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How to Create a Social Media Content Calendar: Tips and Examples

Do you find it hard to come up with content ideas every single day? Do you struggle to keep your content well-planned and organized? Or maybe you have a problem with consistency when it comes to your social media content strategy?

By Ana Simova, content writer at Ranking Press

    If the answer is yes to one or more of these questions – a social media content calendar is exactly what you need. Whether you’re a social media marketer, manager, or a business owner who uses multiple social media platforms for marketing, having a social media content calendar will make your marketing strategy much more successful and organized.

    So, if you want to know more about social media content calendars – what they are, why you need one, and how to create it – you’re at the right place. We’ll also give you some examples of how businesses use them as a part of their marketing strategy, so let’s get things started.

    What is a Social Media Content Calendar?

    If you think that a social media content strategy involves coming up with content ideas and scheduling blog posts on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media networks on a given day – there’s much more to it than that. This is where a content calendar comes in.

    To put it in the simplest terms possible, a social media content calendar is a working document where you plan, organize, and schedule content for all your social media networks.

    That being said, the content planning and scheduling is not just for that given day, but for the whole week, or even for the whole month or two if you choose to. If it works for your business, you can also set up the exact time when you want a particular piece of content to go live, so that everything is nicely planned and organized in advance.

    For this, you can use any type of working document:

    • A spreadsheet – good old Excel, or an online spreadsheet service like Airtable.
    • An app designed specifically for this purpose.
    • A notebook or a calendar where you’ll write down the necessary information.

    You see, the choice is entirely yours.

    The most important thing is that your whole marketing team has access to it, so if your team is comprised of more than a couple of people, a document or an app that can be accessed by all of them online might be the best idea.

    Apart from content ideas and topics as well as publishing dates and times, a social media content calendar can also include the hashtags you’ll use for each piece of content and social media platform, the assets needed for that piece of content to be created (like images, statistics, infographics, and so on), different categories for different pieces of content, and more!

    The more information you include, the better for the whole marketing team and your marketing strategy.

    That being said, if you’re still skeptical and unsure of whether or not you really need a social media content calendar, read on.

    Reasons Why You Absolutely Need to Have a Content Calendar

    In order to have a successful social media marketing strategy, having a content calendar is a must.

    Don’t believe us?

    Let’s go over all the reasons why you absolutely need to have a social media content calendar this year and beyond.

    You’ll Have Better Organization

    The beauty of having a content calendar is that it makes your content strategy very organized. If you use more than one social media platform for marketing your business, you definitely need it.

    A content calendar allows you to visualize what your content production will be like for the upcoming weeks or months.

    You’ll know exactly what your plan for posting on each social media network is like. You’ll have an overview of the different types of content you publish so that you don’t bore your audience and repeat certain pieces of content or post something that’s completely irrelevant to them.

    You’ll also be able to see if you neglect one social media platform or post too much on another one. Another mistake you’ll never make again is post the same piece of content with the same message on more than one of the social media platforms you use or manage (unless you’re repurposing intentionally, which definitely works if it’s done right).

    Additionally, you’ll have content ready for posting or at least content ideas for slower months – or those times when you’re simply not inspired enough to be creative. This will ensure that you or your team are always prepared with fresh content at hand.

    You’ll Create & Post Better Content

    If you’re not new to the world of social media marketing, you must know that no matter who your target audience is, posting only one or two types of content is, well, boring to most social media users.

    People online want diversity when it comes to the content they’re seeing, so having a creative mix will definitely keep them away from the “Unfollow” button. This is where a content calendar can be of use.

    By having an overview of each and every piece of content you create and publish, you’ll know if you’re offering diverse content to your audience or not. Nobody wants to constantly look at product promotions with a blog post here and there, right? Social media users want videos, infographics, eye-catching photos, user-generated content, and so on, and by offering them a variety of content types you’ll know what works and what doesn’t.

    Don’t forget the 80/20 rule: offer 80% of fun, interesting, and helpful content and 20% of content related to your business and what it has to offer (products and/or services).

    You’ll Never Miss Out on Important Days

    By having a clear view of your content and posting schedule, you’ll never again miss out on important days like Black Friday, Thanksgiving, or Valentine’s Day. These are the days when you have the opportunity to give your followers something extra, align your message according to the holiday, and strike while the iron is hot.

