Is creating a social media content calendar difficult? By the end of this post, you will see how easy it is to incorporate social media content calendar templates. Nevertheless, if you want your social media content calendar to be functional and serve its purpose well, you should pay great attention to which template you choose to implement.
Today, we’re going to take you on a social media content calendar ride.
You’ll find out the answers to:
- what is a social media content calendar and why do you need one?
- how to go about creating your social media content calendar?
- what are some practices and tips for optimal functionality of your social media content calendar?
- what tools can be used to create a social media content calendar?
- how can Kontentino assist you with creating not only a social media content calendar but a functional workflow around your content?
Shall we start, then?
Social media content calendar: the basics
A social media content calendar is a plan for your publications across different social media platforms. Depending on the type of social media content calendar template you choose, you can create a spreadsheet, presentation, or document as well as an interactive dashboard.
Where do we start?
Everything in one place
By using a social media content calendar, you will be able to keep track of all your social media publications under one roof. If you execute it properly, you should be able to swap content ideas between platforms and profiles and modify them on the go – including real-time content that is impossible to plan in time.
You will have a clearer picture of the strategy of each and every profile you manage, and this overview may help you to make better business decisions: what, where, when, and why to post.
Better control and handover
The ability to have greater control over your social media strategy is also an undeniable benefit. If everything is included in one common social media content calendar template, everyone can review the calendar and not duplicate existing work but – quite the contrary – complement it.
Social media content calendars are also beneficial if someone is on vacation, off sick, or leaving the organization – because a smooth handover is made possible. Since everything is centralized, there is no need for a lengthy takeover process.
Organization takes & gives time
A social media content calendar can be arranged in such a way that you will no longer have to scroll endlessly to find content ideas. Obviously nothing comes easy, and you will need to develop a social media content calendar and then teach others how to use it before it’s brought into life. Once everyone becomes familiar with the workflow, however, you won’t have to struggle with random posts outside of the strategy or filling in the gaps.
Additionally, if you use an interactive social media content calendar, it will perform some tasks for you in no time. They might include such things as scheduling your posts directly to social media platforms or gathering data for further analysis.
You can manage both the regularity of your publications (which social media algorithms appreciate a lot) and their consistency (which, in turn, will be extremely popular with the recipients) with pre-planned content. It goes without saying that well-thought-out content is usually more effective.
No pain, more gain
A centralized social media calendar can not only save you a lot of time and hassle, but also help you avoid certain problems. More efficient workflow reduces the likelihood of escalation of a social media crisis. Planning content in advance and allowing yourself time to organize it will help you to reduce the chance of typos, mistakes, controversial copy, or any other situation that can lead to a crisis.
If you have one or two profiles to manage, this is beneficial.
But if you have many, it’s a godsend.
The use of social media content calendars allows you to save time on social media activities so that you can respond more quickly rather than searching for new ideas out of the blue and not having time for community management.
All of this contributes to better results generated by your social media strategy. And isn’t that what every social media manager strives for?
It is a matter of cherry-picking here rather than identifying genuine drawbacks. There is an actual one – an updated social media content calendar template is necessary in order to prevent an organizational mess. Moreover, you should allocate sufficient resources to onboard the people who will be involved in creating your social media content calendar.
In the end, though, it all pays off.
Basically, you will benefit from a social media content calendar if you:
- want to save time on spontaneous planning and creating content
- need to regularly share posts on your social media profiles
- wish to avoid mistakes, mishaps, and grammar mistakes in your posts
- would like to be prepared on special occasions and holidays with posts planned and approved in advance
- strive to improve your social media content quality
- need to collaborate with your team and clients on content plans
- care to know what works and what doesn’t in terms of your social media posting
and that’s just a few possible use cases.
Quite simply, a social media content calendar is an integral part of your marketing strategy if you wish to maximize your social media presence.
#1 Social media agencies
A typical social media marketing agency has a variety of clients, profiles, and posts to manage on a daily basis.
It would be difficult for them to make ends meet without social media content calendar templates.
By developing a social media content calendar for each client, they will be able to have a better understanding of the workflow and better adjust their resources internally. Identifying content gaps can be accomplished more efficiently when all parties are on the same page in terms of content ideas.
Furthermore, by presenting concepts and plans in the form of a social media content calendar, an agency can come across as more professional. A good social media content calendar template could potentially be the difference between your agency and the competition.
