A strong social media planning game relies on a solid social media calendar.
Your calendar is the backbone of your social strategy, the frame upon which everything else is built. It lets you stay organized, plan ahead, and keep a steady stream of content flowing on your social pages.
In this post, we’ll break down an example of a typical social calendar and take a detailed look at the calendar we use to run our social strategy here at MeetEdgar. By the end, you should be armed with a few new tricks for improving your own social media planning.
It doesn’t take anything more complicated than a spreadsheet to start planning a successful social media strategy. Templates are readily available online and easy to adapt to your individual preferences.
Traditional social planning basically boils down to deciding what you’ll post, when you’ll post it, and on what platform it’ll appear. We suggest writing your posts ahead of time in batches, so they’re ready to go, but you could also just pencil in what type of post you’ll be making and do the actual wordsmithing down the road.
Here’s a sample calendar page to let you see what this looks like:
Notice that the types of posts are color coded, which makes it easy to ensure variety at a glance. Holidays and other promotions are also marked on the calendar, which is an important part of planning ahead!
The above example shows how you can mix word-for-word posts, like the Facebook Question on the 16th, with more generic post descriptions (like the reminder on the 18th). Again, while we much prefer to write our posts in batches and schedule them ahead of time, the true mark of success for a social media plan is that it works for you.
You can get really granular with this, but we suggest that you don’t – especially if you won’t be writing content in batches. It’s very easy for a little writer’s block to lay waste to your carefully crafted schedule if you’re not writing everything in advance.
Traditional social content calendars are great for planning ahead, but we like to do things a little differently here at MeetEdgar. Here’s what our calendar is like…
Before we get into our method, it’s important to reiterate that when it comes to social planning – if it works for you, it works! As long as your calendar lets you stay organized and helps ensure that your social feeds don’t run out of content, it’s doing its job.
That being said, here’s what has worked well for us.
The key to our calendar is that everything we plan on posting is assigned a category. We then use these categories to create our posting schedule, rather than relying on slotting individual posts into our calendar.
Using categories, we’re also able to create a 1-week-long repeating schedule, rather than a traditional calendar that is constantly in need of updating.
That’s right – all of our social content is posted on the same schedule, week after week, which saves us hours and hours of planning time each year.
But what about seasonal promos and other special events? With our categories system, it’s easy. Each promotion gets its own category, which we can simply switch on or off when the time comes. We set up tasks in our project management system to keep tabs on these special events, rather than making a separate editorial calendar.
Of course, we use Edgar to manage our posting schedule, and let him decide which content to post for each category when the time comes, which makes the whole thing even easier. Essentially, once our content library is filled and organized by category, and our repeating weekly schedule has been created, Edgar takes it from there, running our posts without requiring a second thought.
We’d say Edgar is set it and forget it, but that phrase is probably trademarked.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention repeating content as part of our social media planning routine! As you know by now, only a teensy fraction of your social audience is paying attention at any given time. Every time you repeat a post, you’re putting it in front of a new portion of your followers. So don’t be afraid to repeat yourself – just don’t do it too often (reposting something once every few months is a fine routine to follow).
We should also point out that live interactions aren’t something you should schedule – unless you need to block out time on your personal calendar to dedicate to social interactions. We prefer to think of detailed calendars and automations ways to free up social media time that you can spend interacting with your audience, and to let the interactions happen organically.
Do you follow one of the social media planning routines we discussed in this post? Or do you have your own system? Either way, we’d love to hear about it in the comments!
This post is part of our Edgar Learn series, where we share the strategies that helped us find success! For more from Edgar Learn, click here!