A marketer’s life is full of a variety of tasks. Posting on social media is only one of them. Still, it is a big task — and an important one.
Having an online presence is crucial in today’s society. Yet, creating new content every single day is difficult. When you’re creating on the fly, it’s easy to go blank and run out of ideas.
By spending some time on the front end creating a social media calendar, you don’t run into writer’s block later. It can make you more efficient and your posts more effective. Keep reading for tips to create a practical social media marketing calendar that can make your posting life much easier.
Define your social media marketing goals and target audience
Every piece of content you share should contribute to a larger purpose, even if it’s not immediately obvious. Before creating any content, outline your business objectives and define your end goals. Translate those into marketing goals. These goals will help define what your social media plan should be and what success looks like.
You should also determine who your target audience is. Your posts need to speak to your buyers and potential new customers. Think through your audience. What age are they? Male or female, or both? What type of lifestyle do they lead? Married or single? Kids? Answer some of these questions so you know who your content should speak to.
Like any marketing endeavor, social media is a realm of experimentation and discovery. But if your posts are driven by a clear goal and you know who you are speaking to, you can begin to gauge what outcomes will be.
Consider one or several of the goals below to anchor your social media planning calendar.
Elevate brand recognition
Use your social media posts to draw attention to your brand and stimulate demand for your products. Foster leads and create loyal customers. Nurture potential buyers until they are ready to purchase from you. You can gauge success by checking on impressions, reach, likes, shares, and mentions.
Establish social validation
It’s a good idea to gather testimonials and source user-generated content to spotlight your products. To do so, leverage your social media channels and turn them into a customer service avenue. Respond to messages, answer questions, and garner support. Monitor response time as a testament to your dedication. (This metric is even showcased as a badge on platforms like Facebook.)
Set your status as an industry leader
Become an authority for your target audience. Share value posts that firmly establish your brand as the go-to source within your industry. Measure progress through post views, audience growth, and content impressions.
Let these overarching goals shape your social network calendar’s foundation. Ensure each piece of content aligns with these goals and also stays true to your company values.
Choose the right social media platforms
Next, you need to decide between social channels and the type of content to post on each channel. Where do your customers engage the most? What content do they respond to and resonate with?
Are you planning on publishing to a single or multiple social networks? Factor in your business goals and resources. What are you trying to achieve, and how much time and money are you willing to invest?
Start by taking a close look at your competitors: where do they post the most, and what platforms are they ignoring? Then do a deep dive into your target audience: where do they hang out, and what is their behavior telling you?
Don’t feel pressured to be on all social media platforms — you’ll only end up spreading yourself thin with nothing to show for your efforts. If you’re not sure which social media platform to use, start with the most popular ones — Facebook and Instagram. Then, branch out from there.
Create a content strategy
You need to have a plan for your content. Your upcoming social media posts need to have some rhyme and reason to them so they can attract attention.
As a general rule, divide your content into three equal parts:
- One-third of your posts should shine the spotlight on your business and turn followers into devoted customers.
- Another third can be content from the industry’s brightest minds. Share content from thought leaders who have a solid understanding of your industry. These are often blog posts that are shared on your feed.
- The final third is where the magic of personal connection happens — it’s all about engaging with your followers on a human level.
It’s not just about what you post, but where. This is where determining which social media channels to use will help you win.
And let’s not forget the power of user-generated content and curated gems. Don’t feel the pressure to create everything from scratch — scheduling these types of content from time to time ensures your creativity and energy stay on point.
Determine your posting frequency and timing
Now that you’re in the know about what to share, let’s talk about when to share it.
Your social media posting schedule should complement your other marketing efforts. Give your audience too much content and you’ll overwhelm them. But if you don’t give them enough content, you’ll fade away and a competitor can step in.
Your posting should be in line with your business goals and the ebb and flow of your audience’s interactions. Tailor your upcoming posts to align with your audience’s preferences. By tracking your metrics, you can see when your audience is most active on social media.
Do some competitive analysis as well. See when your competitors are posting and getting responses. This data will serve as a foundation for organizing and planning your posts, ensuring they gain optimal visibility.
Each platform and industry has its own best practices for posting times. And every expert has their own idea as to when to publish posts. Some recommend 3-5 times a week, some recommend every day, and some recommend only if you have something valuable to share.
Use your best judgment, and a little bit of trial and error, with your posting. Make adjustments along the way as you learn more about how your audience responds. Keep your monthly social media calendar agile and be ready to change things up as you go.
Plan for special events and holidays
When you schedule posts for multiple social media accounts, you’ll have two main types of posts: timely and evergreen.
In your evergreen posts, you’ll post content that is relevant year-round. When brainstorming, allow all ideas to flow freely, knowing that refinement comes later during the planning process.
