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A social media calendar might sound like a foreign concept to some of you. For others, you may have heard of it, but never really put any effort into making one. Or there might be some of you out there who have actually made one but never used it. Today we're going to approach all of you out there: the ones who don't know, might know and know but haven't used one. Because if you aren't using a social media calendar, you're missing out on some amazing free marketing. Which means you're also losing out in terms of social media. Not to mention the amount of precious time you're wasting.
Here's the thing, social media will only work for you if you are ready to put in the effort. Did you know that over 40% of small businesses spend a lot of time on social media? And this doesn't include the time you spend on actually creating content. Such as blog posts, e-letters, videos, and podcasts. Naturally, this sounds a little overwhelming. And if you are a small business, you probably don't have enough time. Which means you don't really have the time to create and schedule content all at once!
Especially if you use all of the social media platforms for both promotion and conversation. Naturally, this task becomes a little hectic when you create and share content randomly. Honestly, it takes a lot of time and if you don't do it right, you won't get good results. Since there are so many platforms, it can quickly become unmanageable.
So how do you solve the issue of manageability? First of all, you need to come up with a strategy. Then you need to apply the strategy. This is where social media calendars come into play. The key to being successful at social media is to be consistent! A perfect strategy that is consistently done is your best bet. Without it, social media marketing becomes stressful and overwhelming. So today I'm sharing steps on how to plan and organize your social media content.
What is a social media calendar?
A social media calendar is essentially a calendar where you plan out your social media content. Every single item of social media content that you will share online will be accounted for. From Tweets to Pins, it's your whole media strategy all in one place. It could be as simple as a Google spreadsheet, a printout, or a tool like HootSuite. Whatever your calendar is, it is there to help you plan, organize and maintain your content so you can strategically use it to market your business online.
And if your brand is new and just starting out, you need to figure out which platforms you want to concentrate on. You don't have to be on every single one. Choose the ones you are most comfortable with and stick with those. You can start with one or two, keep things under control and then move on to more platforms down the road. It's your call!
Which type of calendar do you choose?
There are two different types of calendars: a monthly and a weekly/daily one. But the one you choose all depends on your preference.
A monthly calendar is a great way to plan your content for the next few weeks. It even helps point out any big events that you might need to focus on. A monthly view is great for both busy and light schedules. For busy schedules, you can use it to highlight the most important posts so that it doesn’t feel too crowded.
A weekly/daily calendar is where the bulk of your work will go. The best way to maximize this type of calendar is to have every single post for each day of the week already planned out. Or at least every single one you can get to. It's a good idea to get this done as early as possible. Starting the week with everything already planned will definitely remove a lot of pressure.
When it comes down to it, any type of social media calendar will help you clearly visualize all of your planned posts for the next week or month ahead. On top of that, it lets you create your posts in advance. Which you means that you will always have something to share. Here's how to get started...
HOW TO CREATE A SOCIAL MEDIA CALENDAR FOR YOUR BUSINESS
STEP 1 - Time Blocking
Naturally, you need to spend a little time on social media to plan and schedule. But the goal is to spend that time wisely. Let's say you spend 4 hours per week (give or take) creating and posting content. Instead of doing that, go ahead and block out one whole day each month. You'll create your content for the whole month (or more - if possible). For example, if you'll really proactive - you can try creating 3 months of content in advance.
STEP 2 - Figure Out and Create Content
This is the most important step because once you've figured out your content, the creation and scheduling will be incredibly easy. Mainly because you will know exactly what type of content you will share with your audience each day. Whenever you have your content categories in front of you, you won't waste any time on coming up with random things to share on social media.
- Figure out your content or categories. You only need to do this once. After you create your calendar all you need to do is create/add the content.
- Create and add content. Simply add the content and you're done.
Here are some ideas as to what your content can be:
- your blog posts
- image quotes
- photos (related to your product or service)
- behind the scene photos/videos
- special events/promotions
- Q&A sessions
Take some time to think about what your specific audience would like from you and start from there. You can do this by sifting through your old social media posts. See which ones resonated well with your audience. Maybe it was a behind the scenes video or a link to your post. Whatever it is, make sure to include that type of content in your social media calendar.
Do some research within your niche.
It's also a good idea to take cues from the social media accounts of competitor's or influencers within your niche. Maybe it was that Q&A session that generated a lot of engagement. Chances are your followers would probably like to see the same thing from you.
