October 22, 2019
As a content writer or content marketing agency, you most likely juggle multiple clients each with their individual content requirements.
If you don’t have a system in place for planning and delivering content for your clients, it won’t take long before it gets out of hand and for items to slip through the net.
In order to stay organized, you need to have a social media calendar which clearly defines your posting requirements.
The aim of the calendar is to allow you and your team to plan, create, execute, and review content — on time, every time.
In this article, we’ll take you through the process step by step to create a social media calendar for your clients. We’ll cover tips, tools, apps, and more to help you prepare a content mix for your clients and to hit your deadlines along the way.
A social media calendar is a schedule that is used to plan social media content in advance. It can be done in a spreadsheet, a calendar, or an app.
Not only does it determine what will be published, but it will identify who is responsible for a piece of content or specific task and the relevant deadlines.
Nowadays, there’s a wealth of tools which can be used to build your calendar. Even a simple spreadsheet can provide shared team access, while project management tools like monday.com or Trello allow for a more visual representation.
If you’re a larger agency or you have several clients, you may want to consider a social media management tool that includes handy features for scheduling posts, collaborating, and publishing.
As with any business activity, consistency is the key to success. A social media calendar allows you to create a consistent and realistic schedule for content creation.
Here are the main benefits of taking the time to create a social media calendar:
Hopefully, we’ve convinced you of the importance of a social media calendar. Now, it’s time to learn how to create one. The next part of this article will take you through the process step by step.
If you are preparing a social media campaign for an existing client, you can skip straight to Step Four. You should already have a good idea of the brand’s tone, voice, and who the competitors are.
For newer clients, you need to take a moment to consider your client’s tone on social media.
If the client has already been conducting social media marketing, it’s likely that they already have a brand identity.
If not, review the existing social media profiles and try to find out the following information from the client:
Ask your client to list their online competitors. Review each of the competitor’s social media channels to find out what types of content they are publishing on each social media channel.
Review their past social media posts to see what kinds of posts are getting the best engagement and feedback and on which social media platform.
We’ll cover tools in more detail later in the article; however, consider using a social media listening tool to stay up to date with your clients’ competitors’ content and how well it’s doing. If you can improve on already successful posts, you’re on to a winner.
Before you create a social media calendar, it’s imperative to understand what your client hopes to achieve on social media.
Begin your relationship by asking specific questions to get a clear understanding of their wants, needs, and objectives.
Ask the client the following questions:
By understanding at the outset exactly what a client is hoping to achieve, how much they can pay for success on social media, and how they will measure success, you get a clear picture of the results your client would like to achieve.
Use the client’s existing analytics to audit how well past posts have performed. In particular, try to find out the following information:
Steps One to Four are primarily concerned with understanding your client’s past and present situation. Armed with that knowledge, you can begin to build a tailor-made content plan to nail the company’s goals.
The first step is to decide on a publishing frequency. In other words, how often are you going to publish on each network?
There isn’t a hard-and-fast rule. The frequency will depend on your client’s goals, audience, and the available budget.
According to Sprout Social, a schedule “based on the most up-to-date research on how often to post to each social media platform for maximum visibility” would look like this:
When publishing social media content, you can choose to publish the client’s original content or curated content. In an ideal world, you would have a mix of both.
Client content involves publishing content that is unique to the business. It could be their blog posts, sales promotions, event adverts, and so on.
Make sure to find out what deliverables the company will provide themselves. For instance, who is responsible for:
Curated content, while less involved, is equally important. It helps to build a mix of posts which are less sales orientated, positioning your client as an industry expert.
Fortunately, there are tons of tools which you can use to source curated content. Here are a few to get you started:
Now you know when your content will be delivered and the type of content that will be published, you can start to populate your calendar and delegate tasks to team members.
Depending on the scope of the retainer with your client, you need to consider who is responsible for research, writing, images, design work, and publishing.
Also, again dependent on your client, you will likely need to consider an approval process for each post. Consider whether the post needs to be approved by an internal member of staff before launching or whether your client needs the final say.
Be sure to factor in the time for approvals and revisions into the content calendar, as this can be one of the most time-consuming parts of the workflow.
Phew. You’ve done most of the legwork. The penultimate step involves inputting all of your hard work into a content calendar.
As we’ve mentioned, this can be as simple as a spreadsheet, as visual as a project management tool, or as complex as a social media app.
The choice depends largely on the size of your team, what collaboration tools you require, and which social media management features are essential.
To give you an idea, here are some of the most popular tools:
Arguably the most important step of any social media campaign is to take stock. Once you’ve published content according to your content calendar, take the time to review what worked and what didn’t.
Revisit Steps One to Eight regularly to ensure that the content you are posting to social media is meeting the business’s goals and the audience’s needs.
Use analytics to understand the ROI of your campaigns and then build upon the successes to create another content plan.
Creating a social media calendar can feel like a huge investment of time upfront.
However, at Vista Social, we believe it’s the best way to stay on top of all of your deliverables and ensure that you deliver successful content for all of your clients.
What are your favorite social media management tools for your managing your content calendar? Try Vista Social – free social media management platform !
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