How To Create A Social Content Calendar

Erin Niimi Longhurst
30 Aug 2017

Some of the best social media success stories for charities weren’t planned – things like the unprecedented number of donations for the #NoMakeUpSelfie or the timely response to #TheDress by the Salvation Army in South Africa were all due to excellent social listening and speedy content creation.

You can’t schedule social media engagement like this in advance, but you can schedule promotion ahead of time, especially with your Lightful campaign dashboard and scheduling tools. Having a content calendar will make sure your social media activity is as efficient and as effective as it can be – the most successful organisations share this responsibility across teams.

The Rule of Thirds

Success on social media really comes down to finding the right balance between self-promotion, engagement, and listening. Self-promotion refers to telling your supporters about your latest events, campaigns and activities, while engagement refers to the time you take to respond to your followers and engage with them directly. Listening (taking part in other conversations relevant to your area of expertise) and engagement are harder to systematise, but creating exciting content to promote the work of your organisation is something you can plan for.

1) Content Repository

Save time and avoid duplicating efforts by setting up monthly folders with any images you’ve created. Using shared folders like Dropbox, Google Drive, or our Lightful media library in conjunction with a calendar will help keep you organised.

2) Align charity goals with social media goals

Painting a holistic view of your entire organisation online is a team effort, and not just the responsibility of your comms officer or intern. Take the time to get different departments to sit together and map out what the next few months look like for them – where are they going? What are they working on? How can you plan in advance to get them to tweet from the field? Be proactive, rather than reactive, and plan content creation ahead of time.

According to Social CEOs, 8 out of 10 people say they’re likely to trust an organisation whose CEO and Team use social media, so being able to plan ahead to engage your Chief Executive or Board of Trustees is key – they’re busy people!

3) Advanced Planning

Holidays, seasonal events, recurring annual campaigns – they can sneak up on you.

Sites like Awareness Days are great to add to your calendar so you can work up some messages ahead of time, like Marie Curie and The Royal British Legion have for Volunteer’s Week. Make sure you only participate in conversations that are relevant to your organisation – don’t wade into a conversation just for the sake of it.

Being organised, a little bit of forward planning and putting systems in place across teams can do wonders in terms of freeing up your time – making sure you have enough capacity to jump on the bandwagon for the next big thing.

‍Erin Niimi Longhurst

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