Plan Your Social Media Strategy in Advance with a Content Calendar

Some businesses seem to always be at the top of their social media game. Just when you might forget the company has a new product or service, a social media post is there to remind you. That business must have someone seated in front of a computer, waiting to post at the perfect time of day, right?

Wrong. It doesn’t take an expert to launch a strategic social media campaign. All you need is a comprehensive content calendar. Editorial calendars have been used for years to direct content for print media, but today’s marketing experts are dealing with far more than newspaper and radio publicity. When a campaign is launched, the person in charge of marketing must deal with posting to the company blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, and any other outlet that might reach consumers. A person can get dizzy keeping up with it.

A content calendar can help you coordinate everything. You can use a simple old-fashioned calendar or sign up for a service like Contently or Basecamp to coordinate the entire project, from assigning dates to tasks to assigning people to complete them. Here are a few steps to get you started on your content calendar creation:

1. Write out your yearly goals — Mark any important events coming up, like the release of a new product or a big event. You’ll need to plan your posts around those events, increasing in posting frequency as you get closer.

2. Make a list of your outlets — In addition to your blog, you’ll also want to make sure all the major social media sites are covered. Note any special considerations for each outlet. For instance, your posts to Twitter may be targeted to a different demographic than your Facebook posts.

3. Line up your resources — This includes staff members who will be working on writing and posting your updates. Make sure you aren’t stretching your company’s resources too thin by considering any other projects you will have in progress at that time.

4. Consider dashboard services — Social media dashboards like HootSuite can automate your posting process, including lining up all of your social media memberships in one dashboard. HootSuite also allows you to schedule your posts to deploy at preset times and dates, freeing up your staff for other business.

A good social media campaign doesn’t happen by chance. Careful pre-planning goes into building a campaign that makes a difference in your business’s success. Content calendars and dashboard services can help organize your campaign and place important posts to launch at the times your company needs it most.