In the ever evolving social media world, it’s essential to have a clear vision for your brand or business. You must also provide value to your audience. Give people a reason to follow you. The best way to do that is to
So you may be asking yourself “how do I get started?” The answer is to plan ahead with a social media calendar template. Creating a content calendar for your social media strategy is a piece of your overall social media marketing strategy.
As outlined in a previous blog post, you must first do the following before creating your content calendar.
- Establish your goals
- Identify all key dates for promotions, events and holidays
- Create campaigns
- Identify your strategy for each social network
The content you create for your social media community will lead you to success. By creating a social media calendar, you can plan content around your key dates and for specific marketing campaigns. Social media is a piece of your brand’s marketing. It’s another channel to market your brand, product or business; not your only marketing channel.
Know your audience and set goals
Establishing your goal(s) and target audience helps to identify relevant content to create and share via your social media profiles. Understanding your audience also helps determine if specific internet trends are relevant, such as Throwback Thursday (#tbt). It’s important to pay attention to what is trending so your brand can participate in the hot topic if relevant, or make it your own by making it relevant for your brand and audience.
Before you get started on posting this valuable content, though, it is important to create a social media calendar.
Your social media calendar will need to include the following:
Identify where the content is being posted
Identify the social media network the content is being posted to; Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram or YouTube. You can share the same message across multiple social media networks; however, the way you craft the message will differ based on the platform, your audience on that network and the features of the social network. For example: you only have 140 characters or less to share your message on Twitter. Facebook, you have unlimited characters. Typically links perform well with a Tweet and having an image with your Facebook post typically has higher results. So by identifying the social network, you can better plan the message and kind of content that needs to be created.
Include the day of the week so you can test how the same type of content performs on a Monday vs. a Tuesday or a weekday vs. a weekend. This is also important for identifying weekly features. For example, you may have a weekly Throwback Thursday Post or “Myth Busters Monday.”
Putting specific dates not only helps you plan for creating content, whether it’s a blog post, image or photo album but it also helps you plan ahead to have promotions around an upcoming product launch, event or sale.
Day Part (Morning, Afternoon or Evening)
Just like keeping track of the day, this is important so you can test various parts of the day to understand the best time of day on specific days your audience responds to most of your content.
By categorizing your content, you can better understand what type of content your audience prefers. Every business wants to make money and use social media as a way to increase sales. You can do that. But it’s not recommended to only promote your products and sales. Content categories could include: promotion, staff and community. Measure the kinds of content that receive the most engagement and provide more of what your audience wants.
Topic or message
Depending on how detailed you want to plan ahead, you could use this space to write the message you plan to share. Or you could use it for the topic. An example of putting a topic for a women’s clothing store may be: Fall clothing arrives – share photo of dress.
In this section of your social media calendar template you can identify the source for the content. Whether it’s a link to an article, photo or video. Or a website where you get information. For example a women’s retailer may want to see what is happening during New York Fashion Week and take their favorite photos to share via Facebook so it may just be a website where you can get that information. It may also be the area where you identify what you need to do to create the content or that you need to film the video or take photos.
Sometimes it’s applicable to have an extra note for certain content. Having a plan also means you need to be flexible and shift content. In the event of breaking news or an unexpected announcement, you may need to shift your content. The notes section allows space to put detailed information such as ‘do not promote after a specific date.’ Or don’t promote after a specific time so you don’t accidentally post a Happy Hour special after the hours of the special. This is especially important when having multiple people execute your social media plan.
The social media calendar and strategy is a start to help your business achieve its goals. Think of this as your road map to success. The other key component is the execution of the strategy and content. Social media networks provide a space for two way communication. Don’t just post content. You also need to monitor it and join back in the conversation. Measure your posts, adapt or repeat to help reach your social media goals and see the ROI on this great marketing tool.