Social Media Content Calendar Template
Create your own calendar with our free template.
If you use a posting automation tool like Buffer or Sprout Social, you might think that you don’t need a calendar to help you plan your posts. That’s not the case.
I’ll show you how consistent use of a social media publishing calendar can amp up your social media strategy.
Ready for it?
Has this been you?
“Oh my! I forgot to post on Twitter for the last 3 days! Sheesh, I was doing so well!”
“Ugh… I can’t think of anything creative to post. Maybe I’ll skip it. I mean, will sending out this one post make a difference?”
Hey, I get ya. Keeping up with social media and the high rate of posting required to stay relevant can be overwhelming (to say the least!). If you don’t schedule out your social media posts ahead of time, it’s even tougher!
Posting on-demand causes you to rely on your creative brain to be on-point each and every time you want to publish a post (every 4 hours, every 2 hours, or even more frequently.)
Not to mention, it requires a high-level of context switching to move from what you were previously doing to spitting out another great social media post, which ultimately can lead to decreased overall productivity.
I’m here today to give you a [free] tool that will allow you to plan your content when you feel most creative. That way, when publishing time comes, you either just hit the “Send” button, or let a social media automation tool do it for you.
What does a Social Media Content Calendar Do?
Social media publishing calendars offer you a one-stop look at your social media strategy. This is not just the place for you to add your post content or post ideas, but it’s a place for you to structure the way you want your brand to appear on social media.
Let’s riff on the pros and cons of scheduling posts impromptu and using a social media content calendar. Can you tell which side I favor?
Social Media Content Calendar Template
There are a few different versions of content calendars that you might find: blog post content, ad content and social media content. If you have more than one or two social platforms that you post to, it might feel best to keep your social media strategy calendar separate from your other content calendars (or at least in separate spreadsheet tabs).
Introducing our [free] Social Media Content Calendar download!
Social Media Content Calendar Template Tips
The way to make the most out of this, or any social media strategy template, is to spend time to dive in and thoughtfully fill it with content. I usually attack mine on or before the 20th to prepare for the following month.
(Note: Don’t feel like you need to work on all of these things all at once. Time spent on most of the list below can be sporadic.)
What you’ll need:
- Curated content
- Social media post text
- Custom graphics if you want them for your quote images and industry tips
- A separate Desktop folder with relevant images in it
- A social media scheduler or native social account scheduler (optional, but highly recommended). Here are a few social media schedulers that have free plans:
Filling Out the Calendar
STEP 1: Decide upon a focus or a theme for this month. If you don’t have one, fine! Not a problem. Feel free to skip this step.
STEP 2: Pinpoint a promotion for the month, if you have one. Gather any relevant details surrounding the promotion (start/stop dates, existing graphics, etc.)
STEP 3: Head to your Social Media Content Calendar template and fill in the mandatory posts related to time-bound items like promotions/sales, holidays, webinars/Twitter chats/meet-ups, etc. Either add in post content for these items or just fill it in with a placeholder until you have the creative capacity to add more detail to it.
STEP 4: Next, start with Twitter (if you have an account), and go down the column. Fill the white spaces in with the exact text you plan to publish the post with, including links. Doing this will allow you to simply copy and paste your content into your scheduler. Once you have it all in there, it’s really fast to copy and paste it over! Also, if you like to post in real-time, this method will make it a breeze.
At the very least, include a topic or general idea about what you’d like to post in that slot. This will allow you to see your social media strategy in one big picture even if you don’t add all of your details into the spreadsheet.
TIP: I love to batch content, so I’ll try to fill in most or all of my curated content (blog posts, videos, etc.) while I’m in the creative zone.
STEP 5: Copy and paste content from the Twitter column into the corresponding color/number in another social platform’s column, like this >>
STEP 6: If you have an attached image you’d like to include in your post, add it to a desktop folder and have a naming system. For example, if I wanted to publish a quote image, I might type the following in my social media content calendar text box:
“This quote gets me every time! Can’t wait for another Sunday night with friends and family at the table!” [Quote 1]
The “[Quote 1]” reference indicates that I have a corresponding image entitled “[Quote 1]” within that month’s folder. When scheduling, have both your social media strategy template and your image folder open. This will make it quick to drag/drop images and copy/paste text into your scheduler or directly into the social platform.
