Building a Social Media Content Calendar

Building a Social Media Content Calendar
Posted on 01/24/2018
CivicLive Blog - Building a Social Media Content Calendar

A strong, savvy social media presence is an important part of running a municipality. Social media makes it easy to encourage, foster and maintain clear lines of communication between governments and the communities they serve. There is a wide variety of social media platforms out there, with the most popular continuing to be Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Most municipalities should at least aim to maintain active Twitter and Facebook accounts. But doing so can be time consuming, particularly if you don’t have a single, dedicated social media strategist.

What is a Social Media Content Calendar?

A social media content calendar is used to plan your social media messaging and its timed dissemination. It’s a way of maintaining and controlling your social media presence in an organized and efficient manner.

Why Should You Create a Calendar?

A social media content calendar is a great tool for time-saving because it prevents you from wasting days searching the internet for the best content to share with your constituents. A dedicated social media calendar also:

  • Helps you plan how you’ll use each of your social media accounts
  • Prevents you from repeating the same message across all of your platforms
  • Makes it easy to provide content tailored to each account’s unique audience
  • Helps you track key performance indicators (KPIs) and overall performance of new initiatives
  • Keeps you organized and efficient
  • Ensures you never miss important dates/events/notices
  • Gives you a better understanding of what content is most successful

How to Plan and Build Your Social Media Content Calendar

Begin with the basics: list the social media channels your municipality uses. Of the channels in use, ask yourself:

  • Which accounts perform the best? Which perform the worst?
  • Is each channel meeting your citizens' needs?
  • Does each channel have its own unique voice, or are you repeating the same content across multiple channels?
  • What are your goals for each channel?

Once you've answered these simple questions, it's time to define your audience.

Identify Your Unique Audiences

Now that you know the purpose and goal for each of your social media channels, you need to determine the makeup of each platform's audience. Who’s subscribed to your channel and what are they looking for?

Remember, different audiences will gravitate to different social media platforms. You might be more likely to find an older audience on Facebook, a younger audience on Instagram, and a busier, more on-the-go audience on Twitter. Investigating who’s connecting to you through each platform you use will greatly impact the content you create and share on a particular channel because it will help you focus on meeting your audience’s needs.

Plan Your Content

Once you know the answers to the above questions, you’ll want to plan what kind of content you want to create and share. You should aim for a mix of newly created content by your team and curated content from outside influencers. As a municipality, you’ll want to share content that relates to every aspect of your city or town, and that includes sharing content from citizens, businesses and visitors.

Types of content to consider creating include:

  • Videos
  • Blog posts
  • Images
  • Infographics
  • Landing pages
  • Event invites (for contests, holidays, etc.)

Plan for events you know are coming up, themes and holidays, construction notices, reminders, etc. Your social media channels are a way to connect with your constituents, and the best way to do that is to provide them with relevant, timely content that informs and is easy to understand.

Determine Post Frequency

A major part of planning a social media content calendar is post frequency. How many times a day, a week, a month, do you plan to post? Different platforms will require different posting schedules. A platform like Twitter is a great place to disseminate timely information such as notices, road closures and even contests. Posting multiple times a day on Twitter is not unheard of, but a platform like Facebook, which is great for highlighting upcoming events and long-form media like videos and blog posts, doesn’t require the same attention, meaning posting once or twice a week is okay.

Just as important as posting frequency is time. When will you publish new posts? The answer to this questions varies depending on who you ask. Earlier this year CoSchedule collected twenty separate studies on the best time to post to social media, and they determined the best time is “when the people you want to see the content are on the network.”

Regardless of how many posts you share on each platform, you’ll still want to sporadically post throughout the week, particularly when it comes to sharing live updates.

Build Your Calendar

Now that you’ve determined who the audiences are for each platform you’re using, what content you plan to create and share, and how many times a day/week/month you plan to post to each of your accounts, it’s time to build your calendar.

Your calendar can be as simple and basic as a spreadsheet that lists your accounts, days of the week and the copy/intended post. But there are also many templates available, specifically designed for use as social media content calendars. Sites like Buffer and Hubspot offer their take on a social media content calendar and are all great templates that help keep your content organized. Whatever you choose to do, what’s important is that your calendar helps save you time, ensures you maintain a steady social media presence, and that each of your platforms provides great, timely content to your various audiences. Using a well-rounded eGov solution like the CivicLive CMS makes sharing content on social media even easier, as it allows you to streamline processes, advertise your social sites directly on your websites homepage and so much more, contact us today to learn more.

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