Have you been trying to create an effective social media calendar? Well, you’re at the right place. This guide will highlight the steps involved in creating a social media content calendar that works in 2023.
It’s true that, on the surface, social media management seems all too simple. But it is only when you try your hands at it that you realize the complexity of coming up with content ideas and posting them on social media. Not to mention, the social media content that you create and the social campaigns you plan can end up completely unsynchronized.
The good news is, a social media content calendar can save you from all of this, and more, by automating and organizing your social media process, making the entire show convenient to run.
A social media content calendar gives you a bird’s eye view of your social content: what you’ll be posting, which channels you’ll be posting on, your posting schedule, and so on. With the organization that comes with an editable social calendar, you can save time and maintain consistency in posting on social media.
So, in this post, we’ll talk about the nuts and bolts of creating a social media content calendar. We’ll also shine a brighter light on how an editable calendar can help you, which content calendar tool you can use to create one, and more.
Let’s get to it.
What is a social media content calendar?
A social media content calendar is a plan or schedule for the types of content that will be shared on social media platforms over a specific period.
This can include planned posts, images, videos, and other forms of media that can be used to engage with followers and promote a business, organization, or individual.
A content calendar can help ensure that a consistent and cohesive message is shared across social media channels and can also make it easier to track the success of different types of content.
Why Should You Create a Social Media Content Calendar?
A social media content calendar improves your social media workflow and makes it easier for you to have no issues with your processes. Without content planned in advance, you’re likely to feel overwhelmed and end up struggling in coming up with content ideas.
There are several reasons why creating a social media content calendar can be beneficial. Some of the main reasons include the following:
- It helps to ensure that your social media presence is consistent and cohesive. By planning out your content in advance, you can ensure that your messages align with your overall goals and objectives and that you are sharing relevant and interesting content with your target audience.
- It can make it easier to track the success of your content. With a content calendar, you can see at a glance which types of content are performing well and which are not and make adjustments accordingly.
- It can save you time and effort. By planning out your content in advance, you can avoid last-minute scrambling to come up with something to post and instead focus on creating high-quality content that will engage your audience.
- It can help you stay organized and on track. A content calendar can serve as a useful tool for managing your social media presence and can help you stay organized and focused on your goals.
Overall, creating a social media content calendar can help you to manage your social media presence effectively, and can ultimately help you to achieve your goals and objectives.
What do you need to create a social media calendar?
You can’t just sit in front of an open social media calendar and expect to fill it up randomly with any ideas pouring in. Instead, before you get started, you’ll need:
- A full-fledged social media content plan that includes notes on your brand’s voice and an account of the social profiles you will use.
- A complete understanding of your social media goals for the month and quarter.
- Your buyer’s persona so you can create content that resonates with your audience.
- A full account of the type of content you’ll share on social media.
- An overview of how often you’ll post on each network you are using.
If you have a big team with visual designers, copywriters, a social media manager, a marketing manager, and more, you should choose an interactive social media planner tool such as the one that ContentStudio offers.
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Since ContentStudio offers an editable social media content calendar, you can view, accept, reject and edit posts easily. This cuts down the chances of sending out wrong or error-filled content.
How to Create a Social Media Content Calendar [Step-by-step Guide]
Before getting started, decide whether you want to create a weekly calendar or a monthly one. If you’re a beginner, start by creating a weekly calendar so that you can get to grips with creating a social calendar. Then, move on to making a monthly one.
Note that it doesn’t help to plan far ahead into the year because content trends keep changing, and your calendar needs to be flexible enough to accommodate them.
With that being said, let’s walk you through the steps to create a social media calendar:
Step 1: Audit your popular content
The very first thing you should do is to audit your popular content on the website as well as social media platforms. Analyzing your successful content would give you a sense of direction. It’s better to know what your audience wants before you go all-in with planning content.
Successful content is the type that outperforms other content. It’s not rocket science to find your successful content. All you need is to check out the statistics and insights, and voila.
Go through your social media insights separately or use the ContentStudio tool for social media management; it’ll help you analyze your social media content performance without being a social media guru.
