Creating a social media content calendar can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be.
With a little bit of foresight and strategic planning, you can create a content calendar that ensures you always have something to post - read on to learn how you can create a social media content calendar for weeks, months, even a year in advance!
Decide What Networks You'll Be Posting To
You don't have to be active on every single social media network out there, just the ones that work for your particular brand or business.
Knowing what networks you'll be on can help you plan content accordingly - for example, Twitter has a poll function, but on Facebook only groups have built in polls.
Decide Post Frequency
How much do you want to post to your social media channels? This question doesn't come with a clear cut answer as every account differs from the next.
Some things to consider when deciding on post frequency:
- How much content do you already have?
- How much content can you handle creating?
- How much time can you dedicate to social media (if this isn't your only function)
- How is your audience reacting to your current post frequency?
Be honest with yourself about your limitations, and remember that quality beats quantity when it comes to social media, so don't worry about not being able to post often.
To keep momentum going, and your account from going stagnant, you should look to post at least 3 times a week.
Identify Main Content Themes
To make your life easier, I suggest choosing content themes for your social media content schedule. This way you'll know what kind of content to post each day, with the flexibility to use different forms of content.
To simplify this even further, I advise outlining the main objectives you're looking to accomplish with social media, and then creating one content theme, per day, that supports your objectives.
For example, someone with a lifestyle blog can write about many different aspects of their life, with the objectives of building up an email list, growing their social channels and driving traffic back to their site. Content themes for them may look like:
- Monday - Blog post with link back to blog
- Tuesday - Post about local happenings
- Wednesday - Share from a related brand
- Thursday - Open
- Friday - Mailing list push
- Saturday - Lifestyle post or quote
- Sunday - Off
This basic plan will give the blogger a foundation where they can make sure they're covering all their objectives, while keeping a constant stream of content flowing through, which helps your social media presence grow.
Remember to keep posts conversational, and try the 80/20 rule - add value to your followers in 80% of your posts, and push your links (or any other call to action) 20% of the time.
Create A Spreadsheet
One you've nailed your themes for the week, it's time to get organized.
Start by creating a spreadsheet where you can keep track of your content themes, messaging, links, and images or videos. Include your days of the week (along with themes).
Here's a super simple example with one post a day:
And here's a much more complicated one with multiple networks and posts per day
The point here is to create a sheet that works for your post frequency and needs.
Add Important Brand Related Dates/Initiatives
The first step to filling in your social media content schedule is to take note of important dates related to your brand or business.
Make a note of these dates in your calendar spreadsheet - these can include:
- Milestones like anniversaries
- Recurring events like an annual conference
- Product features or launches
- Other upcoming initiatives you already have dates for and what to promote on social media
- Any social media related contests
This next part of creating a social media content schedule is kind of fun.
There are holidays for practically every day of the year. These can be playful like National Pizza Day, or real ones like Memorial Day.
Make sure to mark off fun holidays that relate back to your brand, any cause awareness day (like WearRedDay for women's heart health), and any real national or international holidays. Most of the time these will have hashtags you can use.
Taking part is posting about these days can bring visibility to your brand, while giving you a chance to show some personality to your audience.
Detail Individual Posts
Remember the themes you outlined earlier? Take a look at them and pick which ones you can schedule ahead of time.
In the previous example I included lifestyle posts and quotes on Saturdays. These themes are great because you can gather and create a bunch of quote images and have them ready to go for weeks (or months) in advance. Reposts from other brands can also be scheduled ahead of time.
Remember to work in days to promote your pre-set recurring events, milestones and other initiatives to fill in content days as well.
Create A Content Bank
Now you're ready to create a content bank for your social media posts. This includes all the images or videos you can create ahead of time, along with captions for everything.
Go ahead and pop what you can into your spreadsheet.
Get To Scheduling
You can now go ahead and use your favorite scheduling tools to schedule your posts - my favorites are Hootsuite or Agorapulse. Keep in mind that you should constantly check your peak times and adjusts your posts accordingly.
Content planning can be a time consuming task, but with the tips I've listed in this post, you can get a bulk of it out of the way, leaving time to concentrate on creating killer social media campaigns, or community management.
Creating you social media content calendar and scheduling posts can also give you time to think about the initiatives you have coming up and how you can get the most of them without being frantic about other day-to-day tasks.