Creating a Social Media Calendar Step-by-Step

Share

Julie Frost

January 22, 2024

Type:

Popular
category folder

Category:

Social Media

You've hired creators, developed consistent branding, and joined social media for personal use, giving you valuable experience. The biggest profiles have millions of followers which translates to impressive sales. Surely, informing and entertaining people is all you need to succeed.

However, social media has you stumped. You know how to buy advertisements and upload images, but you never break more than a dozen likes. Worse still, you've run out of content in a week. How often should you jump online? Why do you earn several likes and shares on one tweet and a single like the next?

Every business must create a social media calendar before launching its campaign. Your calendar organizes your plan, helps you think ahead, and prevents repetition, potentially turning your small business into an exciting start-up that catches investors' eyes.

1. Choose Your Platforms

Social Media Channels

To start, decide where you want to market your business. Signing up for every platform sounds smart, but it actually puts you at a disadvantage. Can you imagine generating content for YouTube, TikTok, Facebook, Twitter/X, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, and Mastodon every week?

While you can reuse content, each platform supports different formats. You can't share a full blog post on Instagram or hour-long videos on Snapchat. It sounds counterproductive, but limiting your reach lightens your workload, allowing you to produce your best pieces.

Selective marketing also maximizes your efforts. If you target millennials and Gen Z, you'll find a bigger following on TikTok than you would on Facebook or Pinterest.

Research every platform's audience size, demographic, format, and success levels for competitors. A company could earn 100,000 followers on one site and 10,000 on another.

Once you've made your list, sign up for your chosen platforms. Keep the name as consistent as possible so that people can easily find you. If someone's already taken your handle, make as few alterations as possible. Many companies add "business," "store," or "shop" to their names.

In rare cases, staff members will give you an old handle that someone took and hasn't used in years. However, they often reserve this service for large corporations.

2. Download a Template

Find a calendar template online to view your whole month at a glance. Social media management software often has free templates to download. You could also build your own template in Excel.

Each entry may include:

  1. Content type
  2. Social media platform
  3. Posting time
  4. Author
  5. Status

For example, January 1st could look like this:

  1. New Year's Day graphic
  2. Instagram
  3. 6:00 PM
  4. Carrie Miller
  5. In progress

Color-code your entries to make them easier to read. If you share your calendar with your team, this helps everyone stay on track.

3. Determine Your Content Types

Content

Tweets, blog posts, photos, illustrations, memes, short clips, and long-form videos require varying levels of time and dedication. Start by eliminating the formats that you won't use--for example, you won't write lengthy posts if you don't sign up for a blogging platform. Afterward, decide what to add to your calendar.

Static Content

Static content grabs your followers' attention but doesn't change or require live feedback. Your audience relies on this content whenever they visit your page. They can still comment and share but don't have to jump in at a certain time.

Whatever the case, marketing often requires a light touch. When you review major corporations on Instagram, such as Panera Bread and Sephora, you'll find advertisements and promoted posts. However, they also share:

  1. Memes
  2. Product photos
  3. Influencer collaborations
  4. Employee spotlights
  5. Instructional clips
  6. Charts
  7. Artwork
  8. Hacks and tips
  9. Event announcements
  10. Gift card info
  11. Funny videos

None of these posts outright say, "Buy our product!" However, they subtly reinforce brand loyalty. Each post ties back to the corporation so that viewers remember the brand even as they learn or entertain themselves.

Active Content

Active content includes live streams and live events, such as concerts, sneak peeks, interviews, Q&A sessions, conferences, and group calls. Since they're temporary and launch at a specific time, live streams generate a unique type of anticipation.

You can rack up views, comments, reactions, and even monetary tips during online events. This helps you gauge brand interest--if they're willing to set aside time for you, you're developing a loyal fanbase. Consider recording events so that people who miss out can watch them later.

Learn more about the difference between chatbot and live chat and how they engage your followers.

4. Set Goals

Generating sales is your ultimate goal. However, your leads won't explode immediately after you join Twitter. Increased sales arise from social media milestones that broaden your reach.

Creating a social media calendar gives you a roadmap for your tasks. Every entry is another step toward earning more likes, finding another follower, or directing traffic to your site. A single share means more exposure.

Start with realistic goals. As a small business, you could earn a few hundred followers from neighbors, friends, and locals. After that, set the next viable milestone. How could you turn a hundred into a thousand? What about ten thousand within five years?

Similarly, set achievements for individual posts. Checking analytics often surprises people: they might've received only a few likes, but a thousand people saw their image. Figure out how to turn views into engagements. A few likes turn into dozens of retweets, then hundreds of livestream attendees.

Every week, review your achievements. Which profiles earned the most views? How many interactions did you get? Did a new method work more effectively? This helps you organize your roadmap for the future.

5. Plan Ahead

Social Media Calendar

Always have materials ready to go at least a month ahead of time. This ensures a steady content stream with plenty of time for your creators to work. Plan each entry, assign a writer, artist, or videographer, and store your assets safely.

