Have you ever been on a time crunch to create social media content?
Most of us have and it is a stressful position to be in. Creating content within the moment it must be published is lower than ideal for more reasons than chances are you’ll realize. Not only is your content less prone to meet the needs of your audience, but you may also miss out on the creative social topics and events that might be planned for upfront.
On this guide, you will get one of the best social media content calendar template and a step-by-step guide explaining use it.
What’s a Social Media Calendar?
A social media calendar is a marketing planning document that organizes your social media posts by social platform, campaign, date, and more. This lets you stay organized and see your social media publishing schedule across a wide selection of channels, campaigns, and formats.
Why do I want a social media calendar?
A social media content calendar means that you can keep track of deadlines, higher manage your content creation team, and create transparency with stakeholders who depend on your social media publishing schedule.
Creating an amazing content calendar is not so simple as adding just a few Instagram post ideas to your Google calendar. Let’s take at the advantages of getting a social media calendar.
1. Higher Organization
Having a content calendar keeps you and your team organized, which is important when managing multiple social media channels.
Slightly than coming up with content ideas on the fly, you may plan your content around your organization’s needs. It might also provide more time for creating content about trending topics and upcoming holidays and events. As an illustration, if your organization has a giant event coming up, a content calendar will assist you to strategize advertise upfront.
Better of all, a social media calendar keeps everyone in your team informed on when content is being published. This can help avoid potential miscommunication and confusion down the road.
2. Easier Scalability
One other profit to having a social media calendar is that it may possibly assist you to scale your content production without overwhelming your marketing team.
You’ll be able to pace the production around your team’s bandwidth and other duties your department is liable for by planning the content upfront.
As you scale, ensure you track post analytics to see how your content is performing. While there is no magic number for when or how often it is best to post on social media, maintaining a tally of performance will assist you to and your team determine what content engages your audience essentially the most.
3. Higher Quality Content
Lastly, using a social media calendar ensures that your team has loads of time to do their best work.
Planning your posts upfront allows time to double check your work and ensure there are not any typos or mistakes. It also enables your team to create a cohesive and consistent brand image because you’ve gotten more time to strategize and work on beneficial campaigns.
Components of a Social Media Content Calendar
- URLs and UTM Parameters
- Date and Time
Perfecting your social media content calendar doesn’t must be a chore. With these essential components, you will have a foundation to prepare your social media strategy at a tactical level.
As you noticed in earlier sections, your stakeholders will appreciate having an easy-to-read key that they will use to grasp the knowledge within the calendar.
So long as your secret’s clear, nearly anyone in your organization can view your social media content calendar and understand exactly what’s happening on all platforms.
URLs and UTM Parameters
URLs and UTM parameters are similar, but they are not one and the identical. URLs are the links you’ll be wanting to share out of your website (and even one other website should you are curating content) in your social media platforms.
However, a UTM parameter is an extension of your URL. It is a string of tracking code that is appended to the top of the URL and it helps social media marketers track how well their posts are driving traffic to their website. By tracking and analyzing UTM parameters, you may give you the chance to see what content is meeting your conversion goals and what content is best for engagement on social media platforms.
Date and Time
If you’ve gotten stakeholders or other teams that depend on your social media content, you may quickly see the good thing about including dates and times in your social media calendar.
When teammates can view the calendar and discover exactly when a post was or will likely be scheduled, they’ll give you the chance to quickly proceed with their workflow which is helpful for you, too. Meaning you will not be interrupted to provide status updates about every Tweet on the docket for the day.
Transparency and context are invaluable in the case of social media content calendars. Giving a temporary synopsis of the message and even sharing the caption for a post can go a great distance in helping others inside and outdoors your team understand what the intent of the post will likely be.
Pro tip: For those who’re adding a video to your social media content calendar that may not finished, consider adding a brief Loom video that offers an summary of what the video will likely be about.
