By now marketers know the power of social media. For brands, creating social media posts is a great way to connect with their users. But how do you make sure you keep a consistent presence on your most engaging social channels without drowning in all the noise?
That’s where social media calendars come in. Different social media calendar solutions are built to help businesses boost their presence, automate their process, and schedule posts ahead of time.
In this post, we’ll go over what a social media calendar is, why you should use one, and what tools you can use to make it happen.
What is a social media calendar?
A social media calendar gives you a high-level view of your upcoming social content organized by days, weeks, and months. The calendar can be in the form of a spreadsheet, a simple Google calendar, or a dashboard on a software solution.
A social media calendar usually contains:
- The time and date at which the post will go live
- Hashtags and links that need to go with the post
- The social media channel and account
- All the creative assets and copy
Using a social media calendar keeps you organized, whether you’re a small business or you’re creating social posts for a huge enterprise organization. You can plan out posts beforehand (a day, week, or month in advance) and you don’t have to worry about scrambling to post low-quality content last minute.
There’s no right or wrong way to create a social media calendar. Make sure it’s convenient and customize it to the needs of your business. A simple spreadsheet or a social media management tool can work. The important thing is that you create a calendar that can work as a system to help you plan, organize, and execute a social media strategy that garners results.
Why use a social media content calendar?
With a social media calendar in place, you can:
Organize your social strategy: Businesses often have difficulty organizing their social content in a way that aligns with their upcoming promotions and business initiatives. This is especially true if you’re managing accounts on multiple platforms. As you grow your social media presence, organization and a repeatable process are your best friends. A social media calendar tailored to your business goals helps you stay organized each quarter.
Make improvements with real data: When you create a social media calendar ahead of time, you can compare your past strategy with your current one to pinpoint the areas where you can improve. With a documented strategy in place, it’s easier to find what content formats get you the most engagement.
Outsource your social media needs: A social media calendar enables you to outsource all the social management tasks you don’t have the time for. A calendar provides structure and you’re able to communicate your strategy with more ease.
Maintain consistency: Posting content on social media regularly is easier with a calendar in place. By creating a social media calendar, you can prepare consistent content weeks or even months in advance without worrying that you’re going to miss a day.
Leverage automation to work for you: It can often be time-consuming to post content on different social media platforms manually. But you can increase your productivity by using social media automation tools to do the heavy lifting for you. Instead of manually posting images and copy, content software can do it for you.
Elevate your content quality: Preparing your social media content ahead of time allows you to create higher quality content. You can plan ahead for holiday promotions, days off, and seasonal content.
Develop a recognizable brand: Take a look at how Apostrophe is killing it on Instagram by consistently posting brand-relevant imagery and copy. You can bet this didn’t happen by chance. It took a lot of planning and a social calendar to help bring it all together.
How to create a social media calendar
You know the advantages of having a social media calendar, but how do you create one? Well, it’s not as difficult as you think. With just five easy steps, you can create a calendar that keeps you organized.
1. Find a tool that works for you
There’s no hard and fast rule for selecting a tool. Depending on your needs, you can opt for a simple tool (think Google Sheets or Excel) or a calendar tool specifically designed for social content creation that offers more advanced features (think Meet Edgar or Sprout Social).
Do you want to take advantage of automation and have your social media calendar post content for you? If so, you’ll want to look for a dedicated social media solution that’ll enable that. We’ve listed a few ideas worth considering below.
If you’re starting out you can try creating a simple calendar. Once you see your account grow and want to take it to the next level, consider investing in paid social tools that’ll do the heavy lifting for you.
2. Audit your social media needs
While conducting an audit to learn what your social media goals are, consider the following:
- Your monthly and quarterly goals – do you want to optimize for follower growth, subscribers, or views? Are you looking to nurture engagement? What kind of content are you posting the most? What kind of content gets the most response from your existing audience?
