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How to Use Content Calendars to Make Your Social Media Stand Out

How to Use Content Calendars to Make Your Social Media Stand Out

When it comes to creating pitch-perfect social media posts, it pays to get organised. Here’s how.

As Benjamin Franklin famously said: ‘By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.’ These days, having a strong social media strategy is a key consideration for any business. But somewhere between Instagram and Facebook, YouTube and TikTok, trying to keep track of what you need to post and when can quickly become overwhelming.

This is where a good social media content calendar can really help. The idea is to plan this aspect of your marketing strategy well in advance, which in turn enables you to:

  • Post at regular intervals
  • Gather your assets in one convenient place
  • Keep track of key dates
  • Avoid repeating the same types of content
  • Ensure you don’t neglect any of your channels
  • Check all members of your team are on the same page

What is a Social Media Content Calendar?

In a nutshell, a social media content calendar is a publishing schedule setting out when – and where – you plan to publish your upcoming social media content. It can be as simple as a basic chart or spreadsheet, or you can use a specialist social media management platform. What option you ultimately choose will depend on a variety of factors, including:

  • The number of posts you make across your social network
  • The channels you post across
  • The number of people working on your content
  • Your budget
  • Whether you plan to manually upload content yourself or schedule items for automated publication

How Do I Get Started?

First, take a good look at your existing social media accounts and ask yourself:

  • How often are you posting?
  • Which channels are bringing in the most business?
  • Are you posting more regularly on some accounts at the expense of others?
  • How many members of your marketing team need to have access to your social channels?
  • What’s been your best-performing material to date?
  • Do you mix up the format to appeal to a wide range of customers – for example, with photos, videos, blogs?
  • Are there prominent calls to action?

Think of it as a check-up for your content. Once you can establish what is – and isn’t – working, you’ll be able to plan your social media campaigns more effectively for the months ahead.

What Should Go in My New Content Calendar?

This will be tailored to meet the needs of your own business, but typical items you might wish to add to your calendar include:

  • The date and time you want to schedule a particular post
  • The platform/s you want it to appear on
  • The copy itself, along with any images, videos, hashtags, or links that need to be included
  • The content category: social post, blog, email, etc (if you were the kind of kid in school who used to colour-code your revision charts, you can have fun with this)
  • The person/s responsible for each piece of content
  • As you go along, you may also find it helpful to track analytics to see how your content performs. If you notice you’re not getting much engagement at weekends, for instance, you can adjust your plan to release more material midweek.

When brainstorming and planning content ideas, always keep your business goals in mind. These might include growing your following, forming new partnerships, or raising brand awareness. What kind of content is likely to help you achieve these aims? Ultimately, by raising your company’s social media profile, the more potential customers you’ll be able to reach.

If you need further inspiration on how to create a content calendar, Hootsuite has a handy video guide.

Which Software Should I Use?

Again, this one’s going to come down to personal preference and the size of your social media operation. The good news is that you don’t have to spend a fortune on software to draw up a handy content calendar. If you’re the sole social media manger, even a simple pen and paper chart could suffice. But if you need to share your calendar with others, there are plenty of useful tools out there.

For smaller teams, a simple Excel spreadsheet may work, while Google Sheets is another reliable option. Trello is also useful for project management, allowing you to attach content to a particular card, and easily delegate tasks to different team members.

Other social media tools that have been praised by fans online include StoryChief, Sendible, SocialBee, and Loomly, to name just a few.

Trello Content Calendar

What’s the Difference Between Timely Content and Evergreen Content?

When planning content ideas, you’ll want a good mix of timely and evergreen content. ‘Timely’ content is something that relates to a specific period of time: think Mother’s Day promotions or a blog post wishing all your customers a merry Christmas.

‘Evergreen’ content, on the other hand, isn’t going to date in a hurry. Examples of this might include tutorials, interviews, recipes and so on. This kind of content is especially useful because it continues to drive readers long after you’ve posted it, especially if it’s been well written in an SEO-friendly format (if you ever need help with that, check out our SEO copywriting services here).

However, even evergreen content should be checked and refreshed periodically to ensure that it stays relevant and appropriate. Which leads us on to one final piece of advice…

Keep a Close Eye on Your Content

No matter how carefully you’ve planned your calendar in advance, things can change quickly in the rapidly moving world of social media. A new hashtag may have started trending, for example, and you might want to add that to your social media posts.

On a more serious note, global events can suddenly mean your best-laid plans require an urgent rethink. You wouldn’t publish an upbeat travel guide to a destination hours after it’s been hit by a natural disaster, or plug an exciting new collab with an influencer who’s just died.

Be especially careful if content is being published on autopilot. Always appoint someone to monitor your output before it goes live. In an extraordinary blunder last November [2022], KFC accidentally sent an app alert to users in Germany that seemed to urge customers to commemorate the anniversary of Kristallnacht – the 1938 Nazi attack on Jewish property and people, leaving more than 90 dead – with crispy chicken and cheese.

The company apologised profusely, saying it used a semi-automated content creation process “linked to calendars that include national observances” and that its internal review process was “not properly followed”. But by then the post had already hit the headlines, serving as a reminder to companies everywhere to always check – and double check – social media content.

If you’d like a hand to navigate the world of social media content, Lime Copywriting can help. Get in touch today!

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