Instagram marketing

How to create a social media content calendar template

  • 12 Minutes
Create it once, tweak it endlessly

If you are a small business owner or social media manager you’re likely to be across various different social media channels including Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Sometimes keeping track of the content you’re creating for each platform can get complex or confusing. But you don’t have to stick just to only posting on the fly.

Instead, you need a content calendar to organize your social media posts, keep tabs on your posting scheduling and help you execute your social media marketing strategy.

Luckily, Sked has you covered. We’ve put together a one-stop-shop explainer on how to create a social media content calendar template and all the different platforms you can create one in to take your social media marketing game to the next level.

What is a social media content calendar template?

A social media content calendar is a management tool to help business owners or social media managers plan and execute consistent high-quality content across various social media platforms.

Building a social media content calendar from scratch can be a tough task, especially if you’ve never designed one before. Instead of spending hours manually designing a calendar in Excel or Google Sheets, it can be worth using a content calendar template.

With a reliable template, you can quickly bring your content planning to life and customise your content calendar to suit your business and content strategy. It’s all about working smarter, not harder.

What are the benefits of using a social media content calendar template?

Investing in a social media content calendar is a smart move. Not only does it give your social media marketing structure and a sense of purpose, but it ensures your business is showing up consistently on social media.

Rather than coming up with new ideas each day of the week, a content calendar encourages you to plan in advance and strategically map out your posts ahead of time. Say goodbye to guesswork and writer’s block for good!

But when we’re talking about social media content calendar templates specifically, there is a stack of benefits you need to know about, including:

  • Save the time and hassle of designing your content calendar from scratch: it can take hours to figure out how to organize your content calendar in a spreadsheet. But with a template, you can get straight into content creation (and skip the headaches of designing tables).
  • Tap into a proven social media content calendar format: not sure what to include in your social media content calendar? With a plug-and-play template, you know you’re covering all the important sections of information and getting the most out of your content calendar.
  • Spend more time creating brilliant content: while creating a content calendar is important, your social content is where you should be putting the most effort. With a template ready to go, you can pour your energy and resources into designing click-worthy graphics, filming engaging Reels and writing unforgettable captions.

Tips for creating a social media calendar

There are so many different ways to create a social media calendar and that all really depends on what you need to include to improve your workflow and get you consistently posting on social media.

But, to create an effective social media content calendar template you’ll need to include some important information and examine your current social media strategy. Let’s look at how you can start creating an effective social media calendar.

Tip 1. Perform a social media audit

Before you sit down and start content planning and creating your social media content calendar, you need to take a look at your existing strategy. You should examine what’s been working for you and what hasn’t.

If you’ve noticed certain pillars have been working well for your social networks (such as user-generated content or educational content about your products) then you’ll want to be sure to add those to your content calendar.

Plus, it’s worth diving into all parts of your social media analytics and reviewing your metrics to audit your current approach. That means looking at:

  • What content formats are your best and worst performing?
  • What channels are experiencing the highest follower growth, and why?
  • What content themes or topics are driving the highest engagement?
  • What channels are driving the best results for your brand (whether that’s sales, email sign-ups or bookings)?

Take a look at your analytics on each social media platform, identify any stand-out trends and draw insights and conclusions from this data. That will help you make data-driven decisions when planning out your social media content moving forward.

Tip 2. Understand your audience

To be successful on social media and grow your audience you’ll need to understand who you’re speaking to. You want to create content that not only reflects the identity of your brand but you want to think about your ideal customer and start making content that they will want to see.

It’s also a good idea to understand what platforms your target audience is predominantly using and what types of content they want to see. For example, do you usually receive higher engagement on Reels posts, Stories, and Carousel posts or do your TikTok videos perform better than Reels videos?

Again, head to your audience analytics to find out your current follower demographics – this will help you design content that serves your audience best.

Tip 3. Choose your social media platforms

You’ll also want to understand what social media platforms you’re going to use. If you’re a larger marketing team or you have a social media manager who is experienced in social media platforms, you might have a range of channels in your mix.

However, if you’re a small business owner who’s content planning and executing social posts alone, make sure to be selective and think about what platforms your audience resides in and focus on those.

If your audience is mainly millennials and Gen Z then you will want to pay close attention to Instagram and TikTok. But, if you’re marketing to an older demographic then you will want to include Facebook and LinkedIn in your social media strategy.

Tip 4. Set goals

A good social media marketing strategy doesn’t just include content creation but uses content ideas to reach your goals. Your content calendar should reflect the social media goals you’re trying to achieve and assign metrics to measure your progress and success along the way.

Maybe your goal is to increase your presence across various social media accounts, so you’ll be using your content calendar to boost your brand awareness online by showing up consistently.

Perhaps you want to grow your follower count, and want to design content that increases your reach and the discoverability of your brand on social media.

