You can have the best team of writers and digital marketers on your side, but without a comprehensive social media calendar to organize your social marketing efforts, that talent could end up going to waste. There’s a myriad of social media channels today, with new players seemingly cropping up all the time that grow like wildfire. As a brand, it’s up to you to develop a strategy aligned with industry trends and brand archetypes that also caters to the unique preferences of social media audiences – easier said than done.
By constructing a plan that includes both the latest in content and scheduling best practices and incorporates the specifics required for each social channel – such as custom graphics, photos, and other visual elements to boost engagement – you’ll be well on your way to a killer cross-channel social media strategy. Of course, it’s a good idea to have a solid brand guide to ensure your social media marketing efforts are aligned with your brand strategy, and a comprehensive project management tool to manage your workflows. Another must: a robust digital asset management solution like MerlinOne to organize and manage the many creative assets that fuel your social strategy, from post content to photography, approved company brand assets, and more. MerlinOne’s DAM goes beyond basic digital asset management, offering tons of useful features like automated workflows, version control, and AI-powered facial recognition, image retrieval, and much more.
Even with the best project management tools, you still need a functional social media calendar to keep your social marketing plans in check. Fortunately, there’s plenty of expert information out there to help you plan a social media calendar and, the simplest cases, fill in your most vital information. We’ve gathered together 50 of the top tips, templates, and examples so you can add a functional social media calendar to your marketing toolkit quickly. Note: the following tips, templates, and examples are organized alphabetically, by category. They are not ranked or rated in any way.
- Tips for Creating a Social Media Calendar
- Social Media Calendar Templates
- Social Media Calendar Examples
Tips for Creating a Social Media Calendar
Some businesses struggle to create a social media calendar that they can actually stick to. One of the best ways to ensure accountability is to create a specific structure around a few points for each month of the year. These act as your content anchor points and allow the many smaller details to fall in around them. This post, from Biteable, features some great tips that build upon this concept.
Three tips we like from Biteable:
- Structure your calendar around your sales cycle
- Schedule and take advantage of cultural events and holidays
- Allow flexibility in your plans based on your basic outline
One of the main advantages of a content calendar is the increased collaboration that it can facilitate, both with your internal team and your external brands and partners. This post, by chloédigital, shows you how to use your entire team to start a social media calendar and get the most out of the process. If you get the basics right, you’ll improve business results.
Three tips we like from chloédigital:
- Start with a blog audit to help you prioritize content that works for your audience
- Add a list of brand partnerships and deliverables to your calendar
- Break down your list into micro and macro content
One of the first steps in creating a content calendar is to conduct a social media audit. This allows you to review a full picture of your business’s online presence and identify where to best spend your time creating new content. In this post from CoSchedule, a number of valuable insights into conducting a meaningful audit are offered. It also includes tips on filling your calendar with suitable content types that will resonate with your audience.
Three tips we like from CoSchedule:
- Identify the target platforms your audience is active on
- Determine which social media platform is driving most of your growth
- Find out where your traffic and engagement is coming from
There’s no question that Instagram has become a very useful audience-building platform for brands across all industries. It has some unique capabilities and, as you ‘ll see in this post from Dummies, there are a few key steps that help make the most out of the visual and hashtag-driven nature of Instagram. There are many holidays, events, and existing user content to tap into for your own unique calendar.
Three tips we like from Dummies:
- Include Instagram stories and video content
- Repurpose content from other platforms and reformat to Instagram
- Utilize online design apps to quickly create graphics
One of the biggest mistakes that some companies make is to create a complex social media calendar with expectations too far beyond the team’s abilities. In this extensive post from the team at ESPRESSO.digital, we get exclusive tips on creating a social media calendar that is flexible enough to scale.