Repurpose your content every chance you get.
Don't overlook the benefit of repurposing your old content. Yes, offering new content is important too, but so is your old content. You can take old posts and structure them differently. Instead of an old post that focused on the pros of XYZ, write one that focuses on the cons of XYZ. You can even create an infographic from your old content. Or a slideshow or short video! Whatever it is, you're essentially making new content out of one old post.
Don't be afraid to experiment to see what works for you and what doesn't.
STEP 3 - Decide How Frequently You Will Post
This can be difficult, especially when there is no one size fits all solution when it comes to frequency of posts. First of all, the frequency relies heavily on the social media platform. For example, posting 10 times a day on Twitter is a lot more acceptable than 10 times a day on Instagram. Honestly, two posts a day on Instagram is probably a good number to stick with. Don't worry, there are ways to streamline your social media presence.
Therefore you need to run a few experiments before you figure out your frequency. However, you should start with something that seems manageable. Then you can either scale up or down based on the results. Here's a general guide that you can start with:
- Facebook: 1-2 times a day
- Twitter: 5 tweets a day
- Instagram: 1-2 times a day
- LinkedIn: 1 post a day
- YouTube: 1 video a week
- Pinterest: 10-15 pins a day
Next, you can decide what times work best for you, for each platform.
STEP 4 - Fill Up the Calendar
It's finally time to start filling up your calendar!
- Assign the content and posting times to each platform.
- Fill up the calendar with the actual content you will post.
Let's take a look at an example calendar with 4 different types of content and 2 social media platforms (Instagram and Facebook).
Types of Content:
- Blog posts
- Image quote
- Behind the scenes
Posting Frequencies and Times:
- Facebook - twice a day, 9 AM and 4 PM
- Instagram - once a day, 10 AM
Now before you start filling your calendar up with content, you need to assign them to each platform at a specific time. The best format to follow when you assign your content and posting times is as follows:
Posting Time, Content-Type and Actual Content
It makes things a lot easier and simpler if you stick to this formula. As a result, you will have completed the majority of your work. Add in the posting time for each platform, add the content and then the actual content.
Remember that you don't need to post every single day. But it's really a good idea to repurpose your content. Repurposing content gives life to new content without having to deal with the pressure of creating new content. Below you will find some ideas on how to find interesting content for your audience. Aside from your own blog posts, of course.
- By using tools such as BuzzSumo and PostPlanner to research what types of content are being shared most frequently across various social media channels in your niche.
- Take a look at look at your competitor's page to see what type of content they are most successful at with their audience. See what they did well and create a better version.
- Check Google Analytics to find out which blog posts perform the best on your site. You can use these blog posts for repurposed content. Create an infographic or image posts with shot tips.
- Conduct a short quiz. Ask your fans questions that are easy to answer, like yes or no.
- Come up with easy tips. Your existing followers might have already asked you questions. Go ahead and answer the questions on social media. It's a great idea to make these answers into tips.
STEP 5 - Schedule the Content with a Scheduling Tool
Awesome! You are all ready to schedule your content. Congratulations! The hard part is over. Now that you have all of the info right there in front of you, it is a lot easier to schedule. You can schedule it out weekly or monthly using whatever scheduling tool works best for you.
Normally it takes about 30-40 minutes to schedule content each week. Which is a game changer to the 4 hours a week I mentioned earlier. Keep in mind that there are a lot of scheduling tools out there. A quick Google search will produce quite a bit. What works for me, might not work for you. It's best to find your favorite one. However, here are some scheduling tools that you can use:
- HootSuite for Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter
- Boardbooster and Tailwind for Pinterest
STEP 6 - Stick With It
There's just one final piece of the puzzle. One that is integral to getting the most out of any social media calendar. You have to actually use your it. I know this might seem like common sense, but there are a lot of people out there with calendars full of scheduled content that they aren't utilizing.
The goal is to make, create and stick with it. Yes, the more you use the calendar to create and schedule content, the easier it is. But you need to continue to use it. Sooner or later it will become a habit and your content you be a success.
Well, there you have it a step-by-step guide to help you create a social media calendar for your business. It's definitely a great way to stay organized and make your social media content work for you. How do you create and schedule your social media content? Let us know in the comments below, so we can discuss. Still don't know if you can do this yourself? Find out if you need a social media manager.