Social Media Content Calendar: The Key to a Brand’s Social Media Success

Does social media feel like a game of ping pong to you? Some say – post every day! Others say – no, don’t flood the feeds. Some say carousels are the real deal. Others say – videos are the key. 

Just when you’re convinced you’ve cracked the code, the landscape shifts. And just when you thought you had the perfect hashtag strategy, hashtags suddenly become old news and everyone stresses the need to prioritize keywords! All of these changes are enough to make even the most seasoned marketers feel like they’re chasing an ever-elusive trend. 

And right in the middle of this stands your biggest challenge: what to post and when. That’s where every marketer needs a secret weapon – a social media content calendar. It stands as the key to strategic content planning for social media. 

In today’s blog, we’ll deal with the nitty-gritty of social media content calendars like their benefits, and some easy tips to create one for your brand. 

Social Media Content Calendar: Unlocking the Key Advantages 

A social media content calendar is the blueprint of your social media content strategy. From what you post to when you post and where, this content calendar provides a roadmap for consistent and effective communication of your brand’s ideas on social media. 

  • With 68% of businesses attributing revenue growth to brand consistency, a social media content calendar becomes your compass. By mapping out a consistent posting schedule and messaging strategy, it ensures that your brand’s identity remains steadfast across platforms.
  • Consistent posting and cohesive brand messaging also mean better engagement on social media. 
  • About 33% of marketers find content ideation challenging. This is where a social media content calendar can be useful. It helps provide a more structured approach to planning social media content thus helping you overcome the hurdle of idea generation. 
  • With a social media content calendar, staying organized and staying on track with social media content creation becomes simpler. 
  • Considering that 36% of content creators spend 1-5 hours weekly, and 27% invest 5-10 hours in content creation, a social media content calendar becomes the ultimate time-management tool. It helps you save time by planning and creating content in batches. 
  • In addition to all these, one of the key benefits is that a structured social media content calendar makes collaboration between cross-functional teams manageable. From the design team that needs the briefs for the posts to the copywriting team that needs to work on post copy and captions for each, all team members can gather information from the unified source. 

Having discussed the benefits let’s quickly go over some tips to draft a strong social media content calendar for your brand. 

7 Essential Tips for Building an Effective Social Media Content Calendar

1. Begin with a social media audit for direction and clarity 

It makes no sense to start working on your social media content calendar without understanding the current status of your social media pages. So, begin with a social media audit

A social media audit involves a thorough analysis of your brand’s current social media pages. From the types of posts that perform well to the times of posting, you can gain critical insights that help shape your social media content strategy. 

Thus social media audit is pivotal in crafting a content calendar that resonates with your audience and aligns with your business objectives.

So, how do you perform a social media audit? The most straightforward option is to refer to platform analytics like Instagram Insights for example. This is where you get a quick snapshot of how your post is performing. 

Or if you wish to save time and obtain more tangible reports based on your social media performance, tools like HubSpot, Hootsuite, Sprout Social, and Semrush can prove invaluable. 

In addition to performing an audit of your current posts, these tools can also help track brand mentions and analyze website traffic coming from social media. Thus they help you plan a clear course of action when you draft your social media content calendar. 

2. Laying down your objectives for social media 

Once you know where your brand currently stands in the social media realm, it’s time to establish a clear path. In other words, it is about understanding your brand’s goals for social media. 

What do you wish to leverage social media for? Is it to boost sales through social channels or to drive more traffic to your website or perhaps just to maintain healthy conversations with your customers? The answer to this helps you identify the right strategy and therefore the right type of content to include in your social media content calendar. 

Consider how Airbnb strategically employs celebrity influencer programs as part of their social media goals. They feature celebrity favorite stays, movie-inspired stays and so much more on their social media pages. The below post, for example, is for those fans who admire DJ Khaled’s shoe collection as much as his music. This shows how Airbnb brilliantly leverages its Instagram page to appeal to niche audiences. 

Similarly, identify the clear business objectives, such as revenue growth or brand expansion that you wish to achieve through social media. This not only helps you find the right types of content to create but also makes it easier to track your social media performance in the future. 

3. Picking the right social media platforms for your brand 

Based on the results of your social media audit and based on the business objectives defined identify the apt social media platforms. Because a more focused approach works much better than a diversified focus leading nowhere. 

Understanding your target audience is another useful element in this step. Because different social media platforms cater to the needs of different audience demographics. Recognizing where your target audience is most active allows you to direct your efforts where they are most likely to yield results, optimizing your content for maximum impact. 

Take the social media success of the fashion brand ASOS for example. Their target demographic of fashion-forward millennials is highly engaged on platforms like Instagram and Snapchat. Naturally, these are two platforms that are front and center in the brand’s social media strategy. 

The ASOS: Next Level You campaign leveraged Instagram Stories and brought in a 3-point lift in brand awareness and a reach of 3 million. The brand regularly engages their users through their Story posts announcing exclusive offers, product launches, and more. 

