How to Set Up Your Social Media Calendar

December
12th, 2018
Camryn Walton
Categories: Social Media
December
12th, 2018
Camryn Walton
Categories: Social Media
How to Setup Your Social Media Calendar

Tis the season for reviewing 2018 goals, setting new intentions for 2019, and strategically planning out the year ahead. For small businesses, this includes thinking about your content marketing goals and objectives, with social media high on that list. Now is the time to think about creating an easy-to-use social media calendar that organizes and manages when and where you will publish your content and allows you to efficiently and strategically plan your posts in advance.

Sharing quality content across your social media channels can be one of the best ways to connect with your audience and attract new followers. Read on to see how to create a thorough social media calendar that you can start using right away.

Before Creating Your Social Media Calendar

1. Define Monthly Social Media Goals

Ask yourself a few questions:

  • How many posts do you want to publish per week or per day?
  • How many channels do you want to publish across?
  • Are you aiming for a specific number of followers or certain engagement metrics?

Align your social media goals with your overall marketing goals in order to see how social media can help you reach larger objectives.

2. Define Content Categories to Publish on Social Media

Before you start creating your social media calendar, it’s crucial to figure out exactly what types of content your audience actually wants to see from you. Look at past social media posts you’ve written, or analyze your competitors to see which types of posts resonate best with your audience. You can use a tool like Sprout Social and pay to conduct a formal social media audit, or you can do it yourself by accessing your social media analytics to compare specific metrics. Refer back to your social media goals in order to hone in on the metrics that are most important to you.

Some common categories to include on your social media calendar are:

  • Blog posts
  • Inspiration quotes
  • How-to videos
  • Product promotions
  • Holidays
  • User-generated content
  • Events + company announcements
  • Staff spotlights

Need more suggestions? We created a list of 30 social media content ideas here.

Once you’ve chosen your categories, we highly recommend adding a separate tab on your social media calendar to serve as a place to gather ideas and content for future use. Include a “category” tab in order to organize these pieces of content and easily find them for your calendar.

3. Decide Content Channels to Publish On

Using your research on target demographics and buyer personas, decide which content channels will best reach your audience. The most popular content channels include:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • YouTube
  • Pinterest

It’s important to understand that you don’t have to publish on every single channel. Rather, it’s more efficient and rewarding to choose only the channels that your audience pays attention to and focus on having a large presence there.

Keyhole Social Media Calendar
Download this easy-to-use social media calendar template, where you can organize and manage when and where you will publish your content in advance.

Setting up Your Social Media Calendar

To create your calendar manually using Google Sheets, log into Google Drive and choose “New” then choose “Google Sheet.” Give your spreadsheet a title that is specific to your company. Organize the tabs at the bottom by social media channel, as you won’t be posting the exact same thing to each channel.

Label the columns on each tab with the following categories:

  • Date
  • Day of the Week
  • Theme or Campaign: If a post corresponds with a weekly or monthly theme, a special promotion or a specific holiday campaign, indicate it here.
  • Message: Write the actual content for your post here.
  • Link: Include any relevant links to blog posts or articles.
  • Hashtags: Include relevant hashtags for each channel. We recommend including 3-10 hashtags per post.
  • Image: Include the actual image here, or a link, location or file name for where you can find the image later.

Need some more tips for creating your social media calendar? We got you covered here:

  • Plan the bulk of your social media content on or before the first of each month. Then, you can fill in new content, timely news, and manually share posts as needed throughout each week.
  • For each new month, move the current content down and separate it with a colored row so you see the most up-to-date part of the calendar first.
  • Consider highlighting the cells in the first row and select Format > Merge Cells > Merge All to enter “Month” as a placeholder on your template.
  • Customize the font style and colors throughout your document to reflect your brand.

Decide How Often to Post

In order to start filling out your social media calendar, you must decide how often to post. Your decision will depend on your audience, your product or service, specific campaigns and the types of channels where you publish. It’s important to ensure that you aren’t bombarding your audience with irrelevant content, but rather providing valuable and interesting information on a regular basis. While every company will differ, here are some basic guidelines for posting on the most popular social media networks:

  • Facebook: 3-10 times per week
  • Twitter: 1-5 times per day
  • LinkedIn: 2-3 times per week

Your frequency will depend greatly on the size of your team and its ability to generate a good amount of content. We don’t recommend compromising on the quality of your content in order to reach these numbers. Rather, start posting at a frequency you feel comfortable with, using high quality content and then work your way up to posting more frequently as time allows.

Fill Your Calendar + Start Publishing Content

Now that you have the process in place, it’s time to start adding content to your calendar! Facebook is the only platform that currently allows you to schedule your posts out in advance from your Facebook page. For the other channels, you can either publish content manually, or use a paid publishing tool like Sprout Social to schedule your posts. This should be determined based on your budget and team resources.

After a few months of consistently posting on social media, look for trends between your publishing rate and engagement numbers. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn all provide basic analytic reports for you to measure each month. Learn from these reports and adjust your strategy accordingly.

Creating a social media calendar will allow you to plan and schedule out months of content in advance, allowing you to be more efficient and strategic in achieving your marketing goals and objectives.

If you’re in need of some additional advice when creating your social media calendar for 2019, we’re here for you!

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