In any marketing strategy, haphazard activities will produce haphazard results, which essentially boils down to gambling with your advertising budget. To produce the best return on your investment, a more focused strategy is needed. Creating a social media content calendar will give you the perspective and planning ability you need to optimize your marketing strategy.
To begin, start with the following information:
- Who is your target audience?
- When are they online and where?
- When do you have staff available to respond to conversations that result from your posts?
- What are the primary goals you want to achieve with your marketing?
- What advertising efforts are taking place offline that can be cross-promoted or supported by your online activities?
Then, on a calendar or large grid that will allow you to note detailed information and use color coding, first block in the availability of your target audience. This gives you a clear picture of what your advertising opportunities actually are, because even the best-crafted strategy won’t generate results if it doesn’t reach its intended audience.
Next, consider your availability to respond to your audience. Social media is a conversational platform, not a publishing platform, so its users will expect to be able to interact with you. Block this availability on your calendar with dashed-line borders. This doesn’t have to be the time you schedule your posts for, especially if it doesn’t coincide with your audience’s availability. There are auto-scheduling programs that can make initial posts on your behalf, but you need to ensure you will have some time each day to participate in conversations.
Now you have a clear view of what you have to work with to start scheduling specific activities into your content calendar that stay focused on your core audience and goals for maximum effect. Plus, having your marketing strategy visibly mapped out like this enables you to quickly move on trending opportunities and coordinate with other advertising efforts to capitalize further on your social media budget.
There are some excellent tools for organizing such a program, like Basecamp. However, for a free alternative, a simple pen and paper calendar, or an Excel spreadsheet (example coming soon–check back!), can serve the same purpose and help you see weeks at a time, so that you can coordinate your social media efforts in the most effective and efficient way possible.
Whatever method you choose, planning your content out in advance is the best way to ensure you’re getting the most out of your social media strategy.
How do you plan your content, and what tools serve you best? Tell us in the comments!