Repurposing content can save you time and make a greater impact on your social media platforms. With our Social Media Content Calendar, you’ll also see recommended/optional repurposing. This repurposing isn’t conducted multiple times on the same channel but involves using the content from one post on Twitter again on a different social media platform.
Each post we suggest you should repurpose is assigned a color and a number within the first column (the Twitter column). Thinking about it in the reverse, if a box under LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest is colored, it shares content with the box with the same number in the first column (Twitter).
The idea is to not repurpose content on the same day (unless that’s part of your thought-out strategy), and also to mix-up the wording and/or “angle” of each based on your audience for each platform.
First, let’s make sure that we’re all on the same page regarding “repurposing” vs. “reposting”.
Reposting vs. Repurposing
Reposting is when you reshare content that uses the same wording and same media (image, video, etc.) within the same social media platform.
Repurposing is when you reuse content with a different topic, angle, or change of wording, or when you use the same content from one social media platform on another.
Reposting isn’t always bad. But, before pulling the trigger, ensure you know your platform and if repeated content is considered valuable or spam. As a super quick rule of thumb, have at least 20 posts between repeating content. Also, be selective! The best way to repeat content is to check out your analytics. If you find a post that was popular with your audience, it might be worth reposting down-the-road.
Another quick tip: Ensure your content is valuable at the time of the year you post it. If your systems become too automated, you might find that you accidentally sent a DiY Father’s Day Gifts post in January. Eek!
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Repurposing Content Within the Same Platform
If you're aiming to publish the same content on the same platform, re-word it. Capturing a new angle to the content might help grab the attention of someone who, at first, wasn't interested. Here's an example of how I might repurpose this Twitter post about 7 Pro Social Media Customer Service Tips:
"Instantly amp up your #SocialMedia #CustServ using these 7 tips ?: https://roadwarriorcreative.com/7-pro-social-media-customer-service-tips/"
"Saying "no" to customers won't affect retention, according to @gregoryciotti of @helpscout. https://roadwarriorcreative.com/7-pro-social-media-customer-service-tips/"
These two separate angles might catch the eye of two different followers. Both are true to the post's content, but have the potential to pique the interest of different folks.
Repurposing Content Within the Different Platforms
Your ideal customer (remember that avatar you developed when you first started your business?) might follow you on two or more social platforms. Great!
It's important to note that when thoughtfully repurposing content between platforms:
- You have a better chance at grabbing their attention. Repurposing content from one platform to another gives you two or more chances to interest them.
- Your followers are less likely to feel that your content is stale. No one wants to see a brand have cookie-cutter posts. Be thoughtful and post with intention and creativity each and every time.
- You save time! You don't have hours and hours to find content to fill your queues each week. Ensure that your posts are always relevant to your audience, but have comfort in the fact that repurposing with a change in tone will be useful to your audience.
You likely already know that the tone of your posts should vary from platform-to-platform, because people follow you for different reasons on each of them. Remember the tweet example we went through above? The one with the 7 Pro Social Media Customer Service Tips blog post? If I also wanted to publicize that post on Facebook and LinkedIn, I might write the following:
A bit more personal/emotional, potentially longer
A bit more buttoned-up, professional
See how different you can make each sound?
How to Organize Repurposed Content In a Social Media Content Calendar
Let's hop right into an example:
If you own a swim school and are posting a tip about how learning to swim proficiently before the age of 5 increases your chances of becoming a leader later in life, you might repurpose your post in the following ways:
(Note: You will also attach the tip in graphic form. The attached image is indicated by "[Tip 1]".)
Can you see that both reposting and repurposing content can add tremendous value to your brand and your followers if done with intentionality?
It's time to get serious about our social media marketing. A little bit of up-front planning will show the professionalism and consistency of your brand.
If I can do anything to help you use this Social Media Content Calendar to the fullest, I'm here! Just send me a tweet, and I'll jump into action for you.