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What’s the Best Way to Develop a Social Media Calendar?

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Social media is a primary way to connect with your audience. In fact, about 72 percent of adults in the U.S. have at least one social media account, and we can expect that number to grow. With so many people reachable via social media, brands will want to have a strong social media presence. One of the best ways to do that is to have a social media calendar, sometimes also called an editorial calendar.

What is a social media calendar?
A social media calendar is a monthly plan that lays out a brand’s posts in advance. You can find a free template online that best fits your needs, but the basic idea is that it’s a grid calendar where you can fill in what posts you will use for the month. Depending on how involved your calendar is, you can incorporate the actual post language, hashtags and even images, links or other items you want to include.

What should you consider when developing your social media calendar?
Before you dive into the template, there are a few things to figure out so that you can develop your brand’s social media calendar:

Platform selection – Your brand most likely won’t be on every social media channel. In fact, it shouldn’t be. If you haven’t already, you should determine which social media channels are right for your brand, including where your target audience is most likely to be found, and which platform lends itself best to the type of content you want to post. Ideally, you’ll choose between two and three platforms on which to focus your energy.

Posting cadence – Establishing your posting cadence is incredibly important. You’ll want to investigate things such as how often/how many days a week you want to post, which days are best and what times are ideal to post. These could be different for your target market on each platform.

Content strategy/content mix – You’ll want to develop a content strategy and content mix that provides value to your audience. If every post is salesy, you run the risk that your target will unfollow you, so it’s important to determine some posting themes and create authentic content that connects with your audience. You’ll also want to consider how your content will differ by platform. Each platform offers a unique structure and benefits, so while the theme may be the same, you will want to make sure your posts are different on each platform.

Engage an automatic posting system – An automatic posting system such as Buffer or Sprout Social can be incredibly helpful, especially if you’ll be posting unique content on different platforms at varying times. These allow you to preload posts and set times for them to become active. If you’re trying to be available and post multiple times a day, you might find that you miss posts, so using a tool to help you stay timely is ideal.

Go it alone or get some help – Social media can take up a lot of time. From developing content strategy, to coming up with each individual post, creating graphics, scheduling posts and monitoring online engagement, it is basically a full-time job. If you have the budget, it could be incredibly helpful to hire a team to manage your social media strategy and develop your social media calendar for you.

Get it on the calendar
There’s a lot to consider when representing your brand on social media. A social media calendar can help ensure that you have a consistent presence with content that will interest your target audience. Before you start, make sure to consider all the different facets of content creation and your social media presence to make the most of your calendar.

If you need help developing your social media calendar, give us a call to connect with one of our strategic social media experts!