Success like this is possible only when your social media content calendar is built to cover the right social media platforms for your business goals and target demographics. 

4. Identifying the right formats of content to include 

Of course, you know what content format to create once you have the idea for each post. But before that comes the question of the resources at your disposal. If you plan to regularly incorporate videos in your social media content calendar, do you have a plan for video production and video editing? If that’s not an option, then a close alternative will be a carousel post that splits the information in your post into multiple slides. 

Furthermore, for the single image and carousel posts how do you plan to execute your designs? Will you be working with a design tool like Canva or outsourcing your design to a design agency or perhaps going with something more reliable in the long run like an unlimited design service? 

Answering these questions will help you understand the resources you have to work with when planning your content. Tools like BuzzSumo come in handy when it comes to identifying the right content formats for your niche and for your brand in particular. 

For instance, the International fitness brand Les Mills decided to make the most of the short-form video format to drive more signups to its app. According to YouTube, the brand reportedly boosted its click-through rate by 52% through its vertical short-form videos. Because vertical videos felt most relevant on mobile devices where the brand’s expected conversions (app downloads) were present. 

Similarly, identify the right content formats for the chosen platform and for your business goals and jot them down in your social media content calendar. Once you identify the right formats then comes the planning of the right mix of content types (educational, interactive, promotional, social proof, etc).

5. Harness AI for ideation and other applications 

Just about a year ago this tip probably would not have been on our list but that’s how rapidly the tech realm is evolving. And brands that have not yet embraced AI in their marketing process are missing out on a lot. Therefore, incorporating artificial intelligence into your marketing strategy is the secret sauce for staying ahead of the curve.

So, how can AI help you in the process of drafting your social media content calendar? It can be pretty useful in the content ideation step for example. Tools like ChatGPT help you find fresh content ideas based on your niche and specific requirements. Whether you are looking for seasonal content ideas or ideas based on topical themes, AI tools can be of great help. 

Additionally, AI can also help optimize your content ideas, generate captions, or proofread the copy for your social media posts. 

For example, if you need to add caption ideas for your Holiday posts in your social media content calendar, you can get some quick inspiration from ChatGPT. 

6. Timing is everything 

Even with the best content ideas and the right content formats if your posts go unnoticed the problem could be with your posting schedules. That’s why it is important to identify the optimal posting times for your posts when you create your social media content calendar. 

Use analytics tools to identify when your audience is most active on different social media platforms. Experiment with posting at different times and analyze the performance metrics to determine the optimal posting times for your audience.

Furthermore, when we talk about timing, it includes not just the time of day you post but also the contextual relevance. 

For example, take the social media content calendar for December. If you aim to target last-minute holiday shoppers, posting close to Christmas Day might be strategic. On the other hand, if you are planning a bunch of holiday-themed visuals or running some early shopping deals and wish to create social media posts for the same, you need to include them a few weeks ahead of Christmas. 

Having a complete list of the social media holidays for the year or for that particular month can be pretty useful. This way, when you sit to build your monthly social media content calendar, you can easily distribute your seasonal content and evergreen content without missing any important occasions that matter to your audience. 

7. Working with the most suitable calendar format 

With all the foundational elements ready, then comes the question of what calendar format you’ll be using. Identify a format that works best for your organization. You need something that is practical to work with and maintain in the long run. 

Moreover, you also need to consider the collaboration features within the format you choose. Whether you’re working solo or with a team, a calendar that allows seamless communication and input from all stakeholders is crucial. 

Thirdly, the chosen social media content calendar format should be flexible and scalable. Flexibility is about allowing you to regularly track and update any changes to your current calendar. And scalability is about adding more calendars in the future so that you have all your previous ideas in the same place. 

Finally, ensure that your chosen calendar format integrates well with any tools you require to streamline your social media content workflow.

Based on all these considerations, here are some social media content calendar formats to explore for your brand:

The good old Google Sheets can be the most straightforward and convenient tool for content calendars of all kinds including social media content. It is easily customizable and you can integrate it with a wide range of other Google tools. Scheduling meetings, having conversations, leaving comments, and sharing the file are all simple. 

If you are looking for something fancier, you can also go with social media management tools like Buffer and Hootsuite. Buffer’s social media content calendar, for example, can be accessed conveniently on mobile devices as well. 

Another great idea is scheduling tools like CoSchedule and Later which not only organize your social media content calendar but also help schedule the posts on respective platforms conveniently. 

Navigate the Social Media Maze with Confidence 

With your social media content calendar ready, the next step is content creation. It’s a well-known fact that visuals reign supreme in the social media realm. Therefore, you need a strong and dependable plan for designing your social media visuals. 

Having a designated design team makes a big difference. No more apprehensions about creating content in various formats or about last-minute tweaks. You also know that revisions won’t incur extra costs. How can you avail of these perks at a flat monthly fee? By signing up for a design subscription, like KIMP

Ready to steer your brand’s social media success by elevating your social media design game? Sign up for a KIMP subscription now.