    You might think that holidays or important dates like Christmas, the World Cup, or Thanksgiving are hard to miss out on, and you’ll be right. That being said, we’re only human and humans are oftentimes forgetful, so if you or somebody else on your team remembers the upcoming Valentine’s Day only one or two days before it happens, you won’t have enough time to prepare something interesting, effective and of high quality – and you’ll miss out.

    Learn more about content marketing in our content marketing strategy guide.

    And what about the other holidays and days people celebrate that are not so well-known? We’re talking about National Star Wars Day, World Nerd Day, Croissant Day, I Want You to Be Happy Day, Lover’s Day, and many, many more fun holidays you can use for your content marketing campaign.

    For example, if your business sells products that are perfect for Valentine’s Day, why not take advantage of other related holidays like Lover’s Day or World Kissing Day? Even if half of your followers don’t even know these holidays exist, they can discover them via your posts which is even better.

    You can take a look at each and every holiday here and incorporate those holidays and dates that mostly relate to your brand and what your business offers.

    You’ll Be More Consistent

    When it comes to posting content on social media, consistency is essential.

    Imagine following a brand on Twitter that posts 5 different tweets on Wednesday, 2 on Friday, and is silent for the rest of the week. You won’t take it seriously, will you? We know we wouldn’t, because being consistent with content means having a plan and being organized in other areas as well. Moreover, consistency is essential for quickly growing your following, so having a content calendar will only do your business good.

    A content calendar ensures that you’re consistent on all of your social media platforms for the upcoming weeks, even months if you choose to.

    By knowing what, where, and when you post, you’ll have a consistent flow of content as well as a consistent brand voice – two crucial things for increasing your brand’s credibility.

    You’ll Have Better Collaboration and Transparency With the Team

    If you have a marketing team comprised of copywriters, designers, content strategists, editors, or other team members, a content calendar will make your team’s collaboration much more successful. Not only will each member save time in communication, but you’ll be sure that everyone on the team is on the same page work-wise.

    We recommend that you share the content calendar on a cloud sharing platform like Google Drive or Dropbox so that it’s available for anyone at any time. Also, encourage everyone on the team to use it, even if your team consists of only two members.

    You’ll Save Time

    Last but not least, having a social media content calendar saves you valuable time.

    Instead of coming up with content ideas on a daily or weekly basis, scheduling content on all of the social media platforms you use only a couple of days in advance, or even thinking about what holiday is just around the corner – you’ll have all of this information in the content calendar, and you’ll know exactly how your strategy is doing at a glance.

    If you want to recycle content or post the same thing on more platforms with a different message, you’ll find everything neatly organized in your content calendar so all you have to do is scroll through the pieces of content and take action.

    How to Get Started With Creating a Content Calendar for Social Media

    The beauty of social media content calendars is that you can always include, delete, or change information like content ideas, topics, hashtags, publishing dates, and so on. That being said, you have to start from somewhere, right?

    Let’s see how you can get started and create your own content calendar for social media as soon as you have a bit of time on your hands.

    Do Your Social Media Research for Every Network You Use

    Before you do anything, you’ll need to do some research for each and every social media network you use. Make sure not to miss this step before actually filling in the calendar, since planning before acting is essential for success.

    Audience

    Firstly, take a look at your audience and which social media networks your followers use the most. Since many brands don’t have just one single target audience but at least a couple of different buyer personas, you need to know them inside out.

    Also, your followers on Facebook and Instagram may have totally different demographics. For example, you might have mostly male middle-aged audience on Facebook whereas on Instagram you are mostly followed by millennial females. It’s important that you know exactly who your audience is on each social media network so you know what type of content to create for each of them.

    Determine the Types of Content You Publish

    Constantly publishing just one type of content can easily bore your followers. Imagine if some popular brand you follow posts only textual content on a platform like Facebook, without any visuals except for emojis. How monotonous would that be? Publishing at least 2-3 different types of content is not only great for user engagement, but for getting a greater reach as well.

    There are many content or post types you can choose from and incorporate into your content calendar.

    For example, you can publish a textual post and additionally attach a photo or a GIF. There are other elements you can implement in your posts and this fully depends on the social media platform you use. For example, Facebook and Twitter are great for posting polls, GIFs, and Infographics, while Instagram is famous for its Stories, and so on.

