Busy social media marketers have difficulty identifying which content needs to be posted where and when. Integrating a social media calendar template into your daily schedule can enable you to stay on top of everything.
Content is the heart and soul of a successful social media marketing campaign. A suitable social media schedule template tailored to your business can help you stay organized, get more efficient, and crush the competition.
Here’s what you need to know about crafting your social media marketing calendar.
What is a social media calendar?
The social media calendar template was designed to provide an overview of your upcoming content pieces across social media platforms. Opting for the interactive dashboard option is ideal if you also want to integrate your content planner into an existing social media management tool.
Despite the differences in calendar setups, most calendars will include the same selection of information, such as:
- The date a piece of content will be pushed
- The time of day it will go live
- The social media network the content is destined for
- Any copy and creative assets required for the post
- Links and tags to be included
Practically all planners are organized by time, so you can see which content is scheduled to be published that day at a glance.
How to create a social media calendar
You may have seen some content calendar examples and believed they took time and expertise to construct. It takes only minutes to find the ideal social media content calendar template and begin creating an airtight document any team member can understand.
Follow these simple steps to create your social media content calendar.
Step one: Carry out a social media audit
Since your social media calendar template is central to the success of your content planner, you need to know where you stand regarding your social media accounts. Carry out a complete social media audit to get a clear picture of your existing accounts.
Your audit should include information on:
- Outdated profiles and copycat accounts
- Account usernames and passwords
- Goals for each social media account
- KPIs for assessing the success of each platform
- Target audience and customer personas
- Who is responsible for each task
- A list of your most successful posts on each platform
- Opportunities for improvement
Your audit should also include a note of the content you are posting on each network. For example, your Instagram content calendar will look very different from your Facebook one because the audiences and user expectations are different.
Examine your analytics to discover your ideal posting frequency and time of posting. Changing these metrics will impact your engagement levels and conversions.
Step two: Select social media platforms and content mix
The key to any successful online marketing strategy is deciding what content you post. It’s also an essential step in building a social media content calendar that fits the needs of your business.
Let’s examine some standard content mix formulas to give you a starting point for building your calendar.
First, there is the social media rule of thirds, which consists of:
- A third of posts will promote your business/drive sales
- A third of posts will involve sharing curated content from your industry
- A third of posts will be social posts where you interact directly with your followers
Another option for creating a content mix is the 80-20 rule. It’s just as simple to understand as the ‘rule of thirds’ option.
To put it simply, 80% of your posts under this system will aim to inform, educate, or entertain. The other 20% of posts will be used to promote your brand and drive sales.
The last step is determining which social media platforms are best for your business. Your choices will depend on your target audience and where they like to hang out. Dig into your analytics to work this out.
Step three: What should your social media calendar include?
Just as no two businesses, brands, or people are exactly alike, no two social media calendars will look alike. For example, a small business managing its posts in-house will have a more straightforward calendar than a larger business hosting an entire social media team.
You will need to detail the information and functions that matter most to you to get the most value from your calendar.
All calendars should include the following basics:
- Social media platform
- Time (time zones included)
- Visual media
- Link to published post, including tracking information
Depending on your business, you can also add some advanced details, such as geotargeting, approval/rejection, associated marketing campaigns, and platform-specific formats.
Talk to your team and get a sense of the information they would find most useful to them in the course of their work.
Step four: Review and gather feedback
Any social media planning calendar must be seen as valuable by the people using it. Calendars are most effective when everyone finds them helpful for their work.
Speak to stakeholders to ensure your calendar is getting the job done. Ask them how it feels to use the calendar and whether they would implement any changes. If it feels too finicky, think about stripping out some details. Likewise, if the data presented is too basic, you may need to consider adding more columns.
The reality is that sometimes, your social media calendar template may not be getting the job done. To avoid this problem, it is a good idea to choose said template in collaboration with your team.
Finally, you’ll want to get ongoing feedback from the team as well. Things will constantly be in flux when it comes to your business, so your calendar should remain flexible and constantly iterated upon for maximum relevance and efficiency.
What are the benefits of using a social media calendar?
Integrating a calendar for your social media activities allows you to stay on top of your social media marketing campaigns.
Ensuring your calendar fits your team will enable you to get the most from your marketing campaigns and push better results.
Creating and publishing content on social media is vital for your brand’s success. The problem with running an effective marketing campaign online is planning, batch creation, and working out ideas for the future.
Calendar tools make it simple to schedule your social media posts ahead of time without logging into every account to check on your progress.
With more social media platforms than ever before to handle, social media can become a real-time sink. The more time you lose on organization, the less time you have to perform the tasks that matter.
Creating a content calendar will push your team toward more efficiency and, ultimately, a superior ROI.
