9 Questions to Ask When Setting Up a Social Media Content Calendar

Being a social media or community manager and content creator can be tricky. While there may be a lot of momentum when starting to develop a content calendar, time has a way of allowing stagnation to creep into the mix. Developing content week after week can feel redundant — and that’s the slow death of a social media presence. The best social media managers strive to stay fresh, stay on brand, and be a part of the evolving digital conversation. They work to sustain and even grow their passion. 

It takes a conscious effort to keep things fresh. To that end, the following are the questions we recommend asking as you create a content calendar. (Note: some may feel basic, and some may feel like the tip of the iceberg, but all are relevant to smart, thoughtful social media development. Consider this a friendly reset reminder).

Are you posting at the right times?

You can maximize your visibility and engagement by posting at the right times of day. A recent American Marketing Association study revealed key findings about social media scheduling. Most telling, morning posts yield more link clicks than afternoon or evening posts.

Are you posting enough?

Most social media experts consider one post a day to be the sweet spot for Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. For Twitter and Pinterest, aim for between 5 and 15 posts daily. Don’t be afraid to reshare content on Twitter, but don’t bombard your social media streams with non-stop posts. That can hurt customer engagement, especially for companies with fewer than 10,000 followers.

How is your appearance?

Sometimes social media managers get caught up in social CRMs to manage the content that’s shared. It’s important to keep a healthy temperature check on the look of your pages and handles. Use your timeline to propel your message. Offer a unique, creative cover image and don’t overlook your About page. These more permanent pieces of content let visitors have a better feel for your brand. 

Are you thinking seasonally?

People engage differently with social media depending on the season (and any related holidays). Be sure to account for national holidays and important dates to maximize engagement. Consider building a yearly calendar, articulating tentpole events and unique messaging opportunities. Celebrations are important. Use thematic content from recognized large holidays (Halloween, New Year’s) to the lesser recognized holidays (Global Coffee Day, International Employees Day) to create messages connecting your brand with the world. And don’t forget about your product or business! Are there events in the company’s timeline, or in the way your customers use your product? Do they tie to yearly trends? Company lore gives a unique sense of depth and value that people appreciate, and it develops trust.

Are you staying involved?

Content is king. Development and innovation are always rolling. But you can’t create without participating. Be a part of the ongoing discussion. Steer it when necessary and make sure the community sees your involvement. This also tells you what content best resonates with your followers. Who are your super followers? Is there a way to incorporate more personality into your content? Q&As and AMAs are both great ways to allow experts within your company to bridge an information gap and engage proactively with your audience.

Are you keeping up with the Joneses?

Watch local, national, and global trends. Understand the large topics of the day. Stay informed to insert yourself (when appropriate) into relevant convos, and identify popular narrow-targeted hashtags to reach a more specific audience; make it easier for them to find you. Identify peers in the industry and build relationships. Connect with Twitterchats and help your company be a voice in your field.

Are you asking your other departments / teams / clients about upcoming events?

Use your resources. Colleagues and customers alike can provide an abundance of quality content about conferences, online events, and newsworthy happenings. Keep your feed timely while helping your folks spread the word. Social media does not have to be a one-person representation. Different departments may have communications goals and expertise. 

Is there content that needs to be shared with your audience on a recurring basis?

Think beyond the promotion of ongoing events. Set up a time to interact with followers on a regular basis with a branded hashtag or similar, using your favorite scheduling software to streamline the process.

Can you find new folks to help you brainstorm to keep content fresh?

Content fatigue need not be inevitable. Plug into your various communities — work colleagues, fellow community managers, even those industry insiders you follow — to keep the idea wellspring flowing. Brainstorm! Perhaps there are ways you can develop philanthropy or broader company initiatives, where your social media channels can funnel the passion and community support on areas outside of business. Collaborate!

Social innovation and quality content cannot exist without research, brand enthusiasm, and eagle-eye trend watching. Stay on brand and on message, but don’t forget to have fun. After all, that’s why we’re on social media in the first place — for a bit of an escape. Add to the experience in a positive way and your customers will appreciate it.

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