How to Make a Productive Social Media Marketing Calendar for Business
Did you know that 75 percent of the population is on some form of social media?
There are so many different networks available today, and so many businesses are trying to use them to reach their target audience. If you’ve ever managed a professional social media account, you understand how time-consuming and difficult it can be to plan manually, create, and publish content.
Social Media Marketing Calendar
So how do some brands manage to consistently and strategically update multiple networks? They use social media calendars. Your company doesn’t need a big budget to be able to have an authoritative social media presence.
It only needs to have a strategy and a plan. Here’s our guide to creating the best social media marketing calendar for your business.
Table of Contents
What is a Social Media Marketing Calendar?
A social media calendar is a planning tool that helps a business plan out content and ultimately applies more strategy to the content creation and posting process.
Social media calendars come in different forms and can be simple or complex, depending on your team and your unique organization’s needs.
What are the Benefits of Social Media Calendars?
One of a social media calendar’s core purposes is to remove the frantic, last-minute decision-making out of social media management.
Social media calendars can feel like a lot of work up front, but they help streamline your team allocates your time and energy where it’s of more value to your business.
Planning out I advance provides you with time to review and edit content thoroughly.
Planning a social media calendar allows you to think through what you’re posting and balance your content. When you’re completely reliant on an “on-the-fly” social media system, it’s difficult to ensure that you’re balancing out the types of content your sharing and meeting post frequency requirements and best practices.
Creating Content for a Social Media Calendar
The best way to start creating a content calendar is to decide on the types of content you want to publish and how it should be balanced. Consider these three items: content purpose, your audience, and the core topics (three to five) you want your brand to be recognized for.
Organize the Purpose of Your Content
First, you’ll decide what the purpose of the content you’re creating is. In general, you:
Culture, these are posts that personify your brand. These posts are not sales and share images and content that reflects your company’s values and mindset. Behind-the-scenes photos from the office, quotes that align with your work mantra, and even polarizing posts about industry hot topics are all great examples of culture posts.
Results, these are posts that show your accomplishments. Think of new case studies, campaign milestones and achievements, and positive client reviews.
Authority, posts that show you know what you’re talking about. This could be an article the founder of your organization was interviewed about, a specialized certification your business has, and anything that shows that you’re the industry go-to for your product or service.
Ask, this is content that sparks conversation. Its sole purpose is to engage your audience. It asks a question and invites your community to participate in a conversation.
The solution, posts that sell your product and bring problems to light to provide a solution.
After you’ve decided on the purpose of the content, you’ll be posting. It would help if you thought about who you’re posting the content for.
Create for Your Audience
The clearest way to achieve this is by establishing buyer personas. A buyer persona is a fictional personification of a segment of your target market.
Think “Dennis the Doctor” or “Chef Colleen,” different businesses will have different personas.
Seeing your audience as an actual person versus an abstract idea helps you better understand your audience’s needs and problems. When you understand this, you can deliver content that provides potential customers with the solutions they are looking for.
You may be surprised by how your content changes once you start thinking of your audience first.
Staring with three to five buyers, a persona is a healthy first step. While creating content, ensure that everything your posting speaks to at least one of your target audience members.
Organize Your Core Topics
Once you’ve been narrowed down the purpose and the audience of your social media strategy, establishing core topics will be easy.
In general, you want to have a centralized theme for your social media posts and stick to a few central topics. Talking about a lot of different topics can make your brand and message confusing to the audience.
The more specific you are, the clearer your messaging. You can make each social media network’s focus slightly different better to match each unique platform’s style and audience.
Separate Campaigns and Baseline Content
A healthy social media content strategy should be a mix of pre-planned, strategized “baseline” content, real-time engagement, and campaigns.
Baseline content is intended to be the bones of your content strategy. It exists so that no matter what might be going on in the office, that your brand is consistently showing up for its audience and delivering interesting and engaging content.
Baseline content can be highly strategized. All of the content strategies we’ve discussed so far can be put together like a puzzle into your baseline social media calendar. By planning out content, you can ensure that your branding is staying consistent and that you’re reaching every buyer persona in your audience.
