Social Media Planning: Content Calendar Guide and Free Templates

Lucija Potočnik

Social Media Strategist

 

Even though having a plan for your brand's social media content is just a part of the job of a well-coordinated Social Media Marketing team, it must not be ignored or put aside.
Preparing materials and content in advance is an important part of achieving great results on your brand’s social media.

This is why we're bringing you some tips and tricks on social media planning, as well as social media content calendar templates.

WHAT IS A SOCIAL MEDIA CALENDAR?

Simply put, a social media calendar is a tool you can use to keep your brand's presence on social media in order.
The main purpose of using a social media content calendar is that it helps you easily plan and execute your social content. It can be used as spreadsheet templates or apps, but we will focus on using Excel spreadsheet forms.

Social media calendars give all members included in the process of creation and execution of the content an overview of what and when it needs to be done to keep the brand's social media presence in accordance with a previously defined strategy.

WHY DO YOU NEED A SOCIAL MEDIA CALENDAR?

If you’re a Social Media Manager and manage numerous different brands, you’ll want to have all the content organized in advance and simplify the process of publishing the content at the right time and on the right social media channels for all clients.
The same goes for the client's side — a brand manager working with a Social Media Manager or agency wants his brand to have a clear and well-planned path that's following a strategy.

Without a well-organized and in advance prepared content, a lot of unintentional mishaps and oversights will surely happen. Imagine you’re managing a brand that talks about a lot of different topics — if you don’t carefully plan these topics into your monthly plan, there’s a chance you’ll slip up and forget to include one, leaving the client dissatisfied.
This might lead to confusion, frustration, the lack of good results and, in the end, dissatisfaction with your services. So why not forestall all of that with a simple organized scheme?

ONE STEP AT THE TIME

Before you get our creative juices flowing, you'll need to set up some framework and information which will majorly help you in the creation of the right content for the brand.

The best way to get the right information is consulting your client and social media analytics. The client should provide you with information about monthly focuses and themes they want to communicate during a given month.

Analyze social media results from previous months so you can see what kind of content (topics, post and visual formats) performs the best, ie. what users react to and interact with the most. Among the most important metrics to analyze are Post Reach (Paid and Organic), Post Engagement (Reactions, Comments, Shares and Link Clicks or Video Views), Engagement Rate and Audience Demography.

Each social media channel has its own analytics, so make sure you use them wisely:
FACEBOOK – Insights
INSTAGRAM Insights
TWITTER Analytics
YOUTUBE Analytics
LINKEDIN Analytics

After getting the initial information, make sure your content is in correlation with the social media strategy made for the brand. All content must be in line with:
1. Yearly or monthly KPIs
2. Brand's target audience
3. Brand's tone of voice
4. Creative concept created for the brand

 

Social Media Calendar 

HOW TO USE A CONTENT CALENDAR FOR SOCIAL MEDIA

Now that you have set up the framework and have all the initial information, it is time to get creative and cook up some high-quality content!

A social media calendar template gives you a great overview of what you should be paying attention to while creating and preparing the content for your brand's social media channels.

Here are some things to include in your content calendar:

1. Social media channels you’re writing the content for

Is it Facebook or Instagram? Twitter or LinkedIn? There are significant differences between channels and you can separate these posts so no one makes the mistake to publish the content on the wrong channel.

2. Post formats you'll be using on the channels

Clarify if your individual posts should be text, image, video, link, carousel posts etc.
If you're using links in your posts, don't forget to UTM tag them so you can track users' behaviour on your websites.

3. Themes or categories of posts you should include in your monthly calendar

It is common to have 3 to 5 themes/categories of posts you roll around in one month. This way you can make sure you carry out the previously defined ratio of posts and categories.

4. Formats of visual materials for the posts

Determine what kind of visual formats you’ll use in your posts and the visual details every post needs to have (text, frame, motion etc.). This will make your designer colleagues' lives much easier and they will love you, trust us!

5. Planned post budget

It's clever and helpful to plan your post budget spending in advance. If you add a budget column with a sum row in the bottom, you'll be able to track how much budget you're spending on each post and minimize the risk of overspending.

6. In the end, copies/texts of posts

Finally! Get your creative juices flowing and punch out those great ideas you've had in your mind for some time now. If you get stuck, don't get discouraged — there are always some tips waiting to make your job a bit easier.

PRO TIP:
Even though it's good to fill the month with posts, sometimes is clever to leave some space for some 'unpredictable events'. E.g. the national tennis team wins the Davis cup and your beer brand is connected with sports topics — create an additional post about it, publish it right away and show your client and social media fans that the brand follows current events, just like its users!

THE JOB IS ALMOST DONE!

You've created the whole content for this month, put it in the social media content calendar and now what?

Get another pair of eyes — do a quality check within your team or agency. Hopefully, everything will be perfect, but everybody makes mistakes. Still, you had a chance to polish the content before it gets in front of the client and users.

After the final polishing, send the content calendar to the client and wait for comments. The great thing about these types of templates is you can add a column for the client's comments and, once again, have everything in one place.

THE JOB IS FINALLY DONE!

The client is in awe of your smart and creative ideas and your well-organized content calendar, and gives you a go for publishing! Congrats!

Still, a life cycle of the content calendar doesn't end here. The Social Media Marketing team uses it on a daily basis to make sure all of the planned content is published on time, on proper channels and to the right people.

SOCIAL MEDIA CALENDAR TEMPLATE

We're glad you got this far with us, which is why we'll reward you with two social media content calendar templates!

Both are suitable for changes or personalization — you do you! As long as this template helps you get the job done on a high level, we're happy.

To download the social media calendar templates, send us your email and we’ll deliver the download link straight to your inbox!

 

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Author

Lucija Potočnik

Social Media Strategist

Dog lover and a pun machine, always looking for new ideas and ways to improve clients' social media game.

All stories by Lucija

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