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  • Writer's pictureClaire Elbrow

Create your own killer social media calendar

Updated: Mar 24, 2019

Social media marketing remains a key element in every business marketing strategy nowadays – whether you are a small business owner, a retailer or a service provider. A social media presence is key to building awareness and pushing traffic towards your business, so devising a strategy to make the most of the opportunities open to you is vital.

A social media calendar or schedule will be part of your strategy. Your calendar will combine all of the big occasions which will benefit your business, such as Christmas or New Year, but will also include all of those events that could be useful hooks for you. For instance, if you are a book seller, then ‘World Book Day’ is right up there as one of your key dates. You might also want to tap into the fun stuff to help create a bit of noise around your business, like ‘World Cat Day’ or ‘Talk like a Pirate Day’. For those running community groups and charities, the list is pretty endless too, from ‘Allotment Day’ to ‘World Heart Day’.

So, why do you need to create a social media content calendar?

Whether you are using social media for your business, or like me offering social media services to clients, we know it can be challenging to keep creating original and engaging social media on a regular basis and these special, national or world events offer us all a fantastic opportunity to create wider campaigns and keep your social channels buzzing.

Most events are time-sensitive, and they are all shareable, so they can have a strong effect on social media by helping to extend your reach to a wider and interested audience. Used wisely they can add some fun and lightness to your social feeds. Take #NationalSandwichDay – that is a perfect hook for any café who can build a small campaign around the day. They could devise a new sandwich for the day or send out an offer via social media with a link to the day. Subway, for instance, ran an offer with a free sub given out to those who purchased a specific sub and drink – and they donated a meal with every purchase of the offer to the charity, Feed Africa. Other retailers put out BOGOFF (buy one, get one free) offers or offered a free drink with a sandwich. All of these options are perfect to push out on social media feeds, whether you have a local café or are running a national brand.

The practical aspects

Building your calendar requires a bit of strategic thought and a smattering of organisation.

Start with your audience. What makes them tick? What do they engage with and how? As an example, ‘National Entrepreneurs Day’ won’t be of interest to those looking to purchase a sandwich!

Make a list of the people you want your brand or business to engage with and keep an eye on their interests, passions, what they do and where they engage. This fits nicely with your overall marketing strategy too, but by keeping looking at these questions and answering them, you will keep defining your audience better, which in this case will help you chose the most appropriate and effective dates to include in your calendar.

Determine your social media strategy goals

Again, this section links nicely with your overall marketing plan and social media plan by keeping an eye on what you are aiming to achieve. For instance, you could want your followers to share your content into their feeds and help build your brand awareness, or you could be hoping your followers will get energised and have a lively discussion as part of your post. Are you looking purely to increase sales? Are you looking to build your brand awareness by associating yourself with specific events?

Invariably you will be looking to increase followers, generate more leads and if possible, create viral posts which extend your brand awareness, but by defining these options into smaller segments, you will link the right option to the right event.

Next step, is to go through the various events and ask yourself, what are the objectives of the event - entertainment, awareness or knowledge-sharing? Do you want your followers to share it or to comment on it? Do you want them to click on a link to get to a specific product on your online store, download a voucher, subscribe to a newsletter or take up an offer?

The research follows this step. The internet is your friend at this stage, particularly if you want to link to international events or internet holidays.

Start with the basic dates – the national and local holidays or events you would like to include.

If your business represents or has links to a specific community, search for meaningful dates, your audience will link to, such as Ramadan, Chinese New Year, World Heart Day or Pride Week.

Don’t forget the major cultural events that take place each year – the Grammy’s, the Oscars, the Rugby or Football Championships, the Proms, and those who will be the focus of public attention such as the release of a new film or device (Apple, comes to mind here!).

Online holidays can be fun, silly and charming. Just make sure you find the ones which resonate with your target audience!

Have a quick look at other brands and organisations to see what sort of dates they are mentioning in their feeds.

Google Doodle is a good place to start for ideas, as are another couple of online providers such as Content Architects.

Building a social media calendar

Pull your calendar together

Visual works best for me! Sort yourself out a visual calendar – you can build something simple in Excel (freebie templates are available!), or you can look at online tools like SmartSheet.

Building a calendar rather then relying on your memory will help you ensure you make the best of your chosen days. It will stop you putting too many days into the same time frame and ensure you are not putting in too many event-based posts around your regular social content.

You will have time to build small campaigns, schedule your reminder and saves times as you will work out how much time you need in advance to make the most of the events posts.

It gives you time to plan your copy-writing and source your images.

Content, Content, Content

The content you share will determine how successful your social media calendar is. Some posts will require more managing than others. For instance, if you want to support Mother’s Day, the posts will need to be set up in advance, you will need to know your offering and be able to manage any bookings coming through your posts. If you are looking at a fun one, such as linking with, say, The Strictly Come Dancing Finals, you will need to be spontaneous and be present on social media throughout the final to comment and manage comments.

Make sure you match your content to the event. It is nigh on impossible to reuse content which is specifically aimed at a specific event. You do need to think it through so you talk about each event in a way that will ignite your followers and benefit your brand.

Have a think about which type of content will work best with each event. You can choose from: images, videos, live feeds and broadcasts, gifs, competitions, games or sharing posts. Make sure you get everyone in your office involved, particularly if you are supporting a fun day like #NationalTellAJokeDay. Make sure they are prepared with a decent joke if you are thinking of live videoing them and sharing it!

If you are supporting something a little more serious, a blog post or planned video may be better to ensure you get your message over correctly.

These are free and easy opportunities you can link your business to and gain some extra exposure - with just a little planning. However, if all this sounds far to complex and too time consuming, give me a call or send an email. I work with plenty of small business owners developing their social media marketing strategies which includes building calendars to support and promote their business.

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