3 Smart Ways to Build a Social Media Content Calendar

 In Social Media

In today’s competitive social media marketing environment, businesses need to be strategic about how they approach posting on social media. According to Statista, social media marketing usage rate among U.S. companies has steadily increased from 2013 to 2019. In 2017, it was calculated that 90 percent of U.S. businesses were using social media for marketing purposes. The source projected the rate would increase from 86.2 percent in 2013 to 91 percent in 2019.

With this much competition, businesses no longer can get away with haphazardly posting random content on the wrong social networks. To get results, you need to start with a sound social media engagement strategy and content marketing strategy, as well as choose the right social media platforms for your brand. One of the most critical parts of your social media marketing strategy is to build a social media content calendar that drives traffic. If you want one in place by the new year, now is an ideal time to start!

A social media content calendar is a way to organize upcoming social media posts for different platforms. The social media calendar should comprise pertinent information such as the date content will be posted, which network it will be posted on, topic, copy and any relevant links or notes. You can utilize color coding to differentiate areas including content type and network, for example.

—> Download our free, social media content calendar template 2019!

Utilizing a social media content calendar is important because it:

  • Keeps 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 times per week.
  • Allows 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 yours (and your target audiences’) radar, add it to your 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.

  • Employs different types of posts to drive traffic. Is your business testing out different types of content on social media, such as links, photos and video? If not, getting it scheduled in your content calendar is the perfect place to start! The most effective content marketers know that having your social media posts outlined in a content calendar 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.

For example, after you create content such as a blog post, you can turn it into a series of photos or your FAQ page into a video. Keep an eye on the results. Once you see which posts are performing well, add them back into your content calendar to recreate the success.

  • Ensures 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 only focused on your business. This approach has many benefits including making your business look more engaging and less self-promotional, along with bringing additional interest and variety to your social media posts.

Some content ideas include:

  • Posts on relevant industry articles from outside sources
  • Posts on major holidays
  • Posts that ask questions and engage your audience

Start creating a social media content calendar at least three months in advance. Plan out three months’ worth of content and then keep it up to date, by adding more posts to your calendar, on a weekly or monthly basis.

An important note here is that it’s not totally necessary to have the finalized copy that will be used in the post this far in advance. 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 or news. However, in order to keep the timeliness and flexibility to add, remove and/or replace any posts, finalize the copy and schedule the posts just one to two weeks in advance.

Three smart ways to build a social media content calendar include:

  • Leveraging all of your brands’ assets. If you have case studies, videos, blog posts or anything else to promote your business, products or services, it may be great for social media. Think about the unique ways you can utilize this 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.
  • Remembering the ‘social’ aspect of social media. The point of social media is to be ‘social’. Varying your content to include outside sources and fun, light-hearted posts will help your business stand out and encourage your audience to engage. You can even go a step further and schedule time in your calendar to respond to comments or interact with potential customers on social media.
  • Don’t be afraid to utilize 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. Also, that you’re excited to share it with your audience.

One of CMA’s clients, Event Services Professionals Association (ESPA), has their annual conference scheduled in January 2020. ESPA is the only voice representing event service professionals from CVBs, hotels and convention centers from across North America. CMA brainstormed unique ways to promote this early on and created a social media content calendar to start generating traffic and signups ahead of the event.

As a result, ESPA is already seeing a spike in social media impressions and clicks. In September, CMA posted the first photo, in a series of quotes, about attending the conference from ESPA members. This first post alone generated about 22 times more impressions and 13 times more clicks, than their average posts.

The best part? We still have three more social media posts to go in this series, which are all scheduled in ESPA’s social media content calendar. By utilizing the social media content calendar, CMA was able to incorporate event-driven posts early on and start generating great results months in advance.

ESPA saw an immediate spike in social media impressions and clicks for its annual conference, thanks to a social media content calendar

Having a social media content calendar is beneficial for any business. It’ll 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.

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