- Which social media channels do you need to post to regularly – Where does your audience primarily hang out? A social media calendar for Instagram will look different than one for Pinterest. Plan accordingly.
- How many posts do you want to publish per day/week? – This is where using historical data can help inform what the optimal amount of daily and weekly posts are for your brand. There isn’t one right answer. Every business gets different reactions on social platforms, which is the reason why paying attention to historical data you can track from your social accounts is so important.
Answering these questions will give you an idea of the strategy you want to adopt, which takes us to the next step.
3. Create a strategy informed by your audit
A social media strategy usually contains:
The number of times you want to post in a day: Decide on a posting schedule by getting specific on the best time of day to post your content as well as the best days to post. The more data-driven your strategy and your posting schedule is, the higher the chances of sustaining steady growth long-term.
The different key performance indicators you’ll need to track: Once you have decided on which social media channels you want to focus on, you can then decide what metrics your social media calendar will help you track. Should you track how the hashtags perform, how often your brand is being mentioned, and how many views or followers you’re getting?
The type of content you’ll create: Finding success on social platforms is half strategy half art. That’s why determining what content gets you the best results is a key part of rounding out your strategy. Will you alternate between static posts and video posts? Will you repurpose video posts and publish them on adjacent platforms?
From there, you can start the actual content planning and pairing each piece of content with the appropriate copy for specific days of the week.
4. Monitor and collect data
If you’re using a social media management software to prepare a content calendar, then you can also use it to track and organize data for you. Otherwise, you need to collect and monitor data manually.
Thankfully, all social platforms have some sort of built-in analytics you can use to get an overview of how your content is performing and what your audience is reacting to. For example, Instagram, Tiktok, and Pinterest already have built-in analytics tools that show your post’s performance over time.
5. Revisit what isn’t working and implement a new approach
The last step is to study your analytics to determine what the numbers are telling you. While an initial strategy might look like it’ll perform, sometimes the content you overlook is what gets the most engagement.
This is where you get to go back to the drawing room. Think of a social media calendar as a live document. It’ll keep changing as you refine your strategy, improve your content, and learn better ways to connect with your target audience. As part of your calendar workflow, take the time to find out what isn’t working, switch up your approach, make changes and repeat the process.
Social media content calendar tools
Consider the following social media tools if you’re looking to streamline your editorial calendar creation process. They can save you time, money, and keep you from having to take care of repetitive tasks—like posting or creating social media copy from scratch—each day.
Jasper is an AI writing assistant with plenty of copywriting templates you can use to generate social media captions and headlines. While Jasper isn’t a “content calendar” per se, you can still use it to autogenerate social copy, headlines, and ad copy as you fill in your calendar.
It uses AI to help automatically generate creative captions and engaging social copy. Don’t like what it generated? Hit the refresh button to load new copy. You can create engaging yet short social copy or come up with unique content captions. As a writing assistant, it’s a must-have for marketers that need to create content in less time.
Tailwind is a social media management tool built with the functionality to manage Pinterest and Instagram accounts. Along with creating a social media calendar within its dashboard, you can automate most of the actual posting.
You can batch schedule pins and Instagram posts for a whole week or more. Different features like built-in pin design tools help you elevate your social efforts without having to leave the platform. It’s a great tool for marketing teams wanting to drive brand awareness on Pinterest.
Buffer is a popular social media management platform that lets you drive engagement and plan a social strategy through a calendar view. The best part of using Buffer — you don’t need to go anywhere else to run your campaign. It takes care of everything from beginning to end for all social media platforms in one place.
Grow your social media presence with Jasper
A social media calendar gives marketing teams the structure they need to maintain their workflows and execute an actual marketing strategy. Whether you’re planning marketing campaigns on LinkedIn or are needing to organize and automate your tweets, a calendar makes sure your social media posts get seen by as many people as possible.
Are you in the middle of social media planning and need to come up with fresh copy? Use Jasper to come up with unique copy for each of your posts. Sign up here to improve your content creation workflow for good.