Timely posts, on the other hand, are connected to specific events, holidays, or time-bound occurrences. These are posts that must fit into approved time slots on your calendar. You’ll have regular holidays to be mindful of: Christmas, Thanksgiving, Veterans Day, New Year’s, Mother’s and Father’s Day, or any other holidays your company chooses to acknowledge.
You’ll also have certain company events, like an anniversary, that you may want to recognize. Some other types of special events may include press releases for certain things, tradeshows you’re attending, or behind the scenes content from fun company events.
Don’t forget to include some fun days in your content, with simple things like the Super Bowl, National Ice Cream Day, or the first day of summer. These types of content will get your audience to engage with your posts. Keep these posts fun and light-hearted for everyone to enjoy.
Collaborate with influencers and partners
Engaging in social media with influencers or brands who share your vision can yield remarkable results. Influencers and partners can help you create a following of loyal customers. Find people who share similar values and missions to partner with.
Influencers have a large audience, usually on multiple social media networks. Their followers are often extremely loyal, and by collaborating with them, they can help you build an audience. Their followers will be interested in trying your brand since it’s endorsed by someone they trust.
When looking for influencers to partner with, build a relationship with them first. See what they are about and explain why you think your partnership will be a good fit for both of you. Make sure to talk through what your expectations are and how your partnership will work. Agree on how the pay structure for the influencer will work and get everything in writing before any work is started.
Develop a budget for paid social media advertising
There is no hard and fast rule for how much your social media budget should be. In fact, several different items will dictate your budget. But to give you a general idea of what social media spending looks like, a 2022 CMO Survey revealed that companies spend approximately 57% of their marketing budget on digital marketing.
Some of the items included in this budget are:
- Social media ad spend;
- Influencer marketing;
- Content creation such as videos and graphics;
- Software and tools, etc.
Many of these companies invest a lot of money in paid advertising campaigns. They develop their social media strategy with the understanding that billions of people are on social media every day. So, this is one of the best ways to get products in front of people.
No matter which social media platforms you choose to use, they have advertising options that can benefit your brand. And this advertising doesn’t cost much. You can start some campaigns for as little as $1 per day and scale up from there. Use a tool to help you track your spending and check on your accounts often to see how your ads are doing.
As you get started, your social media campaign can include simple things, like Facebook posts boosting. After running a few ads and understanding how they work, you can up your investment and get into the details of how to create an ad campaign.
Monitor and analyze social media metrics
Your social media calendar is more than mere planning. It’s a robust tool for tracking and measuring platform metrics. So – watch your campaigns closely. Scrutinize the data you get from your campaigns, and work to refine your calendar’s effectiveness.
Assigning posts to specific campaigns offers invaluable insights for optimization or repurposing. It lets your marketing team know what is working well and what needs to be adjusted. It also helps you to capitalize on high-performing content by saving it for future reintroduction.
Look at your standard metrics like impressions, reach, likes, and shares. Even comments can be a useful tool to see what people are saying about your content. If your content is far-reaching and getting people to talk, you know you’re on the right track. Adjust your social media content strategy to include more of the same.
Look at the time of your posts and see what is working well. If you have posts that are doing well on certain days of the week, or at certain times, focus your social media marketing efforts around those days and times.
Use the information in your metrics to help you come up with a solid posting calendar.
Identify and respond to customer feedback
Navigating the realm of customer feedback on social media demands finesse. You’re not managing comments; you’re cultivating connections, building relationships, and handling emotions. How your social media managers handle negativity, positivity, and queries can transform how your audience sees your brand.
Encourage and acknowledge interaction
Nurture a culture of feedback and interaction on your social media channels. Pose open-ended questions and let people answer. Conduct polls and encourage your audience to share about your products or services. Be sure that you respond to their feedback, whether it is positive, negative, or neutral.
The key is to professionally and politely acknowledge everyone who takes the time to be a part of your circle. Show gratitude for their input, even if you disagree with what they say. Converting negative feedback into a positive customer service showcase is also a valuable approach for your social media teams.
Feedback isn’t just for improvement — it’s a marketing asset. Flaunt testimonials, case studies, and social proof. Leverage customer advocacy for referrals and word-of-mouth growth. Display feedback across channels, enhancing your brand’s credibility.
Be professional and ethical
Engage professionally and ethically. Adhere to platform guidelines and industry regulations. Respect customer privacy and rights. Avoid manipulating or deleting feedback, unless inappropriate.
Also, refrain from confrontations; handle feedback with integrity, transparency, and respect. By mastering the art of customer feedback, you build a stronger brand, deepen relationships, and foster lasting loyalty.
