How to Develop A Social Media Calendar
Social content has reached must-have status for most online marketers, and not a moment too late. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other social platforms have the potential to reach a nearly limitless pool of clients. Not only that, but they offer the opportunity to build your brand, and simultaneously connect to major industry influencers.
Not surprising that we find it all so important.
But actually getting posting can be a daunting prospect. Just ask anyone who’s launching out into Twitter as an egg – it’s difficult to dream up and publish new thoughts, doubly so to do it day after day after day.
That’s where content calendars come in. Having a consistent schedule to follow can save enormous amounts of time and mental effort while you’re working to maintain your social voice. Read on, and we’ll walk you through getting an effective calendar set and ready.
- Choose Your Platforms
One of my major pet peeves is the shotgun approach to social media. Companies will often try to use every single social company in existence to promote themselves, and it very rarely works. Instead of running yourself ragged on Vine, Pinterest, and Tumblr, choose a few high-return, appropriate channels. Start with Twitter and Facebook, if nothing else, then branch out after those outlets are healthy.
- Determine Your Activity Level
Everyone knows that it’s important to remain active on social media, essentially no one knows exactly how active they should be. Truth be told, there’s a reason for that – every company’s different, and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution.
As a rule of thumb, you should be most active on Twitter. Many experts recommend at least three daily posts. For Facebook and Google+, aim for a post every or every other day. When dealing with other channels, especially visual ones, you’re best off playing things by ear. Figure out how frequently your target audience likes to post, how active they are on the platform, and how successful competitors have modeled their own strategies.
Understanding frequency allows you to actually start planning out posts, then plugging them into daily vacancies, the basis of any successful content calendar.
- Pick Renewables and Themes
Thinking up completely original content every day takes time, and isn’t really practical on a longer timeline. Instead, identify several high-value, recurring topics to visit. Think of the “quote of the day” offerings that many companies post. Or the always-popular #MondayMotivation hashtag. Heck, even just knowing that you post to your blog every Wednesday lets you fill in a calendar vacancy, and also gets your audience used to looking for specific content on a given day.
Even if you don’t get that precise, pick basic rules to follow. Look to promote a specific type of content (say, articles on one facet of your industry) on a given day, or to engage with a certain class of influencer on another.
- Build Up a Backlog
The real value of a content calendar lies in the amount of time that it should save you on a day to day basis. As a result, they’re at their most useful when they actually cover a significant period of time. It’s not always possible to plan out Twitter a week in advance, given that a lot of the value of the medium comes through joining relevant conversations, but at least know how much you want to post, and on what basic topics.
For other platforms, such as Instagram or your blog, it’s possible to lay a much more extensive plan. I’m not exaggerating when I say that a month is practically the minimum you want to have planned ahead for long-form content such as blog posts.
- Enforce, Enforce, Enforce
Once you’ve got your calendar set, for god’s sake, follow it. There’s absolutely no value to making something you won’t use – less than none, actually, since it takes some of the teeth away from your social media plan. So if you’re in charge of posting, monitor yourself.
Don’t skip days, don’t skip posts. Same goes for any manager you’ve given the responsibilities to. In both instances, if your primary poster needs help, make sure they get it. After all, You’ve gone to the trouble of creating a calendar, don’t let it go to waste.