A social media calendar can prove to be the best way to organize and plan your content marketing strategy. It feels like a major time investment at first, but you can be assured that it will pay back the time in the future. Either it’s a basic grid with a few links, or a custom dashboard that can schedule hundreds of updates, the social media calendar can be as simple or dynamic as your company wants it to be.
Managing social media and building an audience can be difficult, but that doesn’t mean that you cannot make the process simpler by using certain tricks. A social media content calendar is one of the things that will make this process fun and easy.
A calendar might not be the solution to everything, but it will definitely help you get a better grip on your social media marketing strategy and alleviate some of the pressure of sharing updates on social media. A social media content calendar will help you foresee all your planned updates in the coming weeks or even months.
So, in this guide, we’ll show you how you can prepare a calendar for your social media.
How to prepare a social media content calendar
Creating an effective social media calendar basically involves 8 steps:
1. Analyze your social media accounts
Developing a good understanding of your existing social media efforts would help you to recognize areas for change and prospects for new efforts. The audit is key to fine-tune your plan and optimize your ROI. You can use a social media audit template which will help in keeping the following things up-to-date:
- Inactive accounts and out-of-date profiles
- Security settings and passwords
- Goals of every social media platform
- Details of your audience and their behavior
- Responsibilities and accountability of people in your team
- Top performing posts, social media campaigns, and marketing tactics
- Gaps in strategy, disappointing results, and scope for improvements
- Key statistics to measure future success on each social media platform
Keep aside some dedicated time period to analyze all your social media profiles. Then you’ll be confident that you’re going to tackle your refreshed social plan with the best details. Those are the details that are specific to your target audience, your accounts, and your brand.
2. Select appropriate social channels
In the hustle and bustle of daily struggle, a concentrated effort is required to find time to remain on top of new technologies. Like, is your audience present on TikTok? And should your brand be using Instagram reels? That’s why you should take some time to make sure that you are aware of the audience that is present on different social media channels. Concentrate your social media marketing efforts on the right channels where your audience is present.
That doesn’t mean that you need to brush up your knowledge from the start point, just have some professional development reading breaks, and you’ll be gleaming with new ideas from time to time.
3. Find out the data that your social media calendar will track
As you find out what this amazing beast would look like, you would want to plan out the details and features that this tool is going to offer you. If you are starting fresh and managing the social media for a single brand, a simple spreadsheet might do the job.
However, if you’re running a five-person team with a dozen of different consumer-facing products, you’re going to need something that will tell you who’s doing what, when it’s done, when it’s approved, and when it’s uploaded – and then how effective it was. In such cases, a spreadsheet is not enough, and you might need a tool to keep track of everything.
Our advice is to begin with the basic details like Name of platform, date, time, visuals (photo, video, gif, etc), link to published posts, and link to assets. After that, you can add in advanced details like platform-specific format, geo-targeting, the campaign it’s affiliated with (product launch, event, contests, annual giving, etc.), analytics, results, paid or organic, etc.
4. Prepare a content library
Some people call them content repositories, media resource databases, or digital resources reserves. Doesn’t matter what you name it, your visual content supply shouldn’t be just lying on your device’s folders. You can use a tool dedicated to this purpose. Below are the few features of a content library:
- It is spacious enough for holding large files
- It can be accessed from both phone and desktop
- Can be shared easily with team members
Setting up your content library is as important as preparing a social media calendar. The less you have to search for your content, the better. For example, RecurPost’s social media scheduling tool lets you make content libraries along with an editorial calendar, schedule all the content in advance, and create recurring schedules. Click here to see how it works.
5. Set up a workflow
Okay, now that you’ve compiled all the details you can, it’s time to begin sketching the bones of your daily, weekly, and monthly social media calendar. You will have to decide the following:
- How often you will upload posts on each social media channel.
- The best time to post on all social media platforms
- Who will approve the posts
- The process of brainstorming new content, assigning and creating it.
Once you have outlined a process for social media, consider noting it down in an easy-to-access location. The more diverse your team is, the more important it is to break down concepts and procedures.
6. Create your social media posts
Right now your mind will probably be flooding up with content ideas. Take out some time and go through all the folders lying in your devices and start creating some sensible posts! While you work, see how your social media calendar feels. If it’s complicated and fussy, you may want to turn back on some of the specifics. Or maybe it’s not comprehensive enough, and you need to add a bunch of columns for deets.
7. Ask your team to review the social media calendar
Now that you’ve molded the pillars of your organizational kingdom, it’s time to unveil your work to the world, or at least to your team members. You want your calendar to be reasonably intuitive, so give an invite to those who need to use it every day. Tell them to keep pace with it, and arrange a briefing for all to connect on findings. You will probably find some gaps in the content strategy.
- Does everybody have the credentials that they need?
- Can people understand the requirements of the UTM?
- Does everyone know how to search, import, and upload the high-resolution infographic that the designer has created? If not, will they quickly work that out?
- At the completion of this phase, you should have an airtight paper that even the newest member of the team will comprehend.
8. Begin scheduling/publishing posts
Your social media calendar is now ready to run! When you start uploading regularly, you will realize that it always takes time to sit down and post your content manually. This is particularly true if you’re dealing with a high-volume feed. In this case, you should ideally use a social media scheduler to organize and schedule your posts in advance. RecurPost lets you create updates for five social platforms at the same time – with images, text, videos, links, GIFs, hashtags, and emojis. This will eliminate the need for manually uploading posts every time.
Social media content calendar examples
Now if you are wondering how an ideal social media calendar looks like, here are some examples for you to refer.
1. Digital Opportunity Trust’s internal social media content calendar
One of the hardest things to search online—believe us, we searched—is what the real functioning social media calendar looks like. Luckily, DOT’s Director of Marketing and Digital Communication, Anne Patterson, has slipped few screenshots of what her team’s day-to-day activities look like. DOT’s social media content calendar is tidy and straightforward, enabling all of its platforms to be accessed at a glance—including its proprietary platform, Innojo.
2. National Geographic’s editorial calendar
Let’s see how top-level editorial eyes interpret long-range content preparation. This is not a social media content calendar, but editorial calendars for magazines are normally made with prospective clients in mind. Their aim is to give advertisers an indication of what’s going on, point by point.
These calendars are good-looking, descriptive, and they just detail the main hook. They often usually provide the demographics of audience and mission statements. Whether you’re presenting your higher-ups—or you’re an influencer looking to show your skills to prospective brand partners—the editorial calendar might be a key.
As a marketer handling digital marketing services, your time is too precious to waste deciding what to upload every single day. A well-planned social media calendar helps you use your resources to prepare for the future. And also concentrate on other facets of your marketing campaign.
Once you’ve planned your content calendar, use RecurPost to schedule all of your social media posts, engage with your followers, and track the success of your efforts. Sign up now for a free trial.