Producing quality social content can require some serious time and preparation. The same applies to quality social media posts. Planning and scheduling your social media content ahead of time can do wonders for your business. Not only will it free up your time, it will boost your potential reach.

To make the process of planning easier, you must decide what topics to cover and what content to produce before the beginning of a new year. When you are planning your social media content, start by mapping out the special events. Anything that you think might be penciled in for a future date in the coming year should also go on your social media calendar. This lets you develop the content and strategy for these big moments ahead of time and get others involved in the process, too. Just a few calendar events to consider: new product releases, conferences, annual events and meetings, holidays, and recurring content.

Knowing when and where your customers’ attention is focused will increase your chances of making an impact and reaching your audience. Several of the major social media networks have their own built-in analytics that offer some great insights into your activity on the network. These include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google+. Analyzing the habits of both your current followers and potential followers will help you strategically plan out your social media.

Once you have discovered the optimal times of day to publish your social posts, you’ll find that scheduling content ahead of time is extremely useful. There are quite a few social media management tools available for small businesses; a few to consider are Hootsuite, TweetDeck, Buffer and LaterBro.

Each social media platform should have a specific amount of content shared per week. But be careful – if you go overboard with social media posts or don’t post often enough, you risk losing followers and hurting your brand image.

It takes both preparation and thought to manage your social media. What tips can you share for making the process of planning more efficient?