboration a breeze
Whether your team is remote and spread across multiple continents or not, managing your social media calendar as a team is difficult. But, using a social media content calendar makes collaboration easy regardless if your team is in the same building.
With Socialbakers, you can assign tasks to specific team members and you can share your calendar with everyone involved. So, forget the old fashioned way of emailing documents, info, and schedules around.
It’s all there for everyone to see, add to, and collaborate on in one central location.
3. Save TONS of time by batching tasks and staying organized
Plan and schedule content across all your social media channels. Just because you appear to be posting on several platforms throughout the day doesn’t mean you have to take the time to do it.
Creating a social media content calendar means you can set it and forget it. Plus, it’s one of the best ways to improve your entire team’s work efficiency.
As a team, you’ll be able to batch tasks, schedule content in advance, and stay organized while posting across channels consistently.
So, you can forget the nightmare of:
Feeling paralyzed by a blank social media draft
Sharing login credentials with the right people
Remembering who’s supposed to write what and when
Feeling like you don’t have enough time in the day for other things
4. Post the right content at the right time
The way brands use social media shifts on a regular basis. Just a few months ago, businesses were sharing funny memes and discussing their plans for the future. But the COVID-19 era of social media is different.
Companies are sharing important safety guidelines. Ways to stay safe during a crisis. How we can help each other while we’re forced to be apart. Inspirational stories to get us through the hard times.
The point is, sharing the right personalized content at the right time is what separates a good customer experience from a great one. Knowing what you’re publishing down the road means you can pivot future content to reflect current events, and it's easier to plan and schedule your posts with a social media calendar filled with major holidays as well as great engagement opportunities for hashtag holidays.
Using a social media content calendar gives you the opportunity to create a plan that enhances your customer’s experiences in light of what’s happening in the world around them.
5. You can plan social media content around other objectives
Whether you’re launching a new product at the end of the month or preparing for a massive Facebook giveaway, social media content should align with your current and future business objectives.
One of the many beauties of marketing campaigns is all the moving parts. But, this can also be a coordination nightmare if you don’t have access to a social media content planning tool.
Creating a social media content calendar means you can align social media posts with:
Your month-long email marketing campaign to launch a new product
Upcoming holidays, annual events, or current hot topics
An overhaul and redesign of your blog’s promotion strategy
The massive rebranding project scheduled to go live in three months
The live over-the-shoulder webinar you plan to release mid-summer
How to Build an Effective Social Media Content Calendar
Now you know WHY you need a social media content calendar. So, let’s talk about how to actually create one. If you take the time to do this right, you’ll be on your way to a streamlined and seamless social media editorial process.
1. Identify your social media goals
Whether you want to revamp your entire social media presence or gain more followers on Instagram, it’s important to identify and define your goals. So, take the time to set SMART social media goals you can use to track your progress.
Before moving forward, check to make sure your social media content strategy aligns with your long-term business goals. It may sound obvious but it’s an easy thing to overlook.
2. Evaluate existing social media profiles and content
Analyzing your current state of affairs helps you identify strategies and platforms you can improve or rework entirely. Start by creating a spreadsheet to track growth (or decline) for each profile over time.
Make sure to monitor appropriate KPIs that align with the goals you set in step one. You may want to track things like:
Number of followers/subscribers
Click-through rates by platform
Regardless of what you decide to monitor, double check that each KPI ties in with your goals. Otherwise, there’s no need to spend time pulling these statistics because they don’t actually mean anything.
Additionally, this is a great time to review your team and their roles within your social media strategy. Make sure everyone knows what they’re in charge of moving forward.
3. Identify social media channels to use going forward
It’s no surprise that using each social media platform takes time and effort. So, use this time to evaluate your performance on each platform and make a decision on whether it’s worth using in the future.
Some platforms are great at community engagement but may not do well with increasing your traffic. Others might produce a lot of sales but don’t help to create a warm community.
Think back to your goals. Decide which channels are worth using in the future. If any of them are brand new, take time to learn how to use them and make sure everyone on the team understands them as well.
4. Create a library of digital assets to pull from
Your digital asset library is home for all your branding elements, images, and other social media visuals you have at your fingertips. Having a social media content library makes sharing and storing assets a breeze.
This is also an excellent time to add new visual content to your library. On social media, visuals go a long way. So, you may want to consider creating:
Informative, entertaining, and educational infographics
Candid, real-life product photos from loyal users
Short, catchy, and professional animated videos
Custom stock photography for your brand
5. Define and organize a social media posting schedule
Sit down with your team and decide the best times to post and how often you’re going to post on each of the channels you chose in step three. It may help to map them out using a weekly view so you can see how much content you need to plan.
If you’re worried about running out of content, using an AI-driven social media content curation tool can help fill the gaps with hyper-relevant posts you can share with your audience.
6. Develop a process from brainstorming to publishing content
Now that you know exactly how much content you need to plan, it’s time to establish a workflow with your team. This should start from the brainstorming phase (before you run out of planned content) and end with a full content calendar.
You’ll want to identify a process for:
Brainstorming new content on a regular basis
Developing themes and overall topic ideas
Writing content and adding appropriate visuals
Curating relevant content to fill the gaps
Reviewing before posts go live (i.e. a content approval software)
7. Load everything into your social media content calendar
After you have workflows in place, you and your team should start filling your social media content calendar following the processes you outlined in step six. It may take several iterations for everything to run smoothly.
So, be patient and open to ideas as you work through your processes for the first time. And keep in mind your social media content plan is fluid for a reason. It’s not set in stone, but rather a guideline to keep things flowing in an organized manner.
There are many different tools to create a great social media content calendar, and whichever you choose it’s important to have one in order to minimize the amount of time needed to generate posts across different social media platforms.
Socialbakers’ platform was created for entrepreneurial teams like yours. Every tool plays a role in the successful execution of your social media content calendar. From brainstorming sessions to your digital asset library to analytics, Socialbakers has you covered.If you’re ready to conquer your social media goals, you’re in good hands. Request a demo today.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on socialbakers.com. Any statistics or statements included in this article were current at the time of original publication.