Every Social Media Manager knows that the secret to success is to have a seriously robust social media content calendar in place.
We know that good – and we mean really good – social media content calendar templates are hard to find. But it’s for good reason. As simple as a calendar sounds, it actually takes hours of research, careful design and flawless layout to end up with something that will serve you all year long.
It’s because of this that paper planners – as beautiful as lots of them are – get tossed aside after a couple of months of use. You can’t share them with your team, if they’re missing something you need they’re hard to customise, and let’s be honest – it’s a LOT of effort to translate all that lush brainstorming into a digital format after you’ve used up all of your energy on paper planning.
Our mission is to make the lives of Digital Marketers like you much, much easier. And that begins with constructing a really great social media content planner.
(Alternatively, if it all sounds like too much hassle, we’ve designed a social media content calendar for you that you can buy and use straightaway.)
What makes a good social media content planner?
In our humble opinion, any content planner worth its salt should have:
- Public holidays and seasons mapped out for the year.
- National days noted that are relevant to your industry.
- Key dates for your business (e.g. product launches, promotional periods, notable changes of season).
- Your customer’s mindset and priorities according to the time of year (we suggest monthly).
- An easy way to share your plans with team members and/or clients.
Plotting public holidays
This is the easiest point to start at. Public holidays include globally or nationally noted dates such as:
- Christmas / Hannukah / Eid / similar religious holidays
- New year
- Valentines day
- Bank holidays
- School terms and holidays
- Remembrance Day
There will inevitably be publicly celebrated holidays that apply to your social media channels that we haven’t listed here. Take the time to think carefully about any annual dates that apply to you, and plot them in your social media calendar – it’s amazing how quickly they sneak up on you, and you’ll thank yourself for the planning you’ve put in!
Mapping media events
What one-off events are happening this year that you know you need to cover?
These could be:
- Sports events like the Olympics (don’t forget the Winter Olympics, Paralympics, Invictus Games, etc)
- Fashion and beauty events like Fashion Week and Stylist Live
- Digital marketing events like Marketing Week and Festival of Marketing
- Food events like The National Chocolate Show and the Cake and Bake Show.
Research your sector calendars and the likes of Time Out magazine to list as many relevant events as you can throughout the year.
Of course, new ones will pop up all the time, so remember to update your calendar when you spot something you want to talk about online.
Where to find national days
Ahhhh, the mad-but-brilliant national days.
A few websites list these, but the best source we’ve found for this is daysoftheyear.com.
Beware though, as some national days / weeks / months are American only, and some things double up. Black History Month, for example, takes place in March in America, but in October in the UK, Research each one first before creating content about it.
This is almost certainly the longest part of creating your social media content calendar, but considering the amount of inspiration they can drop into your lap, it’s generally worth it (plus nearly all of them trend when they roll around!).
Your customer's monthly mindset
Being able to slip into the shoes of your target customer month-to-month is a really key part of digital marketing. If they feel like you ‘get’ them all the time, and you can produce content that gives them solutions to or support with those feelings, they’ll trust you.
This is where customer research and, ideally, marketing personas come in really handy.
Using all the juicy info you already know about your ideal customer, run through your social media content calendar to note their mindset and priorities for each month.
Is January a tough mental health month due to Winter stretching on? Note it.
Are they likely to be off on an extravagant holiday this Summer? Note it.
Is November going to be their busiest month of the year? You guessed it… write that down!
As you create your social media content, ensure you’re making an effort to tap into their mindset and monthly priorities. Done well, the results can be transformative.
Creating a good content calendar is a lot of work. It’s particularly research heavy. But that work pays off when your social media content planning prepares you for ANYTHING.