Three tips we like from ESPRESSO.digital:
- If you are in B2B marketing, Linked-In should be your priority network
- Take advantage of some basic posting standards to set your content frequency
- Be very realistic about your capabilities so you can deliver on your schedule
Keeping up with the latest social media trends is daunting even for industry experts. With the constant changes, new platforms, and evolving user expectations, organized and deliberate content planning is a must. This post from Forbes includes some great tactics that you can implement as part of your social media plan. The post is a great reminder to balance between maintenance and working towards future goals.
Three tips we like from Forbes:
- Consider using “selfie” style content to create a closer connection with your audience
- Invest time and money in data research to find what works
- Test messaging and content positioning as part of your calendar
Having a calendar is the center of any thoughtful social media strategy, as the pre-planning involved can offer huge paybacks in both productivity and content quality. In this post from GaggleAMP, we learn four tips for creating a calendar that can bring clarity to your team within basic set-up procedures. If you’re looking for a nice, simple summary for getting started with content scheduling and publishing, this post is it.
Three tips we like from GaggleAMP:
- Create your calendar in a single location that your entire team has access to
- If you use bulk uploading create your calendar in a format that allows .csv exporting
- Take time to determine the right performance metrics for your content publishing
Most social media calendars are built around a monthly schedule with smooth transition points between content subjects. In this post from Hatchbuck, we learn seven useful tips for structuring key activities in a monthly calendar format. As there are many different planning software platforms available, these basics of content planning should fit seamlessly into any of them.
Three tips we like from Hatchbuck:
- Establish meaningful categories for your posts
- Create monthly themes for your content
- Develop a process flow for your social media content creation process
Social media channels today really represent the hub of content marketing activities for many businesses. With the vast, multi-faceted effort it takes to create meaningful content, you need a social media calendar that’s both organized and effective. These tips from Identity PR are great reminders about keeping things simple and focused on your marketing goals without over-complicating what you do.
Three tips we like from Identity PR:
- Editorial calendars do not need to be complicated
- Posting frequency for each social media channel is the backbone of any calendar
- Keep your business goals in constant alignment with your content plans
An effective social media calendar is one that can simplify your content planning and publishing activities. It shouldn’t make things harder. This guide, from Inc., includes some great tips for planning your calendar and setting completing a streamlined, initial setup.
Three tips we like from Inc.:
- Take time to study a couple of examples of effective content calendars
- Don’t plan detailed content for more than a month in advance
- Focus your effort on creating core content and use your social posts to promote it
A great social media calendar can help focus your activities on community building and achieving your long-term business goals. This post, from the Internet Marketing Ninjas blog, contains some great tips and screenshots that guide you through the initial setup of a content calendar. The guide focuses on a visual calendar style that can really help you develop themes and stand out alongside other brands.
Three tips we like from Internet Marketing Ninjas:
- Use a list of hashtags and questions to create initial content ideas
- Utilize Google trends to find seasonal trends that might not be obvious
- Run contests to create deeper engagement with your audience
A social media marketing plan constructed without a through-line can quickly get out of hand with details that confuse your priorities. This post from SOCi gives you some straightforward tips on the who, what, where, when, why and how of setting up a social media calendar. It provides a nice and simple overview of the basics along with some important technical reminders.
Three tips we like from SOCi:
- Never forget that your social media should always be tailored to your target audience
- Be mindful of when you schedule posts and take advantage of peak times
- Remind yourself of the reasons why you have a social media calendar
Keeping your audience interested is important for the health of your brand and something that all marketers need to ensure. These 5 tips from MSLK will give you some insights into the planning needed to create a social media calendar that speaks to your audience. It can be tempting to jump into tactics without being mindful of your process – this post is a great reminder that deliberate planning garners the best results.
Three tips we like from MSLK:
- Have a quarterly plan that has all considerations for the coming 3 months
- Plan the right mix between useful and promotional content
- Don’t forget to evaluate your results and make changes along the way
Customers look at a lot of content on social media every day but there is only a limited amount to which they actually respond. Being mindful of engagement can separate a mediocre social media plan from an incredible one. These tips from OpenVine include important reminders about researching, creating, and curating great content. Sometimes, all it takes is a key insight to lead you to create content that is truly engaging.
