[Video] How to Create a Social Media Content Calendar for Your Business – The Step by Step Guide to Ditching Overwhelm and Getting Organized

How to create a social media content calendar for your business

Do you use a social media content calendar for your business?

“Never head of one! What the heck is a social media content calendar?”

“Ummm, I’ve thought about it but haven’t really capitalized on creating one.”

“I think I have one lying around somewhere in my computer. Haven’t yet begun using it.”

Do any of the above responses sound familiar to you? If yes, you are in the right place today, my friend!

See, the thing is, if you are NOT using a content calendar for your social media marketing efforts as of today, you and your business are probably losing out in the social media race. Not to mention the amount of precious time you are wasting.

As of today, these are the 7 most used social media platforms,

I’m not mentioning Snapchat because I haven’t used it yet. Right now, with Instagram Stories available, I don’t think I need to venture into using another social media channel. I already have a following on Instagram so it just makes more sense to use Stories than beginning to use Snapchat. But hey, if you use Snapchat, do feel free to add that to the above list!

 

Moving ahead, here’s a stat for you to consider.

43% of small businesses spend about six hours per week on social media. And this is NOT including the time you spend on creating other types of content such as blog posts, email newsletters, videos, podcasts and more.

Yeah sounds pretty overwhelming! You are probably actually spending an entire work day per week just creating and scheduling content for social media.

Considering you use all the above platforms (may not be the case, but it is possible) for promotion and conversation, you obviously cannot be creating and sharing social media content on the fly or even daily.

Think of the amount of time that would take! Not to mention you probably won’t get any kind of tangible results from it. When it doubt, here’s something to remember;

“Social media will work for you ONLY if you are ready to work on it.

 

 

Meaning you will need to come up with a strategy at first. And then apply the strategy plus be consistent. This strategy and consistency can be tamed if you have a social media content calendar in place. Without it you will always feel the overwhelm and find social media marketing stressful.

So, today you will learn the exact steps I use to plan and organize my social media content and also get to download my version of the social media content calendar for free.

If you want to go ahead and download the calendar first, click here or on the image below.

Social media content calendar download

 

I also have a short video guide for you on how to use my version of the calendar. Watch it below.

Before we jump into the process, let us go ahead and define what exactly is a social media content calendar.

 

What is a social media content calendar

 

Simply put, it is a calendar where you plan out your social media content. And by that I mean, every single piece of social content you will be sharing online.

Now, it could be something as simple as a Google spreadsheet or an advanced paid tool. Or maybe you like the old pen and paper method.

Whatever maybe the case, a social media content calendar helps you to plan, organize and maintain all of your social content in one central place so that you can strategically use it to market your business online.

 

 

By the way, if you are just starting out with social media (which is highly unlikely in 2017) your “Step 1” would be to figure out which platforms you are going to concentrate on. You don’t have to be omnipresent! Begin with one or two at first to keep things under control and then expand on to the others if needed.

 

Step 1: Time blocking

 

Okay, so we obviously need to spend “some time” for/on social media. Because we DO need to plan and schedule. But we are going to be wise about how we spend this time, rather than forgoing one whole work day per week.

Let’s take the example of the above stat.

You spend 6 hours (maybe more or less in your case but we’ll move ahead with the average) per week solely creating and posting social media content for your business.

Instead of doing the above, block out ONE work day each month to create your content for the entire month (more if possible). For example you could try creating 3 months of content in advance.

So, now you would essentially be spending 6 hours per month creating social media content instead of 24 hours. Congratulations, you have just saved 18 hours!

 

Action item: Keep aside 6-8 hours on the 1st of each month to create your content calendar.

 

How to create a social media content calendar - Step1

 


Further reading: Why Do People Share Online; The Science Behind Social Sharing


 

Step 2: Figuring out and creating content buckets

 

This, I think is the most important step, because once you have your content buckets (a.k.a. categories) in place, creation and scheduling will be a breeze.

Because you will then, know exactly what types of content you will be feeding each day to your audience.

When you have your content categories laid out in front of you in black and white, you are not going to be wasting any time on coming up with random things to share on social media (even though the random things may be helpful stuff).

