If you’re anything like Mailchimp, your business started small—and so did your social media strategy. But when you’re a growing company, your approach to connecting with users and telling your story online needs to grow, too. You’re probably already planning some changes for 2016, and we’ve got a suggestion:
Embrace the content calendar.
Our social media strategy used to consist of a guy named Austin and his sticky notes. They had some great times together! Whenever we needed to tweet about something, Austin wrote it down on a sticky note and, when the time came, drummed up a tweet. It wasn’t fancy, but it worked.
But as we’ve gotten bigger and cultivated a multi-platform presence across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Pinterest, and Snapchat, we realized we needed a better way of doing things. Enter the calendar.
Why you’ll love a content calendar
In its most basic form, a content calendar is a schedule of what you’ll post and when you’ll post it. It can span platforms, so you could use one to plan your social media marketing, email marketing, or both. Think of it this way: Your content calendar is a framework for the ongoing story you want to tell about your business. When you take a holistic view of your social media or email marketing output, you can turn ideas and broad strategies into an actionable plan that can be tweaked as you learn more about what works best.
A calendar frees you up to listen to your audience and iterate accordingly. Here are some other ways a content calendar can benefit your business:
Holidays, sales, and other special dates can’t sneak up on you when you plan for them. Mapping out your schedule gives you the freedom to think about big-picture stuff while making sure day-to-day tasks don’t get lost in the shuffle.
If you use your calendar to plan out your email marketing alongside your social media content, you’ll see areas of overlap that might not have been clear otherwise, like a tweet you want to embed in an email, or a campaign that would be great to post straight to Facebook. You can add newsletter signup forms to your Facebook page. Social Follow content blocks can help your subscribers find you on lots of social media platforms, and integrating your Mailchimp account with Facebook and Twitter makes it easy to automatically post campaigns there. (And you can make sure they look perfect with Social Cards.) Social profiles let you target subscribers who are active on social media, and Facebook Custom Audiences are another great way to connect with them.
It’s not just about adding followers or growing your bottom line. Planning ahead helps the humans involved, too, saving them time and sanity. You can still be nimble and adapt as opportunities arise, but you won’t be in scrambling panic mode trying to figure out what to post each day. Even if you’ve just got one person on posting duty, your entire team benefits when everyone is able to see what’s coming down the line and help when needed.
Most importantly, a content calendar will get you in the habit of posting consistently. There are few silver bullets in social media strategy (other than cat GIFs, obviously). But one of the best ways we know to grow a social following is to keep showing up with something interesting to say. Who are you more excited to see: the friend who makes an effort to maintain your relationship, or the friend you only hear from when they need help moving? Don’t be friend #2!