Making a content calendar for social media

The rise of social media has opened channels for deeper conversations between businesses and customers, and this has meant that businesses need to not only create authentic content for those platforms, but also generate enough ROI to justify the time and capital they invest in it.

In this new world, many businesses struggle to create a consistent social media marketing strategy, posting blindly and haphazardly, and hoping their efforts will be enough to keep their audience engaged.

A great way to avoid this is by using a strategically planned content calendar for social media as your secret weapon. A content calendar can help track your efforts, create content your audience loves, and meet your marketing goals faster.

A content calendar for social media that helps you win

If you want to hit specific goals you need to reliably track your social media marketing efforts.

A well-managed content calendar will help you:

  • Plan and create content that allows you to hit specific goals
  • Keep your content consistent throughout the year
  • Organize your team and delegate specific tasks to the best people for the job
  • Make sure you’ve got a good balance of different types of content
  • Create room for spontaneity

Content Calendar Tips

How do you go about creating a winning content calendar for social media?

1. Structure it around your sales cycle

You aren’t creating content just because it’s a fun thing to do (though it is.) Great content should always support specific business goals.

The Entrepreneur use an editorial calendar to plan their yearly content. Every month is dedicated to a specific theme and the content is designed around that.

You can create a similar calendar that encompasses all your sales cycles and launches. You can then use that calendar to plan social media posts that support these cycles.

2. Holiday-jack (within reason!)

Tapping into the hype around cultural events like Halloween, the winter holidays, or the summer vacation can help you to connect with your customers.

Plan social media content around events that matter to your ideal clients. If a huge chunk of your ideal audience are Star Wars fans, creating content around May the 4th can really help.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are incredibly important days for businesses. HubSpot knows that these sales matter to their customer base, so they started creating and sharing relevant content in the weeks building up to it. We’d be incredibly surprised if this isn’t part of a larger promotion aimed at helping their customers make more sales.

Figure out which holidays and events matter to your customers, and add them to your social media content calendar.

3. Treat each channel individually

Every platform is different, and has particular strengths and weaknesses. What works really well on Facebook may flop on Twitter and vice versa.

When planning your content, create a platform-specific strategy. Tailor your language and images to each platform.

4. Plan in advance but allow for flexibility

Planning your social media updates helps you stay consistent and on-brand. It also makes tracking your efforts so much easier! However, social media is all about being authentically human and that’s why you need to allow some room for spontaneity.

In the UK, people know the holiday season is really underway when John Lewis release their annual Christmas ad. It’s become a bit of a national event. (If you haven’t seen it yet, watch the adorableness here.) Innocent drinks played off the hype and incorporated the hashtag in a fantastic way.

You can do the same. Keep an eye out on important content in your space and create social media posts around it.

5. Schedule brainstorming

Set aside time in your schedule for reviewing and updating your content calendar. Whether it’s 15 minutes a day or an hour a week, make sure you’ve got time to plan, brainstorm new content ideas, review posts, and prep for launches! Allow room for strategy and creativity.

6. Share other relevant content from reliable sources

Don’t just fill your social media content calendar with your own gems. Collate content from other reliable sources your audience will love.

When building our social media calendar, we try to include links to cool articles and news you’d love as well as our own content. This shows people you’re interested in sharing stuff they love and aren’t just in it for yourself.

Content Calendar Template

So how do you structure your social media content calendar?

You’ve got a few different options. You can use a social media management dashboard like AgoraPulse, Buffer or Hootsuite to capture ideas and prep and schedule posts. At Biteable, we use MeetEdgar to plan, schedule, track and repurpose our social media updates.

But, if you’re not at the stage where you want to invest in a social media management dashboard, a simple Google Sheet calendar can help you track your updates. This doesn’t replace proper analytics tracking, but it makes it easier to plan updates around specific goals.

To help you get started, we built a social media content calendar you can use with Google Sheets.

Download your free content calendar here and start using it to track your social media marketing efforts straight away.

A content calendar for social media will help you get strategic by eliminating guesswork. Start your 2018 marketing strategy with a bang (and a calendar.)