Similarly, take a look at Google Analytics to find out the most popular pages on your blog.
It’ll give you an overview of what’s working for your brand. The purpose of auditing your popular content is to identify the top-performing content so that you could double down on the same approach and come up with more such content.
Step 2: Decide Content Types
Based on the audit you performed in the first step, buyer’s persona and research on your audience’s interests, prepare a list of topics that you create content on. While you’re at it, study your competitors’ social channels. Knowing what your competitors are doing will give you a good idea of what your audience would like to hear from you. At the same time, dive into the social media of businesses that interest you for inspiration (they don’t have to be in your industry).
Next, settle on the types of content you’ll share on your social channels. Some categories of content you can share include:
- Blog posts
- Product photography
- Quotes & Facts
- Promotional and announcement posts
- Illustrative images
- Behind the scenes videos
- User-generated content and more
A good rule of thumb is to mix these content types, so your audience doesn’t get bored of repetitive content.
You can also ask your team for their input, as the team’s input is an integral part of the process. Maybe, someone wants to pitch an idea or someone spotted a viral trend on social media that could turn things around.
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Step 3: Settle on Your Goal
This is important so that the posts you curate or create from scratch take you further towards your goal with little deviations. Your goals can include encouraging customers to purchase from your sales promotions, leading them to join your brands’ social channels, spreading awareness of a new product line, etc.
A good example here is that of Kylie Cosmetics. Every time the cosmetics giant comes up with a new product range, the marketing team creates several posts related to the release of the new collection to promote it. In August and September, Kylie Cosmetics’ social channels regularly shared content centered around its latest Sailor Collection. To this end, the brand shared different types of posts such as product photography, makeup looks, a peek behind the scenes, and more.
Step 4: Setup UTM Tracking
UTM tracking, or Urchin Tracking Module tracking, is a way to track the effectiveness of your online marketing campaigns.
Setting up UTM tracking in a social media content calendar means that you include UTM parameters in the URLs of the content you plan to share on social media. This will allow you to track the success of your social media content and see how well your content is performing on these platforms.
By tracking this data, you can make adjustments to your social media strategy and improve the effectiveness of your content calendar.
Step 5: Create a Skeletal Framework of Your Editable Calendar
Once you have decided what content you’re going to share and the goals of your social media strategy, create a calendar template. Creating a skeletal framework will help you organize your ideas so that you’re all set for creating & publishing content.
You can use an Excel spreadsheet or Google sheets as a free editorial calendar for this. Here’s what to do next:
- Open a separate sheet for each social channel to avoid clutter.
- Resize the rows and columns to your preference for clarity
- In each sheet, use the columns to separate posting days, time, campaign details, the goal of the post, image details, text to post, link to multimedia, and any other details you deem necessary. Here’s how:
Step 6: Start Filling in Your Calendar
Once you have your spreadsheet ready, it’s time you start creating posts. If you’re creating fresh content, don’t forget to take a look at your buyer’s persona to understand what type of content your audience is likely to enjoy.
Know that you don’t always have to create social content from scratch. Here are some types of content you can share to save time:
- Repurposed content: reuse old content into social posts. For instance, you can collect stats from your blog posts and make them into social content.
- User-generated content: also known as user-created content, are photos, videos, or other multimedia that consumers create. As part of your social strategy, you can reshare images that your followers have shared with/using your product or service.
- Testimonials: you can also convert customer reviews and testimonials into social posts.
- Curated content: gather content such as news updates or blog posts relevant to your audience’s interest using tools such as Feedly and Content Studio to share on your social channels.
Additionally, you can share content centered around upcoming international holidays and events relevant to your business.
If you don’t have a graphic designer, you can use tools such as Canva to make social media posters and gifs. Once the visuals are ready, your copywriter can get started with captions for each. You can also switch it the other way around.
Step 7: Tweak Content According to Each Social Channel
You might assume you’re done now. But here’s the thing: you can’t post the same content on each social channel. It is likely to bore your audience.