Three tips we like from OpenVine:
- Research data about your audience to find responsive content
- Add copies of posts to your Google business page to increase exposure
- There are some useful post automation tools available for advanced content planning
For those newer to content planning and working with a social media calendar, it can be hard to envision exactly what details to include. Luckily, this guide from Pagemodo covers all the core aspects of social media that you should absolutely address, such as messages, events, and PPC campaigns. There can be a lot of moving parts to coordinate – organizing them into a calendar is a great way to start being more deliberate with your posts.
Three tips we like from Pagemodo:
- A good rule of thumb for post frequency is 2-3 spread throughout the day
- Always include important business events in your calendar and post updates to promote them
- Plan your company website updates by scheduling them in your calendar
Sometimes it’s best to simply follow a process and build something before worrying too much about potential improvements and fancy additions. The team over at Post Planner have provided this straightforward four-step guide for building your social media content calendar. They include plenty of tips and a number of insightful questions that you can ask yourself as you read. An example calendar with clear color-coded content types is also included for your use (free) at the end of the guide.
Three tips we like from Post Planner:
- Test and review content before adding it to your calendar
- Use case studies and success stories for your content plans
- Keep up with your competitors to learn strategies and ideas
Audience growth is at the forefront of social media marketing, so having an organized calendar and posts schedule goes a long way in creating consistency. This guide from Revive Social covers all the major steps in creating a social media content calendar. It also covers tips on automation and engagement that could be very useful as you ramp up your business.
Three tips we like from Revive Social:
- Focus on the type of content your business is best suited to create
- Make and utilize a simple set of rules to choose the right content to post
- Set aside some time each day to respond to followers on social media
They say timing is everything – and when it comes to social media calendars, that sentiment is especially true. Once you have defined your desired content types, social media channels, and engagement goals, you need to figure out a way to schedule everything and keep it running. This post from Search Engine Journal has a lot of great tips about how you can keep your calendar fresh with reliable content creation and distribution.
Three tips we like from Search Engine Journal:
- Take time to truly identify your target audience upfront
- Consider seasonality when developing your messages
- Share existing viral content from relevant pages occasionally
Marketing to existing versus new clients can provide unique challenges and opportunities. With existing clients, you often have a social media presence and engagement to track, while with new clients, you may need to define your own profile with little information. This post from Sendible Insights gives you tips and advice on how to approach and set up your content calendar for both of these scenarios.
Three tips we like from Sendible Insights:
- Look at sales and referral data for any existing clients
- If a new client does not have a brand identity guide you should create one
- Utilize a social media questionnaire with new clients
The structure of your content calendar is critical as it defines how everything you will add is organized. With so many different workflow solutions out there, it can be hard to figure out how to set up a calendar in your software. This post, from Shopify, gives some tips on setting up a calendar template in Google Calendar or Trello. Shopify provides plenty of handy screenshots and includes some useful tips to help you get started.
Three tips we like from Shopify:
- Create a blank calendar template to visualize your monthly output
- Consider dedicating specific days of the week to certain content types
- Utilize third-party services to curate content from relevant sources
Setting up a social media content calendar can look a lot easier than it is. There is a lot of pre-planning involving research, testing, and defining your marketing goals that needs to happen. In this post, from the team at Sprout Social, they share a basic process for setting up a new calendar from scratch. They also share some insights into social media engagement and why a calendar is the right tool for your content planning.
Three tips we like from Sprout Social:
- When doing an audit sort your posts by your most important metric
- Look for trends between publishing rate and audience engagement
- Be sure to plan out how much promotion each initiative needs
Creating a social media calendar is a group effort; involving your team members, partners, and audience is the best way to ensure you create something meaningful. This post, from Upwork, includes 10 tips for creating a content calendar that is both dynamic and well-rounded. The post also includes a number of suggestions on how to curate your content as well as the key differences between content and editorial calendars.
