December 6, 2021 Content Chat Recap: How To Build An Effective Social Media Content Calendar For 2022

A #ContentChat header image that says today's topic is how to build an effective social media content calendar for 2022 with guest Brandie McCallum.

How will your marketing team use social media in 2022? As we continue to adapt to a primarily digital-first life, social media channels can be vital in helping brands (re)engage their communities and provide new content experiences.

The reality for many teams, though, is that they are unable to drive meaningful results from their social media activities. There are many reasons for this, often including a lack of team resources, competing priorities, or a misunderstanding of how to best engage a social media community.

An essential way to address this problem is to build a social media calendar that strategically balances your team’s priorities and provides a roadmap of content for your social media channels.

In this #ContentChat we explain how to build an effective social media content calendar with digital marketer Brandie McCallum. Read the full recap below, where we explain what to include in a social media content calendar, how often you should update your content calendar, our favorite tools for social media management, and more. If you’re looking for further support in setting your social media strategy, check out our past blog post that details how a social media audit can improve your content strategy.

Q1: What should a useful social media content calendar include? Do you have a favorite template you can share?

A social media content calendar should only include the necessary information your team needs to execute its social media strategy. Some teams document only a few details, while others detail a range of key information.

Brandie recommends tracking hashtags and images in your social calendar.

A1: Hashtags and images. I don’t…. I am #OldSchool and use a notebook & excel spreadsheet for my calendar, lately, tho, I’m leaning into @Agorapulse’s calendar! #ContentChat pic.twitter.com/EgNSbl1N1G

— Brandie McCallum (@lttlewys) December 6, 2021

Erika’s social media calendar details the type of content that should be posted on a specific channel at a specific time. Download her template calendar from this blog post.

A1: Your social media calendar needs to guide you through how frequently you want to post what kind of content on which social media channels. I walk through some of my thoughts on this topic, and link to a simple template, here: https://t.co/73ShJ3GiE9 #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) December 6, 2021

The community shares a few other details you can document in your social media calendar, including the goals, team to-do’s and status updates, links shared in your social media posts, and handles or accounts to tag in your content.

Hmm, not seeing goals and CTA’s in many content calendars! It’s important to not forget you want people to take an action from your content! #contentchat

— Brandie McCallum (@lttlewys) December 6, 2021

Good point! While I include that in my social media plan, I haven’t usually added those fields to my calendar. But that’s mostly b/c I struggle to get client team members to fill in that many particulars. #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) December 6, 2021

A1: A helpful social media content calendar should include:

Monthly to-dos (broken down into little bits of tasks)
Weekly to-dos (broken down into little bits of tasks)
Daily to-dos#ContentChat https://t.co/SeRSyrEPUT

— Kathryn Lang – hopesmith and dream ignitor (@Kathrynclang) December 6, 2021

A1. A useful social media calendar should have,
👉Time and date
👉 Description of scheduled posts
👉 links associated with these posts
👉 Status i.e. scheduled/not started
👉 Campaign # #ContentChat

— Shruti Deshpande (@shruti12d) December 6, 2021

A1: In addition to many of the things already listed here, we like to include a targeted persona for each post. That helps us focus our language and balance our calendar. #ContentChat

— Olive & Company (@oliveandco) December 6, 2021

A1: A few things I like to include (but everyone’s calendar looks different!)
-Channel
-Content type (text post, photo, video, etc.)
-Hashtags
-Handles to tag
-Marketing goal/category the content ladders up to#ContentChat

— Melanie Graham (@WriterGirlMel) December 6, 2021

Love me a solid hashtag list!! Especially, branded ones!! #contentChat pic.twitter.com/KavmR37fYw

— Brandie McCallum (@lttlewys) December 6, 2021

Loving the ‘content type’ bit for a calendar #contentchat

— Shruti Deshpande (@shruti12d) December 6, 2021

It helps people be accountable and not say “but there wasn’t anything we could share” b/c when you mix and match content types and topics there is ALWAYS something you can share! #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) December 6, 2021

However you structure your calendar, ensure that you plan time and resources to monitor for engagement, reply to your community content, and engage in “social” activities that can be impossible to plan for.

