Marketing
Tuesday June 1, 2021 By David Quintanilla
How to Create a Social Media Calendar: Tips and Templates


A social media calendar is just like the Marie Kondo of your whole social media technique. It seems like an enormous dedication at first, however you may relaxation assured it’ll pay that point again sooner or later. (To not point out stopping minor panic assaults.)

Whether or not it’s a easy grid with a number of hyperlinks, or a bespoke dashboard that may plan out dozens of feeds, your social media content material calendar may be as easy or complicated as your model wants it to be.

Learn on and we’ll information you thru the steps essential to make your individual, and check out some real-world examples. We’ll additionally checklist our favourite social media content material calendar apps.

Oh, and we’ve constructed some free social media calendar templates to get you began!

However first, let’s evaluate the compelling causes to take a position on this instrument to start with.

What is a social media calendar?

A social media calendar is an overview of your upcoming social media posts. It can be organized in the form of a spreadsheet, Google calendar or interactive dashboard (if you’re using a social media management app).

Each entry in a social media calendar usually includes some combination of these elements:

  • The exact date and time the post is going live
  • The social network and account where the post will be published
  • The post’s copy and creative assets (i.e. photos or videos)
  • Links and tags to be included in the post
  • Any additional relevant information (e.g. is this an Instagram feed post or a Story?)

Depending on the scope of your social media strategy, your social media calendar can include one or many social networks.

Why use a social media content calendar?

1. Save time by being organized

Your social media marketing goals have a key point in common with many of the other goals in your day planner: they take effort and attention every single day. Not just when you’re feeling inspired (or at 11PM when everything else is taken care of).

Maintaining a social media calendar lets you plan ahead, batch your work, avoid multitasking, and note down all your creative brainwaves for later.

Basically it’s the best way to make sure you’ll never find yourself desperately scrolling through generic inspirational quotes hoping to find something to post ever again.

And even though you’ll be posting every day, maybe multiple times a day, that doesn’t mean you need to be babysitting your feeds constantly. Certain social media calendar tools allow you to schedule social media posts ahead of time, and, simply as essential, manage audience engagement from one place.

Hootsuite’s planning instrument takes care of all of that, in the event you’re inclined to give it a try.


2. Publish persistently

Whether or not you’re attempting to increase your Instagram likes, your YouTube subscribers, otherwise you’ve carried out social media KPIs, the primary tip from specialists will all the time be “publish persistently.” There’s simply no shortcut round it.

Why?

Persistently displaying up in your viewers’s feed is the important thing to partaking them on social. Spectacular engagement will increase your natural attain through the platform’s algorithm, so your posts get proven to new eyes, and new individuals begin following your model. And making real connections with a rising viewers is the one true path to lifting your conversions.

Populating your social media calendar with posts forward of time lets you publish persistently whether or not it’s a sluggish information week, or your largest promotion of the yr.

3. Make fewer typos, and in addition scale back the chance of huge errors

Planning your posts forward of time means that you would be able to construct failsafes into your workflow. Copy-editing the textual content, fact-checking data, and even vetting it with organizational stakeholders just like the authorized group or C-suite, are all lots simpler once you’re working days or perhaps weeks prematurely.

A social media calendar—particularly one with group member approvals inbuilt—is the easiest way to forestall a low-key embarrassment like posting the same message across channels, or a high-key social media crisis.

4. Get extra bold along with your social methods

The world’s largest social media manufacturers are sometimes working a number of campaigns without delay—lengthy, medium and short-term, paid and natural. And that’s simply the day-to-day posts.

After getting your schedule nailed down, your superb mind is freed as much as sort out even larger questions. Must you run an Instagram contest? Begin looking for influencer partners? Possibly it’s time to get your brand on LinkedIn, or introduce a social media employee advocacy program.

Whether or not you’re managing a five-person content material group otherwise you’re posting your Story whereas mixing bleach to your 3pm consumer’s pastel ombre long-bob, getting your social sport to the following stage means getting organized.

