How to Create a Social Media Calendar
posted August 2nd 2017, 8:00 am by Chloe Harbach
If your business is on social media in any way, shape or form, it is crucial that you create a social media calendar. While a post may be easy to slap together in a few minutes, social media requires some intentionality. When you create a social media calendar, you set your business up for success because you are creating consistency and reliability. Your followers are able to build expectations off what you normally accomplish.
Why a Social Media Calendar Matters
Let's dig into this a little deeper. Social media requires consistency, and one of the best ways to facilitate and maintain this consistency is through scheduling. You want to create an image for your audience that you take your marketing seriously, no matter how small a single post may seem. Every marketing effort that you make, whether tweaking your business card or revamping your entire website, promotes or detracts from your brand’s image.
Think of a series of small tributaries that connect into a large river. Each stream has water flowing in the same direction. If one of those tributaries had water that entered the river and flowed in the opposite direction, the river would not flow as smoothly. People who wanted to sail on the river may rethink that venture because of the unpredictability of the water.
Our lives are made up of a series of expectations, and while many of us enjoy the occasional surprise, we also value consistency. If we know what to expect, we have an easier time relaxing and trusting. (Yeah, we just got real.) Think about this as you are creating your social media calendar. Consistency is everything.
Let’s step away from the depth that just happened and get practical. You need to think critically about what your organization can realistically handle as far as social media is concerned. How often do you want to be posting on social media? How many platforms are you going to be able to maintain? How active do you anticipate your followers to be? Do you have a lot of creative content ideas that you can share with your audience? Now make some decisions. If you know that you are going to be posting every day, every other day or even multiple times a day, you can begin to build a schedule for your business.
- Printed calendars
- Spreadsheets (such as Excel)
- Social media calendar apps
The great thing about a social media calendar is that you can visualize and distribute your content throughout your days before you actually post anything. If a post idea you have works best for one day over another, you can arrange and rearrange your potential feeds so that you can create variety in your content. (For advice on Instagram specifically, read our Instagram feed tips here.)
Example: You originally placed an old picture on a Monday, but then realized it would make more sense as a #ThrowbackThursday post. So, you move it to a Thursday with basically no hassle at all. Ahhh, the beauty of scheduling.
Now, not only can you organize your days, but you can also coordinate times that you will be posting as well. As a general rule, Facebook posts are most effective in the late afternoon, Twitter in the late morning through the early evening, Instagram at nearly any time (because of the engagement algorithm), and Pinterest on evenings or Saturdays. Your visual of a schedule will help you see how all of this looks to minimize your stress and all the jumbled thoughts that could otherwise happen.
Now that you have days and times to be mindful of, you have deadlines. That's a good thing. These deadlines are going to hold you accountable so that you stay on schedule. If you were just going to post whenever you had time, you could easily reconcile in your mind putting the posts off until the next day. Worse than that, you could post meaningless content that ends up losing you followers instead of gaining.
We said it before, and we'll say it again. Intentionality matters. Your social media accounts need to be meaningful and worth people’s time. Scheduling and organizing a variety of different types of content is going to help you create your brand into a resource for your clients and customers. Your social media platforms are going to become tributaries that push water faster, making your brand’s river stronger. You are going to have an image and reputation of being helpful and relevant. These are all wonderful aspects to have if you are trying to give your company a competitive edge.
Developing a Social Media Calendar
- Choose your social media platforms
- Decide what days you are going to post
- Create a list of content you want to share with varying topics
- Arrange your topics in your calendar, distributing the types of content throughout (Example: Humorous post on Monday, motivation post on Wednesday, and lifestyle on Friday)
- Keep in mind that 80% of your content should be helpful and 20% promotional -- arrange each month accordingly
- Schedule daily post times
Social media may seem like a small part of a brand, but it really can be quite pivotal. Don’t put it off. Take the time to make a schedule, and avoid making these social media mistakes. And here's another that is a little more day-to-day. When you have your schedule, you can create all your posts at once to save time, or you can plan each day as it comes. Find what works best for your company, and make it happen. If you need assistance, reach out to us here. We specialize in digital marketing and we can help you with your social media.