Assign responsibilities and roles
When considering your social media content calendars, think about who will be doing the work. Someone will need to be in charge of content planning and content creation. You’ll need someone to be responsible for social posts and responses to online comments and inquiries. Another person may need to be in charge of the social media content calendar and ensure a consistent posting schedule.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how you divide the duties. The work needs to be done, and you need to have someone assigned to each responsibility. Take time to go through everything that must be done, and assign roles and responsibilities to your team. Let everyone know who is responsible for what, so everyone has a thorough understanding. Hold those people accountable to get the work done in a timely manner.
Create content and maintain your social media marketing calendar
It’s now time to create your social media marketing content calendar. It should be tailored to your company’s needs. Find a template online or use a basic spreadsheet like Google Sheets. More advanced marketing departments may consider using interactive dashboards or other management tools. Organize the calendar so it has key information, such as what platform to post on, date, time, copy, visuals, and links.
Once you have an outline on the calendar, you need to start planning content to fill in the calendar. Look back to your content mix and start brainstorming content ideas. Make sure your content ideas include a unique reflection of your business objectives and goals.
A small business owner handling their own social media content might opt for a streamlined approach. A larger brand with a dedicated social team will have a more intricate calendar. The key is to structure your social media content ideas in a way that best serves your goals and maximizes your social media impact.
Advance your planning
For a more comprehensive social media calendar, consider adding more detailed information:
- Platform-specific format: Specify the format of the post, such as a feed post, Story, Reel, poll, live stream, ad, blog post sharing, or shoppable post.
- Campaign association: Indicate if the post is tied to a specific campaign, like a product launch or contest.
- Geo-targeting: Determine the geographic targeting of the post, whether it’s global, regional, or country-specific.
- Paid or organic: Differentiate between paid and organic posts, with potential budget details for paid content.
- Approval status: Note whether the post has been approved by relevant stakeholders or team members.
Select the right tools
Your social media tool kit can greatly enhance your social media planning. While a simple spreadsheet can suffice, advanced social media management tools offer additional benefits.
An interactive dashboard or calendar enables you to do the following:
- Create and schedule complete posts in advance;
- Facilitate collaboration among team members for drafting and refining posts;
- Receive recommendations for optimal posting times on different networks;
- Bulk schedule content to save time and streamline your efforts;
- Temporarily halt scheduled content, which can be useful during unexpected situations, etc.
Visualize and collaborate
Creating a template for your marketing efforts is a smart approach. It provides a visual representation of your monthly content distribution and ensures consistency when managing multiple accounts. It also helps you organize social media posts in a way that makes the most sense for your brand.
Social media calendar templates also promote collaboration within your social media team and enable you to include essential details like post timing and content categories.
As you create a collection of approved content ideas, slot them into your social media content planner. Begin with the timely posts, ensuring that they align with relevant dates. Then, strategically intersperse evergreen posts to maintain a balanced content mix into your planned posts. Remember to space out different categories of posts to avoid overwhelming your audience with similar content.
Ultimately, a good social media calendar is your roadmap to successful online engagement. By carefully tailoring it to your business’s needs, utilizing the right tools, and thoughtfully organizing your content, you’ll pave the way for a consistent and impactful social media presence.
Final thoughts on how to make a social media marketing calendar
In the dynamic world of marketing, where a multitude of tasks demand your attention, social media posting stands out as a pivotal activity. Yet, the challenge of producing fresh content regularly can lead to creative droughts. An online presence is no longer optional, making effective content creation and engagement essential.
The solution? A well-crafted social media calendar. It’s not just a planning tool but a key to tracking, measuring, and optimizing your efforts for each social media account you operate. This article has guided you through the process of creating a practical social media marketing calendar that aligns with your goals, audience, and social strategy.
By defining objectives, selecting platforms, devising a social media content strategy, determining posting frequency, and showcasing feedback, you’ll foster connections, build brand loyalty, and achieve marketing success.
So, embark on your journey armed with insights, ready to embrace the transformative power of a well-structured social media calendar. Your commitment to this strategic tool will propel your brand’s online presence to new heights, driving engagement, and, ultimately, business growth.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much should I spend on social media?
An effective social media budget is characterized by its ability to generate a favorable return on investment while contributing to the accomplishment of your business objectives. As a guideline, experts advise approximately 8.7% of your company’s yearly revenue to your overall marketing budget, with a portion dedicated to your social media efforts.
Do I really need a social media marketing calendar?
Yes. It helps keep your content in order so you know what to post and when to post it. “Winging it” is only beneficial for a short amount of time, and you will soon find that your social media campaigns are lacking and your company is struggling to produce quality content.
Where can I find templates for social media calendars?
There are plenty of templates available online from reputable marketing companies and social media marketers. Anyway, you should always personalize a social media calendar template to suit your specific needs and requirements.