Without a calendar or diary most of us would find ourselves in a bit of a pickle. They provide us with order and structure, stop us duplicating appointments and missing important dates, ensure we turn up to places on time and enable us to review what we have done and achieved. Similarly, if you are running a business, your social media accounts need the same care and attention. As the year comes to an end, now is a good time to begin thinking about creating a social media calendar for the coming year but if the thought of doing so fills you with fear read on.
What is a social media calendar and why do you need one
A social media calendar is a way of planning and organising your social media posts in exactly the same way as a calendar or diary helps you plan and organise your life. Quality social media content requires preparation, time and effort and if someone is making posting to social media look easy, chances are they have spent a lot of time and effort making it look easy. Creating a social media calendar will enable you to create a detailed and well thought out social media campaign, to ensure you remain visible to your target audience throughout the year and to execute it well, rather than pulling it together at the last minute. So what can a social media calendar help you with?
- Allows you to plan and research what you want to post about.
- Gives you time to write and review your posts without feeling rushed.
- Enables you to see the big picture of what posts need to be published and when.
- Allows you to be proactive rather than reactive, preventing you posting poorly researched and written posts, as you can research, write and schedule them in advance.
- Enables you to plan and schedule to avoid missing posting dates.
- Ensures your posts are not poorly timed, you are not posting too much, posting too little or posting too much on one social media platform and not on another.
- Allows you to post consistently throughout the year, to get your posts in front of an audience regularly.
- Enables you to plan around ebbs and flows.
Tracking and analysing performance
- Allows you to track and analyse the performance of what you post, learning what works well and what doesn’t.
- Enables you to make adjustments to your posting schedule based on these insights.
When should I create my calendar
You should aim to create your calendar as far in advance as possible. You can always add to it throughout the year but brainstorm your ideas and get researching and creating as early as you can. If you find yourself with ideas that you cannot use immediately, save them, you may be able to use them at a future date.
How to layout your calendar
Get your own house in order — if you know your organisation has big events coming up, a product is being launched or you are providing a new or revised service, add it to your calendar as soon as you know about it. This is your bread and butter and should be your primary focus — once you have this down you can look at how other things might fit alongside it.
Other things to consider
You may find that in order to post regularly throughout the year, you need to look further afield than your own business. There is no one solution for what to post — what is appropriate for a virtual assistant will be different to what is appropriate for a recruitment agency or a retailer but things you could consider posting about include:
- events and news stories from your industry (what are those who are in the same area of work as you posting about?)
- stories that are relevant to the location you are based in
- charitable work that your organisation is involved in
- social, cultural and historical events taking place throughout the year that may be relevant for example International Women’s Day
- awareness days for example International Day Of Peace, World Mental Health Day or Social Media Kindness Day are a good way to display your values and show your support
By putting all this information into a calendar you will be able to plan the order you post in, so you are visible to people throughout the year but are not posting lots all at one time and nothing at other times.
Add the information by month and by day if possible and assign social media channels to show which platform the posts will appear on — you may find that not all of your posts are appropriate for all of your social media channels and if one channel shows up too much and another not enough you may need to rethink your strategy.
If more than one person works on your social media strategy, record who is responsible for writing, publishing and promoting the posts too. And remember that national awareness days may not occur on the same day in different countries, for example in 2022 Small Business Saturday took place in the USA on Saturday 26 November but in the UK it took place on Saturday 3 December, so always check you are scheduling to post about an event on the date it happens in your own country.
Think of a calendar as setting up a process that can be used for years to come and updated as your organisation grows and changes. It will help with your current priorities but may also help during dry spells when you can review, re-purpose and give new life to old content you have written.
Stuck for ideas? Take a look at the websites below for ideas to get you started and if you are still not sure, get in touch to find out how I can help.
- Social Media Today: Why you should create a calendar to manage your social media posts
- NHS Employers: Calendar Of National Campaigns
- UCL Wellbeing Calendar
- United Nations: International Observances
- UNESCO: International Days
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