Businesses, influencers, celebrities, and even chiefs of states nowadays know about social media and understand its power. Such platforms give everyone a voice and allow people to choose who they want to follow.
From the point of marketer's, social media platforms are the ones that allow brands to get personal with their followers (and hopefully customers) and build meaningful connections that may lay the foundation for long-term brand loyalty. Of course, a solid social media strategy that’s both engaging and attractive will boost sales and brand awareness while also allowing marketers to gain insight into their audience’s preferences and habits.
Still, social media is time-consuming and mentally draining, with so many changes and trends that you can’t afford to miss if you’re looking to get a reaction from your audience. We have amazing examples of social media done right from big-name brands like Wendy’s or Chipotle, but they have the luxury of dedicating an entire team of marketers to catering to their channels.
Does this mean small and medium-sized businesses don’t stand a chance in creating a solid social media presence?
Well, it all depends on your approach.
For instance, you can start several channels at once (Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest, Facebook, and YouTube) and try to keep up with a hectic schedule of posting at least once a day. We can tell you from the start that this will be an exhausting experience that will have you digging for new ideas in a couple of months (if not sooner).
Similar to creating a reliable and profitable content marketing strategy, brands need a social media content calendar that keeps things organized and easy to monitor. Additionally, it’s crucial that you follow the audience - meaning, you should only have active channels on the platforms that are frequently visited by your target audience (top 3, for beginner brands).
By this point, we established that social media is a fantastic tool for brand awareness and connecting with possible partners and customers (when done right). Moving forward, we’ll list a few tips and tricks that will help you “do social media right” by creating a content calendar that actually works.
5 Tips to create a social media content calendar
Choose Your Tools
Ideas (especially good ones) come as a spark of genius, and if you don’t have the right tools to write them down, the spark is gone (and you’ll spend the next few days trying to recreate that moment of pure inspiration).
But it’s not just about having a notes app always available (look for ones that are cloud-based and allow you to share your thoughts and ideas with other members). It’s about having all the right tools ready to use.
For instance, it’s a fantastic idea to invest in a social media scheduling tool! When you maintain several accounts without the assistance of an automated tool, the task can easily overwhelm you due to its magnitude and quick pace (trends pop up and go away rather quickly). But if you use a scheduling tool, you can plan ahead whenever there’s a free moment in your schedule.
Additionally, it’s a good idea to get an app that lets you know about the latest trends in your industry (Google Trends is a good example, but there are more).
Regardless of the number of social media accounts you get to administer, it’s important to maintain a consistent brand image. Additionally, your social media posts should support your content marketing efforts, promoting new blog posts or articles.
When you create your social media calendar, make sure to maintain posting consistency as well. For instance, if you create a new YouTube video every Monday and Thursday, respect this schedule. This creates an automatism in your audience’s mind and, after a while, they will know when it’s time for you to post something new.
Test Out Different Ideas
After a while, it becomes rather difficult to find new and engaging ideas for your social media following. Not to mention that constantly creating fresh content has the power to drain your inspiration to a halt.
Before you panic and start taking any suggestion, try and remember you are trying to entertain a specific audience. And, even if you don’t know them that well (yet), you still have their attention and can play around for a bit. So, test a few different ideas and see what sticks - you may find a new vine of content inspiration that’ll last for months to come!
The great thing about having a calendar is that you can monitor the results and store them for later inquiries. It is possible that an idea that didn’t work in the past may become popular in the present.
Lastly, when you monitor the results, use several of your favorite SEO tools to make better sense of the data and gain real-time insight into your audience’s likes and dislikes.
Figure Out Your Ratio
When you work with a social media calendar, you get a bird’ eye view of the type of content that will be published on your channels. This way, it’s easier to understand the ratio of promotions vs interesting and educational posts that work for your audience.
The rule is rather simple: you need to find the perfect blend of promotional and valuable posts that keep readers/viewers engaged. Too many promotional posts and you’ll scare them away; too few and they’ll forget what your brand represents.
Here are a few already tried and tested ratios for social media posting:
- 4-1-1: 4 educational & entertaining posts, one soft sell, and one hard sell;
- 5-3-2: 5 posts from other brands (relevant for your audience), three posts of your own, and two personal not work-related posts (to humanize the brand);
- The Rule of Thirds: ⅓ of posts about your brand & content; ⅓ content from others & new ideas on the market; ⅓ posts on personal interactions with customers (for brand awareness).
It’s also vital to have a mix of formats in your posts. Depending on the platform, you will be able to post links, blog posts, shares or retweets, images, videos, quotes, and even plain text. Make sure to use all accepted formats and mix them to fit your content.
Find Your Style
When you spend time with your own social media calendar, you are forced to reflect on several important factors such as frequency, consistency, message, and more. All these together encompass your unique style, which will differentiate you from other brands activating on the same niche.
Additionally, while looking for ideas, you will start noticing social media posting trends (usually from competitors). It’s best to pay attention to these trends and adapt some of them to your own calendar - this will make you look well-informed in your audience’s eyes.
The recipe to a successful social media campaign starts with the right tools, requires a bit of inspiration and lots of patience and determination. However, if you get in the habit of building a calendar and planning ahead, it will become easier to keep track of your actions and get more people involved in this project.
Lastly, a social media content calendar is a fantastic tool for all marketers out there as it provides insight into your own way of thinking when it comes to promotion and building brand awareness. Overall, a calendar creates room for inspiration and new ideas by keeping everything organized and visible.