If you’ve ever wondered how some businesses post from 1st January to 31st December without missing a single day, the answer is a social media content calendar. Do you remember how we used to mark important dates on the calendar hanging somewhere in your room?
The concept is the same. Only this time, you mark a digital calendar and fill it with content for your pages. It saves business owners time and money. Above all, it keeps your brand active and on top of people’s minds.
The question is, how do you create a social media content calendar for your Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and X pages? Let’s dive in and get the answers.
What is a Social Media Content Calendar?
A social media calendar is a strategic planning tool that allows you to organize and schedule your content for publication across various platforms. A content calendar provides a detailed overview of your upcoming social media posts, organized by time and date.
It helps you track what you’re posting online on various platforms. In addition, it helps you coordinate your social media content for the upcoming months and weeks.
Your social media calendar contains the following details about your posts:
- Time and date you will publish your content
- The social media platform where you’ll post the content
- Your post format
- The hashtags and links you will use
- The media to accompany the content – images, videos, GIFs, infographics, or LinkedIn PDFs
Benefits of a Social Media Content Calendar
When you have a calendar, your business has everything to gain. Here are some benefits you’ll enjoy:
- Plan new content around your business needs, like product launches, or client onboarding
- Allows you to centralize the planning of your social media content
- Gives you enough time to plan your next content
- Allows you enough time to edit your content
- Helps you track your social media content performance
- Makes it easy to evaluate your social media strategy using KPIs
- Enables you to post quality content consistently
- Makes it easy to manage your social media team
Now let’s discuss how to create your first content calendar.
1. Audit Your Social Media Channels
A few years ago, the word audit was reserved for accountants and auditors only. But today, auditing is a general term that means analyzing a situation. A social media audit allows you to assess your social media presence, engagement, and accounts.
Your social media audit should help you establish the following about your channels:
- Your highest and lowest-performing posts, tactics, campaign
- Your social media goals and KPIs for each platform
- Your target audience and buyer personas
- Your account security and passwords
- Your content posting frequency
- Key metrics for measuring future success on each platform
- What your competitors are doing differently
Note: You’ll get these details in your social media analytic tools, such as Twitter Analytics, Facebook Insights, LinkedIn Insights, Hootsuite, and SproutSocial. Here is an example of audit data collected using the Hootsuite analytic tool.
This analysis doesn’t show what competitors are doing. Therefore, remember to analyze your rivals and see what they’re doing well and where their strategies are lacking. You’ll learn a few things that’ll help you strengthen your social media strategy.
2. Choose Your Social Media Channels and Content Mix
Have you ever watched Charlie Chaplin’s movies online? They’re from the 1920s, and basically, they were silent films. Actors never uttered a word, and when they did, it was one or two words in a forty-minute-plus film. Charlie Chaplin found his channel which was silent films.
As you conduct your social media audit, choose the channels you’ll use. Are you going to be on Facebook and Instagram, or does your business need LinkedIn only? Choose a channel where your ideal customers spend most of their time.
Next, decide what content mix will keep your audience engaged.
For example, if you choose Instagram as your channel, the platform favors images and short videos as the dominant content. Keep in mind the 80/20 rule of content creation. 80% of your content should educate, inform, or entertain your audience. Promote your products and services in the remaining 20%.
So, while editing your images and videos, put on your creativity hat and develop some catchy captions to accompany them.
3. Outline Your Social Media Goals
Your social media goals will inform what you include in your calendar. Start with broad goals and then turn them into specific objectives.
The following is an example of broad social media goals that you can use to create your specific objectives.
- Increase your brand awareness
- Improve community engagement
- Improve customer service and experience
- Generate leads
- Boost conversions and sales
- Enhance your brand reputation
- Increase website traffic
Note: To avoid losing focus, highlight all your social media goals by order of priority in your calendar.
4. Decide on What to Include in Your Content Calendar
No two businesses should have the same calendar. Your business has unique features that should reflect on your calendar. Ensure that your calendar includes the following basic components
- The platforms you will use
- The day and time you will publish your posts
- Visuals like videos, infographics, gifs, photos
- Links to external resources
- A copy of your posts
You may also want to customize your calendar to include specific details like:
- Platform-specific materials (reel, polls, live streams, ads, TikTok Live, shoppable posts)
- Associated social media campaigns, e.g. product launches
5. Create a Social Media Content Calendar
With the foundation laid, you can now create a social media content calendar. There are various ways to create a social media content calendar. One that works best is where you begin with a social media calendar template.
The template allows you to visualize what your final calendar draft will look like. It also ensures consistency, especially when collaborating with a social media team.
Color coding is another important tool when creating your calendar. The codes help you categorize the information you‘ll include in your calendar. Create as many color codes depending on the content you will create, as shown below.
With the templates and color codes created, you can now start filling in the details you want to be part of your calendar. The following is an example of a filled one-week social media calendar template from Semrush.
6. Define Your Social Media Posting Schedule
You now know what channels you will use, the content you will be posting, and have created the templates you will use. Like with blogs, your planner is incomplete until you define the ideal time for posting on each social media channel.
Define how frequently you’ll post on your page. Some businesses perform best when they post every day, others three times a week, and others several times a day.
The following is an example of a posting frequency schedule based on HubSpot’s 2022 state of marketing report.
Note: The social media audit you conducted in the first step should inform you when your target audience is most active on each social media channel. Don’t just decide to post randomly when your target audience is not online. Post when they’re available to interact with your content for better performance.
7. Invite Feedback
Your social media content calendar must make sense to all your team members. That is the only way to enjoy the full benefits we stated above.
Therefore, share the calendar with your social media management team members and encourage them to share feedback. Use their feedback to improve your calendar even further.
Need Help with Your Social Media Content Calendar?
It’s takes time and requires expertise to create a social media content calendar. As a busy entrepreneur who cannot do everything for your business, we have a solution for you. Contact us today to discuss how we’ll help you prepare your calendar and manage your social media pages.