A1 A calendar is good for planning, but it shouldn’t limit your use of social media. Still need to be listening and replying and engaging with your followers/community in real time. You can’t plan for or schedule that. #contentchat

— Martin Lieberman (@martinlieberman) December 6, 2021

I mostly agree with this, BUT, if you are managing someone else and want to make sure they engage in specific listening or amplification opportunities, it can be helpful to put those in as a to-do for that day of the week, specific date, etc. #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) December 6, 2021

That’s tru, Martin. But you also, want to start/direct the conversation in an effective manner. Planning that out makes things less chaotic! #contentChat

— Brandie McCallum (@lttlewys) December 6, 2021

@martinlieberman Completely agree. It is seldom that I plan posts ahead of time, rather I see what my following is engaging in that day- and go from there. Great insight!

— Kendall McDonald (@kendallpmcd) December 6, 2021

Q2: How often should a social media content calendar be updated? How far ahead can and should you schedule out your content (quarterly, weekly, etc)?

Start with an annual planning cycle to draft the content calendar and establish your year-long goals and KPIs.

A2: Monthly, quarterly, yearly. Use analytics to make sure you’re meeting your kpi’s. Small business, I plan holiday/event/campaigns out quarterly. #ContentChat pic.twitter.com/pgIzwSWBO3

— Brandie McCallum (@lttlewys) December 6, 2021

A2b: For example, a lot of hospital and healthcare clients plan out awareness month content in advance – especially if they ladder up to important service lines. #ContentChat

— Melanie Graham (@WriterGirlMel) December 6, 2021

Each quarter, update your calendar to reflect social media campaigns for those months.

A2: I think it’s important to look at the calendar daily to make sure you’re not sending out tone-deaf content based on the news of the day. But you can plan out weekly, quarterly and yearly content based on your campaigns, marketing priorities and business goals. #ContentChat

— Melanie Graham (@WriterGirlMel) December 6, 2021

Monthly or weekly, identify third-party content to curate for your social media communities.

A2: I draft out a quarter’s worth of known holiday and launch dates + events to keep in mind. Then, monthly, layer in current campaigns. Weekly, I update to add in new 3rd party content and recently released content. #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) December 6, 2021

Great brains think alike! And I love @LUCYrk78 posts monthly holidays on her insta! I usually find a few interesting ones! #ContentChat

— Brandie McCallum (@lttlewys) December 6, 2021

Love this! It’s a great way to ensure you’re not just broadcasting your own stuff. #ContentChat https://t.co/0I7qF6lJ9g

— Carmen Hill (@carmenhill) December 6, 2021

A2: We try to plan and schedule out a month at a time, while still being aware of large events/holidays/milestones that may require earlier planning and production. We also try to remain nimble so we can take advantage of unexpected opportunities that pop up. #ContentChat

— Olive & Company (@oliveandco) December 6, 2021

A2. Weekly, in my opinion. If you have far more campaigns going out i would do a mid weekly check too! #ContentChat

— Shruti Deshpande (@shruti12d) December 6, 2021

Daily, review your content to ensure it is still appropriate.

A2: A Social Media calendar should be overviewed daily (so you don’t have any “world news” faux pas); reviewed monthly; revised when necessary but often quarterly.#ContentChat https://t.co/mcyKN4MUuI

— Kathryn Lang – hopesmith and dream ignitor (@Kathrynclang) December 6, 2021

Agreed. I use my social media scheduling tool’s calendar for that purpose. This is typically @Agorapulse for me these days. #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) December 6, 2021

Content should be edited and adjusted regularly based on current trends, goals and long term plan. You do not want to be that person to runs a campaign during a world event. #contentchat

— Michael Hahn (@mbhahn) December 6, 2021

Q3: How should marketers start to build their social media content calendars? What initial steps should they take?

Start building your social media content calendar by conducting a social media audit. This will identify the content types, topics, and hashtags that you should use and the best channels to reach your community on.

A3: Start by doing a social media audit, and identify the content types, topics, and hashtags you should be using to engage your community. Then, create a weekly plan that ensures you will deliver on your documented strategy. #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) December 6, 2021

Super important! Diving in and posting without data is a waste of time and $$. #ContentChat

— Melanie Graham (@WriterGirlMel) December 6, 2021

Random acts of content are the worst! I just reiterated this on a client call today. We are all impatient to see results, but you don’t see results without an informed strategy. #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) December 6, 2021

A3: I think an audit of social channels is a good place to start. What are you currently posting? How often? What’s working/not working? What does your audience talk about/share? What do your competitors post? #ContentChat

— Melanie Graham (@WriterGirlMel) December 6, 2021

Next, review your business goals and create complementary social media goals.

A3. There is no wrong way. Start with goals, messaging for your brand. What do you want people to know & Why! #ContentChat pic.twitter.com/YUilOItMSb

— Brandie McCallum (@lttlewys) December 6, 2021

Create an initial calendar with content placeholders for known holidays/days of significance, planned company news, and general evergreen content.

