How to Develop a Social Media Content Calendar

Bea Halstead - January 30, 2012

As a community manager working with multiple social channels, it is a challenge to try and create engaging dynamic content, share it, and track it.  After establishing the branding voice (tone), I consider the content format and theme to determine what social media channel will be most receptive to the post.

Create a content calendar in Excel and organize the tabs for posts, tracking, and reporting.  In the post tab, include columns for:

  • post date
  • social channels
  • post content
  • post format/type
  • category/theme
  • tracking link

Creating a category column and adding a keyword to the theme will help identify the post content and aid in keeping messages fresh when you need ideas for future posts.  At a quick glance you can see over time how many videos, images, events, and other post types were shared. Frequency to the social channels and what was posted will become more visible as well.  By organizing the tracking and reporting tabs similarly, you will notice trends in the popularity of  post categories, and the results of how it was re-shared, so you can adjust accordingly when generating new content.

Many social media channels accept dynamic content formats. Focusing on what format the content is posted in will help narrow down the audience, frequency, and what channel to share it with.

  • Links – always good to incorporate links from a variety of sources. A thumbnail preview in Facebook can highlight and hyperlink to a web page or article. Also, content that is too extensive for a post can be linked to another source. Social Media tracking should always be included and can be hidden by using a shortened link. 
  • Videos – sharing from YouTube with another channel promotes within both communities. It is important to incorporate tags and descriptions to YouTube video’s because they can add SEO value to the content.  Don’t forget the length or size of the video maybe be limited by the channel you are posting too.
  • Photos – mobile apps for certain channels tend to focus on photos, so use them as often as possible. Try to embrace tagging people/organizations/pages and include comments to enhance the reach and engagement.
  • Slide Shows/Catalogs/Brochures – more professional content is better shared in a channel like SlideShare or Linked In, and then sharing the links with other channels to direct the right traffic to the content.
  • Blogs/Articles/Press Releases – starting an account with Tumbler or Dig to share content is great exposure for more informational content.  You can also share the links to these with other social media channels to attract even more traffic across all channels.
  • Check-Ins – although it’s a feature within a social channel, including reminders to check in can provide reporting data and better awareness of a physical location. Recently, Google+ integrated businesses on Google Places with the ability to offer Check-In Deals.

While maintaining involvement in multiple channels, a content calendar can provide a general guideline for post creation and help to maintain the branding voice.  The size of your audience should also be considered when selecting a channel.  If your presence on Facebook is larger than Twitter, then the main content stream should be shared with the largest audience first.  Keep in mind, posting is a trial and error process and you will learn from experience.  It is best to be diligent about tracking, monitoring and reporting on what posts are working the best for your audience to keep them engaged.  This will only help you to improve how and what you are sharing over time and in turn grow your social presence.

Do you already have a unique way of organizing your content?  Let us know!

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