By Lasse Lund

February 25th, 2016

Like any marketing activity, the best social campaigns contain a large element of planning. And as you would expect, the use of a content calendar is an essential tool for keeping production on track.

For many businesses, though, a social media content calendar is little more than a series of scheduled tweets and status updates built around ‘real world’ events. Everyone knows the Super Bowl is a major annual event and that social advertisers need to have their say, so they queue an update to be pushed out during the game, such as Budweiser did with their #GiveADamn campaign – sometimes weeks or months in advance.

And this process is repeated for every major event they can think of: the English FA Cup Final, the Oscars, the Super Bowl, even the New Year. And for most marketers taking their first tentative steps into social media marketing, this is all their content calendar will consist of.

Time to get more specific
That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with a well-planned, pithy statement to coincide with a major event. But if that’s all your social media content calendar consists of, you may be missing vital opportunities to connect with new audiences.

After all, the most successful campaigns are those that are finely targeted to the specific needs of a particular market segment. Which means thinking beyond the ‘big ticket’ events when creating a social media calendar.

Involve your colleagues from the rest of the business
Everyone in your business has some understanding of your customers’ needs – after all, they help build products and services to meet them. This background information is hugely useful when building your calendar because it will help identify events that your business is well-positioned to comment on.

Is there an annual awards ceremony that your customers may be involved in? Add it to the calendar. A quarterly statement from a relevant trade body? Put that in too.

The more events you can add to the social media calendar, the more potential opportunities you have to engage with your target market segments. And as a marketer, you can’t be expected to know them all yourself – but your customer-facing colleagues might.

Build flexibility into your social media campaign
The content calendar should act as a guide for your campaigns, not a rigid rulebook. Social media is fluid by nature, constantly adjusting depending on the fluctuating trends and interests of users.

Your plan should always provide leeway to replace scheduled content, or to allow additional updates that reflect changing circumstances. This reactive content could be marketing gold, increasing brand awareness and connecting you with new prospects. Simply being in ‘the right place at the right time’ could create far greater engagement than your originally scheduled updates.

This same flexibility needs to be applied to your paid media efforts. When your business has a truly relevant, valuable insight to offer on a current trend (think newsjacking), a finely-targeted promoted post may yield huge dividends.

Publish - Falcon Social's social media content calendar for scheduling

Here’s a snapshot of how we use our own social content calendar to queue up our posts.

Use tools to help with the scheduling and publishing process
Effectively scheduling social media updates according to your calendar means having a tool available that can post updates and collect metrics. If you don’t analyze the results of each campaign, you won’t be able to improve your content, or prove ROI to your superiors.

Over the course of the year, you will also be able to see which events or dates yielded the greatest engagement. Even this basic level of insight will help you plan your social media content calendar for next year.

It’s not all about updates
Finally, you should never forget that the social media calendar is not just for scheduling your posts. It’s also a reminder of the dates and times when you need to pay specific attention to listening. If you identify an event of particular interest to your target segment, you will be able to gain insight into sentiment, trends, and preferences simply by monitoring what is said on social media.

Again, this exercise in listening will help hone your message to make it more relevant and effective. The value of listening goes further, however – the data you gather can also provide insights that can be applied to future product development or customer service improvement, for example.

You could also use your social media calendar to schedule periodic reviews of the insights gathered. Your social media platform should provide short-term analysis of your campaigns, but spending time looking at longer-term trends is a worthy investment – particularly if it results in higher-performing campaigns in future.

Putting your social media calendar together
In summary, your content calendar creation process should include:

  • Seeking input from colleagues to identify key events and dates that need to be targeted.
  • Using technology to schedule and analyse social campaigns built on that calendar.
  • Identifying opportunities for real-time interaction.
  • Space to listen and analyze the insights being generated by your target audience.

If you want to learn more about building a social media calendar and how Falcon can help streamline the process, please get in touch to arrange your free demo.

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