Regardless of what you’re working towards, your content planning and content ideas should be reflective of these benchmarks and KPIs.

If you’re trying to increase conversions you could think about curating types of posts that provide inspiration to your audience by highlighting your products or including more sale posts. If your goal is to increase your followers you could create more giveaway posts or product launch content.

By utilizing a calendar view for your social media content you’ll be able to streamline and optimize your objectives by understanding what goals were met and why. Was it the time of the month that increased sales or engagement or the type of content that achieved your goals? From there you can constantly make improvements to your social media content.

What should you include in your social media content calendar template?

There are so many things you can include in your social media content calendar – the possibilities are endless. But, to make your life a little easier, we’ve rounded up the most important sections you should include (or look for in a social media content calendar template):

  • Date and Day: Including the date and day will organize your calendar according to a Monday to Friday or Monday to Sunday schedule so you know exactly what post corresponds to a specific day.
  • Message: In the message section you can choose to either give a brief overview of what the piece of content means or you can utilize this section to pre-plan your captions.
  • Pillar: The pillar section will help you see what each type of content represents. This can include anything from educational content, user-generated content, product launch, customer testimonials, or sales posts.
  • Image: Since a content calendar is text-based, you’ll want to add some visual cues so your team or stakeholders who rely on your content calendar to clearly see the social posts you’re planning.
  • Platform: If you use one social media content calendar to plan content for a variety of different social media accounts you can categorize each type of content to match a social media platform. You can even use this section to tell people or make a note for yourself how you plan to re-purpose the content on different social media platforms.
  • Type of content: This can be pretty useful if you’re predominately using Instagram and you want to visualize want kind of content you’re putting out there. You can categorize this as Static posts, Carousel posts, Stories, Reels, or, Live.
  • Hashtags: If you want to be extra prepared you can include a hashtags section that pre-plans a few hashtags you include alongside your social posts.

Different platforms to create a social media content calendar template

Now the bit you’ve been waiting for: our recommendations for where to find and create great social media content calendar templates.

Here are six of our top places to bring your social media content calendar to life to level up your content marketing efforts.

1. Canva

If you’re a social media manager or business owner you’ll already know how essential Canva is to your marketing strategy. With a stack of free templates you can customize, Canva is an easy, user-friendly way to level up your social media content and bring your social strategy to life.

But, did you know you can actually utilize Canva to not only make content but to plan it? There are so many ways to customize your content calendar on Canva to make it suit your brand colors and identity or you can follow a color-coded method.

2. Excel

Excel is another great social media calendar tool to implement a content schedule where you can use drop-down menus that categorize your content types.

Using Microsoft Excel online lets you share your content with other team members who are collaborating on your content or any clients you’re making a calendar for. It can be a little tricky to use at first but once you get the hang of it you’ll be a pro.

Sked has even done the hard work for you with a step-by-step guide to making social media content calendar templates using Excel.

3. Google Sheets

Google sheets offer similar capabilities and functionality as Excel, however, is a little easier to use – particularly if you’re already using the Google suite for your other work.

It’s a great social media calendar tool to use to share content with team members or clients easily and you can even tag them in comments and assign tasks.

4. Notion

If you haven’t heard of Notion, then you’re truly missing out. It’s a project management and note-taking software that allows for team collaboration. You can pretty much use Notion for anything including to-do lists, task management, daily habit trackers, and of course, social media content calendars.

Like Canva, you can choose from a bunch of templates, customize them, make them your own, or take other people’s templates online. Notion is a great tool to brainstorm ideas as well as plan pieces of content where you can split your content under different headings and tags including ideas, in progress, review, scheduled, and published.

When you’re content planning you can even assign people in your social media team tasks or assign different members of your team to different pieces of content.

5. ClickUp

ClickUp is another collaboration and project management tool that easily allows team members to communicate, collaborate, assign tasks and view the progress of tasks.

It’s a great way to work on social media content and marketing campaigns on your own or with a marketing team where everyone has visibility on all the tasks that go into planning content.

The best part is, ClickUp offers a comprehensive social media calendar template that categorizes content planning into sections including:

  • Due date
  • Link
  • Channel
  • Category
  • Assignee
  • Publication date

6. Trello

Trello is a visual list-making tool that allows your team to manage various types of projects, marketing campaigns, workflow, or task tracking. You can customize your Trello board to utilize it for content planning or choose from all their different templates including an editorial calendar, content calendar, marketing calendar, and even a blog post calendar.

Once you’ve chosen a platform to create your social media content calendar template you’ll want to start batch-making your content. This will make your life easier because creating content on the go isn’t ideal and can disrupt your workflow when you have a bunch of other tasks to do.

You can even schedule your posts using a scheduling and content planning tool like Sked Social so you’ll never forget to make a social post ever again. Sked even gives you important social media metrics and analytics to benchmark and track your goals. Try our 7-day free trial and take your social media management game to the next level.

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