Having a successful social media presence for your food or beverage brand is about a lot more than simply posting clever content. You need to have a strategy and build out monthly calendars to make sure you’re communicating your brand messaging. And building an annual editorial calendar ensures you’re staying organized and hitting the year’s big moments. Here are some tips on how to get started:

Social Media Audit: The first thing you need to do is see what it out there. What are your competitors doing? What are users saying about your product on social media? Tools like Netbase can help. You’ll have a better idea of what content is working and what isn’t working once you know how your brand measures up on social media. And in the midst of any crisis issue, including the coronavirus pandemic, make sure your brand’s content is not tone-deaf, but smart, sensitive and aligned with the times.

User-Generated Content is Your Friend: Do you follow lots of food bloggers on Instagram? Their content is pretty amazing, right? Use it! Food bloggers LOVE when you use their recipes in your brand’s social media content (as long as you tag them), as it has the potential for them to reach more users and gain followers. It’s also cost effective if you don’t have the time to develop your own recipes or photography, and there’s tons of content out there. Talk about a win-win. Foodgawker is an amazing source for high quality food blogger recipe content.

Seasonality and Holidays: It goes without saying that any editorial calendar should highlight all major holidays, but there is also opportunity for posting recipes around cultural occasions such as awards season, the Super Bowl or the Olympics. Get creative. If people celebrate it, there is relevant content to share.

Amplify Messaging with Specialized Moments: Does your food product have nutritional benefits? Tap into National Nutrition Month in March and utilize your nutritional messaging. Do you have lots of grilling recipes? May is National BBQ month. For back to school in August and September, post lunch recipes. You can even get creative and do a campaign around “back to school” and use that time to educate your followers on usage of your product or what distinguishes it from its competitors.

Tap into National Food Holidays: Whether you think they’re worth it or not, national food holidays are a great way to tap into popular hashtags and keep up with other brands on social media. From National Donut Day to National Chocolate Cake Day to National Pancake Day, there are so many national food holidays your brand can use to inspire unique content. And if you’re lucky like me, you manage social media for a client like Maple from Canada, and you can find recipes that fit a variety of national food holidays.

Build an On-Brand Paid Strategy: If you have budget to be running social media ads, be sure to build a paid strategy that is following your editorial calendar. If you’re posting for national nutrition month, run ads to align with that messaging. Around the holidays, run ads with holiday recipes.

I’ve found that an Excel spreadsheet is the best way to create yearly editorial calendars for clients but use what works for you and your brand. Now get creative and build out that calendar!