As a marketer, even if you do not exclusively work in the area of social media, you might require access to a social media content calendar in order to plan your marketing activities. It is a mutually beneficial collaboration.
Whether they are strategists, creative managers, or analysts, marketers have the ability to inspire social media managers and tell them what to post or promote.
Their social media managers keep them up to date on what is happening on social media, as well as what should be published or rethought (because, for example, it does not generate the desired results).
Social media content calendars are then used to keep track of all communications.
#3 Brand managers
The role of a brand manager is to manage the overall communication of a single brand or a portfolio. This includes social media communication, which, due to being responsible for many other tasks, may simply be overlooked. With a social media content calendar that is accessible and easy to use, brand managers can keep track of the overall communication and the role that social media plays in it. Not only can they control it, but they can also offer suggestions or share ideas about topics to cover on social media.
A social media content calendar may also be beneficial to clients of advertising agencies. If they have access to a common social media content calendar template, clients may be able to get a better overview and ask fewer less important questions – simply because they will be able to find and check the answers themselves. As a result, they will be able to navigate through long-term strategic planning to better understand the processes and the strategy itself.
#5 Remote teams
Social media content calendars are actually less of a choice for remote marketing teams and more of a necessity. And such a social media content calendar template should be interactive if it is to fulfill its potential.
By having one dashboard or document where people in different time zones, languages, and locations can collate their social media content ideas then the creative part doesn’t hurt, the place doesn’t matter, and the social media content calendar simply shines. Social media content calendars assist remote organizations with staying on the same page when it comes to collaboration.
While we have only highlighted the most common uses of social media content calendars, the sky’s the limit when it comes to using them.
However, before you can use a social media content calendar, you will need to know how to create one. Here is our guide.
Social media content calendar: where to start
Audit your social media accounts – you need to understand where to begin. If you’re just starting out with social media, there may not be much to analyze. If you are already active then you may want to check, e.g., what type of content has worked well for you and consider adding more of it to your new content calendar.
A review of this kind will not provide all of the answers you seek, but it will give you an indication of how to formulate your social media content calendar template.
In your audit, you should also include your tone of voice, USP, and target audience characteristics, as well as look at your competitors. You should not be trying to copy them, but rather gain some insights from how they are doing.
If you are interested in learning more about a social media audit, you can find further insights in this blog post.
In total, there are more than 100 different social media sites. It seems to be not only impossible to be present on all of them, but also doing so would be inefficient for your business if you did not reach your target audience. When creating your social media content calendar, only pick the channels that are absolutely necessary for your communication and gather your target group there.
Additionally, this should also be derived from your social media audit: if you have already been active on some social networks, you may already be able to gauge their effectiveness.
A social media content rule of thumb says that you should not include more than six to eight social media channels for each brand that you manage in your social media content calendar template.
Step 3: Set KPIs
A social media content calendar template should contain not only the creative elements, but also those related to analytics and reporting. For this purpose, you should operate according to KPIs.
KPIs are an essential part of your social media content calendar: they allow you to check whether or not the strategy is heading in the right direction. If you have not established KPIs in your marketing strategy before, it is high time for you to do so.
We believe this may be somewhat challenging at first, so you may want to read our piece about marketing KPIs.
Step 4: Sort out a workflow
This step is simple if you are a one-person army, since you determine everything and are responsible for all aspects of your social media content calendar. If you work in a team in which each member has a variety of responsibilities then things become a little bit more complicated, but are still manageable – with a social media content calendar, of course.
Dependencies and responsibilities should be managed on an “IF/THEN” basis.
- IF we need to publish a new Facebook post THEN we need to tell our graphic designer to prepare creatives.
- IF we plan a new batch of videos THEN we first send scenarios for our clients’ approval.
- IF we have a content gap to fill next week THEN we may think about content repurposing and ask our copywriter for a new social media copy.
- IF someone publishes a negative post about the brand THEN a community manager uses one of the reply templates to message the client.
And the set of dependencies and responsibilities are nothing other than a workflow.
A workflow for a social media content calendar should include:
- stages of content creation
- who-for-what: who is responsible for what activities
- content approval process
- analytics phase
We will explore the content approval process in more depth below.
Step 5: Set up a content approval flow
The following step is extremely important for your understanding of the social media content calendar.
You need to:
- Indicate whether or not your content requires approval
- Review what type of content should be approved and when (e.g. before proofreading, after the graphic design is completed, etc.)
