In one of our earlier articles, we discussed some of the social media marketing best practices agents can use to achieve the best results. And as a quick reminder, creating a social media content calendar was one of them.
Making a well-organized content calendar is crucial for businesses and individuals leveraging social media marketing. More importantly, it serves as a roadmap, helping you plan and execute your content strategically and consistently.
Research shows that 64% of the most successful organizations have a documented content strategy, which includes a content calendar.
In this article, we’ll guide you through creating an effective social media calendar that will help you save time, boost your customer engagement and maximize your online presence.
So, let’s start by answering a couple of fundamental questions:
What is a social media content calendar?
What are the benefits of using a social media content calendar?
- What is a social media content calendar?
- 8 benefits of using a social media content calendar
- When is the right time to create a social media content calendar?
- A step-by-step on how to make a social media calendar
- Step 1: Conduct an audit of your existing social media handles
- Step 2: Develop a content strategy for each social media channel
- Step 3: Decide your posting frequency
- Step 4: Get reviews from stakeholders
- Wrapping things up
What is a social media content calendar?
A social media content calendar is a well-planned document that outlines upcoming posts for all your social media channels. It includes the specific dates and times for publishing these posts. Moreover, this content calendar serves as a strategic tool to keep your social media presence organized, ensuring a consistent and effective posting schedule.
You can use a digital calendar app, spreadsheet or a third-party tool to manage social content calendars. The image below represents a sample social media calendar so you can better understand what it’s all about.
8 benefits of using a social media content calendar
A well-planned social media content calendar offers a range of benefits that effectively manage and maximize the impact of your social media efforts. Here are some ways it helps.
Streamline your posts better: You can use a content calendar to align your social media posts with specific campaigns, product launches or promotional activities in advance to time your content.
Improve resource management: A well-planned content calendar helps you allocate your time and resources within the team efficiently.
Build consistency and brand coherence: It enables you to maintain a consistent brand image over a period of time.
Optimize time via advance scheduling: You can eliminate the need for manual posting by scheduling posts in advance across multiple platforms with a social media content calendar. Naturally, this frees up time for monitoring critical social media metrics and responding to customer queries.
Avoid typos: By pre-planning your posts, you can review your work thoroughly and incorporate a safety net into your workflow. This will significantly avoid the need to rush and post content last minute, simplifying the process considerably.
Improve team alignment: For organizations with multiple team members that manage social media, a content calendar is a central reference point that provides better visibility on overall content tracking. It helps ensure everyone is aligned with the content strategy and can contribute, review or provide feedback wherever required.
Get greater flexibility: Although a content calendar enables you to get more organized in terms of publishing, it also offers flexibility. You can tweak or shuffle your content plan based on emerging trends, industry news or audience feedback as and when required.
Enhance performance tracking: As marketers get complete visibility on the publishing dates for each post, they can monitor the key metrics, like click-through rates, engagement rates, etc., for a particular post. This enables them to closely monitor the performance of event-specific posts (for example, holiday season offers).
When is the right time to create a social media content calendar?
The right time to create a social media content calendar is ideally before you start executing your social media strategy.
As a best practice, social media marketers should create content calendars well in advance, preferably at least one month before the planned posting period starts.
By creating calendars ahead of time, marketers can effectively plan and organize their social media content, ensuring consistency and maximizing engagement. This enables strategic content creation, seamless collaboration with team members or clients and ample time to make any necessary adjustments based on upcoming events, campaigns or promotions.
A step-by-step on how to make a social media calendar
Now that you know the basics, let’s look at an easy, step-by-step guide for creating a well-planned social media content calendar.
Step 1: Conduct an audit of your existing social media handles
We can’t stress enough how critical it is for marketers to measure the progress of their social media marketing efforts after a point. Before getting started with calendar creation, marketers must:
Check for existing or redundant social media accounts
Maintain access credentials for all the existing social media accounts
Maintain clarity on the ownership of social media handles within the team
Analyze the best-performing posts to date and understand what made them successful
Understand the current performance of posts across different platforms
Conducting an initial audit will help marketers in filling the missing gaps. It’ll assist in streamlining the overall plan, which needs to be defined for the social media calendar’s creation. This makes sure that your marketers establish a good baseline before they start experimenting.
