Social Media Series - Part 4 of 6
Keeping your audience's attention is one of the biggest small business challenges. Many other businesses offer similar products and services, no matter how small your niche. If you can't stay relevant, your customers will turn to companies that grab their interest.
A social media calendar keeps your business active, relevant, and engaged with your followers. Once you get started, you'll settle into a routine that keeps you going for months. The bigger you grow, the more followers you'll earn--which means increased website traffic. Here's how to create a social media content calendar.
What is a Social Media Content Calendar?
A social media content calendar is a calendar that tracks what you're going to post every day. For example, if you're sharing a promotional tweet on March 1, you'd note the time, content type, and other pertinent information. Every day, you check the calendar to see what you planned. You share the content and go back to other aspects of maintaining your presence, like engaging with commenters.
To keep your calendar consistent, you'll need to plan and create content ahead of time. Save your old calendars so you can review them later, and make sure you don't post the same content twice.
Why Do You Need a Social Media Content Calendar?
Your calendar is one of the most valuable tools in your marketing strategy. Without it, you'll have to work day-by-day, which quickly unravels and leaves you with nothing to post. Get started today to take advantage of these benefits.
You'll Post a Steady Stream of Content
You need to stay active to engage your audience. If you post once a week, followers assume that you've abandoned the social media platform or shut down your business altogether. Would you hire a company that hadn't updated its platforms in months? Limiting your posts makes sharing information about sales, new products, and upcoming events harder.
A content calendar keeps your social media presence on track to show your audience that you're actively engaged. When you post at least once a day, you're an active, energetic presence that gives your followers something new to talk about. You also demonstrate your business savvy and commitment to producing high-quality content. Customers view your business favorably, making them more likely to hire you.
You Won't Overwhelm Your Followers
Your calendar also helps you limit the number of posts you make each day. You might be tempted to post ten tweets simultaneously if you have ten tweets lined up. However, that overwhelms your followers' timelines and leaves you with no content for tomorrow. Unpredictable updates confuse your followers--and if you share too much at once, they'll unfollow you to keep their timelines clean.
With a content calendar, you'll space out your posts, so you don't post too many in one day. You might post three tweets one day and a blog post the next. This leaves your followers wanting more and keeps you from burning through your content.
You'll Set Deadlines
When content creators don't have deadlines, they lose track, forget about projects, and rush at the last minute. This results in an uneven schedule where you post updates one week and have no updates the next. Your content also declines in quality, negatively impacting your followers.
Content calendars provide deadlines that keep your writers, designers, and illustrators on track. You'll also give them plenty of time to work in advance, so they return a high-quality product. Once they've gotten used to the schedule, your creators produce content regularly, so you're never stuck filling in the gaps.
You'll Have a Backlog of Ready-to-Use Content
Content creators can quit at any time. If a creator leaves or takes a leave of absence, you'll scramble to produce content until you get back on schedule. Content calendars allow you to create blog posts, graphics, videos, and social media posts ahead of time. When someone leaves, you'll continue sharing until you run out of posts.
If you planned far ahead enough, you’d have a few months’ worth of posts, giving you plenty of time to keep posting until you resolve the situation. While you might have to make a few adjustments as your business's needs change, you won't have long gaps in your updates. Your followers will have no idea that anything changed behind the scenes.
You'll Experiment with Different Content
Without a calendar, it's easy to fall back on the same types of content. Tweets are easy to post, so you make a few tweets per day and nothing else. Your social media becomes stagnant and loses followers because you share the same thing every day. Unfortunately, since you didn't plan ahead, you don't have fresh content to share.
Content calendars make it easier to mix it up with different posts. When you plan a video or blog post, you'll know how much time you have to produce the content. Instead of posting day-by-day, you'll prepare for significant projects and give yourself time for smaller ones, like illustrations for Instagram posts.
You'll Prepare Content for Special Occasions
The holidays are coming up--but you forgot to make a post. While other companies stay relevant by celebrating the holidays, your business stays silent, saying that you ignore the world around you. You'll also forget to post about events related to your business, like your grand opening.
With a content calendar, you'll plan ahead for significant holidays, company sales, and small events in your region. This shows followers that you're an active presence in your community and ready to get in the holiday spirit. You'll also spread the word about upcoming sales and deals to attract more customers.
You'll See More Engagement
Ultimately, a steady stream of content means increased engagement. Followers are more likely to "like" your posts, leave comments, share your content, watch videos and visit your website. As you gain followers, your business looks increasingly relevant. Some people will follow you simply because you have a lot of followers--if everyone else is doing it, they'll follow their lead.
More engagement gives you more opportunities to interact with your customers. When they comment, ask questions and leave reviews, your responses show that you listen to the community. They'll realize that a real person is sitting behind the screen, not a corporate bot.
What Should You Include in a Social Media Content Calendar?
Add brief, descriptive content to your calendar, so you know what you're posting at a glance. This could include the following:
- Content-type with optional color coding
- Brief description of the content
- The platforms where you'll share the post
- Date and time that you'll post the content
- Links and hashtags, if applicable
- Any extra notes about the content
How Do You Create a Social Media Content Calendar?
You’ll need organization software like Excel or a calendar app to start. Afterward, follow these steps to build your calendar:
- Choose your content categories. To keep your followers engaged, mix up the calendar with different types of content. A non-stop flow of blog posts gets old and only attracts part of your audience. Still, blog posts, videos, images, social media posts, and questions for the audience keep your customers engaged. Note that some content types are better for different target audiences--for example, if your target audience is middle-aged men, you probably won't include TikTok videos on your calendar.
- Outline your content calendar. Make a calendar with dates, then write the content you want to post. Post content on a schedule like Instagram lives every Friday, or mix it with a different plan each week.
- Note important dates. For example, if you have an upcoming sale, create content related to the event to advertise yourself to your followers. Similarly, make content for significant holidays and regional events to show your followers that you're paying attention.
- List the content that you want to create. Now that you've got a rough idea, list your content in more detail. For example, if you're making a blog post, write what the post will be about.
- Now that you've organized everything, create your content ahead of time. Don't wait until the due date. Create content early to stay on schedule at least a month early without rushing yourself. You'll also remain consistent by posting every day.
- Post your content. Try to post your content around the same time every day, and post when most of your followers are active. While they might still see your content later, sharing during peak hours increases engagement.
Now that you know how to create a social media content calendar, take your marketing a step further with E-Marketing Associates. We help small businesses grow with products and software designed to meet the needs of growing small businesses. Not sure how your business is performing online? Get a Free Business Report that will show you how your business stacks up against your competitors.