Social media may be the biggest player in today’s business world. It’s certainly the most disruptive, as the landscape continues to evolve.
We recently talked about choosing the best social media platforms for your business. Once you’ve selected those platforms, you need to participate on them. You can fly by the seat of your pants, posting and sharing when you have extra time or inspiration, but then you risk struggling for ideas and not meeting your frequency and engagement goals.
A far better strategy: plan out your social media; do as much as you can ahead of time; and schedule it automatically. A social media calendar is an essential tool for mastering your social media presence.
SOCIAL MEDIA CALENDAR VS. EDITORIAL CALENDAR
As you learn more about the social media calendar, you’ll also come across the term “editorial calendar.” These are separate but overlapping functions. An editorial calendar lays out the topics you plan to cover for a month, a quarter, or a year. For example, search for “editorial calendar Forbes” and you’ll learn that in June 2017 they focus on women, in February 2017 they focus on retirement, and so on. Depending on your business, you may want to establish an editorial calendar so your content will reflect cohesive themes. An editorial calendar is potentially a resource to feed your social media calendar.
BENEFITS OF A SOCIAL MEDIA CALENDAR
Your social media calendar is a slightly different beast, however. The goal of your social media calendar is to plan your content, shares, posts and platforms to make sure you’re covering all your channels, optimizing your content, and batching the work involved to be more efficient.
The benefits of performing social media based on strategy and a calculated schedule are vast:
- Advance preparation ensures you don’t miss crucial announcements, holidays or events. Whether it’s a product launch, World Diabetes Day or a local marathon, these hooks make excellent foundations for content.
- It’s easier to generate ideas when you devote specific focus to social media. Taking the time to brainstorm multiple topics for blog posts, tweets or Facebook posts means you always have a list of ideas in your back pocket when you need them. It’s often the case that during that the act of writing a blog is when you come up with ideas for other blogs, for example.
- You can coordinate your campaigns across multiple channels. The richest source for your social media is your own content, so while posting a blog is good, it’s crucial to share it across multiple platforms: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram–depending on the content and the industry. Failing to do this cross posting is a huge lost opportunity, and sharing according to a schedule ensures you don’t overlook it or overdo it.
- When you plan ahead, you can conform to a predictable balance of content and platforms, allowing you to evaluate the performance of each.
- Consistent posting is essential to readership and SEO success.
- Pre-scheduling as much social media as possible is essential for saving time. Tools allow you to schedule tweets, Facebook posts and more in advance, so you can do a week’s worth or a month’s worth all at once.
It saves time to batch the writing of content. For example, once you settle into the right headspace for writing blogs, you may be able to write an entire month’s worth of blog posts in one day.
If you need some help with social media, contact us to schedule a marketing strategy session with one of our team members, which will include our insights into social media and guidance so you can master that side of your promotions. In the meantime, check out this blog post on how to choose the best social media platforms for your business and download this this handy Social Media Cheat Sheet to help you pick the best platform for your business.