Central to planning your digital marketing content calendar for your content assets is planning your social media calendar.
Social media content calendar planning is an important undertaking of its own. Because of the scope and frequency of content it entails, it requires a lot of constant effort to execute and monitor on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.
Let’s talk about what it is, how to schedule content in a social media calendar, and how to succeed with your social media content plan by devising an effective social media posting schedule.
What is a Social Media Calendar?
A social media calendar is, quite simply, a centralized repository of all content information that’s related to your brand, product, or overall business.
Usually this information can be created and monitored on basic spreadsheet software like Excel and Google Sheets. Nowadays, however, this content can be created, scheduled, and published on platforms such as Buffer, Hootsuite, or Coschedule.
These platforms allow you to manage multiple social media accounts owned by your brand – and automate posting schedules for all your messages on prescheduled times and dates. This reduces the time and effort you put into social media content creation; in turn, this gives you more time to plan and monitor the effectiveness of your master campaigns as well as your individual posts.
Creating Social Media Content – Post by Type
How you create a social media calendar boils down to two things: the messages you’re focused on sending and the audiences you want to reach. Then you can work out a schedule that determines the kind of social media you can develop.
There are many ways of classifying social media content, whether by format or content type. Let’s discuss some of the most popular formats first.
- Product or photo posts – This is a default post type for all companies. Need to promote your latest offering? Include text and photos of your product and a product description, especially if it’s new, you’ve got a calendared promotion, or you’re going on a general sale.
- News posts – Just like product posts, a post shared from the news is informational and intended to raise awareness and help maintain mindshare in your audiences. Think of this post as a useful “FYI” that’s in line with your business and industry, or shared as a public service announcement.
- Infographics – People consume hours and hours of time scrolling through content, digesting information in the form of text, pictures, and video. Infographics are a great way of informing your users about your products and services at a glance. They also become part of your overall arsenal of marketing collateral – whether they appear on Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.
- Blog Post shares – Any company that’s invested in its own digital marketing efforts produces content on their own blog. Every time your company publishes a new piece of valuable content, it’s most likely a piece of blog content, or something you can reference in a blog post.
- Videos and Podcasts – Podcasts have been around for years, but they’ve never received as much attention and following as in 2020, also because of the onset of COVID-19. Just like written blog content, publicize any new videos and podcast content that explains your latest product, services, or recently held events.
- Evergreen Content – Evergreen content is an engagement-type post that helps you maintain contact with your audiences. It is similar to news posts, in that it’s just an FYI, but usually, with the aid of design software, is crafted into an inspirational post – a quote, a photograph, or a popular saying that’s in line with the tone and feel of your brand.
- Promotional Content – You will often create promotional type content when a sale is coming, you’re offering a special discount, or you’ve decided to run a contest. This takes form as branded collateral, with taglines, mechanics, and variations in design that you can populate and run on different social media platforms according to your schedule.
Social Media Scheduling – Scheduling by Type
How do you go about developing an effective social media marketing calendar?
Sort out your content types and what platform they’re going on
You have to sort out three things: content type, platform, and frequency. Devise your own content themes and categories based on the post types you’re using, then set fixed frequencies for each type.
Some of your content deserves its own regular schedule, like evergreen and infographic content. Is evergreen posting something you’ll do weekly, twice a week, or maybe twice a month?
Maybe you can have regular photo posts every Tuesday and Thursday, a regular inspirational Wednesday post, and synchronize blogpost, podcast, or new video content posts 24 hours after uploading these to your website, your YouTube, or maybe your TikTok account.
Promotional content will have its own start and end dates, likely based on your overall content marketing calendar. Insert that into your plan.
Think of your social media platforms as your content funnel
Social media accounts owned by your brand will help you funnel audiences to your main content source of repository on a regular basis. Every time you produce new multimedia content, promote it via platforms Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, with photos, text, and the all-important link to your content.
Consider Investing in Automation
You’ll discover you might be putting more time and energy into managing various social media accounts than you expected. When this happens, look at centralizing this content using platforms that automate scheduling and publication.
If you’re using platforms such as HeyOrca or SproutSocial, you can sign into various accounts, mix and match, and echo various messages you’re sending as part of your overall content marketing strategy.
If you’re sticking to a spreadsheet, use a calendar format and color code your information – then commit to regular, scheduled uploads.
Master Your Analytics
The best part of investing in social media creation is that all the major platforms will provide you useful, often critical, information about your customers in the form of analytics. Analytics are at the core of improving your social media marketing efforts. You can pick up on what posts were most read and most popular, most liked, at what times, and in what locations.
Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter provide their own analytics activity on your posts – but so will most of your social media management tools. There’s a rich treasure trove of marketing and audience data that can help you schedule better content based on any number of variables, like time or day. Social media listening – which picks up on the tone of social media conversations on your brand – will also inform your content creation moving forward.
Social media campaigns, once you’ve mastered planning and scheduling, can be managed to rising levels of complexity by you, a social media team. When the efforts multiply, it might become necessary to engage the services of a digital marketing agency to craft and deploy your messaging campaigns.
Whatever you choose to do, remember that the biggest advantage of social media is that it costly a truly small fraction of traditional marketing – and that you can iterate and improve your messaging and social media posting strategy based on your analytics.
Marianne Carandang has written for lifestyle, B2B trade media, and business. Her passions include cooking and writing about food, languages, and planning future travels.