Social media content creation is often looked down upon as simply uploading photos and videos to social media channels. However, it’s a complex task that requires meticulous planning so you don’t lose sight of your goals. If you want to see results from your efforts, it’s important to create a strategic plan for creating future posts. To create a good strategy, you need to build a social media content calendar that works for you!
What is a social media content calendar?
Social media content calendars are the lifeblood of your social media strategy. They help you organize and plan out your social media posts in advance so you can save time and create a cohesive vision for your brand. Regardless of whether you work for yourself or a company, as a social media content creator, you have to stay organized, keep your audience engaged, and avoid the dreaded “nothing to post” problem!
Here are five rules you should follow when developing your content calendar:
1. Define your social media goals
Social media goals are the backbone of any effective social media strategy. However, it’s easy to lose sight of your goals when you get caught up in the day-to-day tasks of posting content. Before you start creating and scheduling content, you need to figure out what you want to achieve with your social media presence. Do you want to grow your following? Double your engagement rate? Generate leads by directing users to your website? Increasing awareness about your eCommerce business ideas?
Whatever your goals are, they should be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound). Identify milestones along the way to achieving your goals such as “I will reach 5000 followers by January 1st”. You should also determine the actions that need to happen in order for these milestones to occur. For example: “I will upload three photos per week on Instagram and upload daily on Instagram Stories,” or “I will upload one educational video every Monday, a sales pitch every Thursday, and a team photo every Friday”.
2. Design your content strategy
Now that you have a good idea of what your goals are, it’s time to figure out exactly how much content is going to be needed for each platform to achieve them. The first step is defining your content strategy:
- How often do you want to post?
- Which platforms will you be focusing on?
- What kind of posts will you be creating?
- Where will your posts go? Do you want them to go on multiple platforms or just one?
- Are there any specific types of topics you would like to cover?
A few examples of different types of content are photos, videos, gifs, quizzes/ surveys/ polls/ games, links to previous posts (this one is good if you’re running a blog), etc. You should always diversify your content if you want to retain the interest of people online. This is especially important if you have embedded your social media feed on your website because you can entertain visitors with different content formats, increasing your chances of turning them into loyal followers.
However, your content strategy will ultimately depend on the amount of content you have in your arsenal or the potential to create. This is the hard part for some people because it involves coming up with ideas for what to post about. On some days you will have events that will generate enough content to post, but on other days you will have to come up with filler content. If you’re having trouble with filler content, using tools such as Pixelied can help you generate ideas as well as create graphics for your posts with minimal effort on your part.
3. Be consistent with a social media posting strategy
Your followers need to get used to your content. Social media management is a demanding task, making it easy to get caught up in the pressure of posting often. However, consistency is what creates habits — and habits are what creates loyalty. If you post consistently and have high-quality content, then people will start to notice your brand and follow you because they know what to expect from your page. And if someone trusts what you’re saying, then they’re more likely to stay engaged with your brand long-term.
You want your followers to be able to rely on you for a steady stream of information, and you want them to know what to expect from you in terms of tone and subject matter. They’ll start making plans around your posts, which means they’ll be more likely to check in when they know something exciting is going on with you.
Consistency is often threatened by the lack of content. Here is where social media asset management software comes into play. This software automates content creation and enables content creators to create and share content 10x faster. The software generates different post formats with the same graphics for you to use across multiple platforms. This helps you maintain cohesive branding.
4. Use a content scheduling tool
One way to ensure posting consistency is by using a content scheduling tool. A content scheduling tool can help you on many levels. By scheduling posts ahead of time, you can keep track of important dates and holidays, identify content gaps that need to be filled, and manage all your social media accounts from one place.
If you want to be able to manage all your social media accounts from one place, then it’s important to use tools like Hootsuite. If Hootsuite is not your cup of tea, you can do some research to find the best Hootsuite alternatives. Automation plays an important role in social media marketing. By scheduling your posts for publishing, you can make sure that your posts go up, regardless of what happens on the day of posting.
5. Understand what content works for specific audiences and test different formats
Besides helping you plan content and stay consistent, a well-organized social media calendar is easily trackable, thus providing invaluable insights into what type of content performs well and the type of audiences that it attracts. Make sure you track the right social media metrics so you can compare them with your calendar. By doing so, you’ll identify trends in your audience behavior that show you which things are more effective than others. This data will help shape your future social media strategy by showing what types of content produce the best results.
You can also apply multivariate testing to any part of your social media marketing strategy. The goal is to test different variables at the same time. It’s used when you want to see how one variable changes when you change another, or when you’re trying to figure out which variables have the biggest effect on your results. You can use these kinds of tests to figure out which type of content works best for each platform (like images vs. text), or even which time of day works best for posting on, for example, Facebook.
A social media content calendar is an essential tool for any business looking to improve its online presence. It’s a way to plan and prioritize your social media marketing strategy, which will help you stay organized and on track with your goals. With a content calendar in place, you’ll be able to focus on what matters most — building relationships with your audience and creating content that resonates with them.