In terms of tracking, it’s too late to begin when the campaign is over. Start tracking your social media campaigns in your content calendar. You’ll be able to make this prescriptive by having a dropdown list of predetermined campaign names, or in case your campaigns are few and much between, simply copy and paste the names next to the corresponding content.
Pro tip: Align your campaign name with the campaign section of your UTM parameter for seamless tracking.
Your social media content calendar will grow to be just one other spreadsheet without some imagery. Since much of your social media content will probably be visual, add a thumbnail-sized version of the image that will likely be included within the published post. Coupled with the message, stakeholders who view the calendar images could have a reasonably good idea of what will likely be shared and when.
To make editing your images for every platform easier, try this cheat sheet for ideal image dimensions on each platform.
Social Media Content Calendar Planning
- Discover your goals.
- Align your team.
- Consider diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.
- Arrange UTM tracking.
- Create an evaluation tracker in your calendar.
Before creating your social media content calendar, it’s essential to take a step back, have a look at the massive picture, and plan. Here’s how.
Step 1: Discover your goals.
Step one you must take to construct your social media content calendar is to discover your goals. These will determine how often you post, who needs to be involved within the content creation process, and which channels you’ll be wanting to make use of.
For those who’re unsure where to begin with establishing your social media goals, we cover that here.
Step 2: Align your team.
Together with your goals etched in stone, it is time to align your team toward these goals. Social media content creation is a tall order, especially for lean marketing teams, so don’t short yourself on resources — especially talent.
One thing we all know to be true today is that video content is taking on nearly every major social platform. Meaning you’ll be wanting to have on-camera talent dedicated to producing video content to fulfill the needs of your social media calendar.
For those who can, discover a content creator who’s well-versed in short-form written content, video content, and audio content to maintain your content production moving quickly and stop bottlenecks.
Step 3: Consider diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.
Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging are topics to contemplate when developing your social calendar. You will need to ensure your content reflects and respects the values and experiences of your audience. Furthermore, the faces, voices, and stories you share on social networks needs to be representative of your audience and the larger community where your corporation operates.
This is not something that may occur by accident, so you’ll be wanting to plan for diversity and inclusion as you develop your content calendar. For those who’d like some guidance on creating diverse and inclusive content, try our original research on the subject.
Step 4: Arrange UTM tracking.
Probably the most essential parts of a social media calendar is definitely the part you do not see — analytics and tracking. The simplest strategy to track how your social media content is performing is to make use of UTM parameters to trace it. “UTM” seems like a scary acronym, but they’re easy to establish and use.
Once you’ve them in place for every link in your social media posts, you may review the metrics of your social media content.
Step 5: Create an evaluation tracker in your calendar.
For stakeholders who wish to stay abreast of how well your social media content is, create a tab that shows clicks, views, engagements, and other metrics you propose to trace to deem your content successful. Tracking analytics might be as easy or detailed as your team prefers.
For a full list of metrics to trace and tools to do it, take a have a look at this yr’s Ultimate Guide to Social Media Analytics.
The best way to Create a Social Media Content Calendar
- Complete a social media audit across all platforms.
- Pick the highest 3-5 social media platforms you’ll use.
- Select your social media content formats and post types.
- Create social media content templates, lazy hashtags, and lazy copy.
- Fill in your social media holidays, events, and campaigns.
- Determine a social media posting schedule.
- Schedule posts using a social media tool.
- Monitor your social media posts’ success metrics.
1. Complete a social media audit across all platforms.
Step one before making a social media content calendar is to finish a social media audit. Which social media platforms are you on? Which platforms are you not on, but your competitors are? Which platforms get essentially the most versus least engagement? Which content formats do you utilize most frequently and least often? Which kinds of posts get essentially the most versus least engagement?
Spend a while perusing your social media analytics to reply these questions. It’s essential to back your conclusions with data and never found them entirely in your gut instinct. We recommend using a social media report template to assist you to keep track of your findings.
