How To Create Your Social Media Posting Calendar

social media calender

Content marketing is no ‘marketing fad’. It’s a real and proven marketing strategy. But is that a fact? It’s hard to assert a point with ‘just words’. The logical portion of a person’s brain wants facts to believe information. As a marketer, neither can you rely on self-placed opinions. According to a study conducted in 2015 by IBM, personalized content can increase brand engagement by facilitating high levels of brand recall. That’s the opinion of 56% professional marketers who participated in this study. On comparison, those brands that incorporate content marketing into their marketing strategy enjoyed six times higher conversion rate as compared to their competitors who do not employ content marketing.

social media calender

To truly get your content marketing strategy right and to reap dividends from all the effort, time and money that you have invested into this; you most compulsorily need a social media posting calendar.

social media posting calendar

A social media posting calendar is a very easy document to create. In simple words, it’s a calendar that’s marked with all the events that a company can use in its marketing efforts across social media. Companies and marketers alike use this calendar to schedule their messages platform wise, campaign wise or in any other manner that they deem fit.

Why is maintaining a social media posting calendar important?

  • An easy way to keep organized. It gives the marketer an opportunity to view all the important events that are of interest to the marketing wing of the company. It also helps one to keep tabs about the different kinds of content posted across different platforms.
  • It gives an opportunity to brands to publish relatively personalised content. For example: With the help of a good social media posting calendar, a food-delivery start up can mark all the important ‘food dates’ such as ‘World Donut Day’ etc. and post relevant content accordingly.
  • It allows marketers to build and disseminate a consistent and coherent flow of information. This ultimately helps in the building of consistent brand image. Consistency ultimately translates to reliability; an important value for every brand.
  • It’s perfect for increasing engagement amongst one’s consumers. One of the biggest benefits of a social media posting calendar is that it creates multiple avenues to create engaging, unique content for a brand.
  • You will never ‘forget’ important dates.
  • Facilitates collaboration within an organization. Sharing information, sharing ideas; it all becomes easier if everyone is referring to the same calendar. Ultimately, what this results in is a lot of saved time.
  • Gives one an in-depth understanding about the performance of content posts on specific days and events. Based on this information, a marketer can adjust their content strategy accordingly. He/She will have access to what kind of content generates what kind of engagement at the tip of their fingertips. For example: If based on your findings, you find out that the content that you post on Monday mornings between 9:00 am to 11:00 am receives great engagement repeatedly, you can then use this time-slot to disseminate especially useful content.
  • An easy way to keep organized. It gives the marketer an opportunity to view all the important events that are of interest to the marketing wing of the company. It also helps one to keep tabs about the different kinds of content posted across different platforms.
  • It gives an opportunity to brands to publish relatively personalised content. For example: With the help of a good social media posting calendar, a food-delivery start up can mark all the important ‘food dates’ such as ‘World Donut Day’ etc. and post relevant content accordingly.
  • It allows marketers to build and disseminate a consistent and coherent flow of information. This ultimately helps in the building of consistent brand image. Consistency ultimately translates to reliability; an important value for every brand.
  • It’s perfect for increasing engagement amongst one’s consumers. One of the biggest benefits of a social media posting calendar is that it creates multiple avenues to create engaging, unique content for a brand.
  • You will never ‘forget’ important dates.
  • Facilitates collaboration within an organization. Sharing information, sharing ideas; it all becomes easier if everyone is referring to the same calendar. Ultimately, what this results in is a lot of saved time.
  • Gives one an in-depth understanding about the performance of content posts on specific days and events. Based on this information, a marketer can adjust their content strategy accordingly. He/She will have access to what kind of content generates what kind of engagement at the tip of their fingertips. For example: If based on your findings, you find out that the content that you post on Monday mornings between 9:00 am to 11:00 am receives great engagement repeatedly, you can then use this time-slot to disseminate especially useful content.

That’s a gist of it.

Before we jump into explaining the process of creating a social media posting calendar, it would be beneficial if you keep in mind some of these tips and tricks that you could use while creating one for yourself or your own company:

  • You can use a social media posting calendar to document performance. The performance of the posts, important metrics of each post can be posted in a column adjacent to the event. Furthermore, you can even document seasonal performances and compare your social media posting calendar from one year to another.
  • To further facilitate collaboration, creating the social media posting calendar on an online cloud platform such as Google Documents makes a lot of sense. Sharing the calendar, making changes to the calendar; it all becomes easier and on top of that you get to benefit from the features of such platforms.
  • Create a social media posting calendar for a period of 1 to 6 months. Making one for a longer stipulated time period does not make a lot of sense as the dates for many events aren’t decided until very late.
  • Try to colour-code certain events. For example; colour all movie date releases yellow, all festivals red and so on and so forth. It just improves the readability of your calendar. Makes it easier to identify certain events.
  • If you are too lazy to individually search for important events to mark in your calendar, you can just type the name of your industry and add ‘calendar’ to it. Google search this and surely, you will get many existing calendars. This is not the best practice as every company should have their own unique calendar. A unique calendar is what helps generate unique content. But, this strategy proves to be great when you are looking for a base to work upon.