    So yeah, you should definitely find your perfect combination via experimentation. This can easily be done simply by publishing different post types on your social media platforms and analyzing their engagement and reach. At the end of the day, this mainly depends on who your followers are and what they like. But it also depends on the social media you use, and for that purpose, we will shortly explain the best post types for the most popular social media networks out there.

    Facebook: the most popular posts are the ones that include videos (especially live videos) as well as curated content. They will get you the most engagement as well as the highest post reach – but remember, upload a native video, don’t just link to videos from other platforms, like YouTube.

    Twitter:  blog posts, news stories, and GIFs perform the best, since Twitter users use this platform mainly for keeping up with the news and when bored while commuting, waiting for somebody, etc.

    Instagram: perfect for gorgeous high-resolution photos. Stories are immensely popular as well, while images with quotes still rank highly.

    LinkedIn: a place for those mainly looking for a job, connections, news about the companies they follow, or some other professional content. So, sharing your company news is great, and posting available jobs information would be highly engaging.

    Determine Your Content Ratio

    Now we’ve come to the question of content ratio. What this means is organizing your content in such a way that you sort it out in separate categories based on the objective, and determining how much you want to focus on each.

    For example, the categories can be: promotional brand content, curated content, or user-generated content. This has more to do with the intention and purpose of the content in question rather than what type of content it is – a video, a photo, a GIF, an article, and so on.

    The reason why determining your content ratio is important for creating a content calendar is simple – by knowing what kind of content you post and when, you’ll know what content works best at different times and days. This way you’ll know in what way to schedule future posts and it additionally ensures consistency for every social media platform you use.

    Determine Your Posting Frequency

    After you’ve determined the types of content you publish as well as your content ratio, the time is ripe to determine your posting frequency.

    Firstly, figure out how much you post on every social media network if you haven’t done this already. Do you sometimes post once on Instagram on a given day, 3 times on another, and some days not at all?

    It’s important that you think about your posting habits given that consistency is one of the main qualities of a successful content strategy.

    Let’s give you an estimate of each social media network’s optimal posting frequency for higher engagement.

    Facebook: 1-2 posts per day.

    Instagram: 1-3 posts per day.

    Twitter: up to 15 tweets per day.

    Pinterest: 11-20 pins per day.

    LinkedIn: 1 post per day.

    Google+: 3 posts per day.

    Sign up to Amplifr to receive the best posting time predictions and schedule your content effectively on multiple social media accounts.

    Repurposing Content & How to Do It Successfully

    Repurposing your original and most engaging content is a great way to get even more engagement. You can successfully repurpose your best blog posts, statistics you’ve shared, and even videos. We’ll give you a few examples on how you can create new content, without starting from scratch,  and use what you already have.

    If you have written extensively about one specific niche or a broader topic and you have at least 10 blog posts in that field – it would be best to create an eBook by combining your articles.

    All you have to do is copy and paste the blog posts into your favorite word processor, add images or graphics, and create a good cover design. You can then use the eBook to drive even more traffic to your website and get more email subscriptions, or simply post it as a gift for your followers on your social media profiles.

    If you have informational videos on any topic, you can use them to create blog posts. You will need to transcribe them, and if they are on YouTube, most of the transcription will already be done automatically so you’ll only need to correct the mistakes.

    Your videos can also be turned into images if you think that some quotes or statistics are important enough to be highlighted and will be valuable to your followers. For those videos that are more visually stunning than informational, you can create amazing GIFs and share them across your social media accounts.

    You can create some great and visually impressive Infographics from your older blog posts, video’s or graphs. Infographics are very popular and highly engaging with social media users.

    If you want to start a podcast check out our guide on social media planning for Podcasters.

    Some studies suggest that they have 30 times more chances to be read when compared to a regular article. If by any chance you want to start a podcast, then you can turn your best videos or posts into podcast episodes.

    All these ideas should help you generate new content from old, content  you can distribute to all of your social media profiles. If you repurpose only your most popular content, then you can easily increase your engagement rate, since you are sharing content that your target audience already loves.

    Create a Content Repository

    A content repository is basically a place where you’ll store all of your content. It can be a working document, a spreadsheet, or something else – that’s entirely up to you. A nicely organized content repository should include: a title, the type of content in question (blog post, video, textual post with image, etc.), the link, the networks where you want to publish it, and the expiry date.

