By now, everyone knows in order to run a successful social business (EVERY business needs to be social) you need to have an online presence, but most small business owners are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of social media information. Number ONE question is - “where do you start”?
Creating a social media content calendar is one of the best ways to stay focused on this road to social media success! Here are 5 steps to creating a social media content calendar.
Before we begin, LET’S TALK BENEFITS!
The truth is, the biggest benefit of creating a social media content calendar is taking the guess work out of the social media equation. Your social media content calendar is your online marketing blueprint. You will know what to post, when to post, where to post, etc. My social media content calendar includes - social media shares, blog posts, email, opting, live streams, basically EVERYTHING related to my online presence! Honestly, I couldn’t run my business without it!
Okay let’s jump into how you can create and use a social media content calendar.
First, you need to decide what kind of calendar you will have. A digital one? A handwritten one? How about a combination of both? My social media content calendar is a hybrid - I use both pen and paper and an online project management system. The online project management system allows me to share everything with my team - which makes for easy collaboration and ensures things are getting done when needed. Why pen and paper - well, that’s just the kind of girl I am!
If you are going for a digital calendar, I have used several different platforms. The one my clients seem to like most is a Google Sheets. Click here to see a template I have used in the past (keep in mind, you can copy a new version to your google drive and edit it freely). Other digital options are Trello and even Evernote.
Now when it comes to the old fashion paper and pen, I have used several different options. I currently use a large calendar, so I can see it throughout the day when I am working (this could be good or bad thing) and I also use a bullet journal to manage my social media content calendar.
Decide when you are going to plan your content. I normally have a HUGE planning day in October, where I plan out those BIG days in my industry, holidays, and launches for the upcoming year. Outside of that, I plan my content on both a monthly and weekly basis. Every Sunday evening, right before my Sunday Night Netflix binge, I plan my content. I normally block out a minimum of one hour to plan my content for the week.
- I decide how often I will post on each platform
- I decide what my blog for the week will be and block that time off on my calendar
- I decide my topic for my email and set time to write and edit the email
- I decide if I will create a freebie or optin for my audience. If so, I block time off my calendar to create the freebie
- Schedule time or outsource image creation. Visuals are a big piece of social media marketing so having captivating images for various social media platforms is now a MUST.
Ok, you have blocked your calendar, you have figured out how often and where you will post your content. What next? You need to figure out what content you will actually share. Part of a good social media strategy is incorporating curated content. But finding curated content can sometimes be very time-consuming.
Some tools I use to curate content throughout the week are: Google Alerts, Feedly, and ContentGems. Another underutilized source for finding curated content is Pinterest! You can use the search feature in Pinterest to find some really good curated content to share with your audience. Sharing good content with your audience creates a know, like, and trust factor. You are also seen as a thought leader in your industry when you share other people's good content!
Now it’s time to schedule!!! For all those who know me, I am a Buffer fanatic! Outside of Buffer, you can also check out scheduling systems like HootSuite, AgoraPulse, and Sprout Social. If you are only using Facebook, you can schedule your content directly through Facebook. My big reminder here is:
Remember, that even though you schedule your posts, you should take time daily to follow up with your audience, share, heck...be social!
Review. Okay, so this really isn’t part of your social media content calendar, but I believe that at the end of the week, you should take some time to review everything you have done. Figure out what worked and what didn’t. Do more of what worked. Tweak what didn’t.
I know, all of this seems like it’s a lot of work, but image if you didn’t plan? How much more work would it be? I would love to know, what do you use to plan your social media content?