- Find out who is responsible for internal approval needed if it is necessary
- Double-check who is responsible for client approval and what the best communication channels to contact them on are
- Determine an approximate time frame for feedback (e.g. your client needs to approve content within 24 hours, otherwise you assume everything is okay and can be published straight away)
- Set up feedback processes and ensure that feedback rounds are held on a regular basis
- Check the approval framework for real-time content (e.g. who is the best point of contact when there is a chance for a quick, real-time win)
Make sure you do not rely on just one person or one channel of contact. Maintain a list of emergency contacts and preferences for each person. You may have a different point of contact on weekends compared to workdays.
Ensure they have access to your social media calendar as well (Kontentino works exceptionally well here).
Step 6: Organize resources
You should always have some resources in hand to put your social media content calendar into practice. There may not be a need for them today, tomorrow, or ever, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Create a bundle that will be available to you at all times and accessible to your entire team.
What should be included in such a bundle of resources?
- social media image cheat sheet
- basic imagery in various sizes (this may include templates and vectors)
- logos in various colors and sizes (both colorful and black & white, reverse and monochrome)
- color palette (color codes in RGB)
- typeface (both your actual fonts and, if they are specific, those that are closest to the original)
- any social media posts that have already been published (for future records)
You have probably noticed the similarities to a brand book, so well done! It is an actual social media brand book with a few twists. This should be enhanced with social media guidelines that explain how the brand’s logo, typography, and colors should be used on social media creatives, profile pictures, and advertisements.
This is a step that may originate within your marketing or business strategy, but it takes on a brand new form in terms of social media content calendars. Each social media content calendar should include certain unmovable elements that are easy to adjust but impossible to avoid. Ideally, they should be predefined prior to publishing the first post from your social media content calendar.
What elements are worth including in a general social media content calendar?
- used channels + posting frequency – so that everyone is on the right page and can verify what goes live where and when. This should include a breakdown by days, post cadence, and platforms. It should also include exceptions and general rules (e.g. “never post on Friday since our community manager works only part-time then” or “LinkedIn posts always need to go live on Monday at 9 am PT”) regarding posting.
- communication lines – what kind of content is going to be published on a particular profile? Communication lines are crucial, and if you have not used them before then they are likely to be hit or miss in a social media content calendar. We cover them in greater detail in the FAQ section.
- images – guidelines regarding how to create images, which may include logo position, colors, bottom bars, and specific frames for social media channels.
- hashtags – presets can be extremely helpful and time-saving when posting. Can you imagine coming up with ideas for dozens of hashtags every day? Instead of trying to reinvent the hashtag wheel, prepare a list that is always accessible. Important! Consider if you are providing a competitive advantage to your competitors by using their hashtags.
- tone of voice – what are the do’s and don’ts for posting and communicating with your audience on social media, and how do they relate to the posting strategy?
- labels and tags – often utilized to quickly identify and group specific posts in order to navigate through social media content calendars with ease.
- notes – your space for non-standard annotations that don’t fit in any other field.
- post-publishing metrics – what are you going to measure after publication? A set of general KPIs per channel is always handy, but whenever possible aim for KPIs for each social media post.
Step 8: Analyze, test, and optimize
It is important to remember that your work on a social media content calendar does not stop after clicking on the “publish” button. Social media managers are not always fans of analytics, but they may well have to change that attitude if so.
Nothing is going to call for change louder than your own results.
Verify that your social media content calendar works like a well-oiled machine. Regularity is valued by both users and social media algorithms. Your posts will reach greater audiences as you post more valuable content. Analyze and draw appropriate conclusions based on an examination of efficiency and results.
“Never change a winning team” does not always work on social media.
Regardless of whether or not your social media content calendar is achieving satisfying results right now, that does not mean it will continue to do so in the future. Your audience and social media requirements are constantly changing, and you need to adapt to those changes. It is fine to experiment with different types of posts or add more elements to your calendar from time to time, but only if you juggle them with your existing communication strategies. It might work wonders, but if you never try, you’ll never know!
Step 9: Without further ADO
ADO in this case stands for Automate, Outsource, & Delegate. This should include a review of your social media tasks, procedures, and processes that need to be streamlined. It may consist of a few parts: tasks already ADOd, tasks that you plan to, and tasks that are on your wishlist to automate. Exemplary tasks include social media scheduling, hashtag research, creating weekly reports, and getting content lines approved with clients.
