By TE Cunningham

For the busy local business owner, planning is critical to organization and accomplishing everything on your hefty “to-do” list. Social media is no exception to this rule; unfortunately, it is often the item on the list continually pushed to the bottom. Social media scheduling tools are a must for small and local businesses working with a skeleton crew! Here is a great list of free and economically-priced scheduling tools. Today, we add to that topic by discussing using a social media planning calendar.

Social media should be a crucial part of your marketing strategy, with its ability to reach your target audience at little to no cost. But with the ever-increasing number of social channels and options on those channels, it can be tough to keep it all straight.

Some of the scheduling tool options out there provide templates you can use for a social media calendar, which in its simplest definition, is a list of the content you will post, the date and time you will post it and where you will post it. You can use an interactive dashboard on your scheduling tool, email calendar or a spreadsheet in Excel or Google Sheets. The key is to make something, be consistent and work on your plan.

You will want to break up your planning calendar in the most logical way. If you are not using a scheduling tool or are overwhelmed by all the technology available, remember that a simple excel grid can do the trick.

List the content you want to post, along with graphics, video, links, hashtags, etc., going down the lines– the columns should represent each of your social networks. Then simply color block which networks specific content should post to. You can also itemize posting times by channel to post at the highest engagement times.

Once you get into the habit of using your calendar, we encourage you to add unique and engaging items by the network. Even doing them once a month and getting comfortable with these extra features will help you dial up great organic content.

Some quick options include:

  • Facebook Live
  • Instagram Reels
  • TikTok LIVE

If you are selling online, there are more things to investigate, like shoppable posts.

A few last thoughts: Don’t try to do so much that you get overwhelmed and frustrated; build your social step-by-step and develop comfort with a feature before trying the next out.

Share your calendar with your staff and garner their input. Last but not least, edit and update the plan as you go – but stick to it!

Remember, if you need social media help, TLC Marketing Consultants is just a click away.