This guide explains the steps you need to take to create an effective social media calendar.
Not sure if you need a social media calendar? This article explains the value they provide.
Four Steps to Create a Social Media Calendar
1. Conduct a Social Media Audit
An audit will help you understand and assess your business's social media presence, your different accounts' effectiveness, and post engagement levels. It lets you see what's working, what's not, and what you could do to improve your social media strategies. A social media audit can also help you better understand the interests, habits, and expectations of your followers and the people you’re targeting. It can provide a clear view of content performance.
On top of this, auditing your social media efforts can help you see how competitors' social media programs could impact your social performance. You may also identify social media trends and tactics you may not be aware of.
Here are the steps you need to take to audit your organization’s social media accounts.
Review and Analyze Social Media Content Performance
Analyze critical top-line metrics including:
Review individual posts, too. Identify your top- and bottom-performing ones and find out what made them work — or not. Then, do more of what’s performing effectively and eliminate underperforming tactics. This isn’t a perfect system, but it’s a good start for honing in on the most effective posting strategies for your brand.
Connect Your Social Strategy to Your Business Goals
Determine the key performance indicators (KPIs) that show you’re achieving your business objectives. Then, figure out how your social media strategy supports those KPIs.
Conduct a Competitive Analysis.
Review your competitors' social media accounts checking out:
The types of content they share
Their posting cadence (how often they post and at what times)
Engagement levels (likes, comments, shares)
Reviewing your competitors’ social media presence could help you determine the tactics you should try next.
2. Determine the Right Social Media Channels and Content for Your Business
Leverage what you’ve learned through your audit to update your social media strategies, tactics, and channels. Your audit should help you determine what you're doing right, where you should try new things, and which social platforms are best for your business.
Select Appropriate Social Media Platforms
The social media landscape is vast and expanding every day. It’s good to be on multiple platforms, but don’t think you need to be everywhere. In fact, spreading yourself too thin is a waste of time, money, and energy. Some platforms will work better for your brand than others. The key to social media success is determining which ones are winners for you.
If you find any of your current social media channels are underperforming, identify new ones to try out. Research the most popular and relevant social sites for the people you want to do business with. Take time to learn about platform features, strengths, and weaknesses. Next, determine whether your content types are suitable for the channels and whether your promotional budget is adequate to achieve your business goals on the platforms. This will help you develop a list of social media options to try out as you move ahead.
Plan the Content You Need for Each Channel
Once you've selected your social platforms, you can plan your social media content. Start by reviewing the talent and budget available to you. This will give you a realistic picture of how much high-quality content you can develop, along with the type.
Create an Engaging Mix of Social Content.
It's generally a best practice to develop a variety of social content types. It allows you to appeal to the most people while actively testing how well different content types work. Videos are currently popular, especially short-form, vertical videos popularized by TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram Reels. However, images, text-based posts, infographics, testimonials, and live streams appeal to many people. Test a range of things on each platform to figure out what your followers and people you’re targeting engage with.
3. Decide What to Include in Your Social Calendar
You could plan your social content by month, season, strategy, or campaign. To keep things organized, you need to decide the proper structure and functionality for you.
Most calendars include the following:
Your social platforms
Dates and times your posts will be published
It's also smart to include important information like current platform image sizes, hashtags, and a space to document results and key findings.
Pro tip: Color coding different sections of a social media calendar can make it easier to use.
4. Gather Feedback
Once your calendar is complete, share it with stakeholders and ask for feedback to ensure it meets their needs.
In the end, a social media calendar should be an easy-to-understand and use plan supporting your social media strategies and tactics. It should make consistently posting top-quality content easier.
As you use the calendar, you may find ways to improve it. The best calendars have the flexibility to evolve over time.