What significance does ADO have for a social media content calendar, though?
You should view it in a holistic light: ADO helps you manage social media as a whole. In consideration of time availability, you may find it necessary to automate some areas in order to focus on more strategic tasks in your social media content calendar. By automating or delegating scheduling to Instagram, you can instead concentrate on the creative aspects of the business.
So you know what to include in your social media content calendar template. With all of the procedures in place, your team can’t wait to begin the project.
But you have no idea what to share. Oopsy-daisy.
Goot job we’ve prepared a few types and ideas of posts that you can put in your social media content calendar then, isn’t it? 😉
#1 Photo posts
Photo posts do not have to be boring and consist of yet more product photos with logotypes in the corners. So, if you think that’s the only way you can use photos, you’re (fortunately) wrong!
There are just a few ways that you can incorporate photo posts into your social media content calendar:
- trivia (charades, rebuses)
- reaction voting (like for X, love for Y, wow for Z)
- creative loop (end the sentence, replace X with your favourite fruit)
- sneak peeks (your new products or features)
- recipes or sneak peeks
#2 Video posts
It is a common misconception that video posts are time-consuming and expensive. However, you can create video clips with some powerful marketing tools that are quick and easy to use. We’ve listed some that are in our toolbox right here.
Videos sound cool as long as you know what to include in them. If not, we’re happy to come to the rescue:
- product launch videos
- explainer videos (showing your products, services, or features step by step)
- a static photo that’s been animated with single filters and effects – that’s how you can refresh some photo posts!
In terms of reach and engagement, video posts can be more effective than other types. You should try them in your social media content calendar, especially if you haven’t used them before and your outgoing communication is pretty static.
Quizzes are fun, aren’t they? Quizzes on social media can get you a lot of attention and engagement, as well as boost other metrics. When you create a quiz, make sure it’s not obvious – the best ones have a few possible solutions rather than just one correct answer. You can make your quizzes very simple (answers from A to D like in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire) or more advanced (Which fruit are you?). Restricting the solution to just one answer may lead to the first comment revealing it and therefore dissuade others from participating. More answers means more fun! Also, it would be beneficial to incorporate engagement loops into your strategy so that you can increase engagement even further with comments and run discussions with those who decided to take the quiz.
We have all been in a position where we have written content to post, but have no idea how the visuals should appear or have no one to assist with them (and stock photos will simply not do). You can either give up and wait, or… use GIFs. In a social media content calendar, there are some cult GIFs that may fit well with your content and bring better engagement over time. The right strategy may not be one that is based entirely on GIFs, but using them occasionally can be refreshing.
If you discover that GIFs are effective in your marketing strategy, why not consider creating your own batch? (check out the GIFs we made in Kontentino)
Live is a tricky format. On one hand, it’s extremely easy to run – you just need to press “record” on a live streaming feature to start filming and publishing straight away. On the other hand, you can’t go back and edit what you’ve said or shown.
The live format should find a slot somewhere in your social media content calendar. This format doesn’t always have to be planned; it can sometimes be quite spontaneous, but it is important to remember. about it throughout
Due to their fleeting nature, the power of stories are often overlooked by marketing strategists who, as a result, do not integrate this type of content into their campaigns. That may be a mistake, since stories can be saved (e.g. pinned in a Highlights format) and seen by even more people than your organic posts.
Other than their limited visibility, another challenge is that marketers may be unsure about how to incorporate Stories into their social media content calendars. Online chats or meetings, webinars, and Q&As are all great uses of the live format; why not use it for behind-the-scenes content as well?
And it’s interesting that marketers don’t usually think about:
- announcing their new Instagram posts with Stories
- displaying sneak-peeks of new marketing initiatives via Stories
- using Stories for showing the company culture and behind-the-scenes
- promoting deals and sharing discount in Stories
- using Stories for polls, quizzes, surveys, and gathering feedback
- simply making use of Stories in their activities
Your stories can be 100% planned or they can arise spontaneously – regardless of their nature, you should leverage them in your social media content calendar.
#7 Link posts
If the ultimate goal of your social media strategy is to drive more traffic to your website, then link posts should be an integral part of your social media content calendar. With link posts, you can easily send your audience to your external website, landing page, or shop.
At times, they can resemble photo posts, however, there are two major differences that may work in favor of link posts if your goal is to boost conversion rates.