Featured Resource: Social Media Report Template
Doing an audit of your social media presence will can help you determine move forward as you create your social media content calendar. As an illustration, chances are you’ll be on TikTok now, but it surely seems that’s the platform where you get the least engagement and only a few leads. That will mean it’s time to remove TikTok out of your lineup and invest more time on a better-fitting platform.
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2. Pick the highest 3-5 social media platforms you’ll use.
Consider it or not, you don’t should be on all of the social media platforms to get a high social media ROI. In reality, it is best to select only one of the best ones as a way to increase your ROI — not only because this may save your team time and effort, but because it’s going to lead to a rather more manageable social media content calendar.
Every social channel is different and the content you post on every one should appeal to the layout of the platform and the users who use it. Imagine having to post on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok, Pinterest, Tumblr — that’s… loads. As an alternative, select the highest three to 5 platforms that, based in your social media audit, yield the very best ROI.
As you select your platforms, you may also wish to concentrate to trends and growing channels. Even should you’re a marketer at a small B2B business, it won’t hurt to check out a platform before all of your competitors do.
Featured Resource: Social Media Trends Report
For those who’re a seasoned marketer or have a big team, chances are you’ll find that using all of the favored channels and even experimenting with a latest one might be helpful to the goals you set in the first step. Nonetheless, should you’re a team of 1, or your team is already stretched thin, it’s OK to begin with just a few social channels and work your way as much as more.
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3. Select your social media content formats and post types.
You’re now armed with the social media platforms you’d prefer to pursue. But which social media content types will you post? Will you post mainly videos, images, or text-based updates? Will you post informative, relatable, or funny content?
As all the time, we recommend selecting a mix of content types to maximise your ROI. Plus, it’s going to make sure that you’re serving content that addresses different segments of your audience while increasing your level of reach.
As you choose in your post types, consider your team’s resources. If you’ve gotten dedicated social media managers who can create content in-house, then you definitely might be more ample together with your decisions. But should you only have a generalist marketer on staff (or should you’re that generalist marketer!), consider what’s most realistic when it comes to content creation, or ask for a budget to rent a contract content creator.
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4. Create social media content templates, lazy hashtags, and lazy copy.
As you construct out your content calendar (hopefully after downloading a free social media content calendar template!), keep in mind that the aim of your calendar is to make posting as easy and painless as possible. In pursuit of that, take a while to create content templates, list out the hashtags you’ll use most frequently, and even create “lazy” copy for either you or your coworkers to make use of.
We recommend storing your templates in a web based bank, comparable to Google Drive or a tool comparable to Canva, where people can quickly edit a template and adjust it to create a latest post. Generally, you must have various customizable image templates.
Featured Resource: 150+ Content Creation Templates
Don’t forget to maintain your most-used hashtags easily accessible for simple copying and pasting, in addition to lazy copy that only must be customized from post-to-post. As you draft your templates, make sure to keep your brand voice in mind. Whether you’re serious and company, or open and friendly, you wish every post to embody your organization’s branding.
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5. Fill in your social media holidays, events, and campaigns.
What’s a social media content calendar that doesn’t show your forethought and planning? Well, it’s still a content calendar — just not a really useful one! As you construct out your social media content calendar, discover the vacations and events you’ll be participating in, and note any campaigns you could have planned for the long run.
For those who’re attending an event or a conference, it is best to plan to broadcast that in your social media channels. Or should you’re doing a virtual event comparable to a webinar, it is best to plan a series of posts around that, too. Or should you’d prefer to create a vacation post or a paid social campaign — the probabilities are infinite. It is best to plan for every upcoming event with a minimum of a month’s advance notice.
Creating your whole other posts is already stressful enough. There’s no must get stressed about upcoming dates and events that you simply’re already aware of. And remember: You don’t must create a campaign for each single holiday.
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6. Determine a social media posting schedule.
It’s time to get into essentially the most useful a part of your content calendar: Determining your posting schedule. Your calendar must have a “Time” column that may can help you proactively keep track of this information.