Three tips we like from Upwork:
- Take time to understand the current process(es) your team uses to make content
- Create a system of alerts to keep everyone aware of due dates
- Assign one person who is responsible for the content calendar
For any business that revolves around writing, a social media content calendar is absolutely key to keeping things organized. This post, from WritetoDone, shares some unique insights for creating a content calendar with a writing business in mind. Most of the tips are universal and useful for any type of business. The details are laid out in a simple five-step guide.
Three tips we like from WritetoDone:
- Using pre-designed templates can save a lot of time, but be sure to customize for your needs
- Don’t overlook data on audience demographics and age groups
- Share post ideas among team members before they are published
Social Media Calendar Templates
This template, from Airtable, gives you all the basics you need to get started with a social media calendar on their software platform. It includes key spaces for entering important calendar events and building the rest of your publishing schedule around them. The template also gives a nice visual display of the various content types and has collaboration capabilities built in.
If you are an Asana user, this social media calendar template from the official website will get you up and running super quick. It provides a nice, single location to store all of your social media content plans and contains everything you need to plan your next month of content and beyond.
The best social media calendars can fall apart if they’re not supported by streamlined, consistent workflows. Download our white paper, A Workflow Engine, below to learn more about how a DAM can transform your project workflows.
This template, from ClickMinded, contains a full social media calendar structure to get you started. Included with the template are detailed instructions for where and how to enter your key information. As a bonus, the post also comes with a complete guide for exporting your content calendar to Google Calendar. ClickMinded has even included a video tutorial with additional information.
Before fully integrating a social media calendar into your software tools, it can be of great benefit to creating your calendar in Excel. The free template from Convince&Convert is a fully functional Excel calendar that is super easy to edit and share. This template allows you the ability to easily customize as you adapt your calendar to your working style and needs.
This Excel-based social media calendar template from CoSchedule is included along with a massive post that details the complete setup and usage of the tool. Handy infographics that explain the key points of social media content marketing are also included, as well as screenshots that explain regular social media calendar updates.
As you can see in this post, there are a ton of useful social media calendar guides and templates out there. If you need some help navigating the differences between the templates, this post from Curata can clear things up for you. It provides a nice summary table up-front for twenty of the top templates out there showing you the format and accessibility for each. You can also read a brief summary of each with highlights of the key features.
There aren’t too many social media calendar posts out there that include a how-to, examples, and a template. This guide, from Hootsuite, includes all of that and has both an editorial calendar template in Google Sheets and a fully-formed downloadable social media content calendar.
The team over at Hubspot provide a convenient, free Excel template for setting up your social media content calendar. The template includes built-in help and tips to guide you in filling out the details. The accompanying blog post outlines a number of useful software tools that can be used alongside your calendar.
If you are looking for a board style social media calendar, this template from Milanote could be perfect for you. It’s designed for use within the Milanote web platform and is both simple and effective. You can export and share your boards as PDFs or invite team members or clients to collaborate on the board directly. It has everything you need to collect all your social media content details and improve your planning.
This downloadable template from the Marketing Nutz blog includes a social media content calendar and an accompanying inventory worksheet for conducting an asset audit. The content has been fully updated for 2019 and the there is a full description of all the primary template fields so you know where to find everything. You can also listen to the embedded podcast episode for more commentary and details.
This super easy-to-use template from Post Planner is built in Google Sheets, which means you can be up and running in no time. The post includes detailed instructions for the complete setup and how to integrate the template with your Google Calendar events. It provides a simple but effective social media calendar solution as a web-based form that is easily shareable and customizable.
If you’d like to explore some different template formats for your social media calendar, then head over to this post over at Smartsheet. They offer nine Excel templates for different activities such as social media reporting, auditing, and content calendars. There are a lot of options to choose from, including templates with built-in visual dashboards.