    Establish Your Content Calendar Process

    Now we come to the part where it’s of a great importance that the whole team is included. We’ll give you some questions that you need to answer, and it’s essential that you and your team are on the same page since the success of your content calendar depends on it.

    •       Who will be behind the scheduling and publishing of the posts?
    •       Who will be the person in charge of updating the calendar?
    •       Who will come up with new content ideas?
    •       Who will assign the writers the content to work on?
    •       Who will give the green light before each post is published?

    You can discuss these and other questions if you have more, and also talk about the process of coming up with new content – will you have weekly or monthly brainstorming sessions, how far in advance will you do it, and so on.

    Fill in the Content Calendar & Schedule Your Content for Publishing

    Finally, you now have to actually fill in your content calendar with the great content you have. You can do this manually and create the spreadsheet yourself in Excel, for example, or download a free template online. These are the essential columns every social media content calendar should have. You can add more based on your needs.

    Publish Date & Time. Obviously, each post should have a specific date and time for publishing.

    Content Category & Type. Here you can include whether the content is curated, promotional, user-generated, evergreen, and so on, as well as whether it’s a blog post, a video, an image, etc.

    Headline. Here write your post’s headline (if you have one, of course).

    Social Network. What are the social media networks where you want this post to be published? Write all of them, but beware not every platform you’re on will be suitable for every post in your calendar, so choose wisely based on your audience on each one.

    The Copy / The Actual Post. Here copy and paste the actual post or the copy of the post.

    Live Link. Lastly, include the link of the post after publishing it.

    These are the 6 essential columns you should include in your calendar, but most templates have from 10 to up to 15 different columns for better organization.

    Some social media networks have their own scheduling tools where you can directly schedule your posts. However, if you’re on more than 2 platforms, this can take a lot of time, so it’s way more convenient to use a content calendar tool or a scheduling tool. Let’s see what content calendar apps/tools are exactly and how they work.    

    Content Calendar Apps / Tools for Social Media

    So, you don’t have time to create a content calendar from scratch? No problem, you can always use content calendar apps or tools.

    Content calendar apps/tools are basically programs that plan, manage, and schedule all of your posts on multiple social media networks in one overview. Depending on your marketing strategy and individual needs for your brand, there are some apps/tools that’ll be better for your business than others.  So, how to choose the right one?

    How to Pick the Right Content Calendar App or Tool for Your Business

    There are two types of content calendar apps/tools you can choose from: free and paid ones. Obviously, the latter offer more options and can do a lot more that simply manage and schedule your posts.

    Evernote, for example, is an app where you can find various calendar templates and choose the one you think is right for your business. It’s just a note-taking app so you’d have to do your own scheduling and publishing. Social Media Planner, on the other hand, plans, schedules, and publishes your content so you won’t have to. Therefore, you should do your own research and choose accordingly.

    That being said, did you know that Amplifr is one of the best and most affordable social media management and scheduling tools?

    For only $30 per month Amplifr will manage, schedule, and publish your posts – but that’s not all! Let’s see why Amplifr is a great tool for managing your social media content calendar.

    How to Create a Content Calendar With Amplifr

    Besides managing multiple social media platforms, Amplifr also allows you to use more than one profile for each network you’re on.

    Want to know more about analytics and tools? Check out our SMM guide on analytics and reporting.

    It gives you detailed analytics so you know which post had the most user engagement, which attracted the most revenue, and more. You’ll also receive daily stats as well as analytics dashboard where you’ll be able to see the engagement rate, follower growth, post rating and more. Here you can find out more on how to manage multiple social media accounts with Amplifr and everything it offers.

    If you want to check out even more tools you can take a look at these resources:

    Amplifr VS. SproutSocial

    Amplifr VS. Hootsuite

    Amplifr VS. MeetEdgar

    Amplifr gives you a detailed social media content calendar that is very easy to use.

    On the main dashboard you can customize your posting schedule, easily add and remove posts, quickly switch between projects, and more. Amplifr even predicts the best posting times so your posts can get the most engagement and clicks.

    Final Words

    Whether you decide to create your own social media content calendar or use a tool like Amplifr, one thing is certain – having a content calendar is a must for a successful and more organized marketing strategy. Remember, organizing and planning your content goes hand in hand with tracking your analytics, so pay attention to the details, be consistent, and good luck with growing your business!

    Sign up to Amplifr to receive the best posting time predictions and schedule your content effectively on multiple social media accounts.

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