Let’s now answer the question. As mentioned even earlier in the article, creating a social media posting calendar is extremely easy. All it needs is a certain degree of commitment coupled perfectly with patience. To break it down, we have illustrated a step-by-step process about how you can about creating one for yourself:

  1. Create a calendar format on t: Before you begin with your research, you need to have a spread sheet ready that can be used as a social media posting calendar. You have the luxury to choose the template that you want to work with. For novices, here’s a sample format of a social media posting calendar:
  • Break the spread sheets into different months. Rename the spreadsheet from ‘Spreadsheet 1’ or whatever it is that appears to the name of the month for which you are creating the calendar, ‘January’ for example.
  • The header of the columns should reflect the names of the different social media platforms that you or your brand are active on. For example: ‘Facebook’, ‘Twitter’, ‘Instagram’ etc.
  • The header of the row should reflect the days of the month adequate spaced out. For example: 1st Dec, 2nd Dec, 3rd Dec or Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday etc.
  • The fields under the header row can function as subheadings. The most important subheading would be: Image Link, Content Title, URL, Time etc.

  1. Understand your audience: Ultimately, your content research depends on your understanding of your audience. You know your target market, right? You may not exactly who your consumers are but surely; you have a rough idea of their personas. It’s basic. If you have done a STP analysis, you can easily segregate your audience into different ‘consumer personas’. Give each member in your team a particular persona. Then, try to understand what kind of content gets a particular persona engaged. It can be done like a role-play activity. Such insight helps a marketer gain an objective point of view. If you incorporate this role-play method; understanding your audience will be much simpler and a lot more fun too. The better you understand your audience, the more effective will your content be.
  1. Add relevant/important events to your spreadsheet: Once you have an insight into the kind of content that will engage your audience, the next step is to find events and mark them in your calendar. I.e. spreadsheet. What kind of events should you be marking? Holidays, popular movie or book releases, commemorative days, festivals, important trade show dates (if applicable), fun days of the year etc. Be sure to check out websites like; www.daysoftheyear.com and the Wikipedia page for commemorative dates. Mark some of these fun days in your calendar. You can always use wacky days to create unique content for your brand. However, remember whatever ‘wacky’ or ‘fun’ day you choose, it has to be relevant to your audience in some way or another

For example: Sunday, the 10th of December is ‘World Candle Lighting Day’; a brand that’s seeking to portray an ‘environment friendly image’ can spin some content along the lines, ‘Light a candle not bulbs. Save mother nature.’

  1. Evaluate your existing content and the content of your competitors: Next, you need to identify exactly what type of content has been resonating with your audience. If you used the ‘consumer persona’ role-play method to understand your audience, you already have some theoretical insight into this. But reality may be different. Hence, the most foolproof way to formulate one’s content strategy is to audit one’s existing content and also, at the same time, evaluate the content of your closest competitors. To objectively evaluate past content, you must evaluate it on the basis of standardised metrics that you yourself can set. Some metrics that you can easily consider are:
  • Shares/Retweets
  • Likes
  • Comments
  • Reactions

You can evaluate the content posts accordingly, on the basis of the:

  • Type of content; whether its images, gifs or video posts that performs well.
  • Theme of content; whether it’s fun or informational/beneficial content that performs well

Most of the marketers audit their own existing content but very few take the effort to do so for the competitor’s content as well. It’s a time-consuming process, no doubt but it’s one that’s highly useful especially if you are a brand that’s trying to become the leader in that industry. Learning from competition is never a bad thing.

  1. Generate multiple topics for each event: By now, you have a relatively concrete idea about what kind of content works and what kind of content does not work. Your calendar must reflect all that you have learnt and picked up from your research work. For each of the different events that are listed on your calendar, it’s time that you start thinking about multiple different content topics that are apt for the occasion. Its best if you have more than one topic for each event and then, let the group consensus or the social media manager or whoever is responsible choose the topic that he/she deems fit. What’s advisable at this stage is to come up with two topics for each event. One should be primarily informational and beneficial. The other should be something fun, something that helps shape the brand image favourably.

For example: Let’s look at ‘World Music Day’. You are creating a social media posting calendar for a large guitar manufacturer. The informational topic could be, ‘How a guitar was born’, while, a more fun topic could be; ‘Let’s thank Jimi Hendrix this World Music Day’.

  1. Come up with a posting process: This is the last stage. Everything is ready. All you need to do now is come up with a ‘posting process’ that will serve as your guideline. The first decision that you will have to make is; how many times to post content on each social media platform on a weekly basis. Once you have figured that out, you next have to figure out what your ‘content mix’ will be like. Your content mix should include different content formats and different content themes; proportionately. Maybe, you can follow the 80/20 rule with respect to themes. 80% beneficial and informational; 20% fun or vice-versa.

So that’s how you create a social media posting calendar. The process mentioned above is not something that’s standardised and practiced by everyone in the field. It’s mainly for beginners who wish to learn how to create such a calendar from scratch. In an advertising agency or a marketing firm, creating a social media posting calendar is more often than not considered to be a ‘mundane task’. A mundane and easy task, maybe, but the benefits of maintaining one are exponential. After all, sometimes it’s the simplest tasks that carry the biggest of rewards. If you haven’t been using social media posting calendars until now, it’s okay. There’s a right time for everything. And now is surely the right time for you to go ahead and create a calendar of your own!

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