Whether you represent an agency or you’re an independent social media marketing professional, you probably face the same challenges every day in order to provide valuable content to your clients and their business. You need to offer them that make an impact and generate engaging posts at light speed. And it probably gets overwhelming from time to time.
To save effort in staying on top of everything (and make sure you’re keeping your precious clients happy) it’s crucial to create a well-thought-out and balanced SMM calendar. By building a content plan for each client, you can clearly show how the company page will look like in the near future and incorporate the most important pieces of content or updates well in advance. In this review, we’ll talk about how to create a thorough calendar and what it takes to have the right balance between the various types of content that are essential to include.
The goal behind the planning
A solid social media calendar should be the very first thing on your mind. Regardless of how tempting it might be to dive into planning the wording of your posts, the pictures and infographics you’ll use and the gifs you think your audience will find funny. But in the earliest stages, the most important aspect to consider is building a systematic social media presence that’s relevant for both the client and their industry, as well as their target audience – and that’s why you should start with an SMM calendar above all else.
You can’t just randomly start posting out of nowhere for at least two reasons:
- The posts might not be as appealing to the audience as you think
- You’re unlikely to be consistent enough for social media platform algorithms to work in your favor.
If you start off on the back foot, you’re likely to run into low engagement rates (leading to unhappy clients.)
So don’t risk it, you have to plan – and plan carefully! The posts you make shouldn’t be last-minute or haphazard, but rather well-crafted messages that are relevant and interesting to the audience. A neat SMM calendar can help maintain a quality presence and enhance engagement.
How to create a great SMM calendar
First things first, start with an audit. take a closer look at what’s been going on in the social media life of the brand under your care. If it’s an existing client, get ahold of their past metrics and analyze the sources of traffic and leads, the average post reach and post engagement. Make sure to find out where the referral traffic comes from.
If it’s a new client, on the other hand, you might need some deeper research. Study their brand’s tone of voice, key messages they convey, have a close additional look at the competitors. Who are the major stakeholders? How does sales funnel work? What’s the role of social media pages for the brand? And then do the same type of digging you’d do for an existing client to understand their social performance at that moment in time.
After handling the initial research, it’s time to move on to the actual planning.
As a social media marketing manager, it’s your responsibility to make decisions about post frequency. Bear in mind, there’s a certain limit of posts per day for every social network and too many posts from one and the same brand are bound to provoke irritation in customers. Too few posts won’t work either, though, because you risk getting lost in their feed altogether.
There are three major types of content that are essential for building a balanced SMM calendar – brand content, curated content, and sales content. To develop the right mixture of posts, consider using 70% of the posts for relevant company news or stories, 20% for insightful posts curated from other reputable sources and just 10% for promotions.
- Brand content should put on display the most interesting aspects of daily life at the client’s company and highlight their achievements, news and even photos of the staff. The key here is building brand awareness that’s appropriate for the industry they’re in – so the feed for a technology client is likely to look totally different from a financial client’s.
- Curated content includes industry news, outside expertise, blogs and fun updates that serve as infotainment for your audience and help build trust. Curated content guarantees you’re not overwhelming followers with posts about your company.
- Selling content consists of direct calls to action, promotional offers, and pricing pages. Be cautious not to overdo it here, though. You don’t want your followers to feel flooded with sales pitches.
Once you’ve got your content ratios under control, get to planning your posts – at least a week ahead but sometimes with as much as a months’ lead time. or better a month ahead. Choose the most exciting company news, bright pictures, infographics, etc. Search for industry news or trending topics to engage your audience. Make your offers to those who trust you. And check the performance of the posts.
Every social network has analytical tools which show you the actual result of your efforts: reach number, comments, shares and other types of engagements. Pay attention to what type of content works best or worst for your audience and plan further accordingly.
Common social media calendar mistakes
- Working on-the-fly. Without solid planning, you’re likely to overlook important dates, news, and stories that might attract the target audience.
- Putting design before the post message. Of course, it matters how your post, but what matters, even more, is the feeling it evokes. So be considerate when thinking of how to convey your message. Pretty but meaningless pictures won’t keep your audience engaged in the long run.
- Posting only “selling” content. Your users will inevitably get fed up with feeling like all you’re trying to do is make a quick sale. It takes time to build trust and engagement, but just because the process can be slow doesn’t mean it’s not worth it. So first, show them you care.
- Ignoring statistics. Social media platforms are highly valued for the sophisticated analytics they provide. SMM managers don’t have to guess anything. Just open the analytic, and if you see that some type of content just doesn’t perform well, make the necessary changes right away.
- Not showcasing the real people behind the brand. Get out there and talk to people! Get to know teammates across various departments and find out what’s going on in their schedules so that you can subtly bring the brand to life for the audience.
Helpful social media calendar apps and tools
Besides the good old Google calendar, there are way more convenient tools for planning and posting.
- Trello. Trello can easily be used for a detailed SMM calendar. You can create cards for each post, move them into different categories and link colleagues who need to handle the posts. Each card can have a string of comments if you need feedback from other colleagues. Trello is especially convenient for several projects running simultaneously because each project can be separated by grouping and color.
- Evernote. This is another great planning tool. It’s also not meant for SMM specifically, but it can be very handy for various types of tasks. You can note and structure your post ideas, make separate to-do lists and set several projects in one single app. There are three pricing plans available. Evernote Business offers integrations with Slack, Salesforce and other software you might already be using.
- PromoRepublic. This is a social media management platform that offers great tools like a vivid calendar with the feature of automated posting to multiple social media accounts. Also, their social media approval tool allows adjusting your posting time, depending on your industry and type of content. The built-in content library with 100,000+ editable templates will help you if you run out of creative ideas.
By taking the time to create, update and stick to a detailed SMM plan, your workload will inevitably become smoother. You’ll make sure to keep on top of all the relevant information your clients expect to see in their feeds, share it in a way that the audience will engage with and over time, build up trust for the brand overall. Utilizing a specific tool for SMM and calendar planning can even help save hours of disorganized work. And adding analytics to the mix means that you will be able to see changes in engagement over time to understand if you’re going in the right direction with the posts on schedule. When working with a variety of clients, it can be tempting to work without a structured process, but in the case of social media marketing, the benefits are clear.
Guest author: Anne Pyshna
Anne is a PR Specialist at PromoRepublic. She’s keen on social media marketing and building strong relationships through media. She is always happy to share valuable tips on SMM with other marketers and entrepreneurs.
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This Article is About:
- Creating a social media calendar
- Planing content for social media
- Building a social strategy