Your baseline calendar will be a mix of curated and original content.
Curated content is content your sharing from another source, like a news article. It is another way to establish influence and authority.
You’ll only want to share curated content generated from your customers and thought leaders in your industry.
When you share a blog post or other content from a thought leader, you can tag them in the copy. Doing this means that the audience of the person you are tagging will see that you have mentioned them in a post. This can help you expand your reach to a relevant audience.
Consider sharing content where you are lacking. If you don’t have the staff to support video creation, try to share video content from influencers to diversify your sharing content.
To add even more value to curated content, use a call-to-action link generating tool like Replug, which allows you to create custom links to curated content and include a pop-up call-to-action your brand in the content.
Real-time content is posted live. This is content that will not be scheduled out in your calendar verbatim but can be noted. For example, if you know you are going to an industry trade show, you can plan to post real-time content from the event, in addition to baseline content that is also related to the event.
If you know that National Pizza Day is coming-up when planning out your content calendar, you can note to take a photo of the office eating pizza at lunch.
Behind-the-scenes real-time content from events and captures a company’s culture performs extremely well across Facebook and LinkedIn.
Campaigns are purpose-driven, the short term social media events that are usually promotional. The type of product or service you offer will impact how often you run a social media campaign.
If you run a restaurant with a seasonally changing menu, it would make sense to run a campaign near the end of every quarter that reminds people that there are only a few weeks left to try the current menu and that another is coming soon.
If you provide a Saas product or app that’s updated monthly, you would likely want to run a few day campaigns every month to let users know what changes have been made and try to reach new potential customers.
It’s important to use campaigns not only as a promotional tool but as a growth marketing opportunity to learn more about your audience.
Content like giveaways, contests, and quizzes can boost engagement rates and get valuable data from your audience.
During campaigns, you can use unique, trackable hashtags so you can follow conversations and engage with your audience.
Diversify Your Content
It’s important to share a mix of content styles. It’s smart to have a few basic formulas to fall back on when you’re in a rush, but it’s important always to try new things and stand out with social media.
Videos, polls, memes, intructographics, infographics, charts, and gifs are all different multimedia content types that inspire engagement.
There are a lot of different easy-to-use tools available for creating original, multimedia content.
The Adobe Create Suite’s Spark Post tool offers hundreds of templates for everything from Instagram Stories to Pinterest. You can customize graphics and video templates to make them branded and fit your unique message.
Photo editing tools Lightroom and Photoshop by Adobe are also available as apps, making it easy to edit and post real-time photos instantly professionally.
PicsArt, PicsArt Video, are photo and video editing apps that include stickers and creative enhancements that can make your content stand out.
Font Candy is a simple graphic generator that allows you to turn any photo into a clean, professional-looking quote graphic.
Making the Social Media Marketing Calendar Work
It’s important to make sure that you choose a social media calendar system that works for your entire team. Social media calendars should be fairly simple and user-friendly.
You’ve got to nail down the process and have everyone on the team aware of their role in the system. It’s important to have the whole team committed to improving your social media marketing calendar. Because without complete support, the systems will fall apart.
When you first start with a social media calendar, start small. It’s easy for businesses to come up with many amazing ideas that, in reality, they can’t execute. Start with a small posting and engagement cadence that you can constantly keep up with before adding more content to the mix.
Be sure to choose which KPIs to track from the beginning of the new strategy, so you can comparatively track month-to-month growth and success. Dive deep; vanity metrics like followers and likes don’t provide a lot of actionable information. Whereas tracking the days and times you gained and lost the most followers can provide insights into what content is working and what’s not.
The best way to get the whole company on board with a new strategy is to illustrate the value it brings to the company clearly. Data is your friend in this regard. Nothing is more black and white than cold hard numbers.
Ensure that even though you might have content going life from your calendar, monitoring, listening, and engagement still must be a central part of your social media strategy.
Up Your Social Media Game
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