How Can I Create a Rockin’ Social Media Calendar?

Creating a social media calendar makes the life of a social media / community manager so much easier. Yes, it takes a little grunt work in the beginning, but if you can bear and grin it you’ll find your workload to be a little bit more manageable.

I still think social media calendars are often undervalued. If we start them, we need to finish them. If we build them, we need to use them. If we use them, we need to evaluate them. It’s work that’s worth it.

If you’re going to take the time to create a social media calendar, you want to make sure you’re maximizing its value. Below are my tips for creating a great one:

1. Have the important social media pieces down before you even begin.
Before you start your social media calendar, I think there are three essentials pieces you need to have in place :

  • Your overall social strategy (that maps back to organizational goals, of course). Remember, a social media content calendar isn’t your social media strategy. It just helps you execute it.
  • An understanding of your content resources.
  • A developed brand voice.

Have all of those down? Then you’re ready to begin!

2. Work with all departments that help to tell your brand story.
A robust social media strategy often involves important messaging from departments across a company, whether it’s marketing to PR to product. Make sure you work with every department that helps tell your brand story. Once you have their messaging, it’s up to you to mold it to your audience and platforms.

In addition, if you have content creators (aside from yourself) who will be producing content for your platforms, then you need to plan ahead with them. Some of this can be pulled from your content strategy (if your company has one).

3. Leave blanks.
A great social media calendar doesn’t include content for every day of the year. A great social media calendar leaves blanks for real-time content. After all, social media is all about the now. If you neglect the real-time value of it, then your brand will seem out of touch and insincere.

4. Be flexible and nimble.
Since social media is about the now, you need to allow for flexibility. Have a great post planned for the day, but news breaks? Give autonomy to you and your team to make changes to the calendar as things unfold.

5. Create keywords, themes and features.
Creating keywords, themes and features (like TBT) will help you maintain a steady flow of content throughout the year. Additionally, they will help you brainstorm good content ideas on the days you have blanks and no real-time value to add.

6. Take a look at your ratios.
Make sure you are balancing the type of content you push out. Take the time to ensure you balance content that’s engaging, informative, message-driven, etc. Remember, social media is not about you. Make sure the majority of your content is reflective of that.

Below is an example of the template I use (this is an older version that needs a little tweaking). I tweaked Excel’s student planner template. Each person is different, so find a template that works for you!

Screen Shot 2013-09-24 at 10.35.10 PM

Do you have great tips for create a social media calendar? Share them with us below!

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