How To Create An Effective Social Media Calendar
Social media marketing combines creativity, ingenuity and scalability: The three characteristics which are very hard to combine, and yet people often barrel forward into the process without any thought or concern for what they are posting.
The process is pretty similar to creating any content plan, with the exception of frequency. Chances are you will be posting on social media a lot more than you will be publishing content. So some adjustments have to be made to make the most of the tool.
Here are some tips to get you started.
Plan Around Links
Too many social media accounts, especially Twitter, are just link publishers.
They continuously post these links to their content with no context or interaction. Sure, they might have a fair number of followers, mostly due to aggressive CTAs that push for followers from their website. But they are not especially successful.
You should plan to post regular links, but they should be spread out and interspersed with other posts.
For example, text posts that are relevant to the moment, or that encourages people to speak to you or take notice.
Don’t have anything to say? Maybe share quotes you enjoy, or comment on current events. Retweet other people’s interesting posts, or share something trending.
You should have at least a 1:3 ratio of links versus other posts.
Properly Rotate Content
This tip is especially true for Twitter because the lifespan of a tweet is so short that its reach mostly depends on pure luck than anything else. Hence, re-posting the same content on Twitter is actually a good practice.
Not all of your content links should be to new content. Sure, if you post something it should be shared a couple of times to reach as many people while it is fresh as possible. But your calendar should also address old posts, rotating them to get a new audience every once in a while.
Go to your worst-performing posts and start recycling them in your calendar. One old post every other day is a great way to breathe new life into older content. Plus it fills in spaces that allow you to post most often without putting too much time into it.
Use these tips to creatively rotate your content on Twitter.
Carve Out Time For Direct Engagement
Direct engagement is an important part of social marketing – which is why you shouldn’t be posting links along.
But you don’t have to plan your interactions; those should be natural and in response to what you find on your social feed at any given moment.
Plan some time and include it in your calendar for interactive time on your account. Go hunting for hashtags and keywords, speak to your followers, and re-share content you find.
By keeping it separate but still planning for it, you are more likely to remain consistent and maximize your results.
You will also be able to experiment with posting times, to find when you get the best engagement. This is a valuable resource, and while you can find social platforms that calculate the data for you, sometimes it is better to use your own parameters. Just because one time gets more favorites or likes, for instance, doesn’t mean it is better than a time when you get actual comments or shares. Sometimes platforms don’t take this into account when auto-scheduling.
Use these tips to genuinely interact on Twitter.
Make a Good Use of Visual Content
The social web has become extremely visual: Photos, visual quotes, infographics, short videos, and animated GIFs. Unless you join the crowd, you are losing out.
Plan at least one solid visual update to go to your Facebook page weekly and at least one to go to your Twitter stream weekly. Sitegeek is a good example of Facebook visual marketing done consistently right (here’s their Facebook photo tab).
Use this tool in combination with your favorite stock image source (like this one) to create original visuals daily. Make sure you are using images you are allowed to republish to avoid the risk of copyright infringement.
Include All Platforms With Individual Posting Schedules
Each social platform has its own strengths and weaknesses. It also has its own way of posting without over or underdoing things. Facebook requires less frequent posting than Twitter, while Pinterest does better with more posts than LinkedIn.
Your calendar should include all platforms, and be adjusted to fit each platform with its own schedule. Create a small legend at the top specifying how many times per day you will be posting to each. Give all platforms their own color, so you can see them at a glance.
This has the added benefit of making sure you give equal attention to all profiles, but in a way that is right for that network. If you post five times a day to Facebook, you might lose followers. If you post less than five times a day to Twitter, you might see the same problem arise.
Social Calendars keep you balanced.
Use Cyfe to monitor your multiple social media networks and how effective your social editorial calendar turns out to be.
Plan Weekly, Not Monthly+
This is a controversial tip, and many marketers will disagree. But drafting a monthly calendar is far less efficient than it seems. Actually, it could work against you. You don’t know what content will be drifting around the web in a month’s time. You don’t want to share something that is already stale, just because you plan for it three weeks down the line.
It may take a bit more time, but drafting a weekly calendar instead of a monthly is a simple way to improve your posting strategy and get better results. You can also make adjustments with less fuss if there are fewer posts to contend with.
Use MavSocial tool to compile weekly social media calendars.
Be Flexible: Allow For Changes When Needed
A calendar is just a guideline, not an absolute. Sometimes things happen that mean you need to make changes. Having everything planned and easy to edit is necessary, so you can occasionally slip in new content, or special announcements, or address something trending.
For example, say a massive news item hits the web, and you want to comment on it. You could easily cancel a planned post and replace it, then make a note in the calendar that states you had. Take the original post and set it for another open slot, or choose to do one extra post for that day at a later hour.
Having flexibility is much easier without sacrificing the effectiveness of your social posting when you have a schedule to follow by, and can keep track.
Have any tips to add to the list? Let us know in the comments!