Creating a Social Media Content Calendar in 4 Simple Steps
If you’ve been following along with our blog, you know by now that we are all for strategy, planning, and consistency when it comes to a social media content Calendar.
Of course, there’s always a time and place for a spontaneous, off-the-cuff, in-the-moment post, but for the most part, in order for your social to be successful you’ve got to do a considerable amount of planning to pull it off.
We manage social media marketing for many of our clients, and the only way that we can function is by keeping a meticulous social media content calendar for each client.
If you want to social the way we social, we recommend that you develop your own social media content calendar. Like, yesterday. Not sure where to start? No worries. We’ll break it down for you right here, right now.
Social Media Content Calendar Tip 1: Determine the Platforms
First, start by determining which platforms you’ll post on. We’re not going to drone on about this here, since we’ve already given you the secrets to choosing social media platforms for your business in a past post. Go ahead. Check it out and then come on back here.
Social Media Content Calendar Tip 2: Hone in on Killer Content
Once you’ve got that squared away, figure out what type of content really resonates with your followers.
If you’re already active on social media, take a look at your insights and analytics to see which of your past posts did well and which ones flopped. Make sure you have a handle on who your target demographic is, so that you can gear content toward what you think they might enjoy.
If you’re not already on social, take some time to research what your competitors are doing and how that’s working out for them. Are they winning with shared articles? Videos? Images? What kind of info is getting engagement?
Finally, determine how you want to position yourself in your industry. Your brand voice should be conveyed on social, but you can also toe the line a bit more on social media than you might be able to do in, say, a print ad. Once you figure out how you want to be perceived, you can determine what kind of content aligns with that position.
For example, if you have a lawn care business and you want to be perceived as an expert in your industry, your social content might consist of valuable insights and information about growing greener grass or the science behind seasonal flowers.
Social Media Content Calendar Tip 3: Set a Schedule
Then, set out a schedule that dictates how often you’ll post on each social channel. There are some industry standards, and tips from the experts that you can reference. But, overall, you should really remain tuned in to your audiences to see if your posting schedule is turning anyone off.
Social Media Content Calendar Tip 4: Curate and Create Content
Finally, you can start gathering content and planning out when and how to share it. At our agency, we use Google Sheets to track content for our clients. Here are a few simple steps to setting up your own content calendar:
Start a New Google Sheet
We use Google Sheets because we can have multiple people in our agency access the sheet, and we can all do our part while not overwriting one another. We can leave comments within the sheet for specific team members, and we can move around posts with a simple cut-paste.
Create a Tab for Each Month
Keeping your months separated allows you to have a finite space to work within, which will keep you from getting overwhelmed or confused when you’re scheduling posts. Pretty straightforward.
Create Columns for Date, Time, Category, Post Text, Art Direction, Platform
These are the columns we use, but if you find a use for other columns, feel free to add them in. It’s important to check industry standards and analytics to determine the best days and times to post. We typically come up with 3-5 themes to center our content development on based on the client and their target market. Narrowing down the content to these 3-5 buckets helps ensure that the social content aligns with the brand.
Come Up with a Color Scheme
Come up with a color legend that assigns certain colors to certain statuses. For example, green highlighted cells are boosted posts, gray highlighted cells are already scheduled, yellow highlighted cells are shares, etc.
Do Your Research and Write Content
Now that you’ve got your calendar set out, it’s time to fill up it with like-worthy, follower-gaining, potentially viral content. Everyone is looking for that unicorn post that breaks the Internet. Hello video of toddlers busting in to their dad’s very important BBC interview. (Also, hello … Why didn’t he lock the door?!)
To get there, you’ve got to get something down. Start creating post text and art direction, and then review, rearrange, and revise until you can read it through and say to yourself, “Heck, yeah, I’d like that.”
Load Content into a Scheduler
Using a scheduling program like Buffer or OnlyPult will allow you to almost set it and forget it.
You should still monitor your social to ensure that your posts are being deployed properly and that they are being received well. In marketing, especially social media marketing, you have to walk this fine line of both planning ahead and remaining flexible.
If you’ve created content based around a theme that’s not being received well, don’t just let it run. You may need to go back to the drawing board and revise your strategy — don’t be afraid to make a change if needed.
As you’re scheduling your posts, update the color scheme to indicate that those posts have been scheduled.
Pro Tip: OnlyPult is one of the only ways to schedule Instagram posts. We use OnlyPult for Insta and Buffer for everything else.
Setting up a social media content calendar is the easy part — we know. Creating the content is what takes real insight and ingenuity. But having a well-planned, easy-to-navigate document for your development will make coming up with that unicorn post just a little easier 😉
If all this is Greek to you, or you’re simply too pressed for time to spend hours on social, contact the Nice Girls to manage your social media content calendar for you. We love doing it and would love to do it for you!