You may feel that you or your brand are on top of everything you post on social media channels. However, you’d be surprised at how disarrayed and chaotic posts can become if you have no direction or organization behind them.
Social media calendars serve as an excellent tool to manage all your social media channels. They create consistent, quality, and relevant posts bound to boost engagements, and ultimately conversions.
This article will inform on how to start a social media calendar that works for everyone.
Why Create a Social Media Calendar?
Arguably, the social media scene is the eye of the storm in content creation. These platforms can be imperative to conversions – but often don’t have the desired effect if not curated effectively.
Social media calendars bring calm to the chaos and let your digital marketing team drive straight to the target audience they want to meet. Your office will never hear the sound of ‘who approved this?’ or ‘what goes on Facebook today?’ ever again.
What Do You Need Before Starting a Social Media Calendar?
Social media calendars are very easy to start and manage. Little is required except for access to your brand’s social media accounts and Google Sheets.
A little innovation, creativity, and patience are helpful, too!
Why a Social Media Calendar Can Benefit Your Brand
The best digital marketing practices have elements of stability, insight, and accountability behind them. Social media calendars can be an integral part of the process to arguably one of the biggest traffic drivers.
They will help amalgamate with all your other team’s digital marketing efforts. The social media calendars will also align with brand goals and bring a concise vision about how your social media platforms can convert users to your products.
What To Know About Starting a Social Media Calendar
Let’s start developing a social media calendar by answering a few questions about getting started.
Where Do You Form a Social Media Calendar?
There are no special tools or software needed to create a social media calendar. You’ll be using Google Sheets to develop it.
When is a Social Media Calendar Made?
If you plan on using a calendar to drive all your social media posts in the future, you’ll only need to make one once. However, it’s recommended to create a new copy every week so that the information doesn’t get cluttered.
You’ll need to update it frequently with planned posts, but it won’t take much time out of your day. Only 5-10 minutes is required to update your social media calendar.
Who is Responsible for the Social Media Calendar?
Whoever manages your brand’s social media content should be responsible for the social media calendar. That could be you, your social media manager, or your community manager.
Getting Your Social Media Calendar Started
So, without further ado, let’s get your social media calendar set up!
1. Find the Social Media Calendar Template here.
Download the Social Media Calendar Template, and give it a file name to let everyone know what it is.
2. Make a copy for yourself, and use this going forward.
Save the copy somewhere your digital marketing team can easily access it.
Customizing the Template to Your Brand's Needs
Now, you’ll need to fix up the template to suit your brand’s social media style. Not every business posts the same content or has the same kind of audience.
Here, you’ll adjust the cells on the spreadsheet to align better with your social media plan of action. They can be edited to be more in tune with how you operate on each channel.
1. Highlight the cell range that you’d like to action.
Select the cells that you want to change the information for. Use the graphic below as an example of this.
2. Click the ‘Data’ tab at the top of the screen, then select ‘Data Validation.’
Click data validation to bring up an editing screen for the cell’s categories.
3. Add or remove categories as necessary to your social media calendar.
Customize to the standards surrounding your social media posting.
Filling in the Template
You should see that the rest of this template is one of the least threatening spreadsheets you’ll come across. It’s pretty straightforward to fill in the rest, but this article will walk you through how to complete the calendar.
1. Enter the publishing date for the content.
Whatever date you are planning to post your content, write it here.
2. Describe the type of content that will be posted.
This may have been customized from the section above. For the purpose of example, there are 4-categories relating to our template – as seen below.
- Course – These are posts connected to the ‘courses’ offered.
- Marketing – Posts aligned to any current marketing campaign, such as special offers or promotions.
- Evergreen – If you have some content that can be repeatedly promoted, this is the category assigned.
- Right-Time – The name says it all – a piece of content that has a ‘right time to post, such as a holiday or event
3. Add a topic or title for the post.
Give your post a relatable topic or title on what it’s about.
4. Define the purpose and details of the content in the upcoming post.
You’ll want to let your team know the specifics behind the post. What is this content trying to achieve, and a description of its purpose should be added here?
5. Which social network platform will you be posting the content to?
If you run multiple social media channels, it’s good to know which one it’s going to! This template features a drop-down for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest. However, you can add or remove options depending on which platforms are relevant to your business.
6. Write in the type of post.
The post type makes up part of the essential information of the content. It describes how the post and copy will look. In the template, we’ve featured the following categories. Again, this can be customized to your liking.
- ‘Normal Post – This would be only some text and pictures.
- Link Post – Some text and a link to other content.
- Chained Post – A chained post is specific to Twitter – it’s a thread of tweets.
- Carousel Post – The carousel relates to a single post that showcases multiple items. A user will swipe through a series of images, such as a collection of products.
7. Input the content type of the post.
The post type is another essential piece of information to know. It will let the team know how this post will shape up. Tone, style, and copy length should be apparent in the options for the post type. We created the example categories below.
- Photo – Image content that would accompany copy.
- Graphic – Visual content that isn’t necessarily only a picture – but adds to the relevant text.
- GIF – A moving image that underlines the point of the copy.
- Video – A more visual piece of content that does the talking rather than the words.
- UGC – Link to user-generated content with some explanation.
- No Asset – A post with a copy by itself and no paired media.
8. Write out the copy that will accompany the post.
Pen out the copy that will be used on the live post.
9. Insert the asset that will be used in the post, if any.
Whatever media you plan to use with the post, add that into the spreadsheet cell.
10. If you are using a link with the post, add that in the field.
If it’s a URL that you’re using with the post, paste that into the cell. Make sure it’s minimized – only so it doesn’t take up the whole spreadsheet!
11. Should you shorten links with each post, add the cropped version here.
If you use a link shortening service like bit.ly, paste that version of the link in the cell.
12. Define the time you intended to publish your content.
Timing can be everything sometimes. Write in the time of day that your post will go live – best when your following is most active.
13. Note any approvals that need to be made before the post goes live.
It’s a usual digital marketing practice that posts need approval from managers before going live. Here the template is set up with the Approval 1 and Approval 2 columns, indicating 2 members of the team need to approve the post.
Customize as necessary, or move on if approval is not needed.
- This calendar can also work as part of a system for post-approval. You can tag the person that needs to review the content on Google Sheets by entering a ‘+’ sign, followed by their email. That will notify them that they need to take action.
14. Once the post goes live, paste the link to the content in this field.
Finally, paste the post’s link in this cell after it goes live. It can be used as a reference for when what, and where the content was posted.
Your Social Media Calendar is Complete!
Yep, that’s all it takes to create an effective social media calendar for your team! The more challenging aspect remains to keep consistent and up-to-date with it -but keeping on top of the calendar yields fantastic benefits.
Assign your marketing team this task every week as a matter of importance.
Don’t you feel better now that your social media posting isn’t so erratic? Something is refreshing about being so planned to tackle the digital chaos.
Let the social media calendar reign in your path to growth, and cut through the competition with some exciting, consistent content!