5. Don’t miss out on related moments

Always remember concerning the Tremendous Bowl once more. (Or, , ensure you’re ignoring it on function.)

A social media calendar lets you strategically observe worldwide world moments which are related to your model’s viewers.

Like, as an example, Star Wars day.

Additionally, along with your day-to-day schedule lined, if one thing topical comes up—like maybe Jennifer Aniston joins Instagram or an egg gets bigger than before—you’ve got the artistic and logistical bandwidth to interact with the second in an on-brand method.

6. Make higher-quality content material

Social media manufacturing values have skyrocketed for the reason that early days, and the notion of a lone-wolf Millennial tweeting memes from their beanbag chair has gone the best way of the jegging. (Ok, ok, except for whoever is behind Moonpie.)

As we speak, it’s not that uncommon for a single social media publish to have a complete group of creatives behind it: copywriters, designers, video editors, photographers. And asking your group of hard-working artistes to drop every part for an emergency Instagram Story just isn’t going to win hearts or minds. (And it’s not even assured to earn engagement, if it feels slipshod or pushy.)

A social media calendar helps you allocate your property—each human and digital—successfully, in order that your group has the respiration room to do their finest work.

And a long-term imaginative and prescient means you’re pushing a constant model voice and content material that helps your advertising targets.

7. Monitor what works, and enhance it

What will get scheduled will get performed, and what will get measured will get improved.

Your social media analytics have quite a lot of insights for you. A social media content material calendar gives the chance to schedule your experiments in the direction of enchancment. Plan out your A/B tests till you discover the correct recipe for the kind of content material, format, publish frequency, and finest time of day to publish for every social platform.

create a social media calendar

There are 8 steps to creating an efficient social media calendar:

  1. Audit your social networks and content material
  2. Select your social channels
  3. Determine what your calendar wants to trace
  4. Make a content material library to your property
  5. Set up a workflow
  6. Begin crafting your posts
  7. Invite your group to evaluate, and use their suggestions to enhance
  8. Begin publishing/scheduling

Professional Tip: If that is your first time making a calendar for social, you would possibly wish to crack open our information to making a social media marketing strategy first. Your calendar might be all the higher for having clear targets to underpin it.

1. Audit your social networks and content material

Creating a transparent image of your present social media efforts will allow you to determine areas for enchancment and alternatives for brand spanking new efforts. An audit is essential to fine-tuning your content material technique and maximizing your ROI.

Begin with our social media audit template. It will lead to exact, up-to-date information on:

  • Impostor accounts and outdated profiles
  • Account safety and passwords
  • Targets and KPIs for every branded account, by platform
  • Your viewers, their demographics and personas
  • Who’s accountable for what work in your group
  • Your most profitable posts, campaigns and ways
  • Gaps, underwhelming outcomes, and alternatives for enchancment
  • Key metrics for measuring future success on every platform

Funds some devoted time to undergo your whole social property. Then relaxation assured that you just’ll be tackling your refreshed social technique with the very best data. That’s, the knowledge that’s distinctive to your viewers, accounts and model.

2. Select your social channels

It looks as if each social media supervisor we all know received the identical Slack message final yr. Some random higher-up going Hey there! [sunglasses emoji] Why aren’t we on TikTok?

(Professional Tip: Have an neutral third social gathering drop your boss a hyperlink to 6 Things You Should Never Say to Your Social Media Manager.)

Within the hustle and bustle of the each day grind, it takes concerted effort to seek out the time to remain on prime of recent developments. Like, ought to your model care about Instagram Threads? And is your audience even on TikTok?

For this reason you need to take a minute to ensure you’re clear on each social media platform’s user demographics. And evaluate finest practices for enterprise advertising methods, too. Naturally, we right here at Hootsuite have compiled probably the most full guides attainable:

We’re not saying it’s a must to go into freshman-year-organic-chemistry-exam mode and take in it . Simply take some skilled growth studying breaks throughout that post-lunch lull, and also you’ll be glowing with new insights and concepts very quickly.