Getting the most out of your calendar will require you to invest some of your time upfront, but the time you spend managing your calendar will always be dwarfed by attempting to perform the same tasks manually.
You can even integrate your calendar with other social media management tools to further centralize your marketing operations.
Achieve more posting consistency
There are no strict rules on how often you need to post on social media to achieve optimal results. Generally, you need to be cultivating consistency in your habits. It’s essential for your efficiency and because your target audience will expect new content on particular days and at certain times.
Sticking to a regular schedule is vital for your followers because it teaches your target audience what to expect. Making clever use of daily hashtags can anchor consistent content ideas and prevent your well of creativity from running dry.
Your calendar will help you keep a schedule—one less task you must think about every week. Moreover, it makes it simpler to schedule posts in advance. Forgotten posts will only diminish your social media presence and disappoint your followers.
Implementing an automation system for posting on social media is another function that can be enhanced using a social media calendar. This function is essential because your core posting hours may not match your working hours.
Give yourself real time off
Social media never stops running. Unfortunately, this can make it challenging to guarantee time off for yourself. Logging into your accounts during the weekends and the holidays means you never truly get to take time off from your business.
Busy social media managers need time to refresh their minds and rest. In this sense, a social media calendar is not just a helpful tool but a type of self-care.
Furthermore, calendars make you a 24-hour marketing team, even if you have no intention of being in the office during unsociable hours.
Avoid big mistakes
Planning your posts with a calendar ahead of time also gives you the breathing space needed to make your content perfect.
Typos are embarrassing enough, but not having the chance to fact-check your posts or clear content with stakeholders makes your brand vulnerable to big mistakes.
Social media calendars allow you to schedule in time for team approvals, so everyone knows when posts have been audited for release. Mistakes affect your brand and, in some cases, could damage your brand permanently.
Improve the quality and cohesiveness of your campaigns
The production value of social media content has never been higher. The average social media user expects the best from the businesses they follow. It’s why larger companies have an entire social media team behind every post, consisting of writers, graphic designers, editors, and professional photographers.
Unfortunately, last-minute problems will only frustrate your marketing team. Social media planners allow you to plan high-quality content ahead of time and ensure a cohesive campaign.
You can use your digital planner to allocate your workforce and digital assets intelligently. Giving your team this extra organizational tool will allow them to get on with their work without the pressure of an upcoming publishing date looming over them.
Developing a long-term plan and centralizing it within your calendar will achieve consistency in your voice and content. Ultimately, such a simple tool could make all the difference when meeting your social media goals.
Time your content with cultural moments
Planning your content ahead of time via your calendar will ensure you’re ready when that next big holiday or event rolls around.
There’s a reason why major brands plan their holiday content months ahead. It allows them to make last-minute changes and keep their fingers on the pulse of the wider world. Whether planning a big holiday giveaway or waiting for a new month to begin to release your next big project, you need a calendar to frame your social media posts appropriately.
Some companies may opt to create a separate calendar of holidays to provide a separate space where teams can work on holiday-specific content.
Aligning tailored content for the holidays will help you reach your target audience and add some flavor to your content mix throughout the year. After all, the last thing you want is your social media feeds to become stale.
Manage social media marketing partnerships
Any good social media team is always looking for partnership opportunities. Sponsored content is a potent tool to expand your reach. Unfortunately, tracking those opportunities and managing the approvals process can quickly spiral out of control.
Your calendar is not just a helpful tool for scheduling content but for monitoring these opportunities. Your social media team should be able to tell which influencers have been approached and where each team member has sent emails proposing a partnership.
Calendars make it easier to coordinate organic and paid content. Also, many influencers and bloggers like to communicate through their calendars. Many even attach media kits for businesses looking to work with them.
Your business can also do this. Keeping a media kit attached to your calendar is like a business card for anyone approaching you with a partnership opportunity.
Maintain your cohesiveness and avoid any misinterpretations or confusion with a well-designed calendar.
Tracking what works and what doesn’t
Calendars can also be utilized to track the success of different posts. Including a list of the most successful posts from each platform and why they were successful will help guide your creative team to produce more of that same content.
Your calendar can be used to map out an A/B testing strategy to discover the right type of content, the best format, the optimal posting frequency, and when to post on each platform.
Streamline your social media content creation
At first glance, a calendar may seem like just a calendar, but it has many potential uses. Social media calendars not only serve as frameworks for promoting your content across social channels but are also critical vehicles in designing, organizing, and promoting your posts in a streamlined way.
Evernote is the ideal platform for developing your calendar through free templates and by allowing you to add and edit on the go.
Streamline your approach to social media content creation with the help of Evernote. To find out why so many businesses turn to Evernote, and get your social media calendar started, download Evernote.