The average small- to medium-sized business usually lacks the time and resources to develop sophisticated marketing strategies that engage customers and drive revenues. Unless the business generates substantial enough income to onboard a designated marketing or social media lead, it falls by the wayside among the many “nice to have” business functions — and the work usually doesn’t get done.
The occasional flier or email blast limits a company’s ability to reach and share their value with audiences, leaving customers with typically random and sporadic engagements. This makes it hard to drive customer lifetime value (CLTV) and ultimately sales.
But there are ways to connect your marketing efforts to revenue, and social media is one of the least expensive and most effective ways to market your business. Your industry competitors are utilizing social media platforms to drive awareness, advertise, create community and engagement among your target buyers. Don’t miss out on the opportunities for your brand via social media marketing.
6 Benefits of a Social Content Calendar
Here are six key reasons why you should start building (and following) a social media content calendar:
Reason 1: It helps you get organized
By employing a social media calendar, you can easily plan a week’s worth of content in about 30 minutes. It creates an organized, step-by-step guide that simplifies the required outputs to create and amplify posts.
Set up your foundation for success by creating categories (sometimes called “buckets”) of the different types of content you want to publish and then list potential subjects and messages that align to these categories. This will help you stay focused on the core of your social media strategy and also ensure that you’re creating a diverse calendar that hits on everything your audience wants to see.
Reason 2: It helps you be consistent
In addition to creating more efficiency for your social marketing execution, a calendar offers greater consistency, which is necessary to foster meaningful brand impressions that will delight and inspire folks and ultimately build brighter communities.
It’s not sufficient to post only when the mood strikes or time allows – this lack of commitment does not support the notion of building a loyal following. The goal is to have regularly scheduled posts every day so at any point in time, if someone visits your page(s), they can see you are active and engaged.The idea is to create multiple impressions over time that create a digital “trail of breadcrumbs” that leads your audiences to shop with you when the time is right for them.
The beginner stage of doing this involves using only one platform, such as Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram. A more advanced approach is to schedule content on all of your social media accounts. Some businesses are even creating unique content for Pinterest and TikTok. Your customer base determines which ones you need to be present on. Go where your customers frequent and see which platforms garner the most followers over a few weeks or months.
Reason 3: It helps reuse content effectively
Social media does not have to be time consuming grunt work. It can become a strategic marketing output that yields more meaningful interactions across the digital platforms where your customers are already present. A strategic way to approach social media posting (and your calendar planning) is to find ways to reformat and repurpose content for each platform or channel. This helps ensure you are maximizing your production output and don’t have to create original content for each outlet, every week.
Original, substantial information may be referred to as “pillar content.” This type of content can be a blog post, a podcast, a video, a white paper or an eBook. Once the pillar content is created it can be repurposed to create many (potentially even 30!) posts for your various social media platforms.
For example, if you own a financial planning firm, you may want to create a series of blogs focused on retirement planning missteps and turn those key takeaways into a series of posts on LinkedIn or a Reels on Instagram. You’re using what you have but reimagining it so it resonates on different social platforms.
Reason 4: It helps you prepare for key engagement “moments”
Another reason for using a calendar is to make sure you don’t forget time-sensitive content. Whether it’s an upcoming local festival, an annual garage sale, your company’s anniversary, or something similar, you want to build the hype early enough to get the full promotional value out of it.
For example, maybe your company focuses on dogs as a niche. You will not want to miss a chance to post on Aug. 26, which is National Dog Day. Is there a conference you and your customers frequent each year? Start reminding them about your presence and create opportunities to schedule meetings ahead of your arrival.
By taking the time to strategically itemize the inflection points that are relevant to your audience’s behaviors and needs, you’ll be able to service your customers and your business.
Reason 5: It helps keep your content fresh and balanced
A calendar ensures you have the right balance of educational and entertaining vs. promotional content. You may have heard of the “411 Rule.” This is a ratio of how many social media posts should be original, content created by others, and reshares. For example, for every six posts, four should entertain or educate; one should be a soft sell and one should be a hard sell.
Another popular ratio is 555: Five updates about you and your content; five updates about others; and five responses/replies.
Keep in mind these are not hard-and-fast rules. In fact, you need to do your own research with your audience and test to see which ratio works best for you.
Reason 6: It helps you see what works (and what doesn’t)
Your calendar can serve as a record of what you have done and how your efforts have evolved over time. Each week or month, you can review what was scheduled and how different posts have performed. Which garnered the most engagement? Which led to new relationships and new business opportunities? Did any lead to sales?
Over time, you’ll be able to identify patterns of effectiveness in your marketing throughout various times of the year, based on the performance of your social posts.
Depending on your company’s resources, you may want to have a monthly meeting where you assign various employees to come up with content that is then funneled to a coordinator to schedule and publish. This takes the workload off of a single person and allows for more varied and interesting posts. Pre-scheduling allows you to do this.
Be in the Moment By Planning Ahead
While a social media calendar is a great tool that will increase your effectiveness and save you time, you do not want to exclusively preplan all your content. Leave room for real-time updates and spontaneous happenings. For example, retail store owners should document what they’re doing in their locations, events they’re hosting and new merchandise that just came in.
But by planning and organizing your social post content in advance, you can ensure that no matter how busy you get, digital marketing still happens, and is produced in the most efficient way to benefit your customers, as well as your business’ bottom line.
This article was adapted from a byline previously published by Impressions Magazine, authored by Deborah Sexton. Deborah is the owner of Saracen Communications, and she provides digital media marketing, copywriting and public relations for companies in the decorated apparel industry. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.