Complete Guide to Creating a Simple Yet Effective Social Media Editorial Calendar
Learn why a social media editorial calendar is important and how to implement one in four simple steps.
One of the best ways to save your limited time on social media is to create an editorial calendar for efficient scheduling and posting of your social content.
In an ideal world, you would have ample time to research and craft quality content with time left to relax by the pool. However, according to Sprout Social, only 20% of your time should be spent creating and curating content. How can you fit pool time into that schedule?
How to Allocate Your Time on Social Media
25%: Researching & Planning
20%: Creating & Curating Content
10%: Collaborating with Others
35%: Engaging with Customers
10%: Analyzing the Results
4 Simple but Effective Steps to Create a Social Media Editorial Calendar
Zeroing in on how you should be spending just 20% of your time (highlighted above), here are four steps to setting up a social media editorial calendar to better create and curate content.
Step 1. Figure out which networks to post to
There’s no universal answer when it comes to deciding which social networks you should be on. However, there is some research you can conduct to find which networks you could thrive on.
The Big Picture:
First, take a look at this overview of the social media landscape as of February 2015 from Experian Marketing Services. Facebook leads the pack by a long shot.
Look to past success:
Where does your audience figure into the social media mix?
One way to find out which social networks you should spend time on is to look at which networks you’ve already been finding success on.
If you are a Google Analytics user, you know there is a ton of data to absorb. It can be intimidating and overwhelming.
For a quick look at which social networks currently drive traffic to your site, drill down into the following Google Analytics data:
Acquisition > Channels > Social
In this example, Facebook, Twitter, and Quora drive a big chunk of traffic to the site. However, Reddit and LinkedIn drive the greatest number of New Sessions.
Dlvr.it pro tip: If you’re a dlvr.it user wanting to use Google Analytics, read How to Auto Enable Google Analytics UTM Tracking Code for Social Media
Look at your demographics:
You can also use Google Analytics > Audience > Demographics data to determine the Age, Gender, Interest, and Geo-locations of your social media audience.
With this information, you can then find out exactly which social media websites they’re most likely to frequent.
Pew Research Center’s recent post on The Demographics of Social Media Users discusses the demographic characteristics of five social media platforms they surveyed. Here are the highlights:
Facebook — 72% of adult internet users/62% of entire adult population
- 72% of online American adults use Facebook
- Usage is popular among online women, 77% of whom are users
- 82% of online adults ages 18 to 29 use Facebook
Pinterest — 31% of adult internet users/26% of entire adult population
- 31% of online adults use Pinterest
- Women dominate Pinterest – 44% of online women use the site, compared with 16% of online men
- Those under the age of 50 are also more likely to be Pinterest users
Instagram — 28% of adult internet users/24% of entire adult population
- 28% of online adults use Instagram
- Instagram is popular with non-whites and young adults: 55% of online adults ages 18 to 29 use Instagram, as do 47% of African Americans and 38% of Hispanics
- Women are more likely than online men to be Instagram users (31% vs. 24%)
LinkedIn — 25% of adult internet users/22% of entire adult population
- A quarter of online adults, use LinkedIn
- Especially popular among working-age adults as well as college graduates and those with relatively high household incomes.
- Only major social media platform for which usage rates are higher among 30- to 49-year-olds than among 18- to 29-year-olds.
- 46% of online adults who have graduated from college are LinkedIn users
Twitter — 23% of all internet users/20% of entire adult population
- 23% of all online adults use Twitter
- Three-in-ten online urban residents use the site, compared with 21% of suburbanites and 15% of those living in rural areas.
- Twitter is more popular among younger adults (< 50-years old) — 60% of online adults under 50 use Twitter
Let’s talk about Engagement:
In terms of engagement, Facebook continues to have the most engaged users – 70% log on daily, including 43% who do so several times a day.
Step 2. Choose a posting frequency
Once you determine which networks you want to be on, next up is to figure out how often you need to post to them. Unfortunately, there are no hard-and-fast rules when it comes to choosing how often to post to each of your social networks.
How often you should blog post, varies based on:
- Audience response
- Your ability to provide useful and engaging content
Ultimately, the answer to this question and the success of your social media efforts is based on the “numbers” ~ back to Google Analytics and other social networks analytics tools.
For a quick cheat sheet, here’s an infographic from Buffer and SumAll depicting the average ideal frequencies to post across social media:
Step 3. Find and create fantastic content
Don’t be surprised if step two made you feel a little overwhelmed. We all know that content is king, but when did it become necessary to make over 13 social media posts per day?
How could you possibly find enough content to keep your fans and followers interested?
Answer: You can create content as well as curate great content to keep your social media posting queue full.
Here are a few quick ways to make sure you always have enough content to entertain your social followers.
Best tools to help find great content:
1. BuzzSumo: A content search tool that will show you the hottest tweets and content related to any search topic under the sun. Just enter a search term (for example, cupcakes on Pinterest), and browse the most popular posts about that topic from the past 24-hours to the past year.
2. Newsle: Service that finds blogs and articles that mention you or anyone you care about – colleagues, friends, business acquaintances or industry thought leaders – and notifies you seconds after they’ve published.
3. Scoop.it!: Platform to help discover, curate and publish great content to get visibility online.
Best shareable content:
1. How-to Posts
- 75% of people like learning online, which explains why how-to posts are so successful. They are most popular on Facebook and Pinterest, but they get a lot of shares on LinkedIn, too.
For example, the article “The Biggest Mistakes I See on Resumes, and How to Correct Them” got almost 2.3 Million views on LinkedIn.
- 8 out of 10 of the most shared articles in 2014 were quizzes
For example, take a look at BuzzFeed’s quiz on What Career Should You Actually Have? This quiz generated almost 19 Million views!
3. Picture Lists
- Picture lists work best when they tell a story, explain a process or draw contrasts.
Despite being disproven on Snopes.com, a picture list that recently went viral compared U.S. school lunches with lunches from around the world. Internet users shared it more than 470,000 times.
Another content curation option:
Concierge by dlvr.it: Concierge handpicks content to share with your social media audience.
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Step 4: Schedule content to fill your calendar
Once you know which networks to post to, how often to post to those networks and exactly what you want to post, all you have to do next is start to schedule those messages.
Some of the networks have tools that allow you to schedule your posts, but it’s much easier to use a tool that automates the scheduling process while allowing complete flexibility.
Obviously our number one choice for scheduling posts is to use Q by dlvr.it
Q is a feature of dlvr.it that drips your posts out on an optimized daily schedule. Q delivers a consistent flow of perfectly timed content throughout the day to keep your social media audience engaged.
Read: A Guide to Getting Started with dlvr.it
So now you have all the tools you need to create a social media editorial calendar. To recap:
Step 1. Figure out which networks to post to
Step 2. Choose a posting frequency
Step 3. Create and curate GREAT content
Step 4. Queue up content with a scheduling tool to fill your calendar
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