Social media has completely changed how we interact and communicate with one another and has ingrained itself into our daily lives. Whether you are a business owner, a marketer, or an individual, social media can help you connect with your target market, establish your brand, and achieve your goals.
Nevertheless, managing your social media presence is difficult, given the various channels and content types available. A social media calendar is one tool you can use to keep up with your social media activity.
This post will discuss what a social media calendar is, the benefits of using one, how to create a social media calendar, and a few tools and apps you can use to create and manage your social media content calendar.
Let’s get started.
What is a Social Media Calendar?
A social media calendar is a tool for planning, organizing, and scheduling social media posts in advance. It visualizes the content you intend to publish on social platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and others.
A good social media calendar provides the following information for each scheduled post:
- The date and time you intend to post
- The social media channel and account that you will use to share it
- Post type (static post, carousel post, video, reel, story, etc.)
- Materials for the content (e.g., caption, call-to-action, photos, or video)
- Links and hashtags to use
Further, the calendar lets you keep on schedule with your content strategy and ensures that your social media postings are timely, helpful, and engaging.
The Best Way to Create a Social Media Calendar
Creating a social media calendar requires careful planning and successful execution. The following steps will show you how to make your social media content calendar:
Step 1: Define Your Goals and Objectives
For social media calendars to succeed, you should establish goals and objectives before creating your social media calendar template. Ask and answer the following questions in your planning phase.
- What do you expect to achieve with your social media content?
- Do you want to raise engagement levels, bring more visitors to your website, or increase brand awareness?
- How many social media channels will you be posting on?
- Do you plan on using the same messaging across channels or differentiating it by channel?
- What are the best social media networks for your content?
- Have you signed up for all necessary social media accounts?
Here are some examples of social media marketing goals that might serve as inspiration for you:
- Reach x number of followers on Instagram by the end of the year
- Get a minimum of x views on each post on Tiktok
- Boost your website’s traffic by x% through social media
- Get at least x comments on each Facebook post
Establishing goals is also important because your goals and objectives will guide you in deciding what kind of content to develop and which social media platforms to prioritize.
Step 2: Identify Your Target Audience
You must first understand your target audience to create content that resonates with them. Determine your target audience’s demographics, interests, and behavior, then customize your content to their preferences.
Content planning across multiple social media accounts and audience types is a lot of work and takes up valuable time and resources. Consider establishing social media campaigns aimed at each audience and across channels to streamline content planning and scheduling posts.
Step 3: Conduct a Social Media Audit
Do a content audit across your social media platforms before creating new content to evaluate the performance of your existing content. Examine your posts’ engagement rates, reach, and impressions to identify what works for you and what does not.
This will assist you in refining your content ideas and producing more effective social media material. You don’t want your social media marketing efforts to be in vain, so pay attention to detail when extracting what information is valuable from your social posts.
Step 4: Plan Your Content
Plan your social media content strategy based on your goals, target audience, and content audit. Choose the type of content you want to generate, such as images, videos, infographics, or written content.
Identify the topics to discuss on each social media platform and determine if your content ideas can be used seamlessly across multiple networks. Determine the keywords you’ll use to optimize your content for search engines and social algorithms.
Step 5: Content Creation
This is a major step. The production of social media content and the content calendar will take time. If you work alone, understand that producing everything you need may take a week.
You can outsource this to someone on your social media team if you work for a company. However, if you are a solopreneur, you likely don’t have a marketing team and will need to find help or go it alone. Luckily, you can find great social media marketers on Fiverr or Freelancer to assist if needed.
Assuming you go it alone, your social media calendar template can be as simple as a Google sheet or doc to start. During this phase, it is not imperative to be a perfectionist. You want to catalog everything you have to work with.
Step 5: Schedule Your Content
Once you are satisfied with the creation, you’ll want to start building your posting calendar and schedule posts within the calendar. There are a lot of social media calendar tools in this step. Most notable and free would be Google Calendar and Google Sheets.
Google Calendar and Sheets won’t schedule the posts, but they can help you organize social media posts. We’ve provided some great options later in this post that are reasonable in cost and will certainly help keep you on task.
Scheduling your content will help you in publishing your content at an appropriate time every day. Maintaining a consistent posting schedule is vital for long-term success. Use a tool or app to schedule your posts ahead of time to ensure a steady stream of content throughout the month.
Step 6: Monitor and Evaluate Your Content
After scheduling your content, analyze its performance to determine its effectiveness. As we all know, practice makes perfect. Therefore, examine your content’s reach, impressions, and engagement rates, and make changes if necessary.
This will assist you in improving your content strategy and producing more robust social media content. You’ll soon find that your upcoming social media posts are far better than what you started with.
Step 7: Rinse and Repeat
Once you discover what works best, you refine your process to publish posts more efficiently and run your process to maintain the publishing schedule that works best for your business.
