If you are pursuing to become a Social Media Marketer or you already have started your career in the same, then this blog is something that you should read. Being very active on your social media handles isn’t the same as handling the social media pages for a brand. However, that is an added advantage to becoming an excellent social media marketer as you are well aware of all the features that each social channel has. While planning for the brand, you can tap into those features and make the brand page exciting and engaging. However, the most critical pillar or key to building the brand page success is the content that goes out on the page for the audience. Hence, planning a Content Calendar according to the brand plays a very vital role.
What is a social media content calendar?
The objective of a social media marketer is to make your brand page reach out to the right audience, increase the engagement (includes likes, reshares, comments) of the page and also increase followers. The most important way to achieve all the above objectives is the relatable content that is posted on the brand page. Planning a month-long calendar of the various content to be posted along with consideration of various other factors (like posting timings, hashtags, etc. discussed in the later section of this blog) is called as a Social Media Content Calendar for your respective brands.
How is a social media content calendar beneficial?
The content calendar for your brand ideally should be frozen before the respective month begins. So then, now you have to go backward and see how long it will take for you to plan and get approval on the same from your client and accordingly you can start working!
Here are a few benefits –
- Planning and creating a content calendar for your social channels will really help you to be more organized
- You will have the entire month’s day wise content, and this will reduce confusion and missing of daily postings
- All special days which the brand can celebrate with its audience will also be clear and can be planned accordingly
- The client can also check the entire month’s content strategy for its pages at a glance
- You can also keep a check of the performance of each post to concur what exactly the audience is liking and include a similar strategy in the next month
Even though your content calendar was frozen before time, yet be ready for surprises! There may be times when there will be special requests from the client or content that is trending which the brand might want to participate in. In both cases, you have to be flexible and incorporate the plan & the content to the calendar.
How can you create a Social Media Calendar?
Before we begin the entire exercise of planning Social Media Content Calendar, it is very important to understand that the approach for all the Social Media channels should not be the same. Every channel should be considered individually and should be strategized differently basis the best practices of the respective channels.
1. Decide on the format of the Calendar
The calendar can be created on MS Excel, Google Drive – docs or sheets, MS Word or you can also use certain tools like Trello.
2. Prepare the Framework/ Layout
The layout of your calendar can be extensive as well as brief. However, it is always advisable to make it as extensive as possible so that everything is easy to understand for your team as well as your client. Also, this detailed calendar will help you to keep a track of everything and not miss on any minute detail, for example, a post has to be geo-targeted or any specific hashtag to be used, what time it needs to be posted, etc.
Following are certain buckets that every post can be clubbed under for a better understanding
Before you begin to plan your monthly Social Media Content calendar, you will have to do a thorough audit of your channel and the performance of each existing content post that had already gone live.
Certain insights such as – the time that most of the users are engaging every day, which day of the week most engagement happens, how many women & men followers are there on the page, how many followers are there in different places, what kind of content is getting the maximum reach and engagement, which hashtag is performing really well, and many more can help you strategize your calendar to optimize the ultimate objective – increase in followers, engagements & in some cases leads too.
Driving insights from competitors post content analysis will help us understand and strategize too. We can get to understand the type of content that is getting them more engagement, the marketing strategy they are following, the timings they are posting, the hashtags they are using, their communication tone/ route, their design quality, etc. This will help in understanding what the audience is looking for.
You can definitely keep all these points in mind to strategize your social media marketing plan and respectively your content calendar with various permutation combination and then getting the winning formula in a couples time which will help you give a consistent positive growth results of the channels and also at many cases will add on to the ROI of the brand
4. Put your Social Media Marketing Strategy in place
Understanding your target audience, the various insights you drew from the analytics of your channel & competitor analysis should be the pillar on which your monthly content strategy should be built upon.
For example, if you find out that on Wednesday the interaction of your followers or similar lookalike audience is higher then the most important content for your brand can be posted on that day for a greater reach and engagement on the same. You can also post a contest on the same day to get maximum people to engage.
Hence based on all the analysis and understanding that you obtain, you will have to decide the approach/ objective of the content that you want to take ahead.
This can be divided into the 3 E’s & 1 I – Educate, Engage, Entertain & Inform. All your content that will go live on your brand’s page can be very well segregated under each objective which will further help you to prepare your Content Calendar.
Here is a format of the strategy that I had followed for one of my retail brands for reference:
The Social Media Marketing Strategy for the brand was done keeping in mind to promote/highlight its brand pillars, the various categories along with the objective to Educate, Engage, Entertain & Inform its target audience.
Following this, the next thing that was decided was the type of content that can be used – videos, gifs, infographics, static, blog, etc.
5. A perfect mix of content & fresh content
Your brand’s page should always have a mix of videos, gifs, slideshows, static designs, etc. This is to visually break the content formats and make it more interesting so that it encourages the audience to keep coming back to the page for more.
The content should be interesting and new because it is only then the audience will engage with it. If the content has been done by someone already or something that is known, it will fail to create any interest and the content opportunity will get wasted.
Tip: Hashtags that are to be used should have a potential for good reach, however a hashtag which has a high number of reach should always be avoided because then your brand’s post will get lost among the others with the similar hashtag.
6. Schedule or timely posting
After the strategy is in place and the content is ready according to the strategy, the very important step is to make this life on the page. That can be done by either scheduling it or by timely posting it. (You can keep an alarm in case you forget to post on the required time.)
When you are making the content calendar, you can highlight the day & time when you want to post the specific content basis your analysis that you had done on when is the highest engagement or interaction on the page.
To schedule, there are various tools which can help you do the same. For example – Buffer, Hootsuite, Sprout Social, TweetDeck, etc.
7. Keep room for spontaneity
Being a good Social Media marketer means being flexible and following current trends. Even if the content calendar is planned and ready but you should always be spontaneous & flexible in case a major trend sets it. Trend jacking & special day observances contribute towards the increase in engagement of the page.
Also, in case if specific content is not performing at all then you should be open to change the strategy immediately & try new content which might perform well.
Here is an example of How a Social Media Content Calendar needs to be planned for your reference (You can make it more extensive by following the second image reference that I had shared in this blog)
Picture Courtesy – https://blog.hootsuite.com
Creating a Social Media Content Calendar is the first step towards the objective of growing your brand’s presence on various Social Channels. To grow your channel organically, you also have to put efforts into making the brand – personal & interactive, with its customers/ audience. There are many other tactics & tips that comes for optimizing the content reach after it gets posted which can be discussed in another blog.
Meanwhile, follow the steps discussed above and start planning a kick-ass social media marketing strategy & create a content calendar for the same to experience how easy & efficient your work life is!