Setting up a social media calendar: Why and how

Pegging your posts to annual holidays or seasonal events provides relevance and can help keep your audience engaged—and prompt them to share your content.

As with all things in marketing, you need to determine your online objectives. Only then can you evaluate and assess whether your social media efforts are performing well.

Once you have determined your objectives, the most crucial aspect of developing a community is creating a calendar that will provide clear, concise directions and strategy for writing your posts.

What is a social media calendar?

A social media calendar helps you to plan topics and initiatives by week and by month. It provides a foundation to develop Facebook posts, blogs, and tweets by evaluating the social media landscape as it pertains to your business or brand. It helps you to integrate all your efforts into one visual document to make sure that you have a holistic approach to social media.

Here’s how to start establishing a social media calendar:

1. Understand your target audience intimately. Facebook helps you to niche your audience, so reaching the 1 percent of the 15 percent is totally attainable. Twitter enables you to evaluate and assess trending topics. So, put these two great abilities together and you can now get a dimensional view of your target. Understanding your consumers’ psychographics has never been more important. What do they like? Who do they like? What other brands are they following?

2. Visually map up your brand’s interests. What subjects are important to your brand or business? Those are probably of interest to your audience. Let’s say your brand is a health supplement; fitness, health issues, and nutrition are all top interests. This is a good starting point to direct you in creating posts and engaging your brands with other relevant pages.

3. Fill in your brand’s social calendar. Taking my previous example of a health supplement, capitalize on Nutrition Month, Heart Health Month, or Diabetes Month. If your brand or business is part of the food or beverage industry, then Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day, weekends, and barbecues are all relevant events for your calendar.

4. Build excitement. Launch a contest, provide samples, offer coupons; get in the know with your community. While the excitement is on—or the contest is running—take advantage of your audience’s interest to provide relevant and thought-provoking posts to engage people.

5. Be in sync. It’s important for brands to have all aspects of their marketing integrated. If there’s a product launch, make sure you plan for it, tweet it, and promote it. The timing of posts and tweets is vital to the success of your marketing activities.

A social media calendar is a plan, but it’s the sum of all its parts and provides a solid foundation for a brand’s social media initiatives. Having a social media calendar doesn’t mean keeping it rigid. To the contrary, like all aspects of social media, it must stay fluid and respond to Twitter trending topics, a newsworthy event, or the latest and greatest happening that pertains to your brand or business.

Miriam Hara is the creative core of 3H Communications. A version of this article first appeared on Business2Community.

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