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Social media marketing is a very powerful tool to use today. Without proper planning however, it can cost you more time than you would like it to. That is why creating a social media calendar is the sure way to go. It’s time saving because it helps you know what activity to do at a particular time or day.

A good calendar helps you:
• Plan out types of content for variety.
• Schedule future updates.
• Set aside regular time to monitor and respond to followers and customers on social channels.
• Find time to view social media analytics to measure the impact of your efforts.

Steps on keeping your social media calendar effective:
Find the calendar tool most comfortable for you
Many people prefer to simply use their Outlook or Gmail calendar. You can put recurring notations on your calendar blocking off an hour or so once a week to “batch” compose and schedule updates for the upcoming seven-day period.
You can also include reminders to check for replies and comments on all channels once a day; for example, a 10-minute block every afternoon Monday through Friday. You can also schedule some minutes (for example, 15 minutes) once a week to check social media analytics to monitor performance.

Vary your content but be consistent
If you are trying to build an active social following for your business, then consistent activity is necessary. Don’t allow important social channels to go “silent” for weeks or months, or else you will lose momentum. Setting a schedule helps you remember to update content consistently.

Intersperse your original content with content from third parties.
Having a planned schedule will remind you to vary your content, and share content of third parties as well. Vary the type of updates you make (mix it up with informative articles to read, fun videos or memes, tutorials, and occasional special promotion or discount from your business).

Schedule, schedule, schedule
You will need a scheduling tool for efficiency if you are to perform your updates in batches once or twice a week. Hence, you should be able to compose your updates ahead of time and input them somewhere so they publish automatically at the scheduled time. Good options include Hootsuite, SocialOomph and Buffer.
For social media pages, Twitter’s TweetDeck is an excellent free tool that lets you schedule tweets in advance. Facebook offers Scheduled Posts for business pages.

Measure and Adjust
Last but certainly not least, measure your efforts and set aside a few minutes every week to evaluate progress. According to Sprout Social, one way to be successful at social media is to using social media analytics to assess how past content has performed.
Facebook and Twitter have data to show which pieces of content performed the best, including how many impressions, shares, retweets and/or comments each item achieved. You can also use Google Analytics, which can help track traffic back to your website or blog from social media. Some scheduling tools such as Hootsuite may include analytics features as well.


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