samantha on Nov 28, 2018
What are Content Calendars?
A social media content calendar is a tool to plan and schedule social content in advance. Say it was National Coffee Day, and local coffee shops were unaware of its popularity among coffee drinkers. While Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts are offering free drinks and various deals, smaller businesses may miss out on the opportunity to do something special when consumers have already set expectations (Tien 2018). Hence, content calendars can help your business plan for times of the year such as holidays and special events, opportunities to elevate your brand, and methods to interact with followers.
Most major campaigns and marketers use content calendars to space content. Because platforms have become so saturated with uploads, reaching people naturally (organic growth) is increasingly difficult. In addition, most platforms have changed their algorithms of what people see; people are shown what the platform considers to be relevant to them rather than all posts in chronological order. This means that people do not see all posts of all accounts they follow. Given today’s online outlook, it is therefore important to be organized and deliberate.
Content calendars can save work for your small business. If you allocate time to plan and schedule posts in advance, you will not have to worry about coming up with content all the time. Calendars also help businesses create a mix of content to keep viewers interested. Figuring out when to post articles, news, photos, videos, and user-generated content are ways to stay current with your audience.
It might seem overwhelming for your business to start a social media presence, even to create a content calendar from scratch. For beginner businesses, the rule of thirds as a content ratio is the best way to start. This means that 1/3 of content should be used to promote your business with the purpose of generating sales (promotional). Another 1/3 of content should come from other sources that align with your brand (curated), and the last 1/3 should engage followers directly (user-generated). There is also an 80/20 rule which means 80% of content is helpful and interesting while the other 20% is reserved for content actually selling your company’s offerings.
Creating a content calendar is also useful for avoiding beginner mistakes. For example, posting identical content on different networks is a habit to avoid with social media; each platform should have a unique post, so readers do not get annoyed from reading the same things on different feeds. Calendars also keep a record of everything that has already been published, so it is a method of keeping track of uploads that might be overused.
Content calendars are also good for determining the frequency of posting and developing a content ratio (what is promotional, curated, or user-generated); it is also helpful to note what type of content is posted (blog, video, announcement). This is also where your business decides who is responsible for organizing and updating the calendar – who creates, who schedules, and who publishes? While these details seem to be time-consuming, organizing social media uploads can relieve the stress of smaller businesses wondering what to post.
How to Organize Content for Convenience
- Platform (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.)
- Date and time (highlight important ones)
- Content Type
- Text (title and caption)
- Link (if it is to another website)
Social media marketers have also found success with setting up a content archive. This stores all the pieces of a business’ content when they build their social media calendar in a spreadsheet, calendar, or database (Tien 2018). Resources for calendar templates can be found on websites like Google Drive, Hootsuite Planner, and Evernote.
How to Organize Posts