By Lasse Lund

March 17th, 2016

As you ramp up your social media marketing campaigns, you’ll quickly find that the amount of moving parts can be incredibly difficult to keep track of. As your social marketing campaigns mature, you will be using a range of social networks that will likely include Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and more. Your team will need to create content that meets the standards of each platform and is optimized to the preferences of your audiences.

Which is why many marketers rely on a well thought-out social media content calendar. If you’ve ever worked in journalism or publishing, you should already be familiar with the concept of a content calendar – the only real difference will be the channel through which the content is distributed.

But if you haven’t, this is what you need to know,

What is a social media content calendar anyway?
At the most basic level, your social media content calendar is a plan that maps out deadlines and important dates relevant to your business and its customers. Your calendar needs to serve two masters, taking into account the subjects that interest your customers and the content your team is willing and able to deliver.

The calendar is a shared resource that gives everyone involved in content production and marketing an at-a-glance timetable of how (and when!) content is to be produced and distributed.

By making every date and deliverable available for scrutiny, it becomes much easier to keep production on schedule and to provide a constant stream of valuable content to your brand fans.

How do I build a social media content calendar?
The calendar itself could be as simple as a shared spreadsheet which, for many years, was the default tool for managing smaller projects. But the complexity of sourcing content from several people, preparing them for publication, and collecting and analyzing data from a social campaign means that the basic nature of a spreadsheet is unsuitable for more robust social media campaigns.

If the creation of your first social media content calendar coincides with the purchase of your first management platform, make sure you choose one with integrated calendar functionality. You will then be able to align your social campaign with your other marketing efforts to ensure a consistent brand message and customer experience.

Publish-Campaign-planner-WEEK-view

The Falcon Publish calendar keeps all your social posts in view and helps you align them with other marketing activities within a campaign.

Why build a social media content calendar?
More than simply acting as a timetable of events, your social media calendar is also a vital tool for improving the quality (and success!) of your campaigns. As your plans begin to take shape, you will also be able to address these issues:

#1 – Ensuring a proper spread of content
Although 87% of Internet users in the US have Facebook accounts, the platform is already crowded by competing marketers, increasing the cost of advertising.

Using a social media content calendar can help you avoid bias towards a single platform. You can ensure a fair distribution of content and ensure it is properly tailored to the different audiences. After all, your messaging will be different on Tumblr than on Instagram or LinkedIn, for instance.

#2 – Aligning all your content assets
Digital marketing is driven by content, and it’s highly unlikely that your social posts will exist in complete isolation – particularly if your business uses inbound marketing techniques. Building a social media content calendar will ensure that all of your assets are properly aligned to create a coherent, consistent experience for your audience across every platform.

As Michele Linn, Vice President of Content at the Content Marketing Institute says, “It’s important to have an editorial calendar to keep your content consistent and relevant.”

The calendar also allows you to plan a steady drip of useful information that works to draw prospects into your sales funnel.

#3 – Assigning roles and tasks effectively
The highest value content is produced by your in-house experts, those with the deepest knowledge of their specialty. However, there’s a very real chance that these specialists do not work in the marketing department.

Preparing a social media content calendar well in advance gives these experts plenty of time to put together the content you need.

For example, your CTO has a great understanding of how technology improves business efficiency to deliver an outstanding service to customers, but writing about those benefits is not a routine part of their day job –  she will need to set time aside to put something together for your campaign. Even if they don’t write the whole post themselves, these people will still need time to put together some detailed notes for your copywriter.

It is possible to operate a marketing campaign without a social media content calendar, but the results will be patchy. The natural human tendency towards procrastination will lead to many jobs being left until the very last minute, compromising quality. And without a proper plan in place, it may be impossible to get the required expert input from your other business units.

The social media content calendar helps to avoid these timing and resourcing issues by synchronizing all the moving parts to deliver an outstanding campaign of the highest quality.

Get in touch with the Falcon team and let us give you a free demo – we’ll show you how to put together a social media content calendar that helps you achieve much more with your future marketing efforts.

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