Do you manage your social media accounts totally on the fly, or do you plan your content marketing campaigns ahead of time? Hopefully, the answer is the latter. While it is important to show some flexibility in your approach to social media marketing—to post about news and happenings as they crop up—it is just as vital to use some foresight, ideally using an editorial calendar to plan evergreen content updates days, weeks, perhaps even months in advance.
An editorial calendar is an important tool, and on many levels a simple one: It’s really just a matter of compiling some good, timeless social media posts and having them scheduled long before it’s time to post. With that said, there’s a little more to it than simply writing a list of posts, or penciling topic suggestions into your Google Calendar. When formulating your editorial calendar, you might also consider adding the following essential elements.
- Who’s going to post? If you’re running a solo operation then that’s one thing, but for multiblogger/multiperson content marketing endeavors, divisions of labor are essential. Make sure that your editorial calendar specifies who is writing what, who is posting what, and so forth.
- Where are you posting? Generally speaking, it’s better to tailor your social media posts to specific networks than to simply rehash the exact same content on all of your social networks. There may be an article that makes sense to post on both Facebook and Google+, but at the same time it’s important to note that, say, Instagram and Twitter are very different platforms with different objectives—so make sure your editorial calendar specifies the platform for which each post is intended.
- When are you posting? It’s important not just to specify the date but even the timing of each post. Some social networks, like Twitter, get more traction on evenings and weekends; others, such as LinkedIn, are most widely used during the workday. Make sure you’re planning when each post will go live.
- Does your content line up with existing marketing efforts? Does it make sense for a new post to link back to an existing one, or to make mention of an ongoing company promotion? Your editorial calendar is a great place to ensure that your marketing efforts are integrative.
- How will your posts be categorized? Can you think of a useful hashtag—either an existing one or a brand new one—that would make sense for your post? Note it on the editorial calendar, lest you forget it once it comes time to post!
- What’s the process? When will the post be written? When will it be loaded into Hootsuite, posted live, or otherwise scheduled for deployment? When will you set aside time to respond to comments? Make sure your editorial calendar lays out the full process behind each post!
The bottom line is that your editorial calendar should be a blueprint—not something from which there can be no veering, but certainly something that lays out a clear plan of action. Take the time to craft a strong editorial calendar now, and your social media marketing endeavors will run much more efficiently over the long haul.