If you don’t take the time to plan your social media calendar, you may have a hard time finding something to share. This is a big problem because sharing quality content on social media channels is one of the most important things you can do to engage your audience and attract new followers.
For this reason, one of the things marketers can do is take the time to create a social media calendar. Content calendars for social networks allow you to plan months of quality publications and save a lot of time when sharing on social networks.
This post details how you can create a unique social media calendar and some of the tools that make it easy to find and share content on social media.
Why do you need a social media calendar?
Some companies can mass-produce social media posts very quickly. Oreo, a company known for its strong presence on Twitter, was able to send this tweet at just the right time during the 2013 Super Bowl after the power went out:
Planning social media posts at the right time will always give you quality content to share with social media followers.
Practice allows for perfection
Content calendar for social media can help you keep track of all your social occasions (without forgetting the most “traditional” holidays, such as Valentine’s Day, Halloween, New Year, and so on). It is an effective strategy not to miss precious opportunities: increase the visibility of your brand and maximize the engagement of followers at special events.
For example, in March in the United States we celebrate #NationalPuppyDay or the “national puppy day”, and last year we thought of contributing by sharing a video filmed from the perspective of one of our corporate dogs. The video highlighted our dog-friendly culture, as well as offering customers an exclusive look into our work environment and introducing our cute four-legged friends. This initiative also required a certain level of planning!
A social media editorial calendar shared on a cloud platform like Google Drive or Dropbox can become an effective collaborative tool. Whether it’s sharing information with stakeholders or communicating updates to the team, the calendar can be used as a reference source to check what will be published and when.
A common and shareable calendar can also simplify the division of responsibilities of the various team members in planning, so that if a colleague is temporarily absent, the others know what to publish.
How to create your social media calendar?
If your company is just getting acquainted with the idea of creating an editorial calendar for social media or if you want to take a look at a unique way to create one, here we present you a 10-step to implement and maintain an efficient calendar on social networks to publish reliable content.
Discover the content impact
In general, content has a crucial point everywhere if you want to be a content writer you can read our previous article.
Before you start looking for content to share on social media, you need to find out what your audience likes. An incredible way to do this is to look at past social media posts to see which ones were most successful. The easiest way is to access your statistics on social networks.
Decide how often to post
This step depends on different aspects, such as the company, your audience, the campaign and the social networks used. Always keep your audience in mind and make sure you don’t bombard them with posts that are irrelevant or inappropriate.
If you’re looking for some basic standards, Constant Contact wrote a post that includes guidelines on how often it should be posted on social media. Here are some highlights:
Facebook: 3 to 10 times a week
Twitter: at least 5 times a day
LinkedIn: 2 to 5 times a week
Pinterest: 5 to 10 times a day
There’s a high probability that the frequency of your posts depends on the quantity, experience, and authority of your social media team, so don’t feel like you should post near-perfect content to meet these guidelines.
Create great content to share
Once you have an idea of the type of content your audience enjoys and how you should satisfy the amount of posts you need to create, it’s time to create links to share. If you don’t have enough content of your own to complete your calendar, use these tools to preserve relevant content.
Buzzsumo allows you to type any website domain or keyword string and the platform returns content on that most shared topic on social media. For example, if Sprout Social was looking for quality articles to share, we could type in a keyword like “Social Media Management.”
Scoop.it is an amazing tool for Search for relevant content to share on your social media profiles. They have a completely free version that allows you to follow topics relevant to your brand, so you can easily complete full months of social media content.
Feedly adds all the posts that interest you in a sequence, so you can easily scale the content discovery process. It also connects to various social media platforms, such as Sprout Social, which makes the article scheduling process even easier.
Complete your editorial calendar for social media
As you have already established the process, now is the time to start completing your editorial calendar. You will want to use a tool that allows you to schedule your messages for social media and view your complete content calendar Plan carefully the resources you need
Poor or absent preparation is the ideal recipe for failure.
The production of effective content is often the result of the contribution of copywriters, designers, and even video editors. It is, therefore, a collaborative activity that can take some time if a quality result is pursued.
