Written by: Zoe Share, Founder & Chief Executive Schmoozer, Schmooz Media

A basic purpose of a social media content calendar is to organize content for social media distribution. Keeping this document up to date will ensure that you stay accountable to a consistent roll out of content that supports your social media goals. A content calendar also helps to pre-plan content, and to schedule days or periods in which ad-hoc or of-the-moment content should be released. On top of all this, a structured content calendar will also provide you with clarity about what’s working and what needs adjustment as you track and measure engagement, new subscribers and sales.

So what does a content calendar need in order to help you get on the right track with your social media marketing?

1. Create the calendar with an editable, flexible tool

Using a tool that allows for real-time collaboration will save both time and energy. Google Sheets is a tool that tracks all changes and updates, storing each round of changes that you can revert back to at any time. Sheets also allows multiple people to work in the document at once and allows you to insert comments that you can assign to yourself or others—making reviewing and editing easier than ever.

2. Organize your calendar in time chunks

Whether you like to work in two week intervals or month-to-month, include every day of the week in your calendar, whether or not you’re going to be posting on social media each day. Decide which days you’re going to write content, which days you’re going to publish content and which days you’re going to take off (for yourself and for your business).

Planning content for one month at a time allows for regular content to be written set-up and scheduled, ultimately saving you time down the road (that being said, it’s always important to release ad hoc, on the fly content as well!).

Here’s an example- the Schmooz Content Calendar. Green content is scheduled, red content needs work!

3. Use colour coding to keep you and your team on point

In a content calendar it is useful to set up a template for multiple months at a time. I recommend using different tabs for different months – this will allow you to move between months in the same document, but still to see one month at a time.

Creating a legend is essential in order to keep track of the stage of your content. Whether you are drafting the content yourself or having someone else write it for you, there are several steps that a content calendar can capture, including: needs to be drafted, first draft, approved and scheduled.

Staying organized with a month’s worth of content is not always easy. I like using a stop light-themed legend, highlighting boxes in red to be drafted or that have been drafted, content in yellow that is approved, and content is green that has been scheduled.

4. Create a tracking sheet so you can figure out results

Whether this tracking sheet consists of added columns in your content calendar or a separate sheet altogether, having a template for which results you are measuring will ensure that you are comparing apples to apples and getting the most value.

It’s easy to get caught up in the likes and comments of social media, but keep in mind your goals in order to track what is truly important. I always track reach (how many people have had seen this post) engagement rates (what was their reaction to this post) and click-through-rates (did they do anything with this post) to get a well-rounded view of how a post performed.

Track for your Social Media- that includes Newsletters – to understand development over time

Looking at the best five posts per month will often help you to see a pattern in what kind of posts are performing the best. Maybe each of the best performing posts has an image, or relates to a certain product, service or topic. Listen to what your audience is telling you through this data.

5. See the bigger picture by reviewing and editing at the same time

When you track results monthly, you are able to compare your social media statistics for a higher-level view. Seeing small but consistent growth in follower levels, reach and engagement is a great place to be, but it won’t happen every month. If your social media output is stagnating, so will your growth, and that’s a good opportunity to invest in some advertising or to shake things up with your content.

6. Adjust based on results

Did your post with a short video see the highest reach, but your boosted blog post send the most amount of people to your website? Learn from what works and implement more of it.

This is part one of three in Zoe’s series around marketing for small business. Stay tuned for her next article on tools for social media marketing on a budget.

About Zoe Share:
Zoe Share is the Founder and Chief Executive Schmoozer at Schmooz Media, a social media marketing and communications agency.
Learn more about Schmooz and their services on their website!

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