Make a few backup posts when you have extra time. If an unexpected event halts the creative process, you'll still have your momentum. Long periods of silence make clients wonder if you've left social media or shut down your business altogether.

6. Account for Follower Interactions

The comments section provides another opportunity to reach followers. Browsing a company's replies or comments, you'll likely find a mixture of compliments, questions, stories, and criticism. Even the world's biggest corporations hire people to respond to queries, knowing that their responses impact their reputation.

Include time in your calendar for audience engagement. Sometimes, you'll actively energize customers by asking questions in the post body, such as "What are your biggest pain points in sales?" Other times, you'll respond to passive remarks. You can joke around with lighthearted commenters but take a serious tone for complaints.

As a side note, spam bots often target popular accounts. Nobody expects you to reply to those--you can report suspicious activity and move on.

7. Organize Your Material

Diversifying Content

Your followers don't expect high-effort work daily, such as e-books and ten-minute videos. In fact, posting lots of time-consuming content can overwhelm your audience.

People scroll through social media for short bursts of entertainment. Occasionally, they'll sit down to watch a video, but Twitter/X and Instagram feed provide dopamine hits in quick succession.

For this reason, focus on short-form content with lengthier materials a few times a month. Quick marketing bites include:

  1. Tweets
  2. Product photos
  3. Facebook posts
  4. Memes
  5. Fan content (share with permission)
  6. Review spotlights
  7. Announcements

These require more effort:

  1. TikTok clips
  2. YouTube videos
  3. Giveaways
  4. Illustrations
  5. Contests
  6. Blog posts
  7. Livestreams

If you're just starting out, focus on the easier options to fill up your calendar. You can produce more immersive content once you've gained your momentum.

Spacing Out Posts

More content doesn't always translate to increased engagement. When you see ten posts from the same brand in a row, you're likely to hit the "Unfollow" button.

Spacing out content keeps your profile active without bombarding your audience's feeds. For example, Ulta Beauty shares a few Instagram posts daily, each on a different topic. Other brands use Instagram only three or four times a week. Tracking engagement helps you find the right balance for your base.

Likewise, alternate between profiles to keep them active. You could share a tweet and Instagram graphic one day, then a tweet and TikTok video the next before hitting up YouTube and Facebook. Try to reach every feed at least once a week.

Adding Spontaneous Content

Your calendar should have an entry for each day, but feel free to post spontaneously to catch a major event or booming trend. Just make sure that you add it to your calendar for future reference.

8. Use Trends Sparingly

Hashtags

Anyone who remembers being a teenager knows how quickly trends fade. You can jump on a TikTok trend or hashtag while it's still hot, but avoid adding them to your calendar more than a week later. Otherwise, your feed may appear dated.

Likewise, if you're appealing to younger generations, limit your use of slang and emojis. Your material should still be fresh months later.

9. Ask for Audience Opinions

Every visitor checks your page for a specific reason. They might enjoy your videos, seek out coupon codes, laugh at memes, await product launches,, or hope you'll feature their review. Posting more of what they want to see boosts your traffic.

Engagement numbers hint at what your viewers want to see, but you'll get better responses by releasing a survey. People enjoy talking about themselves and becoming part of the creative process. For more responses, include a coupon code at the end.

You can't please everyone--hosting an 80% off sale or streaming a thirty-minute video every day is probably out of your reach--but you can maintain your base and reach more people through shares and word-of-mouth. Consider their thoughts as you create a social media calendar for the next month.

10. Compare Your Calendar with Others

Competitors don't exactly post their roadmaps but review a week's worth of posts to get an idea of what they share. Your list might resemble this:

  1. Monday: 20-second TikTok video about a product release posted at 6 A.M.
  2. Tuesday: Instagram slideshow with positive reviews posted at 5 P.M.
  3. Wednesday: Tweet about their upcoming sale shared at 3 P.M.
  4. Thursday: Instagram infographic posted at 5 P.M.
  5. Friday: Tweet that asks followers about their routine shared at 2 P.M.
  6. Saturday: TikTok collaboration with an influencer shared at 7 A.M.
  7. Sunday: Instagram posts about their influencer collaboration were shared at 8 A.M. and 2 P.M.

Afterward, see how your plans compare. Varying interaction levels can suggest ways to improve. Should you schedule your material for a different time? Do they use alternative songs or filters? What do people talk about in the comments?

You've probably discovered an edge over your competitors if you're earning more likes, shares, and remarks on similar content. Keep this in mind when experimenting with new formats.

Polish Your Social Media Campaign

E-Marketing Associates' free business report comes with a social media review. With grades ranging from A to F, you'll see how you stand alongside your competitors. Low grades aren't criticism; they're your opportunity to change.

Contact E-Marketing Associates to discuss our products and software, including our social media platform that allows you to post anywhere from a single dashboard. You'll also get video and content support, a built-in content library, audience reporting, and royalty-free image integration.

For a full overhaul, talk about our review management, business listing services, website design, and search engine optimization (SEO). We tailor our products for small businesses, offering high-level services at affordable prices.

Ready to Grow Your Business?