It is not excluded that there are professionals who can bring out the best in themselves even at the last minute, and in multitasking mode, but generally it is better to dedicate the time it deserves to the creation of content. Planning your activities allows you not to put team members and company resources to the test while maximizing your chances of getting quality results.
Adapt content to the publishing platform
One of the most serious sins in social media management is to share an identical message across multiple platforms. At one time or another, it can happen to everyone to ask Facebook followers to “retweet” the published content or maybe to tag a brand on Twitter that instead uses only Instagram. Here, planning also helps to avoid this type of eventuality.
And then let’s remember, each society has its own “communication code” that differs from that of the other social networks: even if the brand communication must be consistent everywhere, it should be declined on the different platforms taking into account these peculiarities.
Using the editorial calendar of social media, you can prepare the various captions for each platform in advance, starting from the original, without risking repeating yourself or being monotonous. The calendar is not just a planning tool: it is an archive that preserves all the posts previously shared and will be the first to point out that you used the word “practically” a little too many times or that that video with the cute little dog has already been published the previous week.
Decide on the optimal level of content for the various categories of posts
Your social media calendar should include some sort of content categorization system, which will help you keep track of the type of post that best meets your followers’ preferences.
One suggestion is to divide the content into “self-promotional”, “edited” or “user-generated”, but it is equally useful to focus on the types of posts such as blogs, videos or ads, the various marketing campaigns and/or the themes treated: for example, if you operate in the social media field, you could also categorize your posts according to the various social channels you speak of (eg Instagram) and decide the level of branching (eg Instagram Stories, Instagram Ads, etc.).
In general, however, you will decide the categorization criteria based on what you think is most sensible and functional.
Invite stakeholders to view the schedule
Depending on the size of your company, it may be useful to share the social media calendar with other teams with whom you share common goals or KPIs, or who may be useful to know the strategy adopted. For example content writers, blog managers, video content producers, designers, campaign managers, project managers, and partners.
You will need to configure appropriate permissions for the various categories of users you want to invite (not everyone needs information editing privileges, for example).
And anyway remember: too many cooks indeed spoil the kitchen. Therefore, carefully evaluate each request for access.
publish schedule content
Almost done! This is the phase that will allow you to achieve significant savings in terms of time, money and brain capacity.
The time has finally come to program the contents that you have created and plan with a lot of effort.
Some examples of an editorial calendar of social media
When it comes to long-term editorial planning, companies rarely adopt more advanced methods than magazine and magazine editors. The need to comply with regular publication intervals and a whole series of editorial limitations, not to mention the needs related to features or themes with annual or seasonal cyclicality, forces the most important magazines to plan the number of themes or content to be published for the whole year.
Fortunately, editorial calendars adopted by many magazines are available online. Here are some of the best examples.
Condé Nast Traveler
The first page of the editorial calendar of this lifestyle magazine is another high-level overview, which specifies the themes for each issue alongside the main publication dates.
Condé Nast Traveler is a magazine with high visual content, so it is not surprising that the decision to include images to illustrate the various themes. The latter can serve as quick reference points for the stakeholders who will have to contribute to the programming.
The second page, on the other hand, pursues the aim of outlining the three main themes to be addressed for each month of digital publication, accompanied by images that identify the emotional setting of the contents. Writers, photographers, advertisers, and other professionals will be able to consult the calendar to prepare targeted material.
The editorial calendar of the economics magazine Entrepreneur will not have the appealing aspect of the format used by Condé Nast Traveler but seems to prefer information to creativity.
This calendar not only outlines the general themes on which the following issues will focus but also lists specific digital content and resources intended for each issue, in the name of a functional and minimalist approach.
Forbes, a publication specializing in economics and finance, adopts a similar methodology by creating an editorial calendar that details the general theme of each issue and the related key contents.
The digital content calendar appears instead more detailed, with an indication of the “programs” of content planned for publication on the web.
Although many of the examples shown here are characterized by a captivating aesthetic, we recommend privileging the functionality in creating the calendar for social media, setting aside unnecessary virtuosity. It is in fact important to be able to count on a calendar that is easy to modify and update if necessary. If you manage to produce a format as beautiful as it is functional, all the better, but it is certainly not an essential requirement.