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7 Steps to Follow to Make a Successful Social Media Calendar

how to create a social media calendar

Social media marketing has become a must in today’s digital world if you want your business to stay relevant. Since most global communication has moved to the online world, more and more brands have been going to social networks to stay in touch with their consumers. With over 3.6 billion social media users worldwide, it would be foolish not to tap into such a lucrative market! With that in mind, marketers needed to pay increasing attention to their social media strategies. As one’s social media audience grows, so do their needs for a more organized social marketing strategy. Luckily, creating a social media calendar can help with that immensely!

“Social media editorial calendars are spreadsheets or apps used to schedule social posts in advance. They’re also used to plan when and which content will be shared, manage campaigns, and track deadlines.”

CoSchedule

As you can see from the definition above, social content calendars help strategize and plan your content. And every seasoned marketer realizes how vital having a well-thought-out content strategy is! Many industry experts would agree with that — according to HubSpot, 77% of businesses have a clear-cut marketing strategy! When you take all that into account, it’s clear just how useful content calendars can be. But how can you create a social media calendar yourself? That’s what we’re here to find out! 

But first, let’s begin with seeing how one of these calendars can help you!

How a Social Media Calendar Can Help You

We’ve already mentioned a few points that illustrate how useful social calendars are, but now, let’s look at the reasons they are so helpful in more detail. Social media calendars are an incredibly useful social media marketing tool since they help you:

  • Organize your content — Having orderly and organized content means you will have fewer issues with deadlines. Also, you will free up more time for strategizing and tracking the success of your campaign.
  • Plan and customize posts — Planning will allow you to create unique content for different social channels. That is a much better option than reusing or duplicating posts across platforms.
  • Track performance and strategize for the future — By having a content calendar, you can get easy insight into past posts and campaign performances. That info can make fine-tuning your future marketing endeavors easier.
  • Make fewer errors — By including a social media calendar into your campaign and using it for tracking, you can collect all your future posts. That can leave enough room and time for you to double-check your posts for mistakes.
  • Plan for holidays and special occasions — Having a year-round calendar with all relevant holidays and world events for your brand can prove incredibly useful. It’s a surefire way not to forget any of these events, and it also helps reduce some of the content planning burden.
  • Improve efficiency — Having a predetermined content strategy will boost your productivity significantly over winging your social posts.

Now that we’ve hopefully convinced you why you need a social media calendar, let’s see how you can make one!

How to Create a Social Media Calendar

Creating a social media calendar may be daunting to some, particularly for first-timers. However, if you follow these seven steps, you will complete your first calendar and kickstart your social media strategy in no time! So here are the steps you should follow:

  1. Pick the Social Media Channels You’ll Focus On
  2. Decide What You Will Track
  3. Make a Content Calendar or  Download a Good Template
  4. Figure Out How You Will Be Posting
  5. Prepare Your Content Well in Advance
  6. Ask Your Co-Workers for Feedback
  7. Schedule Your Regular Posts

Without further ado, let’s jump into the thick of it!

1. Pick the Social Media Channels You’ll Focus On

The first step to every social media strategy is determining which platforms you want to focus on. Should your brand consider marketing on TikTok? What about Pinterest? Is Instagram IGTV worth considering? How about some of the popular social video platforms like YouTube? These are all the questions you will be asking yourself before even beginning with the planning process. 

So what is the best approach here? How do you make a decision? You can begin by asking yourself (or your team) the following questions:

  • Which social networks does my audience frequent?
  • What platforms are my competitors on?
  • Is there untapped potential on any of the platforms?
  • What is my social marketing goal?

After you’ve answered these questions, you should have an easier time figuring out which social platforms to choose. But before that, you should research each platform’s demographics. That is the only way to find out if your buyer persona is on that social network. If your brand targets consumers aged 30–50 and decides to make a TikTok marketing strategy, it’s bound to fail! In this specific example, more than 50% of TikTok’s audience is younger than 35.

Luckily for you, you have a wide variety of social platforms to pick from nowadays, so you’re sure to find a suitable one. Here are just a few ideas:

social media platforms

Pro Tip: Many of these platforms now offer live streaming services too. These are an excellent way for your brand to communicate with your customers and build trust. If you wish to use that feature to your advantage, check our guide on social media live streaming for tips to get you started.

2. Decide What You Will Track

Another thing you should do before you start making your calendar is to decide what parameters to track. That will mostly depend on your business needs and goals, so your calendar will have to reflect them. Namely, if you don’t have significant social media needs, you can likely make do with tracking just a few aspects of your campaign. But if you have a vast social media following, you will probably need to keep an eye on many more social media KPIs. Here’s are some the essential points you will need to keep track of:

  • Social media platform
  • Date of publication
  • Post copy
  • Visuals (images, videos, infographics, etc.)
  • Link to published post

Depending on your social media strategy complexity and assigned KPIs, you might need to track more information. However, the above is sufficient for beginners and can still give you a good idea of how your campaign performs.