Different social media platforms require various posting times. By first creating different tabs for every platform, or color coding posts for various channels, you’ll give you the chance to simply fill within the times you’d prefer to publish the posts. Consider also syncing publishing times to your calendar so you may get a timely reminder.
Here’s a fast of overview of one of the best times to post on each platform:
- Instagram: 6 PM – 9 PM, 12 PM – 3 PM, and three PM – 6 PM
- Facebook: 6 and 9 PM and 12 PM – 3 PM
- Twitter: 9 AM – 12 PM
- LinkedIn: 9 – 12 PM, 12 – 3 PM, or 3 – 6 PM
- YouTube: 6 PM and 9 PM
- TikTok: 6 to 9 PM, 3 to six PM, and 12 to three PM
Be mindful that it is not unusual for brands to post every day on platforms like Twitter while posting once per week on LinkedIn could also be good enough to maintain that audience engaged.
Take a have a look at the research for every social media platform you propose to make use of to get a way of the posting cadence best practices. Then, compare that to the bandwidth in your team and the goals you must achieve. Remember: the goal of a social media calendar is to create and publish a sustainable stream of content to your audience — it is a marathon, not a race.
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7. Schedule posts using a social media tool.
For those who’re publishing updates on a wide range of platforms, with different campaigns and holidays, at different times and days, that may quickly get overwhelming. We recommend integrating your social media calendar template with a social media management tool.
That may can help you schedule posts well upfront of publication, limiting manual work. Paired with the social media templates you’ve already created, you’ll enjoy a rather more expedited publishing process, which is very useful should you’re a generalist or are the only social media manager in your team.
Many tools can help you cross-post across different social media channels. This might be useful to an extent, but we recommend proceeding with caution: What might work on LinkedIn won’t work on Facebook, and vice versa. Since each platform serves a selected audience segment, you must ensure your posts are personalized for every one.
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8. Monitor your social media posts’ success metrics.
Once your social media posting schedule has matured and you’ve gotten a backlog of posts to research, it’s time to delve deeply into your social media metrics and learn what worked, what didn’t work, and what it is best to change moving forward.
Hopping from platform to platform and looking out at their individual analytics dashboards might be a very good place to begin. But as you proceed scaling your marketing efforts, it is best to consider investing in social media analytics software to compile your whole engagement data for you.Try HubSpot’s social media analytics software for free.
As you analyze your success, attempt to link it to your organization’s bottom line. What number of leads did you earn? How a lot of those leads became sales? How much money did you spend on paid social media versus how much revenue did you generate? Here’s a guide on measuring social media marketing ROI to assist you to answer these questions.
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Social Media Content Calendar
For those who do not have time to create your social media content calendar from scratch, start with HubSpot’s free social media content calendar template.
The calendar has every part you’ll want to plan your social media content, coordinate campaigns, grow reach and engagement, scale posting schedule, and boost productivity. Download it now, and follow together with the steps below.
Featured Resource: Social Media Content Calendar Template
Our template includes every part you’ll want to scale your social media marketing efforts. You’ll gain access to:
- Social Media Content Schedule: See each of your individual posts and draft individual messages and pictures for every one.
- Monthly Planning Calendar: See your upcoming social posts for the month in a user-friendly, big-picture format.
- Content Repository: List out the entire content you’ll be sharing together with your followers, from blog posts to offers to website pages.
- Platform-Specific Tabs: Plan out your updates for every specific platform, including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and more.
Below, we dive more deeply on use the template.
Social Media Content Calendar Template Tutorial
The next subsections will show you fill out each of the tabs you see on this template — Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest.
Step 1: Review the Monthly Planning Calendar tab.
The tab Monthly Planning Calendar provides an overall snapshot of your monthly social media campaigns. It’ll assist you to coordinate with other stakeholders and keep all of the moving parts so as. Here’s what it looks like:
There are three sections to be aware of if you edit this template. First, the color-coding key. Each color represents a variety of content or campaign you would possibly coordinate, like ebooks, webinars, blog posts, product launches, and so forth. Though only a few of these is perhaps relevant to you, they’re just the start of what chances are you’ll want to incorporate here — so make sure to add and take away categories that align together with your own kinds of content.
