The main focus of today’s post redirects back to the importance of planning. There is a difference between focusing on quick social media posts and the wins they bring as opposed to long term success. If your business is the type of entity that is seeking long term success with it’s marketing efforts, then this post is for you.
I will be the first to tell you that I have two content calendar’s, and I live by them. One calendar is for my blog and the second is for my job as a social media coordinator for a non-profit. Towards the end of this post, I will share a link to download my personal and professional content calendar. I live by the methods and practices of content planning and if you want to get a large social media outreach you should too.
Some of you may be asking yourself, “what is a content calendar?” A content calendar is a framework for what your business plans to share and promote throughout all marketing channels. It also helps define your content themes and post cadence to match each social platform, audience, and objective.
There is this idea that social media marketing takes too much time and effort. That there are other marketing techniques that work nearly the same and take less time. The reality of these previous statements is that they are false. Of course, there is a whole science behind marketing, and social media is just one aspect of it. And yes, social media is a tedious form of marketing that does take time. However, there is no bigger mass population of people in once place other than on major social media platforms. On the contrary, not every business is right for or in need of social media marketing; but, these businesses are rare in this day and age.
Bloggers, publishers, businesses, marketers, and groups who control publication (just to name a few) use content calendars on a daily basis. The calendars help these individuals and groups plan ahead for their long term marketing efforts. Organizing the framework of materials in a content calendar helps determine the type of content that will be used and when that content needs to be posted.
Each Platform Serves a Different Purpose
Many businesses use a handful of different platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube. It’s important to recognize that each social platform serves a different purpose. In using a content calendar, there is a helpful hand and guide that directs your business to present content differently to the audience on each channel. Below I will share a little cheat guide on what each platform does.
|Able to share photos, updates, and general news with those who follow you or “like” your business. Fans of your business come to your Facebook page to find out what’s going on with your company, see pictures of what’s going on, or explore events.|
|A main source of branding. You are able to create a sort of lifestyle for your consumers by sharing what it looks like to buy your businesses service or product.|
|Specifically designed for business and professionals. Users mainly go to LinkedIn to share job experiences and professional thoughts, making it one of the more important platforms to use for those in B2B.|
|Instead of posting content for your audience to read, you’re posting a clickable picture and a short caption. This is a very popular platform for brands with a tangible product.|
|Notably fast-paced, concise, and easy way to connect with your audience. Creates conversation B2C and C2C.|
|YouTube||Great way to get your face out there. Videos are a lot more engaging and shareable than text content and they also aid your search rank in Google.|
Content & Strategy Are Bestfriends
I hope you are getting excited to get started with incorporating a content calendar to your everyday marketing efforts. But wait! Before you dive straight in the deep end with your content calendar, become familiar with how you currently represent yourself on social media platforms. Gathering data and information on your platforms will help you understand which social media accounts are preforming best and which ones you may need to improve in. Paying attention to which days, time of day, and frequencies of posts preform the best and have the most engagement.
Be sure to know your audience! You know your consumers the best, so pay attention. There are different days and times that bring engagement to your social media accounts best. For example, you might find that your Facebook users generally have more activity during the week after work and right before dinner time, 5 P.M. to 7 P.M. This will be your biggest clue to make posts around this time. Of course trends change, but figuring out when and where your consumers are at during different times in the day will boost user engagement and increase conversions to your business.
Tools Used For Social Media Planning
Like I said before, many people find it tedious and time absorbing to market through social media. Lucky for you, there are handfuls of tools that social media professionals use to make life and work easier. Content scheduling tools take the stress and anxiety out of having to post everyday. These tools allow you to schedule ahead of time and across multiple channels at once. I have listed some of the most advanced and best-to-work-with content scheduling tools below:
|Trello||An organizational tool that’s highly effective for team collaboration. Social media managers can assign “cards, boards, and lists” to map out to-do lists, manage a content calendar, plan campaigns, and brainstorm ideas with their team.|
|HootSuite||Offers a robust platform for organizing content. It lets you schedule content as you discover it. *Note: my favorite scheduling tool.|
|Zoho||Allows you to create a publishing calendar with drag and drop options so you can easily reschedule and manage content.|
|Sprout Social||Gives your business a good understanding of your audience and lets you engage with the community through content planning and demographic listening features. The main focus for this platform is ROI and optimization.|
Set Your Business Up for Long Term Success
Planning your content ahead of time not only helps to relieve day-to-day stress of professionals using social media marketing, but it also help building a plan for long term success. Content banks are essential when it comes to creating a content calendar. A content bank is a place to store all existing pieces of content you may or may not want to choose for now or in the future. You can place images, videos, written texts, and graphics in the bank for later use.
Framing your social media content in a calendar helps with consistency in your postings on platforms. Remember, the goal here is to reach higher engagement rates. Recognizing your business does not need to be utilizing every social platform that the internet has to offer is an important revelation for you and your company.
The IPR Content Calendar Template
Before we begin, I would just like to make it clear that when it comes to content calendars it seems complex until it is explained thoroughly. There are three different sectors on my content calendar that I find to be essential. In saying this, I will list the sectors of the content calendar below and if my readers would like me to create a video explaining each sector I would be more than happy to make one. Please reach out to me through commenting, “Yes, make a video” or for you shy guys, message me in private via email, email@example.com.
Some of the main sections consist of, but are not limited to:
- Weekly Template. This is for copying and pasting into the week to week sections. Also provides ideas and analysis of engagements.
- Content Calendar Template in List Form. This includes:
- Week, Date, & Time
- Title of Post/ Campaign
- URL to Social Post
- Social Network Posted To
- Text of Post
- Goal of Post
- Format of Post
- Analytics of Post
- Comment/ Notes Section
- Week Based Template
Some other things you may want to add in your content calendar may include, but not limited to:
- Content Categories
- Influencer Outreach
- Launches & Campaigns
- Key Brand Messages. This is content you need to consistently promote, static content pieces
I have just a few reminders when it does come to content planning. Each platform varies and are continuously changing. If there is something that you are used to getting a high rate of engagement from and see a decline, start testing new methods. Content calendars are designed for timely messages, not every post. Some posts are going to need to be posted just as they roll across your desk. Content calendars are for posting far in the advance to set your organization up for long term success. Most importantly, don’t make you consumers get the feeling that your company is a robot. Leave room for spontaneity and live interactions.
With the information provided, I believe that if you take the new skills and tool sets I shared with you, your businesses social media marketing will flourish — I hope. Remember to keep testing through trial, learning through error, and striving through success.