As a brand in any industry, planning and scheduling your social media posts is vital to reach your target audience optimally while reducing the effort needed from your social team in real time. Without a clear weekly, monthly, and/or quarterly calendar, your social content may not be aligned with your company's goals, posts may seem sporadic, and your team will likely be faced with more day-to-day content challenges.
Fortunately, most social media apps allow you to schedule future posts and automatically send content to your follower's feeds. Social media management software like Emplifi also let you scale your social posting strategy by scheduling content to multiple platforms at once, and view that content in a calendar layout.
That said, scheduling posts takes careful planning and preparation. Your posts should align with your overall marketing campaign goals and should clearly relate to the KPIs you've set. Additionally, the best social media strategies implement a variety of content types, like influencer content or UGC, and this should be reflected in your calendar.
Setting social media marketing goals
Before you start creating, collecting, or scheduling posts, you have to set a few clear goals for your marketing department to follow. These goals should be geared toward social media marketing but should aid your overall marketing strategy as well.
If you're working with a social media influencer, consider measuring KPIs like:
Referral and direct traffic
These KPIs will help you measure the effectiveness of your current strategy and will ensure that your next marketing campaign is relevant to your current position in the market.
If you're creating your own content, consider using more detailed marketing KPIs like:
Customer acquisition cost
Return on ad spend
Social engagement and reach
Sites like Instagram and TikTok give you access to a range of insights based on your KPIs, while more holistic social media analytics tools found in Pixlee TurnTo and Emplifi showcase the performance of your social posts across various platforms. Use these goals to plan your next marketing campaign and create a social media calendar that turns your weaknesses into your strengths.
Benefits of social media content calendars
Scheduling your posts may feel like a lot of up-front effort. However, putting in the work early on is well worth it, as you'll be able to implement a more coordinated approach to your social strategy.
Scheduling saves you time, too. Creating and scheduling your posts early in the week ensures that you have time to time to focus on real-time interactions during the work week and don't have to frantically create content shortly before it's due to go live.
Creating a calendar and scheduling your posts may improve your mental health and well-being), too. Knowing that your content is scheduled to post will save you stress during the work week and give you time to focus on strategizing rather than just creating and posting.
With a social media content calendar, you don't have to manually create each post when you want it to go live and can create a batch of similar posts in one burst of productivity. However, creating a calendar is about more than picking a few random dates and pressing "schedule." You have to set your timeframes based on data and user analytics.
Take a look at the general guidelines for the best times to post on TikTok and Instagram. Make sure to couple this with data from your own followers, as time zones and target audience preferences can influence your ideal posting time. Consistency is valuable; a few posts peppered throughout the week will draw more traffic to your social pages and build a buzz around your content.
Social media content calendar templates
Now that you have some background information on the benefits of planning and scheduling your social media content, let's take a look at some content calendar templates your team can use to kickstart a winning social strategy.
Depending on the size of your company and the amount of social media content you're churning out, you can build your own content calendar on Google Sheets or Excel, or download an existing template and customize it to your needs.
Create time slots for each day of the week, and use formulas to autofill the date each day of the week. In the above example, the start date is in cell F3, so in the B3 cell below "MON", the formula is just =F3. Continuing on, Tuesday's date would be =B3+1, Wednesday would be =B3+2, etc.
Check out these five resources to model your content calendar after, or directly download templates to plug and play:
Content calendar ideas
Every marketing professional has a content calendar that they swear by. However, most folks use unnecessarily complex calendars and are at risk of missing the woods for the trees.
An effective social media calendar should include key details like:
Peak times for posting
The time zone you/your consumers are in
Quick links to your most important assets
Labels for different types of content like UGC and influencer content
Tags for posts that are complete, under review, or in need of creation
Try to keep your calendar as clutter-free as possible. This ensures that you can see the most important information when you log on in the morning and won't miss key details like incomplete posts or time zones.
Make the process easier by leaning on integrated tools that work seamlessly with each social platform. For example, if you're scheduling posts on Instagram, consider using apps like Pixlee TurnTo. Pixlee TurnTo's program allows you to schedule posts, including UGC and influencer content collected from your community, to your most valuable social platforms. Check out how Pixlee TurnTo's social scheduling capabilities can help your team streamline its social workflow and feature the most relevant, engaging content in your marketing arsenal.
Your marketing campaign relies on well-coordinated, timely social media posts. These posts should be planned well in advance and clearly relate to your KPIs. You can improve the effectiveness of your next marketing campaign by creating a functional social media content calendar that helps you plan, track, and assess the effectiveness of each post.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on pixlee.com. Any statistics or statements included in this article were current at the time of original publication.