Step 2: Develop a content strategy for each social media channel
Marketers must decide the frequency and type of content they intend to post, like articles, videos, infographics or promotional posts, for specific social media channels. Ideally, a mix of informative, entertaining and engaging content works well.
Before finalizing the overall content strategy, marketers must consider the following best practices to ensure their plan is aligned with the overall company goals:
Define clear objectives: Define the objectives you want to achieve with your social media content strategy. Whether it's increasing brand awareness, driving website traffic, generating leads or fostering customer engagement, having clear-cut goals will guide your content creation and help measure your success.
Study your target audience: Gain a deep understanding of your target audience's demographics, interests, preferences and behaviors. This knowledge helps you tailor your content so it resonates better with your audience, addresses all their needs and provides greater value.
Content variety and consistency: Create a diverse range of content types as it helps in catering to different preferences and engaging your audience. Use a combination of videos, images and visually appealing charts. Maybe you could throw in short yet engaging videos into the mix for greater appeal. Though, remember to maintain consistency in your brand voice, visual identity and messaging across all content.
Additionally, marketers can also follow the 80-20 rule. This means that 80% of your content should focus on informing and educating users, and the remaining 20% should focus on business promotion.
Step 3: Decide your posting frequency
As a marketer, you need to ensure that you target your audience at the right time and across the right platforms. You also need to ensure that you are not overwhelming your users with too many posts. Here’s where finding the right balance in timing your posts across social media platforms matters.
According to market research, the recommended frequency of posts that B2B businesses should aim at on LinkedIn is at least three times a week. In contrast, B2C businesses can make do with one to two weekly posts, since their target audience is more active on other platforms. For X, formerly Twitter, B2C and B2B businesses should aim for an optimal count of two to four Tweets daily. As for platforms like Instagram and Facebook, the ideal frequency of posts would be around four to six times per week.
So, outline the essential information and functions that are most important to you. This helps you plan your resources better and avoid the “last-minute rush.” For instance, your posting cadence will allow you to estimate graphic requirements for certain posts, and you can accordingly raise requests in advance to avoid that last-minute work.
Start by marking the following basic details by using a digital marketing calendar tool or a basic spreadsheet app:
Description or overview of each post
Date and time of each post to be published
Social media platforms to be used for each post
Copy and visuals to be used
Links to external resources or assets
Universal Transverse Mercator, or UTM, parameters for each post (if any, for tracking purposes)
Pending approvals for any posts
The nature of the post (organic or paid)
This practice of outlining the vitals generates better visibility of the upcoming posts that need to be published across social media platforms, along with their timelines. Here’s what a sample content calendar on a spreadsheet looks like.
Social media marketers can also include platform-specific fields, like hastags and influencer collaboration, in their content calendar. These fields offer better visibility to marketers on the popular hashtags that they need to include and the influencers they need to collaborate with for particular posts.
Marketers can also consolidate paid and organic marketing activities into a single, streamlined marketing calendar with the help of tools like Sprinklr's Unified Calendar to make the most of their efforts.
Step 4: Get reviews from stakeholders
Social marketing initiatives often involve multiple stakeholders, particularly when the posts relate to partnerships or collaborations. It’s crucial to have these posts reviewed in advance by the brand and legal teams to prevent any miscommunication or issues.
When constructing your social media calendar, it’s advisable to include a step for content review by all relevant stakeholders.
For the review process, social media marketers must follow these best practices:
Schedule a team meeting with all stakeholders to review the social media calendar and gather inputs from relevant team members
Ensure alignment of the social media calendar with the overall marketing goals and objectives
Evaluate consistency in posting frequency, timing and messaging across different platforms
Assess content quality, relevance and alignment with the target audience
Incorporate team feedback, make the necessary adjustments and finalize the social media calendar for execution
Marketers need to have a clear understanding of who is responsible for the review process to avoid unnecessary delays and rejections, and to ensure smooth execution.
Wrapping things up
To summarize, creating a well-planned social media content calendar helps you strategize your content marketing strategy across social media channels in advance. This, in turn, maximizes your social media presence, engages your audience effectively and achieves your desired outcomes. Start creating your social media content calendar today and witness its positive impact on your social media efforts.