In my time helping small businesses with their marketing, I find that the best results come when you’re uber organized. One way to get organized is to have a social media calendar. By knowing ahead of time what you want to share and promote on social media, you can ensure that your social media marketing strategy aligns with other marketing goals.
First, What IS a Social Media Calendar?
Just like you might set up a content calendar to plan out the blog content and whitepapers you’ll publish in the coming months, you can also use a calendar to organize your social media updates.
Rather than publishing updates and shares helter-skelter, a social media calendar takes more of a strategic view of what you’re publishing to your audience on various social sites, and uses analytics to shape future content.
Start with Your Marketing Goals & Promotions
Before you can plan out any social media updates, consider what you want to achieve in the coming quarter. You might know there will be a big push for a new product next quarter, so some of your social should center around this. Or maybe you’re publishing a new whitepaper that you want to boost downloads of.
Whatever you want to achieve in your marketing in the next three months, keep that in mind as you plan your social media content.
Consider Each Social Channel Separately
First, I absolutely discourage you from publishing the same updates across multiple social channels. You want to provide value to people on each one, and give them reason to follow you on all social profiles, so what you share should be modified for that particular channel.
Understanding what resonates on each social site will play a role in your calendar planning. For example, longer posts with a photo work well on Facebook, while Instagram users just want the photo and maybe a short caption.
Find Your Cadence
We’re lucky to have social media tools that allow us to schedule content in advance. We can look at social analytics to see which times we’re best engaging our audience. Knowing this will help you set up time slots for your social media content calendar.
Also pay attention to how many updates is too many. Do you lose traction after 10 Tweets a day? Are you losing Facebook followers when you post three times a day? It may take time to play around with frequency, but once you find the right cadence, stick with it.
Now Build Your Calendar
A spreadsheet works well for your social media calendar. Essentially you want to have one line for each social channel, then slots for every time you need to publish something.
I suggest creating a template with generic content suggestions. Let’s say you have a contest you’re trying to boost entries for. Your generic template might look like this:
- Share link to contest
- Retweet 5 entrants’ tweets
- Share contest blog post links
- Share link to contest
- Contestant of the Day highlight post
- Post picture of prize basket
Then, once you have those general placeholders for your social content, you can fill in the exact wording you want to schedule for each time slot. Once that’s done, just copy and paste into the social media update scheduler of your choice, and you’re done!
Don’t Forget to Pay Attention to Analytics
Just because you have your updates mapped out for the coming months doesn’t mean they’re set in stone. Peek at your social analytics to see which updates are getting clicks, shares, and comments. Any that are falling flat, take note of and tweak any similar updates so you get better results.
I bet that using a social media calendar will help you get more organized and help you net better results on social media!