Use this guide to create the best social media calendar for your small business
Social media is well known as a tool that helps businesses increase their website traffic, build brand awareness, and helps them connect with their ideal customers. Your social media posts act as a magnet that attract potential customers and allows them to engage with your brand on a whole new level.
Social media management can be tricky, especially with so many moving parts. You have to craft engaging social media posts, respond to messages across social networks, and maintain a unique, consistent brand image.
Fortunately, a social media content calendar is a great way to keep up with the increasing posting demands across multiple social media platforms. It helps your entire team anticipate upcoming content so everyone has enough time to complete tasks as needed. This practice offers critical benefits that keep you on schedule and save you a lot of time in the long run because you won’t have to rush jobs across different departments to generate content throughout the year.
But how do you go about building the right social media calendar for your unique business? Let’s look at seven key steps you need to design a content calendar that will help you build your company on social media.
Photo by Towfiqu Barbhuiya
1. Choose the best social media platform to focus on
If your social media marketing strategy involves building a presence on every possible platform, you will soon find out this is unsustainable. Your business will be better off if you go for quality over quantity, and you need to focus on the social networks that allow you to speak to your ideal customers.
Posting to multiple social platforms can take away essential time you could be using on the platforms where your target audience spends their time. For example, LinkedIn isn’t necessarily a good platform unless you are trying to reach professionals and job hunters. At the same time, Instagram may be worthless if your target audience is over 30 and typically only works if you have lots of visuals for your products or services.
Before you take the time to create your social calendar, identify which platforms attract your ideal customers so you can invest time and resources as needed to reach your target audience.
2. Take inventory of your target audience
Next, take the time to identify which type of content will be most beneficial to your ideal customers by looking at analytics and sending out surveys or questionnaires to your audience to learn more about them.
Begin by creating a spreadsheet on Excel or Google Sheets that lists all of your active social media accounts. Use analytics to identify the demographic of the users who interact most with your brand.
For example, suppose your audience heavily engages with your brand on Instagram. In that case, you’ll want to focus your content creation efforts on short-form videos, photographs, and GIFs that are perfect for Instagram Stories.
Your target audience demographic is most likely similar across multiple platforms, but it’s always a good idea to confirm this. Once you know who makes up your followers, you’ll have an easier time identifying the best content to post on each platform. This is an excellent strategy for ensuring all of your team members are on the same page during content planning.
3. Scope out the competition
Monitoring your competition on social media is a great way to get fresh ideas for your own social media strategy and see what resonates with your followers.
As you analyze their social media accounts, keep an eye on some key factors:
- Posting frequency: How often do your competitors post content? You should try to set a goal to post at the same frequency if possible so you can stand out with your followers.
- Types of posts: Take note of the different types of posts your competitors publish. Try to publish the same types of posts and content that get lots of likes and comments.
- Hashtags: See what types of hashtags your competitors use in their posts. This information can help you identify trends that you might have missed, and it can help you determine who your target audience is based on the hashtags they interact with.
Additionally, look at how their followers engage with their brand. Do they have lots of retweets on their posts? Are their TikTok videos getting lots of shares? These observations will go a long way to helping to design your social strategy.
Photo by Cottonbro
4. Create a content list
Now that you’ve seen what your top competition is up to and identified your target audience, you’ll need to generate a list of content for your social media accounts. Don’t feel like you’ll need to develop specific topics just yet.
This step involves putting together a list of content types and posting frequency for each social media platform. Since each platform is unique and functions on different interactions, you’ll need to be strategic here.
You can create content specifically for each platform or optimize your posts for each one. This will ensure your posts are designed to encourage engagement and build brand recognition. For example, text-forward posts work well on Facebook but will flounder on image-focused Instagram.
5. Identify resources for shareable content
Here comes the tricky part: collecting content that will populate your calendar. To simplify the process, you’ll want to separate your content into two categories:
|Type of content||What it is|
|Evergreen Content||Content that can be shared at any time, particularly to fill in the gaps between time-sensitive posts.|
|Time-Sensitive Content||Content that must be shared on or before a specific date, such as holiday posts, promotions with expiration dates, or seasonal content.|
Create a Google Doc for each type of content and organize the URLs into these two categories. You can also keep your curated content in a spreadsheet. This will help streamline your content strategy and make it easier to create an editorial calendar.
Since the process of collecting content is so overwhelming, sometimes businesses forget about their own videos, images, and blogs. Don’t forget to incorporate your own unique content into your collection.
Posting original content is essential for increasing web traffic and building authority in your industry. It can also help you organize your evergreen and timely content into specific content types like blogs and infographics.
6. Generate your social media content calendar template
To create your content calendar for your social media accounts, there are several approaches you can take. You could use Google Calendar, but this can become cumbersome. The most straightforward is to use an Excel or Google Sheets spreadsheet. You can also use an interactive calendar tool like Metigy’s marketing planner to help you identify the right information to post, and plan your social media posting schedule.
Once you decide on the best frequency for your posting schedule, you need to create your calendar one platform at a time. Start with the social channels that offer your brand optimal engagement with your target audience. If you decide to post five times per week on this platform, use the color you assigned to it each week until you’ve filled up the month. Then move on to the next social media platform until you’ve completed your content calendar for each of your social accounts.
Finally, review the kinds of content you want to post. Choose a content URL from the resource you created in the previous step and comment on the cell with it. Insert content into its ideal location depending on timeliness if applicable. You’ll need to repeat this process for each platform until your content calendars are full.
Once you’ve created this document, you’ll have a template that you can update for future use. This is a great way to make content planning across multiple social networks efficient.
7. Use scheduling tools to see what works
With your content calendar in hand, you’ll need a scheduling tool that offers automation for when you are ready to schedule content for social media. Choose one that provides insights and recommendations that take the guesswork out of your social media marketing strategy.
You’ll need to see when your target audience is most active and schedule your posts for those windows. Identify a consistent time so audience members can almost predict when they can expect content from your brand.
Metigy has a great social media tool. It offers content planning tools that help keep your posts professional and make the collaboration process a breeze. Metigy’s intuitive content calendar uses algorithms to give you the best advice on how you should structure your social media posting schedule, which makes the process less time-consuming.
Use a social media tool like Metigy to streamline your marketing workflow
Social media management and just the thought of devising a content calendar can be overwhelming. However, with the right partnership and a solid social media team, you’ll be able to quickly develop the best social media content calendar for your unique brand.
Metigy’s multi-channel solution was created by SMEs and combines recommendations and insights to support critical social media decisions. Automated reporting and customizable templates make it easier and faster than ever to share insights with your clients or marketing team.
Is evergreen content important?
Yes, evergreen content is important for your small business because it helps you maintain your Google rankings position, ensure your content is always relevant, and enables you to generate more income.
Which social media platform is best for social media success?
Social media success isn’t one size fits all. Focus on one or two platforms where your target audience spends most of their time.
How far ahead should you plan content?
Scheduling your social media posts one month ahead of time is optimal for most businesses.