The Ultimate Guide to Social Media Content Planning for Beginners + FREE Workbook with 57 content ideas!
Social Media can be both time consuming, and confusing, which is why I’ve created a cheat sheet list of 57 topic ideas + a FREE workbook for you to use to make the process of social media content marketing EASY and FAST. Imagine planning ALL of your social media platforms content for the next 30 days in 20 minutes! Or maybe your entire year? Here’s how:
- Download all the printable’s below to get started.
- Fill out the pieces as we walk through it together.
- Start Creating AMAZING content.
- Use a desktop folder or Google Drive Folder to organize them, OR use your favorite Social Media Manager to schedule them RIGHT AWAY!
- Sit back and relax! (Don’t forget to post AND engage though!)
So what are the pieces I’ve created to help you?
- Goal Planning Sheet
- Content Cheat Sheet
- Weekly Social Media Content Calendar
- Social Media Monthly Calendar At a Glance
- Goal Recorder
Now, let’s get started! Click the graphic below to download your goodies and then follow the steps to plan your Social Media Content Calendar for the next 7 days, 30 days (and beyond!):
1 | Using the Goal Planning Sheet, describe the outcomes you want to achieve using social media over the next set amount of days. I recommend 30 days since many social media platforms record in that increment. The first thing to remember is: a social media content calendar is DIFFERENT than a blog editorial calendar. We’ll get into the blog calendar another day! Some things to consider when doing goal planning:
- WHO is your audience: Quickly define your target market, with this information you can further decide what the exact social media accounts you will want to target for the next X-amount of days you decide.
- Start small: Especially your first month planning. Make sure your goals are achievable but not too easy (you don’t want to blow past a goal on the first day).
- Be specific: It’s okay to have a dozen goals IF that’s what you’re comfortable tracking. However its important to consider if its relevant to track and if that information will be important at a later time to help you. You could always track a dozen things the first month, and then narrow down the following month to test out what will work best for you. But as you list out things to track, try to figure out WHY you are tracking it, and HOW it will help you to ensure you aren’t OVER-tracking. IE: wasting your time!
- Consider dates: If you have product launches, special blog posts, or holidays coming up – these factors might influence your stats and any additional or specialized goals you may have for this month so remember to work that in!
- Break it down: By social media accounts. Most social media will give you followers and likes, but some have additional analytics such as engagement or profile views as well that are specific to them. Don’t make your goals go across the platforms- some social media accounts will grow faster than others and your goals should reflect that.
- Give it a date: Its okay to make the end of the month your goal date for most things (for example: +100 subscribers to my Instagram by end-of-month) but other goals might have a shorter time frame (for example: if you launch a product on the 5th, you may have a goal of 10 sales by the end-of-the-day) so consider that!
- Action Steps: WHAT are you going to do to ensure you hit these goals?
2 | Using the Content Cheat Sheet, highlight all of the types of content that YOUR target market wants to see/use (or add your own ideas!). This is not an exhaustive list, but its a fantastic starting point! Some things to remember as you mark off ideas you want to do:
- Simplify: You don’t need to post everyday, you don’t need to post 10 times a day on every single social media platform out there. In fact, you don’t need to have every single social media there is. What you need to do is understand WHO your target market is and WHERE they hang out. Choose 2-3 social media’s to start with, but no more (in the beginning). Consider your Return on Investment (ROI) – if your market isn’t on the platform, putting work into it won’t give you any return no matter how good the content is. Which leads me to the next point…
- Consistency: People love when things are consistent and they know what to expect (for example: Monday’s are for quotes, Tuesday’s are for blog posts, etc.), and hate when things vary from that (for example: if you post a quote daily to your Instagram account, and then take a day off – people will notice and automatically assume you’ve closed up shop!). Point is – ALWAYS under-promise and over-deliver, or in the world of social media, start slower – post on each platform once or twice a week, and adding more consistent days to your calendar once you’ve developed a strong cadence you can continue delivering on! IE: QUALITY OVER QUANTITY!
