A solid social media strategy is crucial for businesses to thrive and connect with their target audience. A key component of any successful social media strategy is a well-organized and thought-out content calendar.
From this comprehensive guide, you’ll be able to understand the concept of a social media content calendar plus its benefits. You’ll also learn five simple steps to create your content calendar for social media.
Let’s get into it.
What is a social media content calendar?
A social media content calendar is a tool you use to plan ahead and organize your business’s social media publications. A good calendar should provide you with an overview of the content to be published across different social media platforms. You should be able to read the following information from your social media calendar:
- Publishing date and time
- Social media channel
- Format of your publication (post, reel, story, short, etc.)
- Visual (image, gif, video)
- Location tag
An online content planner tool usually features visual indicators to help you and your marketing team process information and stay on track. Users can add various color-coded marketing campaigns, and organize the entire marketing process in one content calendar.
A content calendar for social media works like a roadmap of your social publishing activity. Integrating your content planner with your favorite calendar, like Apple Calendar, Google Calendar, or Microsoft Outlook is also a helpful feature.
The benefits of using a social media calendar
Having a social media content calendar helps businesses to maintain consistency in their social media presence. If you plan and schedule your content in advance, you can ensure a regular flow of posts that align with your brand's voice, tone, and overall content marketing strategy. This is important, as consistency is key to building a strong online presence and fostering engagement with your target audience.
Creating a content calendar for social media will save you valuable time in the long run. By dedicating time to plan and schedule your posts in advance, you can eliminate the daily scramble for content ideas and reduce the risk of posting randomly. With a clear roadmap in place, you can efficiently allocate your resources and focus on other aspects of your business, while maintaining an active and engaging social media presence.
Higher engagement rates
A well-planned content calendar allows you to strategically align your posts with important events, holidays, and trending topics. By capitalizing on these opportunities, you can create timely and relevant content that resonates with your audience, resulting in higher engagement rates. Additionally, consistent posting and varied content types can help attract and retain followers, ultimately leading to increased reach.
For businesses with multiple team members involved in social media management, a content calendar fosters content collaboration and streamlines workflows. With a centralized calendar, everyone can stay informed about upcoming posts and collaborate on content creation. This level of coordination leads to higher-quality content and a more unified social media presence.
5 simple steps to creating a social media content calendar
By now you should know why you need to have a content calendar for social media. Now, let’s uncover some practical strategies to get you started. Follow these five simple steps to build your calendar and keep your social media content on track.
1. Set your goals and objectives
First, you need to define your goals and objectives. Determine what you want to achieve through your social media efforts. Are you looking to build your social media branding, generate leads, or enhance customer engagement? Aligning your content calendar with your goals ensures that every post serves a purpose and contributes to your overall social media strategy.
Once you have your desired outcome determined, you need to set some objectives that will help you reach your business goals. Objectives should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely (SMART).
For example, a business selling beauty products may set a goal to increase sales by 10%. To reach this goal, they can create objectives such as increasing Instagram followers by 20% and engaging with two more influencers.
By creating measurable objectives, you’ll be able to track your progress and see if your tactics are working. So, if the tactics fail to attract enough new followers within a given period, the beauty company may consider other ideas. So, they may run contests or user-generated campaigns to generate more Instagram followers and increase likes, for example.
2. Choose your social media platforms
It's crucial to pick the appropriate social media platforms for your company when building your initial social media content calendar. Take into account the platforms that your target audience uses the most. Even while it's beneficial to be active across multiple platforms, you shouldn't waste time on those that receive little attention.
Use the platforms where your target audience is most active to concentrate your efforts. For example, it's a safe bet for your calendar if you see that Instagram users interact with your backstage footage. Additionally, you should include Twitter in your content strategy if your clients use that platform to inquire about and learn more about your products.
If you're not sure where to begin, look through your competitors' social media activities to find out what works for them. You should also consider what kind of content you're producing and how to optimize it for each platform as various social media platforms have different features and capabilities.
Use a tool such as StoryChief to track impressions and engagements per channel. This will help you identify the most effective marketing channels for your needs.
3. Decide on your content themes
According to a Digital 2023 report, the top reason why people go on social media is to keep in touch with friends and family. So, social media may be the best platform to create an engaged community. Your content should. therefore, serve this purpose. Use social media to build awareness, trust, and a loyal following.
To achieve this, you need to define your content pillars that resonate with your target audience and align with your brand's values and with your offer. These themes can be educational, entertaining, inspirational, or promotional, depending on your objectives. By categorizing your content into themes, you can ensure variety and maintain a balanced content mix that appeals to your audience.
You can create a mixture of various types of content, such as:
- Educational content
- User-generated content
- Entertaining content
- Promotional content
Overall, ensure that most of the content you work into your social media calendar aims to help your audience. The exact mix will depend on your niche and the types of content your audience responds to the most. A good rule of thumb is to make two-thirds of the content published informational and the remaining one-third promotional.
4. Plan your content calendar
Now that you have your goals, chosen platforms, and content themes in place, it's time to plan your content calendar for social media. Start by outlining the key dates, events, and holidays relevant to your industry and your target audience. These can serve as anchor points for your content planning.
Next, determine the frequency of your posts. Consider how often you want to publish on each platform and create a schedule that balances consistency with the quality of your content. Leave room for flexibility to accommodate real-time engagement opportunities or timely content.
Brainstorm content ideas with your marketing team for each theme and assign them to specific dates. For best results, mix different content types, such as images, videos, articles, infographics, and UGC. Include captions, hashtags, and any necessary links or CTAs. The more details you put into your calendar, the more streamlined the content creation process will be.
5. Create and schedule your content
With your content calendar in place, it's time to bring your ideas to life. Start by creating or curating the content for each scheduled post. Use high-quality visuals, captivating headlines, and compelling captions that align with your brand voice and messaging. Tailor the content to the specific platform you're posting on, considering the best practices and formats that resonate with your audience.
Leverage social media management tools like StoryChief to schedule your posts in advance. These tools allow you to queue up your content and automatically publish it at the designated dates and times. Scheduling in advance saves loads of time and ensures consistent posting, even during busy periods or when you're away from the office.
Track and analyze your social media performance reports to get actionable insights from your content. Not only, you’ll learn which types of content resonate with your audience the most, but you’ll identify the best posting times. These will vary depending on the social media platform, your industry, and the type of content you publish.
Bonus: Improve your social media presence with StoryChief (video tutorial)
Creating a content calendar for social media is an investment of time and effort that pays off. By strategically planning your content, you can achieve consistency, save time, increase engagement, and foster collaboration within your team.
By following simple steps from this guide, you'll be well on your way to reaping the rewards of a well-planned content strategy. Start by setting your goals and objectives, choosing your social media platforms, and deciding on your content themes. Then, get into planning your content calendar followed by creating and scheduling your social content.
So, start planning, get creative, and watch your social media presence flourish. Happy scheduling!