3. Determine what information your social media content material calendar wants to trace

As you determine what this lovely beast goes to seem like, (and the place it’s going to reside, a.ok.a. a permanently-open Chrome tab between Gmail and Slack) you wish to map out the knowledge and performance this instrument goes to supply to you.

Possibly you’re beginning contemporary for, say, your side-hustle doing social for native indie rappers. Wherein case a easy spreadsheet would possibly do.

However in the event you’re managing a seven-person group with a dozen totally different consumer-facing manufacturers, you’re going to need one thing that may let you know who’s doing what, when it’s performed, when it’s accepted, and when it’s revealed—after which how profitable it was.

(Spoiler: Generally a spreadsheet just isn’t sufficient, which is why there’s a listing of all our favorite instruments on the finish of this text.)

So we advise you to begin with fundamental particulars:

  • Platform
  • Date
  • Time (and time zone)
  • Copy
  • Visuals (e.g., picture, video, illustration, infographic, gif, and many others.)
  • Hyperlink to property
  • Hyperlink to revealed publish

Additionally, add extra superior particulars that you just would possibly probably discover useful. (You’ll be able to all the time nix them later in the event that they’re redundant.) Particulars like:

  • Platform-specific format (eg., feed publish, IGTV, Story, ballot, reside stream, adverts, shoppable posts, and many others.)
  • The vertical or marketing campaign it’s affiliated with (eg., product launch, occasion, contests, annual giving, normal model consciousness, customer support, and many others.)
  • Geo-targeting (i.e., is it world, North American, and many others.)
  • Worth (i.e., Is it a short-lived topical publish or a big-budget evergreen showpiece that may very well be recycled or cannibalized for components down the road?)
  • Paid or natural? (If paid, then extra funds particulars could be useful)
  • Has it been accepted?
  • Has it been posted? (If that’s the case, do you wish to include the link with its UTM?)
  • Analytics and outcomes (Usually at this stage of complexity you in all probability depend on your analytics reports to include and clarify this data.)

4. Make a content material library to your property

Some individuals prefer to name these content material repositories or media useful resource databases or digital asset banks.

No matter what you name it, your provide of visible content material shouldn’t be residing in your iPhone, or in a bunch of desktop folders marked “misc social.” (Okay, okay, no less than don’t maintain them there completely.)

You should utilize Dropbox, Google Drive, your organization’s inner community, or made-to-purpose database software program. A social media content material library has a number of key options:

  • It’s spacious sufficient for giant information;
  • It’s accessible out of your cellphone in addition to your laptop (belief me on this one);
  • It’s simply shareable with group members, however you may belief its privateness options;
  • It gives hyperlinks to particular person information so as to plunk them into your calendar (or maybe it interfaces along with your calendar natively).

The way in which you arrange your content material library is nearly as essential as your social media calendar. The much less looking round for property that it’s a must to do, the higher.

As an illustration, Hootsuite’s content material library characteristic is seamless throughout the calendar characteristic, so that you just’re barely conscious they’re two totally different instruments. See the way it works within the video under.

5. Set up a workflow

Okay, now that you just’ve gathered all attainable data, it’s time to begin sketching within the bones of your each day, weekly and month-to-month social media cadence.

You’ll wish to take into consideration:

Professional Tip: After getting a social media workflow outlined, think about documenting it in an easy-to-access place (say, a separate tab in your social media calendar spreadsheet). The extra complicated your group, the extra useful it’s to interrupt down definitions and processes so that you just’re not answering texts from colleagues once you’re alleged to be chomping beignets within the French Quarter, or getting a root canal.

This instance from social innovation NGO Digital Opportunity Trust reveals how their communications group retains a “tips” tab of their calendar, with useful sources like branding and official visuals linked.

social media content calendar with "guidelines" tab
Supply: Digital Opportunity Trust

6. Begin crafting your posts

At this level you’re in all probability raging with concepts, proper? Take a while to undergo that outdated “misc social” folder and begin pulling collectively some discrete posts.