3. I start by figuring out which big events are happening around the world. Tailor plans around them if it make sense and avoid anything too political, religious etc . Fill in the calender from there #contentchat

— Michael Hahn (@mbhahn) December 6, 2021

A3. Start building content in multiple categories;
👉interest your TA
👉solves their problems
👉Is fun and engaging
👉is motivational #ContentChat

— Shruti Deshpande (@shruti12d) December 6, 2021

If you run into challenges when building your social media content calendar, ask a colleague or industry expert for help.

A great initial step is to seek guidance from people who are more informed. This chat is proving to be a great resource for me, specifically. #ContentChat https://t.co/2r2NVLpaSQ

— Kendall McDonald (@kendallpmcd) December 6, 2021

The process gets easier each time you do it, and a social media content calendar is vital for ensuring your team’s success.

The biggest secret to building your social media calendar is to START 😀

Too often we jump in without a plan and then they wonder why it’s not going where they wanted. #ContentChat

— iThemes (@ithemes) December 6, 2021

Q4: What social media content KPIs should marketers use to inform their 2022 planning?

Map your social media content KPIs to the goals you set for your channels. We recommend you primarily focus on engagement metrics like click-throughs, shares, comments, and sales. However, traditional “vanity” metrics like the number of followers and volume of posts may also be helpful to track (with less importance placed on them).

A4. My favorites are clicks, growth, subscribes, and sales. But there is a lot to consider, new accounts DO need to track/include “Vanity Metrics” #ContentChat

— Brandie McCallum (@lttlewys) December 6, 2021

This is true. You do need to show your content is reaching people and driving them to follow your account when you are just getting started. #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) December 6, 2021

A4: It depends on your business goals and goals for social media (are you building brand awareness or trying to drive conversions?) The type of post depends, too!

Some things to track:
-Followers
-CTR
-Time on page
-Bounce rate
-Conversions#ContentChat

— Melanie Graham (@WriterGirlMel) December 6, 2021

A4 Some KPIs that could help are;
👉Awareness metrics – mentions/followers
👉Reach metrics – how many have seen it
👉Engagement metrics – Likes/shares/comments#ContentChat

— Shruti Deshpande (@shruti12d) December 6, 2021

I think a lot of businesses shy away from using social media because they think about metrics such as likes, etc. (vanity metrics).

Instead, they need to consider the metrics you cite here, especially conversions, and look at how social can boost their results. #ContentChat

— Anthony Gaenzle (@AnthonyGaenzle) December 6, 2021

Absolutely. How does social play into the customer journey and conversion path? #ContentChat

— Melanie Graham (@WriterGirlMel) December 6, 2021

100%. If you aren’t tracking how your social presence builds awareness as well as helps as your prospects are considering options and ultimately making decisions, then it doesn’t work. It’s just like with the content you produce. You need to clearly define goals and tie them in.

— Anthony Gaenzle (@AnthonyGaenzle) December 6, 2021

Erika uses UTMs on her social media posts to track how the content drives community members through the customer journey. She shares an article below that explains how you can use UTMs.

A4: I like to use UTMs on all my social media post links so I can track traffic generated to the website and resulting sales by content type and social channel. #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) December 6, 2021

When you see a ? followed by a string of text at the end of a URL, those are often tracking parameters called UTMs that you pass along to Google so it understands more about the traffic when it rolls it into your reporting. See also: https://t.co/VS9VXolMYm #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) December 6, 2021

The guide is something I drafted for Trackmaven a while back but it is still a very useful intro to using UTMs. #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) December 6, 2021

Q5: What challenges do teams often face when building or maintaining a social media content calendar, and how do you recommend teams overcome these challenges?

Marketers face many challenges when building and maintaining a social media content calendar. These include details falling through the cracks or a lack of coordination across teams (overcommunicate)…

A5. Communication & Information slipping through the cracks. Communicate frequently, use emails for important information. Too many hands in the pot can be an issue! #ContentChat

— Brandie McCallum (@lttlewys) December 6, 2021

The worst is when you have people dilute your distribution by flooding your channels with too many posts in one day (particularly on LinkedIn + Facebook — Twitter thrives on more content.) #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) December 6, 2021

Getting distracted in your day-to-day execution (use a calendar)…

Distractions can be an issue, that’s why it’s so important to have a calendar. I use a daily/weekly todo list to hold me accountable! #contentchat

— Brandie McCallum (@lttlewys) December 6, 2021

Staying consistent in posting on social media (follow your calendar)…

A5: The biggest challenge my team faces (and by team I mean me) is CONSISTENCY! Especially when you don’t see practical results.#ContentChat

Too easy to get distracted! https://t.co/wpd5OVeQqy

— Kathryn Lang – hopesmith and dream ignitor (@Kathrynclang) December 6, 2021

Adding operational hurdles that detract from the team’s ability to succeed (assess your social media roadblocks)…

A5: the biggest challenge to keeping a #socialmedia calendar in place is, quite simply, sticking to it!

