Everything works out better with a plan. Don’t you agree?
A doctor has a treatment plan for his patient.
A chef has a particular recipe he wants to try.
Entrepreneurs outline a business plan to follow.
And social media is no different!
If you want to grow your business through social media, it is absolutely essential that you have a plan. In this article, we explain the importance of having your own social media editorial calendar, and how you can create one for your business.
Why Create a Social Media Editorial Calendar
For the purpose of this article, a social media editorial calendar is basically a weekly planner that can be created for each social media channel your business is active on. As you fill in the social media calendar, you will have clarity on what needs to be shared with your followers at specified times on the different days of the week.
Creating a social media editorial calendar for your business has quite a few advantages.
1. Saves Time
Ever sat down to share something interesting on your Facebook page, or something witty on your Twitter account and ended up blank? We end up spending more time than required searching online for the right thing to post. This is such a waste of time, especially since time is money for most of us.
With a social media editorial calendar, you can fill it up as and when you have the time. Whenever you come across a great quote or a helpful article online, it will take you only a few seconds to open up the planner and add it into the next available slot.
This way, you always have something to post, and you don’t have to waste time looking around for it at the last minute.
2. Builds Consistency
People tend to check in to their social media accounts at specific times during their daily schedule. When they log in, they expect to see updates from their friends and favorite brands. With a social media calender, you can start being more consistent with the content you share with your followers. And your followers in turn, know what to expect from you.
3. Increases Engagement
Another advantage of posting consistently, is that followers start seeing your updates more often and they start interacting with you online. It’s also easy to find out what kind of updates works for your audience and what doesn’t. This will help you curate content that your followers engage with.
Steps to Create a Social Media Editorial Calendar
Now that we know the importance of creating a social media editorial calender, let’s look at how to create one for your business.
Step 1: Identify Social Networks
The first step is to identify all the social media channels you want your business to be active on. There are at least a dozen popular social media networks available now, with new ones sprouting up every year. But I’d suggest you start with just two or three, and pick up from there as you gain traction.
You can take your pick from the following list, based on where your target audience is most active.
You’ll also have to factor in which social media channel works for your business. For example, a photography business my thrive on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, while a lead management company may prefer Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.
Check out which networks your target audience log in to on a regular basis, and then make a final call.
Step 2: Set Up Social Media Profiles
Once you’ve decided which social networks you’d like your business to be active on, it’s time to start creating profiles on each of them. You will have to sign up using an email ID and create an account on each of the social networks.
Then fill in all the required information such as,
- Profile Picture
- Business Description
- Business Website
Here are some sample social media image sizes to help you create an ideal social media profile.
Profile Picture: 180 px x 180 px
Cover Image: 851 px x 315 px
Profile Picture: 400 px x 400 px
Header Image: 1500 px x 500 px
Profile Picture: 165 px x 165 px
Board Cover: 222 px x 150 px
Profile Picture: 250 px x 250 px
Cover Image: 1080 px x 608 px
Once the social media profiles are ready, it’s time to map out the strategy for each social network.
Step 3: Map Out the Purpose and Strategy
Each social network has it’s own purpose that strongly determines how your business will use it. This purpose will prove to be invaluable when you’re wondering what to share, and who is your target demographic. You may use each social network for a completely different purpose, or there may be some overlap between them.
Facebook may be used to engage with users, and share useful content.
Twitter may be used to connect with influencers in your niche.
Pinterest may be used to broadcast your content and services.
For each social media network you have set up, identify what is the purpose behind it. This will help you map out a clear strategy on what type of content you need to share.
Step 4: Identify Types of Content to Share
Each social network also prefers particular types of content. For example:
- Vertical images do well on Pinterest.
- Quote images, links and videos are shared more on Facebook.
- Short status updates with prominent hashtags are characteristic of Twitter.
Some factors to help you identify types of content to share on social media are:
- What the audience likes to see.
- Content produced by your business.
- Type of content favored by the social media channel.
You can start off with a mix of images, links and textual updates, and then take it forward based on the user engagement.
Step 5: Determine Sharing Frequency
Each social media channel has it’s own rules of etiquette, and a recommended sharing frequency. While it might be okay to tweet 30 times a day, 30+ daily updates on Facebook is sure to earn your business an ‘unlike’.
For each of the social networks you are active on, determine how often you will share and at what times you will schedule your updates. This may vary based on your timezone and the time of day when your followers are online.
Once you have fixed time slots for each social network, it’s easier to schedule your messages.
Step 5: Create a Social Media Spreadsheet
There are numerous ways you can create your social media calendar. Some tools you can use include:
- Google Calendar
- A table in a Word document
- An Excel spreadsheet
I prefer to use Google Sheets to create my social media calendar. That way, I can share it with others in my team, and we’re all on the same page.
I recommend creating a different spreadsheet for each of your social media channels. I have a single template that I keep replicating each month.
Your spreadsheet would have 7 rows for each day of the week, and the number of columns would correspond to the number of updates you want to share each day. This set up can be copied for the number of weeks in the particular month.
Here’s a snapshot of what a typical social media calendar would look like.
Step 6: Fill Spreadsheet with Content for a Week
There are two ways you can fill up the social media spreadsheet.
- As and when you come across something interesting to share with your followers.
- By setting apart a couple of hours once a week.
I usually follow a combination of both. If I find anything interesting I want to share, I note it down in the corresponding slot in the spreadsheet. And once a week, I hunt around online for good stuff to share and fill in the gaps in the spreadsheet.
Step 7: Schedule Social Media Updates
Once you have enough social media updates for the week ahead, it’s time to start scheduling them. You can either schedule them in the application itself (like, Facebook Pages) or using a third-party tool like Buffer or HootSuite.
Do leave some space for impromptu social media updates such as random pictures, or time-sensitive opportunities you want to share with your readers.
We’ve also created a spreadsheet template to make things easy for you. You just need to customize it for your social media channels!