As you’re employed, consider how your calendar feels. If it’s onerous and finicky, possibly you wish to dial again among the element. Or possibly it’s not detailed sufficient and you might want to add a number of columns. (Or possibly it’s simply… kinda ugly, during which case take a look at our lovely free templates, within the subsequent part.)

misc folder on author's desktop, containing a meme of Kylo Ren wearing a blanket
Supply: the creator

Then again, in the event you’re feeling stumped for posts that transcend subsequent Tuesday, we’ve a social media content ideas cheat sheet right here.

7. Invite your group to evaluate, and use their suggestions to enhance

Now that you just’ve sculpted the foundations of your organizational empire, it’s time to disclose your work to the world, or no less than to your colleagues.

You need your calendar to be reasonably intuitive, so ship an invitation round to the individuals who’ll want to make use of it on daily basis (or on daily basis you’re on trip).

Ask them to place it by means of its paces, and schedule a gathering for everybody to attach on findings. You’ll in all probability discover some gaps.

  • Does everybody have the passwords they want?
  • Do individuals perceive UTM parameters?
  • Do you’ve got an unrepentant hashtag abuser in your group?
  • Does everybody know discover, obtain and add the high-res infographic the designer made for the Jan 18th thought management piece for LinkedIn? If not, can they determine it out simply?

On the finish of this step, you need to have an hermetic doc that even the most recent group member can perceive.

8. Begin publishing (or scheduling)

As Rafiki says to Simba: it’s time. Your social media calendar is up and able to run.

As you begin publishing persistently, you could notice that it’s nonetheless taking time to take a seat down and manually publish your posts. That is very true in the event you’re working with some high-volume feeds.

In that case, utilizing a calendar that also has a scheduling function is your finest wager.

Social media calendar examples

Possibly you’re questioning: what do these calendars actually seem like, on the finish of the day? Properly, we’ve received some real-life social media content material calendar examples for you.

1. Nationwide Geographic’s editorial calendar

To begin, let’s check out how top-shelf editorial eyes view long-range content material planning.

This isn’t a social media content material calendar, however journal editorial calendars are usually made with potential advertisers in thoughts. Their function is to present advertisers an concept of what’s arising, subject by subject.

These calendars are handsome, concise, and solely element the largest hook. Additionally they usually embody viewers demographics and mission statements. In the event you’re presenting to your higher-ups—otherwise you’re an influencer trying to showcase your abilities to potential model companions—an editorial calendar could be the ticket.

National Geographic editorial calendar 2020
Supply: National Geographic

2. Digital Alternative Belief’s inner social media content material calendar

One of many hardest issues to seek out on-line—imagine us, we seemed—is what an precise working social media calendar appears to be like like. Luckily, DOT’s Director of Communications and Digital Engagement, Anne Patterson, slipped us some screencaps of what her group’s day-to-day appears to be like like.

DOT’s social media content material calendar is clear and succinct, permitting all of their channels to be taken in at a look—together with their proprietary platform, Innojo.

social media content calendar by DOT highlighting Key Dates column
Supply: DOT

In the meantime, DOT’s content material library tab features as a self-explanatory holding pen for inspiration, evergreen content material, and as-yet-unscheduled future posts.

social media content calendar by DOT, content library tab
Supply: DOT

3. Hootsuite’s inner social media calendar

Our third and remaining instance is the place we put our cash the place our mouth is. Take a look at what Hootsuite’s inner social media group will get as much as in Google Sheets.

social media content calendar by Hootsuite
Supply: Hootsuite

Hootsuite’s social media group makes use of each Google Sheets and the Hootsuite Planner. This Sheets calendar (above) serves many channels with a number of posts per day.

Customers scroll horizontally to see totally different platforms, and vertically to see future or previous dates. And when posts go reside, the textual content will get stricken out. (It’s very satisfying.)