The opposite two sections you will need to edit are the Month and Yr at the highest of the calendar, in addition to the cells below every day of the week. In those cells, it is best to enter the variety of content you may be promoting that day and color-code it to align with the campaign it’s supporting.
As an alternative of deleting all of the content on this spreadsheet every month, I like to recommend copying this worksheet twelve times over and making a separate sheet for every month. (If that gets to be too overwhelming, you may all the time save those tabs as a separate workbook.)
Step 2: Populate your first social channel within the calendar.
Alright, now let’s get to the social media content a part of the calendar. For the sake of this blog post, we’ll use Twitter for instance, but these steps will work for every social channel tab within the template.
As an example you must add some tweets to your scheduling template. Scroll over to the Twitter Updates tab within the content calendar spreadsheet, where you will see this:
Day, Date & Time
The primary 4 columns, Day, Date, Time, and Date & Time are there to your convenience, and should you select to make use of a third-party app for pre-scheduling your tweets (like HubSpot’s Social Media Management Software), then these columns will likely be useful. For now, just fill within the date for if you’ll publish updates to Twitter, and the time at which you would like them to exit. The Date & Time column will mechanically change based on what you type within the previous two columns.
Now, let’s move over to the Message column. Here, input the copy you would like to seem in your tweet, making an allowance for it is best to cap it at 217 characters to permit enough room for a link. (Read this blog post for a full character count guide.) This spreadsheet will auto-calculate the variety of characters you have entered to maintain you on point, turning yellow and eventually red as you approach 240 characters.
After you have composed your tweet, paste the URL you would like to incorporate in your tweet within the Link column. Make sure to include UTM parameters so you may know whether these tweets are driving traffic, leads, and customers. That is a very important step to recollect should you’d prefer to reveal ROI from social media. You can too use the Campaign column so as to add an associated campaign which helps with more detailed tracking and reporting.
Finally, within the Image column, attach the tweet’s image (if you’ve gotten one). For Twitter, we recommend images which might be 1200 x 670 pixels.
(Click here for a full cheat sheet of social media image sizes.)
For those who’re having trouble attaching your image to the spreadsheet, follow these steps:
Step 1: Click on the cell where you would like to put your image.
Step 2: Click Insert in the highest row, then click the Image button, and eventually, click Image in cell to decide on your image.
Step 3: Within the Insert image window, select the choice your photo will come from. In this instance, we uploaded a picture from our computer.
Step 4: You will now see the image appear within the cell.
Pro Tip: This process is only for organizational purposes. For those who resolve to upload the spreadsheet to your social media publishing software, it’s going to not attach — you will have to do this manually. For those who’re a HubSpot customer, details for bulk upload your Twitter content to the HubSpot Social Publishing Tool might be found inside the downloaded template.
Don’t Forget to Interact With Your Followers
Whether you utilize this spreadsheet to plan your content or upload it to a third-party app, you may still must complement these updates with on-the-fly content. Breaking news hits? Whip up a fast update to share it together with your network. Did someone in your network tweet something interesting? Give it a retweet with some commentary. Got an enchanting comment on certainly one of your updates? Respond with a “thanks” for his or her interaction.
Coming up with and scheduling your social media content in advance is a large time-saver, but it surely should go without saying that you simply still need to observe and add to your social presence throughout the day.
Finally, we encourage you to experiment together with your social media publishing. This template provides publishing dates and times for every social network, but chances are you’ll find those are way too many updates so that you can fill, or perhaps too infrequent to your booming social presence. If that is so, it is best to adjust your social media publishing frequency as needed.
Now that you have the ins and outs of a social media content calendar, download the one below at no cost and begin planning your content.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in January 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.