Being random and helpful versus knowing exactly what category you are going to share helpful things about, you save more time by doing the latter!

 

This step can be broken down into 2 more sub-steps.

  • Figuring out your content buckets or categories. You will need to do this ONLY once. They very first time you sit to create your calendar. After that all you would need to do is step 2. Actually create/add the content to the corresponding bucket.
  • Creating and adding the content to the right bucket.

 

So, for example your content buckets can look something like this.

  1. Your own blog posts
  2. Other people’s content (OPC)
  3. Image quotes
  4. Videos
  5. Photo/Video tips (related to your product/service)
  6. Behind the scenes photos/videos
  7. Promotions
  8. Special events and announcements
  9. Fun stuff
  10. Q & A sessions

 

Action item: Download the social media content calendar here. Unzip the file.

You will find a pdf sheet called Content_Buckets_Posting_Frequency. This is where you brainstorm and list down your content buckets.

Use my examples above or add in your own. Spend some time thinking about what your audience likes to hear from you.

How to create a social media content calendar - Content buckets example

 

Here are some ideas on how to come up with the most optimized content buckets.

 

1. By taking a stroll down the memory lane

Go back to your older social media posts and see which ones resonated well with your audience. Maybe it was an image quote or a behind the scenes video. You’ve got yourself a new content bucket!

 

2. By taking cues from your competitor’s or an influencer’s social media pages

Hop on over to an influencer’s page in your niche. Or your competitor’s page. Take a look at the top performing posts.

Maybe it is a Q & A session which generated a lot of engagement or a helpful tip. Chances are your followers might like the same! You’ve got yourself another content bucket.

 

3. By repurposing your old content

When sharing content on social media, you need to resort to repurposing my friend! Agreed, feeding shiny, new content to your audience is important, BUT so is repurposing old content.

So, for example, you have a blog post titled “X ways to get something done”. Break up the X ways into X different images or an infographic or a slideshow or a short tip video.

See what I just did there? Made new content out of one single blog post. Now you can place each of these into a new content bucket.

 

4. By looking at viral posts from popular social media pages

Remember people log into social media to connect with their friends and family first. While scrolling through their feeds, sometimes all they want to see is a funny or an inspirational post.

Take cues from popular social media pages (for example, viral videos from Upworthy) and use them to your advantage. Create a content bucket called Viral Videos to share on your page.

 

Experiment with different buckets and see how they work out for you. You can always change things up later.

How to create a social media content calendar_Step2

 

Social media content calendar download

 


Further reading: Five Reasons you Should Pay More Attention to your Social Media Analytics


 

Step 3: Deciding on your posting frequency and times

 

This one’s tough!

But truth be told, there is no one size fits all solution when it comes to deciding on your posting frequency.

First of all, the frequency is heavily dependent on the social media platform type. For example, posting 10 times on Twitter per day would be still okay as opposed to posting 10 times on Instagram on a single day. Posting twice would probably be a good number for Instagram.

Second of all, you will need to run some experiments based on your analytics before you fix your posting frequency and times.

I suggest you begin with what seems manageable to you at first and then scale up or down depending on the results.

 

But to help you get started here is a general guide.

  • Facebook – 1-2 posts per day
  • Twitter – 5 tweets per day
  • Pinterest – 10 – 15 pins per day
  • Instagram – 1-2 posts per day
  • Google+ – 1 post per day
  • LinkedIn – 1 post per day
  • YouTube – 1 video per week

 

Action item: List down your posting frequencies and times in the Content_Buckets_Posting_Frequency sheet.

How to create a social media content calendar - Posting frequency and times example

 

For a comprehensive guide on how often most people post on the various social media channels, check out this post by Buffer.

 


Further reading: Eight Social Media Automation Mistakes your Business Should Avoid at All Costs


 

Step 4: Filling up the calendar

 

We have reached the stage of filling up our calendar!

Again, this step can be split into 2 sub-steps.

  • Assigning the content buckets and posting times to each social media platform. You will do this the very first time you set up your calendar.
  • Filling up the calendar with the actual content to be posted.