Producing the various social media calendar templates that work best for your system is part of building standard operating procedures, which save you a great deal of time should you ever outsource or hire a social media manager.
Benefits of Using a Social Media Calendar
Social media calendars are only as useful as the content added to them. They won’t solve your social media woes. You still need to put in the effort across all the steps listed above.
When used correctly, a social media calendar will provide multiple advantages for businesses and creators. Here are some of the key benefits:
Planning and creating social media content takes time, especially if you need to post to several different platforms. A social media calendar saves you time by enabling you to prepare and schedule your content ahead of time.
As a result of good planning and preparation, you are free to concentrate on other areas of your business, knowing that your social media presence is taken care of.
a social media calendar can improve collaboration by allowing social media teams to exchange ideas and plan content together. This ensures everyone is on the same page and that the social media content is consistent and aligned with the overall strategy.
In a team setting, using a social media content calendar or social media tool is vital to keep everyone using the same playbook.
It’s no secret that consistency is the key to success. Maintaining a solid social media presence and building a loyal audience require regular content posting. A monthly social media calendar will help you plan posts well into the future.
You will find it is much easier to stay ahead of the content needs when the social media posting schedule is kept up to date, and upcoming posts are easy to find and adjust if something else needs to take priority.
Quality Assurance and Brand Safety
When you use a social media calendar, you can be sure that your material will be of the best quality and aligned with your brand’s guidelines. This helps guide your social media efforts towards producing more quality content vs posts out of a sense of obligation.
Further, if you plan and schedule content ahead of time, you will have more time to evaluate and revise your posts to ensure that they match your quality requirements. Many brands will attest to the quality of social media content being imperative and something that could harm a brand’s reputation.
One example of a social media campaign that caused issues is McDonald’s #McDStories. In 2012, McDonald’s launched a Twitter campaign that encouraged people to share their positive experiences with the fast food chain using the hashtag #McDStories.
However, the campaign quickly backfired as many Twitter users used the hashtag to share negative stories and criticisms of McDonald’s, including stories about finding foreign objects in their food and complaints about poor customer service.
McDonald’s quickly pulled the campaign, but the hashtag continued to be used to share negative stories about the brand for days afterward.
Social Media Content Calendar Apps and Tools
Because social media planning and scheduling are laborious, many apps have helped streamline the process to build efficiencies. Yes, you can post each via the social platform posting tools, but better options exist.
Apps and tools are available to help you create and manage your social media content calendar across multiple social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and YouTube, and now many also have TikTok.
Some of the most popular social calendar options to review are:
Google Sheets is a free, easy-to-use spreadsheet app for creating social media content calendars. You may customize your calendar by adding columns for the platform, date, time, content type, and other relevant data.
Google Sheets also enables team collaboration, making it an excellent business choice. Google doesn’t offer a straightforward option for a social media calendar template in the template gallery, but you can customize the Schedule or the To-do list relatively easily.
The schedule is great if you want to build out multiple posts each day and can be extended to accomplish looking at an entire month, duplicated, and then the main date changed for the next month, which then updates all the dates automatically.
Multiple free templates are available from other providers you can tap into and import into Sheets. Smartsheets offers a free template that has lots of benefits.
Crowdfire is a social media management tool containing a social media content calendar feature. You can use the app to organize and schedule your social media posts, and it also suggests suitable items to share.
The calendar feature is only available on the Premium and VIP plans, as is the bulk schedule post feature. If you have a large social media presence, it likely makes sense to get one of these plans.
Crowdfire also allows you to connect to multiple channels, including TikTok and provides analytics so you can monitor your social media performance and identify your weak points.
Notion is a popular productivity and collaboration tool that is also great for constructing a social media content calendar. This tool provides a social media planning template that may be customized with columns for the platform, date, types of content, and other relevant information.
To get started with Notion, you’ll sign up via email or connect to a Google account. From there, you’ll provide some general information and be brought to the get started dashboard.
You’ll use the search feature to find all sorts of templates, including a social media content calendar and a social media planning calendar.
Notion is like Google Sheets and Calendar all rolled into one, and the interactive dashboard allows you to do all sorts of things, like inviting a social media team to collaborate via invite or publishing your calendar to the web.
The social media calendar can be used in multiple ways. The initial list view can be swapped out to the calendar view by clicking on the three dots in the upper right and selecting your preferred layout.
You will need to upgrade to a paid plan if you want to add team members and do other heavy lifting within Notion, but it can help you accomplish quite a bit. Notion starts at $8/user per month.
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A social media calendar is an excellent method to stay on track and organized with your social media presence. The steps provided in this post will help you get started, and we hope, on your way to producing some great social media content ideas.
When developing content for your social channels, prioritize quality over quantity and always keep your audience in mind. Do not forget to evaluate your progress and modify your social media strategy accordingly.
Start planning your social media content and witness the results for yourself! It’s time to up your social media game and create the best social media calendar for your content.