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How to Build a Social Media Calendar That WORKS

A social marketer’s secret weapon is his or her calendar. A solid social media calendar tells you what’s coming up, which events are important, and what to expect from past months and years. These pieces of information ensure that when unexpected circumstances pop up, you’re never unprepared.

How to Build a Social Media Calendar

If you’re building your social media calendar and want to know how to put together the right roadmap for your brand, check out these tips for stress-free planning, and download our latest guide for the full step-by-step walk-through and template.

Start with the Big Picture

The first thing you need to do is get a good look at the broader marketing initiatives within your organization: the product releases, projects, and content pieces you’re going to have to support during this month, quarter, or year.

Your Checklist 

✓ Meet with the primary stakeholders for each of the organizations within your marketing department to make sure you understand all the dates and needs of these parties.

✓ Build out the content on your calendar leading up to, during, and after each major marketing initiative.

✓ Send this tentative calendar to the primary stakeholders to make sure you’re on the right track and haven’t missed any major marketing events.

✓ Once you have approval, set up follow-up meetings with the primary stakeholders for each campaign to make sure you have all the materials you need from them to craft your best creative social content — and gain behind-the-scenes or on-site access as necessary.

Research External Events

Take a look at the events external to your brand that you should be paying attention to, and be prepared to craft social content around them. For instance, here are some major events you should consider planning content around, whether you’re a B2B social marketer or B2C social marketer.

2016 Social Calendar
Download our How to Build a Social Media Calendar guide to see all 12 months.

Analyze the Past

To do better in the future, you must first understand what has worked well for you and other brands in your space in past years. Here’s a checklist for making sure you’re looking at the past correctly.

Run a report on your brand activities to find out which campaigns worked best for your brand over the past year, and where lulls occurred. Mark those spikes and dips in your calendar for next year so you know when to replicate successes and when you should expect (and plan accordingly for) a downturn in social activity.

✓ Remember to check on your competitors: analyze competitive performance on your social content, wins, and losses over the past year. Check out how your competitors have done when compared to your brand, learn from their successes, and take advantage of their weaknesses when planning out your fresh calendar. Need help? Check out our Complete Guide to Competitive Analysis.

✓ Don’t limit yourself by replicating campaigns which created short-term spikes in engagement, impressions, share-of-voice, or whatever other metric you’re focusing on: look at the larger picture by paying attention to sustained brand lift.

For instance, if your brand received a big follower boost thanks to a well-executed campaign last January, but lost half that number of followers over the course of the year, something went wrong and needs to be changed. Need help figuring out the long-tail results of a one-off campaign? Check out our End-of-Year Social Audit Guide

Once you have a solid social media calendar on deck, you’re no longer wondering where you’re going — you already know! You won’t have that “Oops, the Olympics start in one week…Should I be doing something about that?” moment, because you’ll already have thought it through and seen it coming up on your calendar if you did decide to leverage the event for your brand.

To see a sample calendar for a month in 2016 (and much more!), remember to download our full guide below.

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How to Build a Social Media Calendar


Lucy Hitz

I’m the Head of Marketing Communications here at Simply Measured, where I'm responsible for our content program, social media marketing, PR, and comarketing ventures. I love yoga, The X-Files, peaty scotch, hiking, and poetry. If I were a social media channel, I’d want to be Instagram, but I think I’m Twitter.

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