Maximizing social media marketing efforts with a content calendar

Effectively managing social media content is something every entrepreneur should include in their business plan. Incorporation of social media marketing is a key element to getting connected with new customers and staying connected with existing clients. The more time you spend on where to place your content and when, the more effective your marketing plan will be at targeting potential customers.

One way to manage your social media activity is by creating a calendar. You’ll be able to plan and track the various forms of content you place online. The calendar will show you at a glance what needs to be done and when you can schedule the right people to create the appropriate content. It’s a way to gain visibility to how you’re spending your marketing dollars maintaining your social content. And it shows you how you’re getting your message across to achieve the ultimate goal of enticing customers to purchase your product or service.

Plan the calendar

When you’ve determined the message you wish to deliver through various social media channels, it’s time to set up your calendar. Here are a few of the categories you’ll want to track:

  • Post date: This is the date when you’ll publish your content online. In most cases, posts can be written in advance and published at a later date, especially if you have a demanding schedule. Choose a significant day of the week to publish, such as Tuesday afternoons, and attract followers who will come back to your site on a weekly basis.
  • Social media channels: This is a list of channels where you’ll post your content, such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Don’t be afraid to post on several channels. Just be aware each site attracts specific consumers with different interests.
  • Post type: This is the kind of content you’ll be posting, including blogs, articles, reviews, videos and images.
  • Lead time or date: This tells you when you have to start working on the particular content. You may need a week or two to produce a video but just a day to write an article.
  • Category or theme: This is to help track your social media posts against different marketing campaigns you’ve created.

Tips for creating an effective calendar

  • Create realistic goals: Start small and work your way up. Plan to post a few pieces of content this month and increase by a small percentage over the next few months. You will be tracking these posts through your analytics; don’t flood the channels with posts or you’ll lose track of which ones are truly effective.
  • Make the timeline work for you: Break down the calendar intervals into units you can work with. Create daily, weekly and monthly goals that work for you. If you’re a detailed planner, specify the time of day on which to start your content.
  • Creative use of themes: Themes reflect the interests of the consumers you’re targeting. Seasons of the year, holidays, sporting and entertainment events are ways to categorize your posts. You can also categorize your posts as to their relevance to your company timeline. Some examples include pre-release and upgrade announcements or future company plans, such as hiring, moving or remodeling.
  • Share the calendar: Everyone in the company associated with your social media marketing efforts should use the calendar. If not directly involved in creating the content, they will want to know when a particular message goes online.

Using a social media content calendar helps you plan just the right content to post in the future. It helps you track how well the message is being delivered and where you can make changes. You can see how effectively your time and money is being used, both of which are crucial to small business owners.

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