First of all, when you click on a photo in your link post, instead of zooming in to see the details, you’re redirected to an external source. Depending on your goal, this might be a good strategy if you’re actually trying to drive conversions to your website and aren’t interested in social media engagement per se.
As a second benefit, link posts come with a variety of elements such as call-to-action buttons, headlines, and link descriptions that allow you to be creative while encouraging your audience to take the desired action.
Link posts are also great if you lack visuals. You don’t need to add any photo or video to your post to make it visually plausible. The link preview consists of a photo (e.g. cover photo on your blog) that will be displayed on social media. You can use various debuggers to see, or fix, how your link posts will be displayed.
#8 User-generated content
For social media marketers, obtaining so much user-generated content that they don’t have to worry about creating new content themselves is the holy grail. Getting a lot of user-generated content, however, is somewhat of a challenge, as it requires a lot of time, effort, and patience on the part of the brand.
Let’s face it: not every business is or has the chance to become a global brand that everyone has heard of. Because of this, it may be difficult to regularly collect user generated content. Several ideas can help you with this process, though.
Start by involving some influencers and brand ambassadors if doing so is feasible. What would you gain from doing that?
As well as promoting your brand or product, they can also create promotional content for your social media accounts. This content can be interacted with by your brand, reposted, and repurposed if legally permitted. It is all up to your agreement with the influencer or ambassador in question.
Influencer marketing may not be suitable for every brand for various reasons. The terms of the agreement don’t always match reality, and marketing budgets often prioritize other activities over influencers. Is it fair to assume that there is no way to incorporate user-generated content into your social media content calendar then? The answer might be contrary to what you think.
UGC, as its name implies, is user-generated content. In other words, you get your greatest form of appreciation from users who interact with and love your brand. This isn’t something that happens overnight, however, so at the beginning your encouragement may be required to motivate your users to create such content..
Give your audience a small incentive, like a 10% discount off their next purchase for tagging your brand on social media channels or sending you some promotional content. You should run contests that allow you to collect and then legally process entries.
Then watch as the snowball effect occurs and brings more user-generated content to your doorstep that you can add to your social media content calendar.
These are one of the most underrated post formats on social media – and once placed in a social media content calendar, they can actually deliver great results. Offers resemble link posts, but upon clicking they display a special discount or promo code that can be applied online or in brick and mortar stores.
Offers make a delightful format for ecommerce, so it’s worth checking them out and adding them to your social media strategy.
Long story short, carousels are just a collection or set of link posts. This is simplifying it too much, but that’s what it resembles. Carousels, however, are more flexible because you don’t have to claim link ownership to change a photo in your carousel. For link posts, it is possible to change a photo if you upload a new one to the source or if you have rights to the link (e.g. it’s your website).
In carousels, you can change covers and photos even for links that do not belong to you. That opens up a whole new world of possibilities, so it’s worth checking out.
You can use carousels to:
- promote a few products in a single post
- redirect your audience to a few separate pages on your site
- create a story that can be revealed by swiping right and left
- show e.g. one collection as a whole
- present some episodes of particular content
Furthermore, the role of carousels is also observed on LinkedIn as Slides/Documents where you can upload a square PDF and browse it this way – although, it won’t be clickable.
The only thing stopping you here is your creativity, as with anything else.
#11 Shoppable posts
Another idea, especially for those into ecommerce on social media, is to leverage shoppable posts that allow you to tag your products directly in photos and enable your audience to purchase those items straight away.
And we believe we don’t really have to describe this concept in detail – simply add products to your Facebook shopping catalogue and tag products in the content that you publish afterwards. Despite appearances, this format is simple, effective, and not as commercialized as you might imagine.
Putting together a social media content calendar template may feel like a huge deal! Your schedule can be just a table or a document – you decide what’s best for your business. However, it’s important to give some time to build it, as you must be sure that everything will work out in the end. Given that you already know what to include in your social media content calendar, it is now worth learning how to do so. There is a wide variety of options, so let us take you through them.
Management of social media profiles can be very challenging. You need to keep a lot of factors in mind and remember about many different elements that should be incorporated into your social media content calendar. Even if the setting is made once, the process must be repeated. The list goes on and on.
The use of a good social media management tool can however significantly reduce the burden. It is just a matter of finding one that will assist with your daily activities.
