Guide to Social Media Calendars with a FREE Social Calendar Template

blank social media calendar

It’s the day before your big annual sale.

Did you post about it on Facebook? Twitter? Instagram?

If not, do you race to write something witty and find a picture that might, kind-of work?

But then you ended up posting at a bad time of day, and many people don’t see the post. It certainly didn’t get anyone in the door. Or make you any money.

It doesn’t have to be like this.

This is why you need a social media content calendar!

Create a Social Media Content Calendar In 6 Easy Steps

A social media calendar is the framework for what you’re going to share. A calendar will keep you organized and efficient while saving time (you’ll see why if you keep reading).

1. Look at the Goals You Set in Your Social Media Strategy

Before you write or schedule a single post, make sure you know WHY! All of your social media posts should point back to the goals you chose when you created your social media strategy. If you haven’t figured out your goals for social media, now is the time!

Goals often fall into one of these categories:

  • Leads/ Email Subscribers (getting customer information)
  • Sales
  • Increased Followers (brand awareness/engagement)
  • Web Traffic (or click-throughs)
  • Customer Service (responding to comments)

Decide on your goals and the rest of this list will go a lot smoother.

2. Decide What Topics to Include in Your Calendar

Your content topics should be based on your goals, business, and audience. What topics can you share that reinforce those goals?

For example, sharing a blog post will increase web traffic, if that is one of your goals.

Also, review your social media audit to help decide what content your audience prefers.

For instance, if your audience responds to user-generated content, find a way to use that regularly on your social media platforms.

If you are a new business and starting from scratch, here are some content suggestions:

  • Blog Posts
  • Product and Service Promotions
  • Advertising Campaigns
  • Motivational Quotes
  • Holidays
  • User-Generated Content
  • Upcoming Events
  • Behind the Scenes Photos
  • Testimonials

3. Figure Out When to Post

The BEST times to post on social media can be found in the data! As #datageeks, we love insights and analysis; it’s our favorite part of social media. Be like us – don’t just guess. Look at the numbers when you make decisions like when to post.

Your audit can help here, again. Social media is always changing. You may find that your numbers are shifting and you need to be posting at different times.

If you’re super-new to social media data, here are some stats that can help you get started. But always TEST to see what works best for you! Don’t put your trust in one study.

4. Create your Social Media Calendar

Now build your social media calendar. This calendar could be an Excel spreadsheet, a Word document, or even an actual calendar.

To help you out, we’ve built free social media calendar template for you. Feel free to download and customize it for your personal use.

➡ Download Free Social Media Calendar Template  ⬅

5. Add to Your Calendar

Now that you’ve nailed down your processes, it’s time to fill in your calendar.

First, fill in the times of day that you will post for each of the social media platforms that you are going to maintain. These are the times that you figured out in Step 3.

Next, to keep it simple and create flexibility, fill in the content topics from Step 2. By using content topics, instead of specifics, you are establishing guidelines to work off. We find it is helpful to have general guidelines for what to post about so that it’s not so specific you get hung up on semantics.

6. Write and Schedule Your Social Media Posts

A little advance planning ensures you have quality content to share with your audience consistently.

Life-changing hack right here: On the same day each week, write and schedule your social media posts for an entire week! Right??!! Scheduling posts within the social media platform or by using a management tool (like Sprout Social) is the way to go.

But, don’t plan too far in advance. Things change in your business and the world. You don’t want to waste time and effort. We suggest working only about one week out for most platforms.

Using a social media calendar will help you plan your posts around your social media goals. And you’ll see better results in less time from your social media platforms.

Remember to monitor your channels for engagement and questions AND to reply to followers quickly. Also, check your insights to see what content is working best for your audience. Your social media calendar doesn’t have to be stagnant.  Be willing to make changes as you learn more about what works for your business.