How To Incorporate 2021 Trends into Your Social Media Content Calendar
Last updated 11/13/2020
Scribbling ideas for social media posts in notebooks and on post-it notes isn’t going to cut it in today’s competitive social media marketing environment. As you plan ahead for 2021, you need to be strategic about how you will approach social media. It all begins with a social media content calendar that drives traffic.
When you have a detailed outline of upcoming posts, you’ll have a better grasp of your overall digital marketing strategy. But, if you casually select topics without having a strategy or plan in place, you risk posting content that won’t resonate with your audience or creating content gaps that could negatively impact the engagement you’ve worked hard to build. With a social media calendar in place, you’ll save time and be able to track and test different strategies.
In fact, businesses that publish more than 16 posts a month generate 3.5 times more traffic than those that publish less than four.
With so much depending on your social media presence, businesses no longer can get away with haphazardly posting on the wrong social networks. To get results, you need to start with a sound social media engagement strategy coupled with a solid content marketing strategy. Now, is the ideal time to build your calendar for the first quarter of the new year.
A social media content calendar is your blueprint, a way to organize upcoming social media posts for different platforms, ensuring that important dates, events, as well as awareness or promotional opportunities don’t slip through the cracks.
Begin by planning out three months’ worth of content and then update it by adding more posts or new ideas to your calendar, on a weekly or monthly basis.
Social media content calendars should outline important information such as:
- Content type—blog posts, conversation starters, videos, quotes or tips.
- A catchy headline, as well as the actual content of the post. If you can write the post in a scannable way or in a list format—even better. If possible, use wording that encourages interaction or evokes an emotion, such as surprise, humor, fear or curiosity. If you need inspiration, try using a social media content curation tool for ideas.
- Analytics and performance of past posts. Track and measure posts and campaigns. Once you are in the habit of recording analytics, schedule the best publish dates/times based on when your target audience is active on social media.
- The calls-to-action (CTAs) that will be incorporated. Use action words to drive your audience to act, giving your content a purpose. CTAs appear at the end of your post and encourage your audience to take the next step, such as commenting, making a purchase or subscribing.
- Tracking codes, if necessary.
- Identifying who is responsible for posting and responding to comments.
- Consider color coding to differentiate areas, such as content type and network. You may also want to color-code top-performing posts for quick reference. Use that information to optimize future posts.
Some of the benefits of building and maintaining a social media calendar include:
Keeping your social profiles active. One of the most important reasons to develop a social media content calendar is simply to guarantee that your business is staying active on social media. Aim to share relevant, engaging posts on your social profiles at least three to four times per week.
Allowing you to stay ahead of upcoming events. It’s never too early to start thinking about an upcoming event. If your business is attending or hosting an event, or sharing important news or updates, you’ll want to ensure it’s mentioned on your social media accounts. The most popular social networks for businesses include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube.
To stay on your target audiences’ radar, add the event to your social media content calendar a few months or weeks in advance. Think about your posting frequency and the different times to post, as well as ways you can promote the content to drive more traffic.
Employing different types of posts to drive traffic. Is your business testing out different types of content on social media, such as personalized posts, giveaways or contests, user-generated content, photos and live video? If not, getting it scheduled in your content calendar is the perfect place to start! However, there is no definitive formula for creating winning posts. Afterall, what works for your business might not work for someone else’s. The best place to start is by outlining upcoming posts in a content calendar. That will allow you to plan your content, see the different pieces of content you can drive traffic to—from your website—and the different ways you can promote it, as well as identify top-performing post types and times.
For example, after you create content such as a blog post, you can turn it into a series of photos, add it to your FAQ page or turn it into a video. Keep an eye on the results. Once you see which posts are performing well, repurpose or recreate them to build on the engagement.
Ensuring you’re posting a mix of content. By outlining your content in advance, you’ll be able to fill in the gaps with different types of content that’s not purely focused on your business. This approach has many benefits including making your business appear more authentic and less promotional, along with attracting new audiences and adding variety to your social media posts.
Some content ideas include:
- Relevant industry articles from outside sources
- Acknowledging major holidays or awareness days
- Asking questions and inviting comments from your audience
- Sharing video or live-streamed content
- Posts featuring interactive content
It’s not completely necessary to have the finalized copy that will be used in the post three months ahead of time. Instead, have a general topic and relevant links three months out to ensure that you have content for the upcoming weeks and are covering any future events, awareness days, promotions or news. However, to keep the timeliness and flexibility to add, remove and/or replace any posts, finalize the copy and schedule them just one to two weeks in advance.
Here are 3 smart ways to build a social media content calendar:
- Leverage your brands’ assets. If you have case studies, infographics, promotional videos, blog posts, white papers or anything else to promote your business, products or services, that is perfect content for social media. Think about the unique ways you can leverage that content on social media to drive traffic to your site. This will prevent you from getting stuck in a rut of posting similar self-promotional content over and over.
- Remember the “social” aspect of social media. The point of social media is to engage, interact and respond to comments and questions. Varying your content to include outside sources and fun, light-hearted posts will help your business stand out while also encouraging your audience to engage. You can even go a step further and schedule time in your calendar to respond to comments or interact with the audience.
- Don’t be afraid to rely on outside sources. While self-promotional posts are the ones that will help drive traffic to YOUR business, as I referenced, relevant industry articles from outside sources can help establish your business as an industry thought leader. It shows that you’re staying up to date on the latest trends and news and that you’re excited to share the news with your audience.
5 places to find engaging, shareable content
It can take a considerable amount of time to curate content and produce 16 valuable posts each month, featuring articles, videos, quotes, images or videos. It’s virtually impossible to achieve your social media goals if you don’t have a content strategy in place. Afterall, consistency is key to social media success.
- Keep an eye on niche blogs and industry news and share content that is valuable to your audience.
- Set up Google alerts for your company, industry, product/service and even competitors.
- Reshare your top-performing posts. Be sure to make slight adjustments, change the CTA, switch up the headline or swap out the image.
- Check out content aggregators and community sites to find content. Websites like Reddit, Quroa and Buzzsumo are excellent tools for identifying what content performs best in any niche.
- Use Twitter’s advanced search to find topics related to your business. It is a powerful tool for generating content ideas and talking points.
If your posts aren’t getting the hoped-for engagement, consider performing a content audit. That will help substantiate what you think is working by providing quantitative data that details how each post performs. Knowing when to post on the different platforms is also key to breaking through the content overload.
2021 Social Media Trends
As you plan your social media calendar for 2021, consider the following types of suggestions:
Incorporate snackable, short-form videos into your content library.
- Give augmented reality a try by incorporating filters and new technology into posts.
- Go live. Live video has the highest rate of engagement of all content types, allowing users to interact with brands, influencers or businesses in real time.
- Use customer data to personalize and tailor posts to your audience and create campaigns to target specific groups of customers.
- Share content for good. It is now expected that brands will share educational and inspirational posts related to social, political and environmental issues, advocating for good causes.
Having a social media content calendar is beneficial for any business. It will help you set your business apart by creating unique, well-thought out social media posts that drive traffic to your company’s best resources and assets.
Do you want to learn more smart ways to build a social media content calendar for your business? Contact us today, to start the conversation.