In the meantime, the “content material pillar / subject” column is so essential it has its personal key in a separate tab:

Hootsuite social media content calendar, "content key" tab
Supply: Hootsuite

The group additionally retains an “evergreen” tab, sorted by platform, to maintain high-quality sources shut at hand, irrespective of the season.

Hootsuite social media content calendar, "Evergreen" tab
Supply: Hootsuite

In keeping with Social Media Supervisor Amanda Wood, as a result of giant quantity of content material Hootsuite publishes, Sheets is useful to sketch out content material throughout all channels, typically far prematurely. The group would possibly enter placeholder posts (i.e., posts with out finalized copy, hyperlinks or property) to get the lay of the land and guarantee a wholesome mixture of subjects.

The Hootsuite Planner, however, is the place Hootsuite’s finalized social media posts get mapped out with their property connected, in preparation for scheduling and posting.

Hootsuite Planner with content for Hootsuite's Twitter feed
Supply: Hootsuite

Free social media calendar templates

In the event you’re able to get began, we’ve two Google Sheets templates for you to check out. Simply open the hyperlink, make a replica, and plan away.

Social media calendar template

This calendar template makes house for the massive 4 main platforms and focuses on a weekly scale. But it surely’s extremely customizable, and also you’re free to make it your individual.

social media content calendar template

Just like the editorial calendar above, simply open the file and create your individual copy. Ensure that to create a brand new tab for every month, and plan out your editorial content material week by week.

Among the many helpful items in this calendar, make sure not to miss the tab for evergreen content. This is a content repository for blog posts that always perform well on social, despite seasonality. It includes:

    • Type of content
    • Original publication date (keep track of this so you know when it’s time for an update)
    • Title
    • Topic
    • URL
    • Top performing social copy
    • Top performing image

Social media editorial calendar template

This template is intended for planning individual content assets. Think blog posts, polished videos, new research, et cetera. In other words, this is where you plan out the content that your social media efforts will be promoting.

Create a new tab for each month, and plan your editorial content out week by week.

editorial calendar template

Click here to begin utilizing our editorial calendar template in Google Sheets.

Social media content material calendar apps and instruments

Actually there are in all probability as many alternative social media content material calendar instruments as there are social media managers. (Firefighter wall calendar? Microsoft Outlook? Do as you want!)

Google Sheets

Can we even need to checklist this one? Sure. Google Sheets is the microwave oven of your social media kitchen: you’re not going to brag about it to your foodie mates, however life with out it will be unnecessarily difficult.

And whereas it could take some additional time to begin rolling with pivot tables (or simply make the factor look respectable), our helpful social media calendar templates no less than maintain that second level.

Hootsuite Planner

Our favourite social media content material calendar instrument, in fact (you knew this was coming), is the Hootsuite Planner.

It eclipses even our trusty Google Sheets as a result of you may draft, preview, schedule and publish your whole social media posts immediately from the calendar.

The Hootsuite Planner works for Fb, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Pinterest.

The social media calendar you may construct with Hootsuite’s planner is interactive. You get your visible overview, all of your property (copy, visuals, hyperlinks) in a single place. From there, you may simply publish, schedule or edit your posts.

In the event you’re a part of a much bigger social media group, you may simply share the calendar along with your coworkers and managers, and even create customized approval workflows that may assist you to maintain all the time maintain your busy content material calendar in test.

 

Hootsuite's social media planner dashboard
Supply: Hootsuite

Hootsuite will even assist you to discover the best time to post for every of your social media accounts. Utilizing the Greatest Time to Publish characteristic will assist you to set your whole upcoming content material up for fulfillment.

Hootsuite's Best Time to Publish dashboard with personalized recommendations for best times to post for maximum engagement

To study extra about scheduling and publishing content material with Hootsuite, watch this video:

When you’ve deliberate your social media content material calendar, use Hootsuite Planner to schedule your whole social media posts, interact along with your followers, and observe the success of your efforts. Join a free trial at the moment.

Get Started

Simply handle all of your social media in a single place and save time with Hootsuite.





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