Kontentino is a complex social media management tool that allows marketers, brands, and agencies to create customizable and powerful social media content calendar templates. Let us just show how in practice.
Kontentino assists from the very beginning
From the inspiration phrase (gathering inspirations and collecting them in a common calendar) through creating content and adjusting it to different social media platforms, getting it approved, scheduling, analyzing, reporting, and drawing conclusions. Collaboration features are the cherry on top here.
You have everything available in a single, intuitive dashboard, working wherever you are and for whoever’s involved.
In addition to providing a great social media content calendar, Kontentino has a lot more to offer.
Kontentino sprang to life from the needs of people working for interactive agencies, but it also provides solutions to marketers who are studying how to manage profiles on social media. We’re not just talking about a list of planned posts on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Instagram. Kontentino is a tool for managing projects, as well as the teams within an organization.
With Kontentino, you can:
- manage your content across various social media platforms from one dashboard
- get an extra social media content calendar for inspiration, ideas, and backlog to share with your team
- control the information flow and tasks between team members, as well as on the line between clients and your agency
- send content for the direct approval of your clients or internally
- make the most of editable post requirement checklists with the most crucial guidelines for your team (perfect for onboarding)
- create labels and tags for better navigation through your social media content calendar
- add a logo to your graphics without any additional skills or tools
- use its drag & drop feature for flexible editing of your social media content calendar – planning, duplicating, dragging, dropping, and deleting if necessary
- leverage automatic export of posts to social media calendars
- take care of planning Facebook ads
- use advanced analytics and reporting for Facebook and Instagram
- boost your community management with its Engage features
Kontentino combines all the functionalities you love
Transition from one tool to another can be difficult, especially if you have been using one for a while and there are many people involved in your social media content calendar.
Changes are good, though – and here at Kontentino, we make this transition seamless.
Kontentino combines the best of the other tools out there:
- You can view and edit your social media content calendar in Kanban mode, just like in a project management tool like Trello or Asana.
- You can collaborate on your social media content calendar as you do in Google Sheets – you can even have an overview on it in the form of Google Sheets table if you want.
- You can add notes, lists, and tasks just like you add them to emails or attachments.
- You can schedule your social media posts as in Creator Studio, but across various social media platforms and not only Facebook or Instagram.
Other than that, it also serves as a communication platform for your team, clients, and digital asset management software (you can store your videos, images, and other files in Kontentino).
It is estimated that, thanks to using Kontentino, social media teams can save as much as 40% operational time they used to spend on mundane tasks.
If you do not require a very comprehensive social media content calendar template, you may simply use a table. The one below is a great starting point, especially if you have never created a social media content calendar before.
Here is an example table that you can use to create your own social media content calendar:
|Informational panel||A list of all the social media channels you manage, along with links to them.|
|People in the project||A list of the individuals who have access to the project divided according to their roles. With the addition of this information, it will be easier to track if questions or crises arise in future (e.g. who is responsible for a certain post?)|
|Goals/KPI||The following table outlines the business goals of the entire plan, as well as the key performance indicators (KPIs) for each profile/post. This may also include the vertical market or campaign with which it is associated.|
|Social media platform||This field specifies the platform that a social media plan concerns.|
|Social media profile||The information in this field should consist of the name of the profile and a clickable link.|
|Content type||What type of content will be published in this particular post? Platform-specific content types should be placed here, such as video, photo, carousel, or blog entry, etc. This can be replaced later with a link to the actual publication.|
|Date and time||Note: it is important to include the timezone as well as the date/time of post publication.|
|Topic||This field should specify the general topic or category of your posts. It could also answer the question “What’s the story behind this post?”|
What’s behind the post? (e.g. a recipe) – this may be helpful for your team
|Copy||The exact copy of your post is going to land here.|
|Profile/platform differentiators||Creating a social media content calendar often fails to consider this important point. These operators will vary by platform and profile. You may choose one set of hashtags for your Twitter posts, another for your LinkedIn posts, or alt text for your Instagram photos. These small pieces of information contribute to the overall scheduling process.|
|Links||Is there a link that needs to be included in the post? If it requires UTM-ing or shortening, include the final version of the link here.|
|Imagery||This field can be used to link to images for a particular post or to provide instructions on where to find them in your file storage system (for example, by name).|
|Notes||If you have any additional information to include that does not fit into the fields above, this is the place to leave it. The notes may be related to, e.g., community management or geo-targeting. You may also want to specify whether it is an evergreen article (so you can repurpose it later) or a post that is very time-dependent and can’t be reused.|
|Status||Various statuses can be assigned here: draft, internally approved, client-approved, scheduled, published, promoted, or postponed – the sky’s the limit.|
|Paid promotion||Determine whether the post should be promoted or if you do not want to allocate the budget for that. Should the post be promoted, additional budget information may be useful.|
|7-day review||We recommend that you verify how a particular post has performed over a period of seven days. To gain a deeper level of complexity, you should prepare an analytical report that details and explains this information.|
#3 Spreadsheets/Google Sheets
Spreadsheets are like Marmite: you either love them or you hate them. Though it goes without saying that, in some circumstances, they can definitely be useful, Google Sheets fill the gap that traditional Spreadsheets opened up and left.