The team over at Social Media Examiner provide a detailed 6-step guide for setting up your social media calendar and include a simple Google Docs template to get you started. It provides insights from goal-setting all the way through setting up and optimizing the calendar.
Planning a great social media content calendar is all about scheduling and meeting commitments. In addition to providing a template, this post from Sprout Social outlines a detailed 30-day plan that you can use to set up a powerful social media calendar. It spreads out the key actions over six weeks, and there are detailed descriptions of each step with accompanying data and examples for why each is important.
If you’re looking for some simple social media calendar templates that are easily shareable, then this list from Template.net might interest you. It includes seven templates using a variety of formats like Excel, Word, and PDF. These documents are designed to be easily completed and shared among team members and are perfectly suited to those setting up a social media calendar for the first time.
A lot of people use Todoist for task-tracking and productivity, but it can also be utilized as a basic social media content calendar. This template, from the team at Todoist, can be used to create a simple weekly calendar that is easily shareable with other team members through the software with the ability to assign individual task owners as well.
Social Media Calendar Examples
This professional social media content calendar from Angie Gensler is highly detailed and includes a full daily calendar view that covers each day of the year. It is a great example of a calendar that is highly organized; she places a focus on 365 days of content and having a full view of the year available. Regardless of your content planning time horizon, it is sure to give you an idea or two about structuring your calendar view.
This guide from Bluchic shows you just how they set up their social media content calendar as a Google Sheet. Their approach is simple, with a view for the month, week, and day, along with color coding for draft versus complete content. They set their content calendar quarterly with a three-month window of future plans, allowing them enough time to set a firm vision while giving room to adjust to future demands.
Content Marketing Institute shares some interesting examples from various content calendar templates as they explain how a company should go about updating their plans. The experts also point out some important details about metadata, tracking, and collaboration among the tools that you use.
For a sneak into how some big brands set up their content calendars, check out this post at CoSchedule. They’ve created some wonderful infographics that highlight the content strategies used by the likes of Red Bull, Disney, and BMW. By looking at what these highly successful companies are doing, you can get some great insights and ideas to utilize in creating your own social media content calendar.
This example social media calendar from Hallam is formatted as a simple list; it provides a good format for reviewing the details of your social media schedule in a single view. There’s also a column for entering links directly to other relevant content or media. This is yet another example of a spreadsheet-based form that can be very useful for setting up your first calendar.
Instagram is a leading social platform and its curated nature makes it very well-suited for the organized planning a social media content calendar can provide. This example, from Ivory Mix, includes a detailed 30-day plan for organizing content for Instagram and includes a number of useful screenshots and specific tips for making the most of hashtags, themes, and connections to other Instagram influencers and followers.
We keep coming back to the fact that strong plans make for strong social media campaigns. In this social media strategy example, from Sculpt, we are provided a six-step framework that encompasses all aspects of designing and implementing a thoughtful social media calendar.
This lengthy post from Search Engine Journal contains a number of useful examples to inspire you to create an amazing social media calendar. It includes a Google Sheet template to work with, and there’s also a complete 2019 marketing calendar for reference. There are example holidays and events for each month of the year along with strong example posts from leading brands.
This content calendar template, from the blog of Sunny Lenarduzzi, has an accompanying video that includes some useful details about setting up your own calendar. She covers the basics of setting up her calendar spreadsheet along with some content examples from other brands. It serves as a nice overview of how to set things up quickly and start working.
There are two example social media content calendars in this post from Your Practice Online that are both geared toward the medical field. The PDFs give a detailed overview of content focused on particular holidays and hashtags. Even though the examples are specific to orthopedic and general practices, many of the tips apply to brands in practically any industry.
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A robust digital asset management like MerlinOne supports your social media marketing efforts with automated workflows, built-in distribution tools, and tons of other useful features to ensure that your social media marketing projects stay on-schedule and on-brand. Schedule a demo today to discover how MerlinOne’s powerful features can streamline your marketing and creative operations and fuel your social media marketing strategy.