Scheduling posts on social media for numerous clients can get quite messy and even overwhelming. Even experienced digital marketers can get lost in the nitty-gritty of everyday social media activities without a proper plan which to follow. A social media schedule is a must to stay focused and organized and assure that all your efforts contribute to achieving your digital marketing strategy goals.
Here are all the tips and tricks that you need in order to create a social media calendar which actually works.
What Is a Social Media Schedule?
A social media schedule, or calendar, is something which every freelance digital marketer and every digital marketing agency needs to have. In a sense, this is your social media marketing plan. The schedule tells you what content you plan to post on social media, on which platforms you plan to share it, and when you plan to schedule your posts. As such, this is a visual representation of your social media strategy for the upcoming months. To assure enough time to do your work with the necessary quality and diligence in order to excel at social media marketing, experts recommend having at least a two-month social media schedule filled in advance.
What Are the Benefits of Using a Social Media Calendar?
The most important advantage of creating and keeping a social media schedule is fulfilling your business’s strategic objectives. With the amount of posting on social media that you are supposed to do, among all your other tasks and responsibilities as a digital marketer, it is easy to stray away from your strategy. Experience shows that scheduling random posts on social media accounts for the sole purpose of being active brings little to no results. Successful social media marketers need to only create and share content which contributes directly to their business goals and objectives. Using a social media calendar developed in line with your social media strategy assures that all your posts are aligned with your business goals.
Another major benefit of putting together a social media posting schedule and sticking to it is staying organized. Managing multiple social media accounts on a number of platforms can get chaotic. If you work with several clients and/or social media is not your only responsibility, you can start forgetting what you are supposed to post when and where. Moreover, the stress associated with working on numerous accounts can easily lead to anxiety and even burnout. Having a social media schedule prevents all this from happening. This calendar will help you assure scheduling posts on social media according to plan.
Last but not least, a schedule with your social media posts facilitates tracking performance and optimizing your strategy. Imagine you notice a sudden boom (or crash) in social media engagement on your accounts that occurred a couple of weeks ago. Or an unexpected rise (or decline) in traffic to your website from social media channels. With the help of a social media schedule, you don’t have to go back through all your posts on all networks to figure out what content exactly you shared on the days when you experienced the boom or the crash. With a quick look at your calendar, you can find out right away the posts which triggered this sudden change and include more of them or exclude them altogether from your social media strategy.
How Do You Set Up the Best Social Media Posting Schedule?
Now that you are convinced of the importance of creating a social media calendar, the question is: “How do you set up one?”
Following are the steps you need to take in order to end up with the best social media schedule for your business.
1. Audit Your Content
Digital content audit is the first thing you need to do to start creating a calendar for your social media posts. You have to take stock of all content you have published in the past few months in order to decide which one is worth sharing on your social media platforms and which one is better limited to your website and/or emails only.
Furthermore, you should have a look at your overall digital marketing strategy for the next couple of months. Your social media calendar should not be limited to already published content only but should also be based on the content you are planning to create in the future.
For a well-balanced schedule, it is important to include a mix of different types of content. Some of the must-have digital marketing content types comprise of:
- Blog posts
- Industry news
- Product updates
- Company news and updates
- Current events and their impact on business
Don’t let your social media users get bored by focusing on just one type of content (blogs, infographics, or videos, for example) or only one topic (your company’s news, for instance). A diverse social media schedule which is still focused on a central theme is much more likely to achieve your social media strategy goals than random posts with no real purpose or idea.
2. Consider Special Occasions
As a social media marketer, you should be well aware of the fact that your business does not exist alone, in isolation from everything else happening around the globe. What this means for your social media calendar is that it should take into consideration any upcoming holidays and special occasions where your target audience is located.
If your business is operating out of the UK, but your customers live in the US, you can’t forget holidays such as Memorial Day, the 4th of July, and Thanksgiving and expect to optimize social media engagement. You need to prepare some special content for holidays and post it on your brand’s social media accounts to show that you are a part of the community and to engage with your users.