Each social network has different requirements too. For instance, on Twitter, you have a low character limit for your tweets, while Instagram and Facebook don’t bind you as such with a caption word count. Also, the dimension requirements of the images and videos you post on Instagram and other channels differ. This is why you should tweak your content as per the platform and audience preferences for each social channel before adding it to your calendar.
It is important to consider the best times to post because it can help increase the visibility of your posts and improve engagement with your audience. Posting at the best times can help to ensure that your content is seen by as many people as possible, which can help to increase brand awareness and potentially drive more traffic to your website.
Step 8: Review and Schedule All the Content
Reviewing your content will help you spot any typos in your posts and captions or mistakes in your plan. While rechecking everything, remember to open all the links to make sure they lead to the intended/appropriate destination. Getting a second pair of eyes is strongly recommended.
When you are done reviewing, you have to follow one last step: scheduling content for publishing. In this regard, you can either invest in a content calendar or choose a social media management tool that also enables you to schedule content for publishing (Psst! ContentStudio can help with both). With scheduled posts, you wouldn’t have to hop on to each social channel at different times to post your content.
Also, automatic posting will ensure your content goes out at the time your audience is most active. This also enables consistency in posting and streamlines the process of sharing content.
Step 9: Creating an Analysis Tracker for Your Calendar
To create an analysis tracker for your social media calendar, decide on the metrics you want to track and create a spreadsheet or table with columns for each metric and the date of the post.
As you share content on social media, enter the relevant data into the tracker and review it regularly to make data-driven decisions about your content strategy. This will help you improve the effectiveness of your social media content calendar.
Free Social Media Content Calendar Template for 2023
To help you get started, we’ve prepared a highly customizable 365 days of social media calendar template that you can use to create and plan your social media content.
A 365-day social media content calendar template is a pre-made calendar that provides a framework for planning out your social media content for an entire year.
It helps businesses and organizations plan their social media content in advance and ensure a consistent presence. A content calendar template allows you to plan your content ahead of time. Join the ranks of successful social media marketers!
Get access to social media calendar templates and start planning your posts like a pro.”
How to use Social Media Content Calendar Template:
The social media content calendar template is created on Google sheets; you can easily start using the calendar using two easy steps,
- Open the calendar link
- Click on “File” at the top right section and click “Make a Copy”
The Social Media Content Calendar Template Includes:
1: Content Categories: These are the content categories that you can simply copy and paste to your calendar according to your needs.
2: Content Calendar Template: This section includes the actual content calendar that you can use to plan and create your content. You can make its copy by duplicating the sheet to use the calendar for upcoming months.
3: Useful Apps: This section includes some helpful tools and apps that’ll help you better manage your social media.
4: International Holidays: This section includes the list of all major international holidays for the year 2023.
Selecting the Right Content Calendar Tool for Your Business
Are you struggling to keep track of your content marketing strategy?
A content calendar is an essential tool for any successful content marketing plan. It helps you stay organized and on track, but with so many options out there, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one for your needs.
So, how do you choose the right one for your business?
A content calendar tool makes the whole process a lot easier. Feel free to choose any content calendar tool per your requirements and affordability. Below are some of our recommendations:
ContentStudio’s Content Calendar
ContentStudio’s social media calendar helps to keep your digital marketing organized. You can easily manage multiple accounts, teams, and campaigns with it.
Plan posts ahead of time and collaborates to create effective content that brings results. Stay up-to-date across all channels and platforms with ease, regardless of your team or agency size.
Here are the main features of ContentStudio’s Content Calendar:
1: Unified Social Media Content Calendar
ContentStudio is a one-stop shop for content planning and management. Its centralized calendar helps you ditch clunky spreadsheets and streamlines your workflow with a single interface for overseeing all aspects of your marketing team. You’ll be able to quickly and easily manage tasks.
2: Interactive Calendar for Maximizing Content Potential
Our comprehensive calendar helps you keep your content organized and efficient. Pre-schedule posts, review them for approval or rejection and manage them all in one convenient place. Stay ahead of the game and impress your followers without breaking a sweat.