 

I’ll walk you through this process by way of an example calendar. I am going to use 5 content buckets and 2 social media platforms (Facebook and Instagram) for my example.

So, here are my content buckets;

  1. Blog Post
  2. Image Quote
  3. OPC
  4. Image Tip
  5. Fun Stuff

And these are my posting frequencies and times;

  1. Facebook – Twice a day, 9 AM and 3:15 PM
  2. Instagram – Once a day, 8:30 AM

 

Before you start filling up your calendar with content you will actually be posting, assign your content buckets to each platform at the scheduled posting times. So, your calendar will look like this. (Screenshot below).

Again, you will do this ONLY once – the very first time you set up your calendar.

How to create a social media content calendar_Step4

 

The format I follow to assign my content buckets and posting times is:

Posting Time, Content Bucket Name – Actual Content

I suggest you do the same to keep things simple. After this step, you have actually completed the bulk of your work.

 

Action item: Open up Calendar_Week1. Add in your content buckets and posting times for each social platform for the week. Repeat the process for the month. (There are 4 calendars, one for each week of the month).

 

Now you can start filling it up with the actual content.

How to create a social media content calendar_Step5

 

Remember, you don’t need to post fresh content every single day.

You MUST repurpose. Repurposing existing content gives birth to new content without having to deal with the pressure of creating new content every day.

 

Here are some ideas on how to find interesting content to feed your audience. (Apart from your own blog posts and promos).

 

1. By using tools such as BuzzSumo and PostPlanner

To research what types of content are being shared most frequently across various social media channels in your niche. This is particularly useful for the OPC bucket.

 

2. By indulging in some stalking

I don’t mean literally! But take a peek at your competitor’s pages and see what types of content are being most successful with their audience.

Say for example, you discover an image quote which did particularly well on your competitor’s page. Use that to your advantage. Create your own version of the quote to share it on your own page.

 

3. By checking Google Analytics to find out which blog posts are performing better on your site

Use these blog posts as a base for re-purposing content. For example, create an infographic or a series of image posts with short tips from the blog post and add them to the required content buckets.

 

4. By conducting short quizzes

Ask your fans questions which are simple to answer. For example, questions with multiple choice answers which can be answered with one click.

 

5. By coming up with easy to digest tips

Your existing clients/customers might be asking you questions. Facebook groups are another way to figure out what kind of answers your target audience might be looking for. Many times people ask relevant questions in groups, list down these questions in a Google Sheet and use them to create short tips.

Fill up the social media content calendar

 


Further reading: 56% of People Unfollow Brands on Social Media Because of “Boring Content” – How can you Avoid it


 

Step 5: Scheduling the content using a scheduling tool

 

Congratulations! You are all set to schedule your content.

Now that you have all the info right in front of you, it becomes much easier to schedule it out weekly (or even monthly if you can) using your favorite scheduling tool.

It takes about 30-40 minutes for me to schedule out my content each week. Compare that to 6 hours. A huge saving in time, right?

So, essentially you spend about 6 hours filling out your calendar each month and 30 minutes a week for scheduling your content.

Total time spent on social media in a month = 8 hours. I’ll even stretch that to 10 hours. But you have saved yourself a generous amount of time by being organized.

Here are the scheduling tools I use for my content.

  1. HootSuite for Facebook and Twitter. I have IFTTT systems in place for Google+ and LinkedIn to save more time.
  2. Boardbooster and Tailwind for Pinterest.
  3. Later for Instagram.

 

So there you have it. A step by step guide to help you get organized and ditch social media overwhelm!

Now, you can go ahead and steal my version of the calendar or create your own using the method I just laid out. If you need a quick working solution, just click on the image below to grab your copy of The Social Media Content Calendar. It is completely free!

Social media content calendar download

 

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How to create a social media content calendar_click to tweet

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How to create a social media content calendar for your business. The step by step guide to ditching overwhelm and getting organized. // Social Media with Priyanka // Bespoke Online Marketing Solutions and Social Media Consulting for Small Businesses and Solopreneurs

 


Over to you. How do you create and schedule your social media content? Leave me a comment about what is your takeaway from this post or even ask me any questions you might have. I’m all ears!