When it comes to social media, sometimes it can feel like you’re just recycling the same old content every month. It can be a challenge to come up with new and exciting ideas, especially if your business has been around for a while. So how do you overcome this issue? As boring as it may sound, the answer is planning. If you plan ahead, and get the difficult part (generating compelling content topics) out of the way early on, your social media campaigns will run incredibly smoothly. And you can stop pretending some of your social accounts don’t exist…
The question is, how do you go about creating a social media calendar? It may sound like a daunting task, but once you start, it’s bound to be easier than you think! And planning out your content for the next year will ensure that you don’t forget any important events or promotions. You’ll also be able to easily see your deadlines!
What is a Social Media Content Calendar?
A content calendar, as the name suggests, is a master plan of all the content you intend to write about over the course of a year. While it’s useful to include a lot of detail, some content calendars are pretty vague, listing broad categories for each post, rather than individual topics or titles. How much time you spend on your calendar will be completely up to you, but bear in mind that a more comprehensive plan will make your life easier later down the line!
While you can create a list of content topics, most marketers prefer to use the traditional calendar format, as it makes visualising the year simpler. You can also keep track of when work needs to be completed, and will generally find it easier to collaborate with your team members if the tasks are laid out clearly.
Why Create a Social Calendar?
There are a number of benefits to creating a social content calendar. The most obvious one is perhaps the fact that you’ll be executing an actual strategy, rather than simply posting content for the sake of it! You can also plan content that is specific to each of your social channels, from Instagram to LinkedIn. Some platforms encourage mainly written content, while others are all about the visuals.
Another advantage of writing a calendar for your social media posts is that you won’t forget about any big events, like national holidays, and have to create content at the last minute! A calendar will furthermore allow you to track the performance of your campaigns, so that you can continually optimise your strategy for the best results.
Creating a Social Media Calendar
In terms of writing a social calendar, the first thing you need to do is determine your social media goals. Are you primarily looking to run promotions and offers, or are you aiming to increase your follower engagement? Once you’ve got a goal in mind, you can then decide on your key metrics, and how you’ll be measuring the success of your campaigns. It’s important to have both short and long term goals, such as monthly/yearly follower numbers, online traffic and sales figures.
The next step is to start planning the themes of your content. While you will probably include some posts that promote your products and services, the trick is to do this sporadically. The majority of your content should be posts that entertain or educate your audience. Really consider your target demographic, and what they’d want to see more of. The medium is important too – video is becoming increasingly popular, and engaging imagery is essential across all platforms.
When you’ve finalised your content plan, you can start writing it down! There are loads of ways to format your calendar, from Google Sheets to an old fashioned paper calendar hung up on your wall. Or you can use free online templates, like this calendar template from Hootsuite. As long as the whole team has access to it, and can make changes where needed, the format isn’t too important. Though personalisation and colour coding would look fantastic…
Developing Social Content
Now that you’ve created a social media calendar, you can start designing your content. You may have an in-house graphic designer, who can create all this content for you, but don’t worry if not! There are lots of free tools you can use to produce fantastic content, such as Canva and Adobe Spark. This is the fun bit, so go wild with the designs, as long as you stay on brand!
Once you start posting your new content, you’ll need to record your results, so that you can analyse the data to make improvements. And bear in mind that paid social can make a big difference – ads and sponsored posts will always boost your traffic numbers. For more information about paid social adverts, you can check out our guide to Responsive Search Ads and Expanded Text Ads.