There are many ways a social media manager can approach this—but generally, we do follow specific guidelines and steps that allow us to streamline our unique processes.

Let me preface my answer by saying this is the internal process that we follow in my company. I run a content marketing firm so it’s important that we find a way to organize content posting to ensure consistency across different accounts. This approach has proven to be very effective and useful:

1. Run a Comprehensive Audit On All Your Accounts

It’s important to know where you currently stand before you create your content calendar. You want to know what platforms you’re currently on, which ones are updated, and which ones are not. This helps you assess new opportunities, determine which platforms you need to improve on, and set clear objectives and goals for each channel.

This is also a good time to check and review content you have available for social media posting. Are your available blog posts up to date and relevant to your current audience? What material performed well in the past? What kind of content do your competitors post? Answering these questions will help you understand what kind of material you should focus on developing and what kind of content gets the best engagement from your audience.

2. Familiarize Yourself with Each Platform and Its Demographics

Different social media platforms cater to different demographics. For example, Facebook, while a definite must-have for any business, will normally get more engagement from older users. YouTube and Snapchat may both be video-based platforms, but Snapchat caters to a significantly younger user-base than YouTube. And Pinterest and Instagram are both visual platforms, but the latter is often accessed via mobile while the former is more often accessed on a desktop computer.

These subtle differences can help you figure out what content best goes where to get the best results.

3. Plan for Different Types of Content

It’s always a good idea to create different types of content. Don’t stick to just blogs, or just social media posts with commentary. Using different types of content will expand your reach and can be used to target your audience in different ways.

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4. Understand How Often You Should Post

Your posting frequency will shape your social media planning calendar. Be sure to take into consideration internal resources when you do this. For example, don’t commit to posting daily when you don’t really have the time to develop original content and research relevant material to support this. The key to successful social media marketing is consistency, so be realistic. You can always edit your calendar later on.

This whole process can also help you determine your content ratio. How many videos should you post? What kind of content does your audience like the most—is it promotional? Informative? Infographics? The kind of content you post is largely up to you, but figuring out a good mix will help guide your calendar.

5. Determine What Details Your Calendar Needs

I strongly recommend that you use a spreadsheet when you start plotting out your calendar. Be sure to add necessary details that you think you need to ensure that you have an at-a-glance reference that will make tracking easier and more efficient.

For us at Leadspanda, we make it a point to mix original content with third-party material we gather quarterly from respected and credible sources. To that end, our calendar is designed to give a bird’s eye view of where we currently are in terms of scheduling, and we update each calendar monthly to track its engagement.

Be sure to update your calendar regularly. Don’t just create one and let it sit. A calendar is a useful tool to help you keep track of your progress when used consistently, so make the most out of it.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me via Leadspanda and I’ll be sure to get back to you.