If you’re going to dive into social media on your company’s behalf, you need to make sure you’re ready to commit to going all-in. If you’re not prepared to put in a good amount of work and expect to create buzz out of thin air, you will be sorely disappointed.
Creating a social media calendar is a great way to make sure you’re staying organized and on-message in your social media efforts.
Let’s think of it like a road trip to a new and faraway place. It is an ongoing journey, and often a slow climb—strategic and timely actions will help you stay on freshly paved and well-lit roads. A clumsy mistake or a missed week of posting here or there, however, can really derail your efforts on each platform, as well as drag down your motivation and ultimate commitment to the project.
Here are a few steps for creating a social media calendar you can use as a road map for your social media journey:
- Choose your method of organization. Everything needs to be able to be seen in one physical location. I’m not going to tell you what tool to choose because it needs to be comfortable for you and your team, if you have one. Maybe you want everything laid out in a grid on a white board. Excel and Google Sheets are both excellent digital tools. We like Google Sheets because it is accessible from anywhere with Internet access and can be edited by any member of your team.
- Decide how long you want to plan out. Anywhere from a week to a month is usually a good bet. You need to plan far enough ahead that you’re never scrambling or losing track of what you have planned. The downside of planning longer in advance is that you potentially run the risk of resting on your laurels and having your posts seem outdated.
- Do some research to find out when the statistically best times to postare for the platforms you’ve chosen to use, and the audience you’re choosing to go after. If your target audience is middle-aged white collar professionals, midnight on Twitter is not the best fit for you. Posting at the times when your audience is active will give you more engagement and will ultimately help get your content seen more.
- Set the balance of content. You should be posting a mix of curated and original content. Curated content is articles, blogs, videos, and anything else you find online that you feel is relevant for your audience. Good curated content adds value and makes you a reputable resource for that kind of information.
Original content is where you will produce most of your value. If you aren’t producing original content, you really ought to be asking yourself why you’re considering a social media calendar in the first place. While social media provides an easy way for your audience to connect with you, original content, especially in blog and video form, is the best way to show your value and values as an organization.
If you’re thinking about creating a social media calendar without any original content, go straight to marketing jail. Do not pass go. Do not collect 200 followers.
Creating a social media calendar will help you stay on top of your posting. It will also help you visually evaluate the balance of curated vs. original content, and ensure that time sensitive information is going out at the right time. It doesn’t necessarily reduce the considerable amount of work it takes to run consistent and effective social media campaigns, but it will make your time managing and evaluating them that much easier.