If you have a leadership team that requires approving everything, but isn’t timely for example, you end up missing out. #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) December 6, 2021

Using an inconsistent voice or style in social media content (create a style guide)…

A5: Voice/tone/style consistency is one big issue I see. Sometimes social is spread across a few different people, and if there isn’t a consistent style in their posts, the brand suffers. #ContentChat

— Melanie Graham (@WriterGirlMel) December 6, 2021

Very true. That’s why a style guide is an important content tool to deploy across all content channels, including social. #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) December 6, 2021

Creating engaging visuals for social media content (use tools like Canva)…

A5: Creating visual assets to accompany/supplement content can still be an issue, especially in highly brand-sensitive environments. We solve this by including a graphic designer on our social team and in social content brainstorm sessions. #ContentChat

— Olive & Company (@oliveandco) December 6, 2021

And treating social media as an afterthought (integrate social media into all planning conversations).

A5b: Another problem I see is that social is often an afterthought, rather than an integral piece of the overall content strategy. The conversion metrics may not be as strong because it’s so top-of-the-funnel for some brands, so they don’t put much weight in social. #ContentChat

— Melanie Graham (@WriterGirlMel) December 6, 2021

Q6: How do you recommend that teams integrate their social media content calendar with other marketing team trackers or planning hubs?

Break down organizational silos to run an effective and efficient content marketing program. One way to do this for social media is to include the social media calendar as a tab in your overall content calendar.

A6: I frequently have the social media calendar as a tab in the overall content calendar, so there’s visibility on all teams. #ContentChat https://t.co/XostvRtXs5

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) December 6, 2021

Ensure that your social media goals ladder up to your larger marketing/business goals. Highlight these goals across key planning documents.

A6. When other departments are playing in social, ask them what their goals are, track those and be able to provide a mini-campaign report. Make sure to have a contact person and all the deliverables ahead of time #ContentChat

— Brandie McCallum (@lttlewys) December 6, 2021

A6: Make sure that you’re tracking your larger marketing goals/strategic priorities across ALL your planners/hubs/trackers. I like color-coding these for easy reference. #ContentChat

— Melanie Graham (@WriterGirlMel) December 6, 2021

Share a weekly ‘posts to come next week’ email or calendar invite that highlights the upcoming content priorities.

A6. Having a ‘posts to come next week’ summary at the end of each week, is a quick reminder to other teams what is being scheduled. Also avoids content crowding on particularly popular days of the week! #ContentChat

— Shruti Deshpande (@shruti12d) December 6, 2021

I love this! Do you use email or a messaging tool for this? #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) December 6, 2021

Email often, but also a recurring calendar invite for the entire team – that just pops up 8.30am Fri, so we have the rest of the day to make any last minute changes. #ContentChat

— Shruti Deshpande (@shruti12d) December 6, 2021

Q7: What tools do you use to assist with your social media planning and management?

The community shares their go-to tools for social media planning and management below. Did we miss your favorite social media tool? Let us know what it is and how it boosts your workflow in the comments.

A7: @feedly Google @Agorapulse Bitly Twitter and my community!! I am often messaging people or FB groups!! #ContentChat

— Brandie McCallum (@lttlewys) December 6, 2021

My most useful social media planning + scheduling tools are @Agorapulse + @BuzzSumo + @sparktoro + @Rite_Tag + @hashtagify #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) December 6, 2021

A7: @googlesheets @Rite_Tag @MeetEdgar @TweetDeck @buffer @BuzzSumo#ContentChat #ContentChat

— Melanie Graham (@WriterGirlMel) December 6, 2021

I knew I would leave someone out — I also use @MeetEdgar for all our evergreen content sharing. #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) December 6, 2021

A7: HUGE fan of @CoSchedule mainly because of its integration with WordPress.#ContentChat https://t.co/wZikn45MIQ

— Kathryn Lang – hopesmith and dream ignitor (@Kathrynclang) December 6, 2021

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