Organization: that’s really what a successful social media marketing strategy comes down to. And the best way to stay organized is by having a social media content plan. But exactly what is a social media content plan, and do all businesses really need one? More importantly, is a social media content plan right for your business?
What is a Social Media Content Plan?
For most social media managers, a social media content plan is basically a calendar (or even a simple list) of upcoming social media content to be posted. By planning out the content in such a visual way, topics for social media posts can be properly vetted to ensure they follow along with the marketing schedule and goals for a company.
A social media content plan can offer a clearer picture of the path ahead, allowing a business to optimize their social media presence to their more general marketing and sales endeavors. In some cases, a social media calendar can be automated via third party services, meaning that depending on the social media platform, a business can schedule their posts in advance in the case they cannot do the manual posting at the most ideal times to post.
While not all businesses feel that social media is a necessity, in the current marketing landscape, even the smallest companies should have at least a presence on social media. Not only does it authenticate the business, but it can allow for easy branding opportunities and a general understanding of who they are to the world. Posting even a minimal amount can do wonders for a business, and setting up a simple content calendar can keep things organized.
What is a Social Media Content Calendar, and What Does it Include?
A social media content calendar is basically a more in-depth social media content plan. It includes a day-by-day listing of topics, links, hashtags, and notes of where these posts were made. It is a simple way of organizing posts, where your team can reference what has been done, what needs to be done, and cross-reference with each other for more refined marketing strategies. Not only does it show historical posts, but also planning for future posts, allowing for editing based on current trends and topics.
While a business can easily create their own spreadsheet or calendar with this information, there are third-party platforms that can do the organization for you. Sites such as Hootsuite, Zoho Social, and Sprout Social offer a free basic plan (as well as paid levels with more options). These can save a lot of time by allowing the user to set up a calendar, connect to various social platforms, and then post according to a schedule.
How Can I Create a Social Media Content Calendar, and Where Can I Find an Example?
For a low-cost option, it’s simple enough to create a spreadsheet that includes the information mentioned above. A big advantage of this option is that you can customize it in any way you like and there are plenty of examples on the web to draw inspiration from when designing yours. Asana, a project management tool that we use, offers their own example here.
An important consideration if you make your own social media calendar and want to be able to track social clicks to your website or blog, is that you will manually have to create your own UTMs (Urchin Tracking Modules). A UTM is simply a bit of code added to the end of a posts’ URL that makes the link trackable in analytics platforms like Google Analytics. There are free UTM builders on the web, or you can create your own.
There are plenty of third-party platforms out there like those mentioned earlier in this article that can help you create your own calendar if you choose to use them, but don’t forget that both Facebook and Instagram allow you to schedule posts directly within those platforms. The UTM aspect would still need to be addressed, so keep that in mind no matter where you post from or house your calendar.
In the end, it is just smart business to not only use social media, but also a social media content calendar. It keeps you organized, allows for planning better marketing strategies, and keeps the flow of communication among your team (and with your followers!) on track. If you need help with your social marketing planning, please contact Blink;Tech today!