3: Social Approval Workflow for Boosting Team Productivity
Our content approval process is smooth and effortless, making it a hit with clients, managers, and colleagues alike. It’s simple to create content with just several clicks, from involving everyone in the creation to getting final approval.
4: Managing Multiple Client Social Marketing Projects
Our innovative workspace concept lets you master managing various social media projects. Easily switch between workspaces for different clients and brands to responsibly organize content plans, publishing schedules, and team members in their own distinct areas.
5: Improved Usability with Multiple Calendar Views
Transform your social media marketing with improved visibility in three easy-to-navigate views. Make the process easier than ever, and take control of your calendar.
1: Calendar View
2: List View
3: Feed View
6: 4 Ways to Plan and Schedule Content with Multiple Publishing Queues
Keep your followers engaged with a unique blend of content using Multiple Publishing Queues.
Preschedule posts to keep readers up-to-date, customize queues for each channel, and assign categories to maximize impact, such as creating evergreen campaigns or repeating post messages. It’s an easy way to stay ahead in the publishing process.
Google Sheets is a web-based spreadsheet application that allows users to create and edit spreadsheets online.
It is a relatively simple tool and offers many of the same features as other spreadsheet programs, such as organizing and analyzing data, creating graphs and charts, and performing calculations.
It allows users to collaborate and work on spreadsheets in real time.
Top Tips for Developing a Successful Content Calendar
Before wrapping this up, let’s leave you with three best practices that you need to keep in mind as you create your content calendar:
1: Make your calendar flexible
Don’t fill the entire calendar to the brim. You can leave one post every day or a few spaces each week to add whatever you like. These spaces can fill in posts regarding trending topics relevant to your industry or any unplanned announcements that you need to make.
2: Study your analytics regularly
Before you sit to create each month’s social media content calendar, take a look at how your previous month’s content performed.
Analyzing your social media posts to see how well each content type performed can help you identify what resonates with your audience and when so you can create more of it during peak activity hours.
3: Colour-code your calendar to make it manageable
Colour coding your calendar can help you identify which posts are accomplishing what. For instance, you can mark all promotional posts green and all educational posts blue. This way, you’ll be able to see how balanced your plan is at a glimpse.
How to Get the Most Out of Your Content Calendar
Building a content calendar doesn’t mean the job is done. Once you’ve built it, and you’ve scheduled some content for the next few weeks—it may sound like it’s over, but in reality, there is one step that is crucial to getting better results from your content calendar. It’s the optimization of your content calendar by analyzing the performance of your content on different levels.
Give your content calendar a good four to six weeks before you start to make any changes in your content planning or social media posting. It’s essential to understand that optimization doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with your content calendar. It’s just a final step of the process to ensure the best possible outcome from the content calendar.
However, there are many signals that will determine how you can improve your content calendar strategies, for example:
1: Number of Comments: You can simply go through your content management system and check out the comments ratio before and after building the content calendar. Your comments on the content would significantly improve over time, but it may not seem to happen within a couple of weeks.
2: Number of Shares/Retweets: You’d notice that when your content is being published and scheduled on social media more often, chances are, you’d get more shares on social media, let alone your followers would increase.
3: Total Engagements on Social Media: Engagements on social media mean all the likes, comments, and DMs as the result of content publishing. Once you’re publishing and sharing content on a regular basis, thanks to the content calendar, you’re likely to increase your engagement on social media.
So optimizing the system refers to improving the content calendar strategy. It means from content topics to frequency of sharing on social media—each and every step needs a microscopic analysis to make it better. It seems perfectly clear that the optimization of the system would help us achieve great results.
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Working on your social media content calendar now?
A social media content calendar can make social media management super convenient. While you can use a traditional planner, an intuitive and editable content planner can make collaborating with all your social media resources easy and therefore organized. It also enables you to schedule your posts in advance, saving you precious time.
Related Read: Social Media Marketing for Restaurants
Masooma Memon is a pizza-loving freelance writer by day and a novel nerd by night. She crafts research-backed blog posts and articles for small businesses and app companies who aim to employ quality content to educate and engage with their audience.