Spreadsheets within Microsoft Office are easy to create, but difficult to fill in and almost impossible to collaborate on. If you create your social media content calendar in Microsoft Excel (or in the form of a presentation using Microsoft PowerPoint or similar tools), then you will need to download the software and send the document further to get it approved. If any corrections appear, the file is returned to you before the process repeats over and over again. This resembles ping pong, doesn’t it?
With Google Sheets, it’s a bit easier since they support collaboration in real-time so you can exchange comments and modify the sheet accordingly. However, Google Sheets do not allow direct publishing or scheduling, nor provide analytics, and can’t be used for community management. Therefore, they are out of hunt when searching for the perfect social media content calendar.
Pro Tip: you can use the table we created for #1 in the form of a Google Sheet!
Trello is most commonly used for managing projects, but it’s also a great tool for organizing posts. With Trello’s table view, it is very easy to navigate around and change the settings for each post. As a result, more than just one person can be working on social media platforms at a time.
Project management tools such as this one can help you keep track of your social media content calendar, but are not well-suited for actual social media scheduling. They may boost collaboration, but like Spreadsheets they lack automation and workflow options.
#5 Creator Studio
Creator Studio appears to be a convenient platform for managing social media channels, since you can create, add, and plan posts or stories, track statistics, answer messages, and much more. Having such capabilities would seem to make it a perfect match for a social media content calendar template. However, when the dust has settled after the initial charm, you may discover that Creator Studio can’t be used as an efficient social media content calendar template.
First of all, it is not a calendar and so it does not offer a calendar view, which makes viewing the entire content calendar at once extremely difficult. WHat’s more, Creator Studio does not permit the user to send content to a client for approval or to collaborate with other team members. There is no mobile application and, above all, it only works with Facebook and Instagram. Thus it can’t serve as a comprehensive social media content calendar template.
Social media content calendar: FAQ & best practices
Although you might already have a plan and outline of your upcoming social media content calendar, some questions may still arise around the topic. In the following paragraphs, we will attempt to address some common questions.
How often should I make a social media content calendar?
The general rule of thumb suggests a time frame of about once a month, but this can vary in more sensitive or engaging industries. Social media content calendars with shorter timelines may be easier to adapt (since they are more susceptible to changes), however short notice changes may not always be possible. Moreover, you may wish to include some long-term dates in your social media content calendar in order to remember important dates for your brand (e.g. your anniversary).
We recommend that you create one more-or-less precise schedule for a month and see how it goes with the creative part, approval process, and actual publication. It might be necessary to constantly adjust your social media content calendar in order to achieve the highest level of effectiveness.
How should I adjust my posting cadence?
There is no rule of thumb here. For many industries, posting 3 times per week is more than enough. For others, that’s what the schedule for each day looks like. It all depends on your niche, current posting, strategy, and channels you create.
Moreover, you should consider your resources. If you do not have the manpower or capabilities to physically produce content, even the most ambitious social media content calendar can be useless. Combining your possibilities with your plans and goals is an effective starting point.
When, where, and what should I post?
Nothing will speak louder and clearer than your data – check what types of posts, as well as when and where they were published, produced the best results. Those insights are ready for implementation into your future content plans.
Here, too, there is no gold standard – you just need to try a variety of options and optimize the outcome. It may be that what works for Instagram on Tuesday morning is perfect content for your Facebook page at the weekend, and vice versa.
Again, nothing speaks louder than your own data from your own strategy.
What are some ideas for content gaps in my social media content calendar?