3. Make a Content Calendar or Download a Good Template

There isn’t much to say here! If you don’t want to waste time making a social media calendar yourself, an excellent alternative would be downloading a premade template. There are many of these floating around the web that fit various marketing needs. Here’s an article with several well-rounded social media calendar templates you can download. You can also find platform-specific templates there, such as for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. 

Once you’ve got your calendar set up, it’s time to…

4. Figure Out How You Will Be Posting

Now we’ve come to the next level of strategizing. Before you proceed to create content, you must first determine a few things. Let’s check these in more detail:

What You Will Be Posting

Deciding what post types to include in your social media strategy is essential. There are many options out there, and your choices will vary a lot from platform to platform. For example, highly visual networks like Instagram or Pinterest won’t be suitable places to promote your blog posts. Similarly, YouTube, TikTok, and Facebook are more suitable for videos than, for example, Twitter.

So what are the most common types of social media posts you can decide to use? Let’s give a few examples:

  • Promotions of blog posts
  • Quotes
  • Curation posts
  • Statistical data, case studies, poll results, etc.
  • Engagement posts (e.g., open-ended questions)
  • Media posts (videos, images, infographics, etc.)

There are many other options out there, but they will depend on the platform you’re engaging on and your audience. So keep those things in mind when deciding which post types to settle for!

Pro Tip: Some of the most exciting and appealing social media posts are videos, so if you have the means to make some, they could be an excellent addition to your social media strategy. Here are some examples of effective social media video types to encourage audience engagement.

How Often to Post:

“How frequently should I post on social media?” has likely become the million-dollar question by now. There is still no consensus between experts on the exact frequency, but there are some consistent suggestions. And yes, how often to post on social media will depend on the social channel in question! Here are some popular suggestions across different platforms:

Keep in mind that these numbers may vary from industry to industry, so take these recommendations with a grain of salt. 

Best Times to Post:

Aside from posting frequency, the question to ask yourself is, “when is the best time to post?” The answer to this query will vary based on your social media following; however, some general data on the time people are most active on different social networks exists. Your final decision should be based on a mix between this data and your audience activity (you can find that information in your social media analytics). So if your stats say that your users are most active between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m., post within that period.

If you are interested in checking extra data on this question, may we suggest this research by Sprout Social? There, you can find an extensive overview of user activity across various industries and social platforms.

5. Prepare Your Content Well in Advance

Now it’s finally time to start writing content! The best way to do that is ahead of time. So when you sit down to write, fill out at least a month’s worth of your calendar in advance. By doing that, you will lift a huge burden off your shoulders and have plenty of time to double-check your content and alter it down the line. So if a post feels too cliché, too long, or it just leaves a bad taste in your mouth when you read it later, you can always rewrite it before publishing. Sometimes, all it takes is a day or two for our minds to clear and notice things in our posts we otherwise wouldn’t have. So don’t underestimate the benefits of preparation! 

Pro Tip: If you have a substantial social following, you should consider curating user-generated content when preparing your monthly posts. By promoting your audience’s content, you will put less burden on yourself and save both time and effort when creating your monthly social media plan.

6. Ask Your Co-Workers for Feedback

OK, you have now double-checked your social media calendar and deem it ready. What do you do next? Take it to your colleagues for one last audit before posting! Getting an opinion of a group of people might point out some flaws that you would never have noticed before. Maybe you are overusing hashtags or don’t have a download link for your promoted material visible. After all, you know what they say — four (or more) eyes are always better than two!

7. Schedule Your Regular Posts

You’re almost done! All that’s left to do now is to make a posting schedule. Doing so will leave more room for you to engage with your consumers on your social platforms, not having to worry about posting times. Some social networks like Twitter and Facebook have scheduling options integrated into their platforms, but others like LinkedIn don’t. Luckily, you do have a wide choice of social media scheduling tools to choose from online. Here are some of the most reliable ones:

Many of these services offer more than just social media scheduling options but even provide entire social content management systems. So if you’re looking to up your brand’s social game, considering one of these providers will be well worth it.

Are You Ready to Create a Social Media Calendar?

We know that making a social media calendar may be intimidating for beginners, but, as you could see above, it’s not that challenging. So keep your spirits up! 

Regardless of whether your brand is looking to get into social media video marketing, put their name out there, or is using social networks as its primary lead generation tool, a social content calendar will prove invaluable! So what are you waiting for? Why make your life harder when you can create a social media calendar?

Until next time!

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