Social content is essential in today’s digital landscape. Social media is actually today’s word-of-mouth for law firms. Properly planning and organizing your social media calendar is easier said than done, though. That’s why a social media calendar can be a lifesaver. Here’s what you need to know about setting up a robust, easy-to-use social media calendar.
What is a Social Media Calendar?
In simple terms, a social media calendar is a detailed overview of any upcoming social media posts, complete with deadlines, dates, and times. Many people use a spreadsheet, but you can use another type of document or interactive dashboard. Social media marketers use these calendars to plan posts, manage various campaigns, and keep an eye on upcoming and ongoing strategies.
A well-formatted social media calendar will include the following:
- Post campaign (if one applies)
- Post creative such as copy, images, links, etc.
- The date and time the post should go live
- Which social network and/or account where it will be published
The Benefits of a Social Media Calendar
Is a social media calendar just an extra effort to take? Most people don’t want to add additional steps to their processes – but the truth is, a social media calendar can streamline and simplify all of your efforts. A social media calendar can help marketers:
- Get organized, which saves time. With a social media calendar, you can plan ahead and batch your work, which is a huge time-saver. Many tools allow you to schedule posts ahead of time without having to log in to multiple platforms. For marketers managing multiple social accounts, this can significantly reduce the effort required in any given time.
- Make it possible to post regularly. No matter how often you decide to post on social media, being consistent is key. This is hard for marketers who have many different things to do each day. A calendar can help you to stick to a regular schedule, and creating posts in advance means you’ll have a social media presence even if you’re not able to post on a certain day.
- Allow staff to take breaks. By creating content and scheduling it in advance, you can take a breath and your staff can do the same. You know you need to post consistently, even if you have a vacation or are in the midst of a big project, but that can add a lot of stress. With a calendar, you know you can post consistently even when you can’t log into the accounts.
- Reduce errors and mistakes. When you plan posts ahead, you can spend more time editing or tweaking to optimize them. Checking your work more frequently will increase the quality of all of your posts. It can be hard to spend the necessary time when you’re posting things at the last minute.
- Create higher-quality content and campaigns. With a well-planned social media calendar, you can allocate your resources according to the highest need. If you have some high-priority campaigns, you can spend more time and get more eyes on them. You can also assign posts according to people’s areas of expertise. Since you can spend more time, your quality is almost guaranteed to be higher.
- Properly time content around events. There are some things that you know are coming up. For example, the holidays, or tax season. Regardless of what events or phases you market around, you can plan posts in advance and not scramble to come up with quality content. When the important parts of your calendar are planned out, you have more flexibility for impromptu posts based on whatever is timely.
- Find opportunities for partnerships or sponsored campaigns. Influencer marketing and partnerships can be powerful channels for connecting with your audience. Planning content in advance gives you more time to seek out the right partners or other brands that align with yours. This also provides more flexibility so that you can work with potential partners on their schedule, instead of having to pass due to scheduling conflicts.
- Learn what is working and then optimize. No doubt you’ve heard that what gets measured gets improved, and a calendar can be a big help with that. Use your living calendar document to plug in KPIs and see what is performing and what is suffering. Then use those insights to improve and produce more of your highest-quality content.
How to Create a Social Media Calendar in 4 Steps
Are you sold on creating a lean and efficient social media calendar so that you can experience all of these benefits? Here’s what to do.
- Perform an audit of your networks and content. Before you go further planning, you need to understand the big picture and where you are currently. Review your existing accounts, content, KPIs, etc. Find gaps and see what works well. Document what you want more of and where improvements need to be made.
- Pick your social media channels and mix of content. An important step is determining what kind of content is most beneficial for your firm. We always recommend sticking to the 80-20 rule in content creation: 80% helpful, informational, and educational content, and 20% content that could be viewed as promotional. Don’t forget to include user-generated content and other curated content, too.
- Determine what your calendar needs to include. Your social media calendar should be specific to your organization and what works for your staff. Map out the information that’s most important to you, including items like platform, date and time, copy, KPIs, etc. You can always add more components that are helpful for your firm. Your calendar doesn’t need to look like anyone else’s – it needs to work for your team.
- Include your team and listen to feedback. Don’t create your calendar in a vacuum – you need to obtain feedback and buy-in from the people who will actually use it. The calendar needs to make sense to your team or they won’t use it. When your calendar is in a good place, sit down and review it together. Incorporate the feedback that makes sense. Go through this process again after using the calendar for a few months. It should be a living document that is always changing and improving.
A social media calendar is well worth your time to create and use. Though it requires some up-front planning and brainpower, it’s an important investment in your social media strategy. If you’re just getting started, you can just use a simple spreadsheet. At some point, you can move to a more robust tool or online platform that can help you to execute what you planned. If you aren’t sure where to start, give our experts a call. We’ll help you put together a comprehensive strategy and calendar around today’s word of mouth, social media.