It is perfectly acceptable for things to occasionally not go as planned. The same is true for social media content calendars. An event you intend to promote may be cancelled, you might lack the required assets to publish what you were expected to publish, or other circumstances may arise.
You never know – and you have a few choices. You have the option of panicking, skipping a day on your posting calendar, trying to adjust the calendar, or relying upon a backlog of ideas gathered previously on your social media content calendar. The latter is what we would recommend in most cases.
What can a content backlog include?
- old blog posts in a brand new form (e.g. by adding a short animation – you can check out our list of handy tools here)
- generic promotional graphics about the company (it’s always good to create “an emergency bunch” of, e.g., software mockups)
- evergreen content (e.g. a presentation about your company values)
They may be very helpful on a rainy day. Gather all of the content into your digital asset or social media management software solution as a content library so that you can have it always at hand.
Do I need to have communication lines in my social media content calendar?
You do not need to do anything, but it goes without saying that communication lines are very beneficial for the overall posting strategy. If you are able to identify these lines and stay on top of them, you can create new content more easily and provide clear instructions to both your team (what they need to provide) and your audience (what they can expect).
Communication lines can:
- be original (e.g. presenting a different team member each Friday or offering discounts on Tuesdays)
- follow well-known patterns (e.g. #tbt -> Throwback Thursday)
- refer to related communication channels (e.g. content marketing schedule)
The process of coming up with communication lines is probably one of the most difficult steps in the whole process. Secondly, you need to keep up with them, but this should get easier over time as your team will get used to planning ahead according to communication lines.
Nothing is constant – and neither are communication lines. Pick a few communication lines, test them for a specific period of time, and see whether or not they meet your requirements and business objectives. Adjusting them or switching lines completely is part of the process as well.
Are there any social media content calendar themes?
There are a few social media content calendar themes and practices you may want to apply. Arrange some color schemes to indicate the status of each post (published, scheduled, approved, etc.) unless you use a tool that does this automatically for you. Color coding like this can allow you to identify statuses at a glance without having to dig into too many details. Include the starting date of your social media content calendar – the 1st day of the month, Sunday, or Monday? It may depend on your arrangements with your team or clients (for example, if you bill on the 10th of each month, this might be when you want to start with your social media content calendar).
If by themes you mean social media content calendar templates, you’ll find them below – so keep reading!
Are there any constant dates in social media content calendars?
There are a couple of dates worth including in each and every social media content calendar. Incorporate a touch of freshness into your brand communication by utilizing typical and unusual holidays. They may include:
- bank holidays in a particular country (not applicable to global pages, unless there’s a holiday that applies to several regions, e.g. Hanukkah)
- special occasions (e.g. Mother’s Day)
- seasonal days (e.g. the 1st day of spring)
- holidays specific to the industry (e.g. if you produce honey, you may want to mention World Bees Day)
Besides holidays, you can also list cyclical days that are significant from a marketing standpoint (for example, big industry conferences or fairs).
You may either choose to use all of these special occasions or, on the contrary, not fall victim to any of them. Of course, it all depends on your tone of voice and communication strategy.
Furthermore, it is advisable to include some dates “best avoided” or be extra cautious about them. There are some holidays and days that require more consideration before you may take advantage of them. Typically, these are related to a national, historical, or patriotic context.
Good examples of this type of event are the anniversaries of 9/11 or a presidential election. It is essential that you take special care when posting content not only about those dates, but around those dates. Even the slightest miscommunication or trigger words can result in negative reactions and lead to a social media crisis.
Although, you must always keep in mind that taking advantage of the holidays can be risky – particularly when your brand communication does not match the occasion or the brand image. Your audience will then realize that something doesn’t click, and instead of getting involved they will distance themselves.
Is having a social media content calendar enough to be successful?
Having a fully functional social media content calendar is really helpful for your overall strategy, but it doesn’t replace it fully. You need to remember about other marketing activities that may run in parallel with your social media content calendar (e.g. events). You need to bear in mind that analytics and reporting is equally important, since it gives you more insights into your performance and efficiency of your strategy. Also, make sure you understand the role of community management in the creation of your social media content calendar. Even the best plan is not going to work if nobody engages with your content. Incorporate community managers into your team or assign the task to an existing member.
Over to you
With this guide, we hope to help you create the perfect social media content calendar template for your company or agency. Getting it right from the start will make it easier to execute and adjust afterwards. With Kontentino, it will be even easier.