The Who, What, When, Where & Why of a Social Media Calendar

Imagine this: You’re on vacation, soaking up the sun, sipping a refreshing drink, and the furthest thing on your mind is work. All of that can wait until you come back from paradise. Suddenly, you remember you were supposed to post a Facebook status update about National Chocolate Ice Cream Day for three of your clients, four hours ago. Oops.

Situations like the one above can be frustrating, but avoided. A social media editorial calendar will help you organize your strategy for your campaigns by planning what posts will go out on which social media networks ahead of time. When it comes to social media calendars, SOCi has a vast understanding of the importance of creating a solid plan as part of an overall marketing strategy. Let’s take a look at how to create a social media calendar, as we walk through the who, what, when, where, and why of one.

1. WHO Should You Post Content For?

Analytics will reveal your audience and you can tailor content toward them.
Your social media should be tailored toward your target audience, so it’s vital to post content that they can identify with and respond to. You can gain insight into your customer base by utilizing your analytics derived from your social media. When you can gain a better understanding of your audience and the best way to reach them, planning what content to post on what platform becomes a whole lot easier.

Not sure how to understand your insights? Learn more about understanding social media analytics.

2. WHAT Is Your Goal?

Determine what your goals will be for your strategy so you know what to center your calendar around.
Before you begin crafting your plan, decide on the objective behind your strategy. Are you trying to build a solid fan base? Are you looking to celebrate a fun national day (e.g. National Coffee Day)? Or, perhaps are you trying to grow and entice your fan base by running a contest with the use of a certain hashtag. Your social media calendar will vary depending on your desired outcome.

By having a measurable goal, you’ll be able to see what works and what doesn’t as your plan plays out. Be sure to check on it and and adjust it along the way if necessary.

3. WHEN Should You Post?

This infographic by SurePayroll reveals the peak times in which users are generally online.
Analytics can also tell you when to post for maximum engagement. These are certain days and times when your customers are more likely to see your updates and respond to them. For general days and times, research by SurePayroll revealed the following times and days returned a high click-through rate:

  • Facebook: Monday through Friday, people are usually online around 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. to get through the afternoon slump, peaking on Wednesday around 3 p.m.
  • Twitter: Most will check their Twitters around lunch time from Monday through Thursday. Come 3 p.m. Friday, though, the numbers will drop.
  • Google +: The early bird catches the worm on Google +. Users tend to frequent this channel first thing in the morning, with peak time at 9 a.m. on Wednesday.
  • LinkedIn: Avoid posting on a Friday. As people are gearing up for the weekend, they are less likely to look for professional updates. Instead, aim to post at noon or 5 p.m., around the middle of the week.

4. WHERE Should You Post?

Decide what content will post on which social media channel.
For maximum engagement, the number of times you post varies per platform. You don’t want to spam your audience with several posts a day, but you also want to avoid posting sporadically. Find a balance between informative and overwhelming. Our blog post, Brand Building Mistake on Social Media, details how often you should be posting per social media channel, but we’ll sum it up for you here:

  • Facebook: The golden number is around twice a day for Facebook. Any more, and you put yourself in danger of losing engagement.
  • Twitter: While Twitter was made for frequent posts and you can post upwards of 24 times a day (once per hour), it doesn’t mean you should. Aim for around three times a day.
  • Google +: Three times a day is the magic number for Google +, and try to keep your updates to weekdays.
  • LinkedIn: You can post once a day if desired, but stick to weekdays.

5. WHY Should You Have a Social Media Calendar?

Form your plan around your goal.
A social media calendar is crucial to carrying out an effective campaign. Providing high-quality content might come easily to some social media strategists, but, often, it requires a lot of preparation, thought-processing, and editing. By planning ahead, your team will be on the same page and will be able to see what content they need to develop, well before it actually needs to go out, so they have time to edit as needed. By creating a social media calendar, you will never find yourself forgetting or missing an important post again!

By answering the who, what, when, where, and why, you’ll be able to design a social media calendar that will effectively reach your desired goals. Do you have any additional tips for creating a social media strategy? Tweet us @meetsoci!

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