Once again, there are plenty of different options which you can choose from. If relevant, you can write a blog post on a topic related to an upcoming holiday and publish it on your website. As soon as it’s live on your blog page, you can schedule it on social media as well. Alternatively, you can create a video in which you discuss the holiday’s relation to your business or simply greet your customers. Even a simple greeting card posted on your social media accounts could be enough.
What matters is that you remember to mark all holidays and other occasions on your social media calendar and schedule something special for these days.
3. Choose the Best Social Media Platforms
Your social media schedule should not include all networks that exist online. There are simply too many of them for you to be able to give each one of them the necessary attention to optimize performance.
Experienced social media marketers and digital marketing agency executives know that scheduling optimal posts on a few platforms gives much better results than posting suboptimal content on dozens of different networks.
Thus, when putting together your calendar, you should do research to find out where your target users are most active. Generally speaking, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube tend to generate the largest outreach and engagement for the vast majority of businesses. Unless your niche is really specific, going for these 5 top social media sites should allow you to optimize your social media marketing efforts.
As soon as you’ve decided on the platforms on which you want to focus, you should include them in your schedule. Mark what content you plan to post on each one of them separately.
4. Incorporate the Optimal Time for Posting
Another thing to include in the perfect social media schedule is the timing of your post scheduling. Of course, this should be the best time to post on different social media networks for your target audiences.
The timing of your social media posts should be based on a few criteria. First and foremost, consider the location of your users and the time when they are most active on social media. The fact that you spend the most time on Facebook or Twitter in the morning doesn’t mean that the same holds true for your target social media users across the ocean. Find out when they are active and keep in mind the time difference.
Moreover, do some research on the habits of users of different platforms. Social media networks report maximum engagement from their audiences at varying days of the week and times of the day.
With regards to frequency, you should plan to post content on every single social media site at least once a day. Your social media calendar should feature daily posts in order to establish an online presence and build a brand.
5. Include Hashtags
It is not enough to decide on just the topics and content types of your social media posts. You also need to plan to use the best hashtags with every single post on your social media schedule.
Don’t view hashtags as a waste of time and something that you don’t need to put efforts into. To the contrary, hashtags are crucially important in social media marketing. That’s how you drive the highest number of users to your posts. And the more people who see your social media posts, the more leads you are likely to generate online for your business.
For maximum engagement, your hashtags should be a mix of best practices in your industry and niche, hashtags related to your company in specific, and some seasonal and holiday choices.
6. Fill Your Social Media Schedule in Advance
The whole point of having a social media calendar is scheduling posts ahead of time. As soon as you’ve transformed your social media marketing strategy into a visual calendar, you should start putting it into action.
Ideally, you should aim to have all your posts ready and scheduled at least one month in advance. Two weeks is the absolute minimum to assure high-quality content creation without losing your sanity.
Of course, if anything unexpected happens, you can always go back to your schedule and rearrange posts or add new ones in response to current events. But having your calendar filled in beforehand will give you the sense of security that you need in order to work on your social media strategy with confidence.
7. Use Social Media Management Tools
To fill in your social media schedule ahead of time, you need the right tools. Most importantly, you should get a hold of an online social media scheduler. This is a social media management tool which allows you to schedule posts on multiple social media accounts on several platforms simultaneously, weeks before your content is supposed to go live. All you have to do is to upload an image or video from your device or storage cloud or insert a link to it. Then you choose the date and time of scheduling based on the best time to post for engagement from your target users. You click “Schedule”, and you’re good to go.
For the best social media scheduler with a visual online social media calendar, sign up for ContentPilot.
Social media marketing is all about innovation and automation. Business cannot be done the way it was conducted a couple of years ago. In 2020 digital marketers need a solid social media schedule to get ahead of the competition and stay there.