- You’re not your target market: This is incredibly important so let me repeat it. YOU ARE YOU NOT YOUR TARGET MARKET. Even if you ARE your target market, you are not. What does that mean? If YOUR need for something drove you to create a product/service, you are no longer the target market that has a need for said product/service. Which means what YOU want to see, and what content YOU want to produce is not relevant to your target market. Get back into THEIR heads and find out what THEY want to see/use instead (or better yet, ASK them)! Bottom line: never assume you know what your market is looking for!
- Check out the competition: Sort of a don’t-talk-about topic, I know. But so underestimated. You want to beat out the competition right? Find out what they are doing so you can do it better, AND differentiate yourself – it really is that simple!
3 | Once you’ve narrowed down what types of content you want to focus on, it’s time to pull out the Content Calendar! It’s structured for 7 days, which is easier to digest than jumping into a full 30 day calendar in the beginning. The great part about a 7 day format, is it can encourage you to simplify – choose only the best content on the best days, and allow you to repeat that pattern the following week. To schedule more, just print out additional sheets and fill them in as you go. Finally, when you’re ready – input your content into the monthly At A Glance Calendar to see it all together! Hopefully you’ve simplified your list and are focusing on only a handful of social media accounts, to post a few times a week to. Now it’s time to start plug-and-playing! I recommend using a pencil while considering the following steps:
- Launch Content: Do you have a big launch this month? A new product coming out? A really important blog post planned, etc? Make sure you work this into the schedule first! Pencil in days, social media platforms, and formats you want to push it. If you don’t have any, skip this step!
- Holiday Content: Same idea as the launch content. If you have any specialized posts or products coming out for an upcoming holiday, pencil in these next! If you don’t, skip this step!
- Numbers Game: With the general content left, start by counting how many content items you have – do you have 5? Could you post 1 per day for each (work) week? Do you have 6 and want to post 3 items per week? Do you have 20? Could you create categories and narrow down to 5 categories – one of which you post per day for each (work) week?
- Hashtag Game Strong: Think about some of the popular hashtags based on daily themes (for example: #motivationalmonday, #tuesdaytips, #fearlessfriday, etc.). How can you use these themes and popular hashtags to create buzz around your content? Can you put you tips on Tuesday’s? Quotes on Monday’s? Are there popular hashtags for your industry? Try searching google for ideas, and even better – check what your competition is using! It’s always more effective to use hashtags directed at your market than to jump on popular ones, just for sake of getting in front of more people! IE: More people does NOT equal your target market!
- Filler Content: You don’t always have to create all of your own content – how can you HELP your target market? By sharing/reposting other peoples content, consider things that you wouldn’t normally create, but your market would be interested in. Use this content to build contacts in the industry, trust with your audience, and balance the content you do create.
4 | Putting it all together should give you an amazingly thorough and FULL calendar for the next 30 days. In fact, replicating the patterns you just created (#Tuesdaytips anyone?), you can copy/paste to the following month and you’ll never have to worry about creating a calendar again – you only have to focus on creating the content! How do you create the content? Sign up for my newsletter to find out next week as we continue the series with creating a Blog Content Calendar!
5 | But before you go, one last thing to do! After the month is over, you’ll need to look at your stats. Make sure you pay attention to analytics before the month begins so you can record baselines to compare to, and know how long analytics are recorded for. Some may be daily/weekly/monthly, so set a reminder on your phone if you need to, to remember to record before the analytics are reset on your social media accounts! After recording, be sure to:
- Compare your baseline to the final numbers to see accurate percentage changes
- Compare your final percentages to your goals
- Revise your goals for the following month for (hopefully) more growth
- Create action plans for each goal! Don’t just copy/paste the previous months action steps (especially if you didn’t hit where you thought you would).
And that’s it! Everything you need to know to get started creating a content marketing strategy for your social media platforms TODAY! Bookmark this site and join my newsletter as I continue to add handy guides to help you build up your marketing strategies in EASY and FAST formats! Also stay tuned, my shop will be opening later this month and will include a full workbook based on Social Media Content Marketing that expands far beyond this!
Drop a comment below to let me know if you’ve grabbed your freebie workbook and if this will help up your social media game!
PS: This may or may not be shared with these link parties.
*Featured at Poinsettia Dr – Classy Flamingo’s Blog Party!