A content calendar is one of the most valuable weapons in a social media marketer’s arsenal. Not only does it let you plan and organize your various posts, it can do so across multiple social media platforms — and there are a lot of them.
As you start implementing longer campaigns with more diverse content, you’ll need to plan your posts a few days, weeks or even months into the future. You’ll also need the capability to schedule content focused on a specific event, holiday or promotion.
If your marketing team includes more than one person, or if you collaborate with bloggers and writers to produce your content, then having an editorial calendar to keep everyone organized is required for staying on track.
Below are five of the hottest tools of the trade to make creating and organizing your content as easy as can be.
CoSchedule allows you to see your entire editorial calendar at a glance. Like most other content scheduling apps, you can see the posts to add into your content queue and CoSchedule will post it to your social media profiles at the appropriate time.
The calendar view shows social media posts, articles and events all in one handy display. You can also colour-code your posts to see what’s been shared, what hasn’t and what’s still in a draft stage.
CoSchedule also displays tasks associated with each post, which is essential for keeping track of who is in charge of completing each step before the content is ready to share.
Hootsuite is one of the most well-known and popular content scheduling services on this list, and even though Hootsuite advertises itself as a content scheduling service, I’d argue that its most powerful element is the Dashboard. This powerful all-in-one view allows you to see a variety of streams of information relating to a specific social network.
Being able to see multiple streams of information at a glance saves you a ton of time when it comes to sorting through updates, replies, messages and connecting with other users. Check out an example Dashboard view below:
You can separate different “streams” in your Dashboard to help optimize what you can see at once. This is my favourite Hootsuite feature.
Buffer is a social media scheduling service that boasts a sleek, sophisticated user interface and the option to connect to an extensive list of social media networks.
When scheduling content you can choose a custom time or allow Buffer to auto-schedule content for you according to its “best times to post.” You can also schedule content using either their calendar view or a list view that shows you a chronological timeline of your upcoming content (for paid accounts only).
Buffer is a great tool to use for free, but their Awesome level at only $10 a month, allows you to schedule unlimited posts, offers support for up to 12 social media profiles and allows you to share your content calendar with more than one person, which can be helpful for teams.
Sprout Social has a simple and easy to understand interface which makes it a great tool for collaboration.
In the Sprout dashboard you can monitor, schedule and analyze all of your content from one location. Notice that I say “analyze” — this is arguably Sprout Social’s most important feature. Unlike other services that provide you with analytics, Sprout Social will analyze your stats for you. Among other things, they provide charts, graphs and stats that demonstrate growth over time, engagement percentage, and other valuable metrics.
One of the benefits of Sprout Social is that their dashboard is much easier to read and understand than its competitors, making it super easy to master in no time at all.
Trello is an effective project management tool which can be applied to the planning and implementation of your social media strategy. Within the app, you can create “Cards” and assign them to team members. Cards can include instructions, comments, links, images and checklists to keep your team on track.
Once you’ve created your Card, you can access Trello’s calendar and place the Card within, according to its due date. You can also customize Cards by colour and assign their completion to individual team members.
Labels allow you to categorize all your Cards by themes, types of content and the status, which is essential for a social media manager tasked with keeping track of multiple moving parts.
What are your favourite social media scheduling services? We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.