Managing your social media content can be daunting, especially if you have no time to spare. Life can get hectic with the constant juggling of family, business or career. In the social media world, it’s best to plan ahead. Mapping out and automating your social media content is essential to saving hours each day. Whether you’re a small business owner, content creator, working in marketing or eager to learn, then this social media content calendar template is just for you. You can use it for any channel including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn or Pinterest.
What is a social media content calendar?
A social media content calendar is a document used to plan your social media posts according to the date. Everything that is required for your post, such as text or imagery, is specified in the content calendar. All you then need to do is bulk schedule the content using any automation tool. Planning ahead gives you a lot of free time to manage your business, follow up on potential partnerships or move on to your next goal.
Why do I need a social media content calendar?
- It saves time. You don’t have to spend hours trying to put a post together each day or week. Being organized can free up your time to focus on other important goals.
- It saves money. If you’re just starting out and you have zero capital to outsource your social media marketing, then using your time and money wisely can be very beneficial.
- It helps you make smarter decisions and boost sales. If you’re planning your content ahead, you can easily tie your sales strategies into your advertising. For example, if Mother’s Day is coming up, you can build a Mothers Day campaign around a special offer to boost your business sales for that month.
Download your free social media content calendar template
Enter your details below to receive your free content calendar template and follow on the instructions in the next section on how to use it.
Ways to download
You can download your template by filling in the form above. You will get the option to download your content calendar in the following formats:
- Excel – Download the Excel version if you prefer using the desktop app.
- PDF Printable – Download the PDF Printable if you prefer writing out your content first by hand
- Google Sheets – Download and make a copy of the Google Sheets version (Preferred option). We love all of our content backed up to the cloud. Here’s easy steps to follow on how to do this:
- Ensure you are logged in to your Google Account
- Click on the link above after filling in the form or from the email you have received.
- Click File > Make a copy. Then copy our content calendar template to your own Google Drive folder and edit it from there.
Here are the fields in the template and how to use them:
- Start Date
- Publish Date
- Post Topic
- Image Sample
An explanation of each field
- This is the first date that should appear at the start of your content calendar. Usually it is the 1st of a month you are planning for.
- This is the first field you should edit and the rest of the fields in the content calendar will automatically update to start from this date.
- Usually it’s a good idea to plan for 1-2 months in advanced just to save time. You can always extend the calendar to 2 months by adding more rows at the bottom. Howevery, you can also create separate content calendars for each month.
- The date your post should be published. You could center this around special days, national or international holidays, business milestones and more.
- There are a lot of online tools that can help you pinpoint special dates.
- Try searching online for national holidays or observances in your country. If you’re living in South Africa a great tool to use is the DIRCo (South Africa’s Department of International Relations and co-operation) calendar found here: www.dirco.gov.za
- For international special days take a look at the United Nations website: www.un.org/en/observances
- Alternatively, fun and quirky ideas such as celebrating Coloring Book Day take a look at www.daysoftheyear.com. However be aware that the national days on their website is specific to the United States observances.
- We’ve found upcoming occasions such as Mothers Day, Fathers Day etc. easy to find on Netflorist’s website: www.netflorist.co.za
- This field helps during planning phase so you know which topic to focus on in your post. You can map out your post topics across the entire month before starting on content creation. Your post topic never gets published and is for your own use.
- Think of the Post Topic as the theme or category for the post you will publish on that specific date.
- It is a great idea to write down ALL of your post titles across the entire month before you go any further. This will help hone in your thought process on the caption writing and image designs.
- You should think about what you would like to post. Is it an ad? Could it be a greeting? Maybe a promotion? This ties back to your goals. Each brand has their own goal. Some brands would like to drive more traffic to their website, some would like to boost their sales, others would just prefer being helpful and providing their followers with useful information.
- The caption is the piece of text that gets published on your social media platform. By typing out your caption ahead of time, it gives you times to spellcheck and make sure all your grammar is correct. The caption gets published with your image and hashtags.
- Think about what your post is about. here is a list of possible topics you could write about:
- Advertise your products, services or you as the brand.
- Create a promotion or special for the month
- Start a competition or giveaway
- Get followers to visit your website
- Get followers to make a purchase on your online store
- Promote your partner or sponsors product or services
- Share an inspirational saying or quote
- Share some useful advice or tip
- Create engaging and interesting text in your posts to attract potential customers, partners or new followers. Consequently, captions are the key to your success on social media, so make sure to take your time when thinking about this field.
- You should add valuable content in your caption to ensure your post gets shared or liked. This will help you reach more people.
- Just remember there are caption limits on various social media platforms. Facebook has a 63206 character limit, Instagram: 2200 characters and Twitter: 280 characters.
- According to the Oxford dictionary, a hashtag is a “a word or phrase preceded by a hash sign (#), used on social media websites and applications, especially Twitter, to identify digital content on a specific topic”. In the content calendar, this field is used to group a few hashtags together that relate to your Post Title or topic.
- If you’re not sure about hashtags, then there is an abundance of online hashtag generators. Take a look at Inflact’s hashtag generating tool: inflact.com or www.all-hashtag.com. For the latter, make sure to select the “top” hashtags instead of the random one’s.
- Take note that different social platforms only allow a certain number of hashtags in a post. Facebook allows unlimited hashtags and is often prone to abuse, but Instagram has a hashtag limit of 30. If you don’t have the time to count, take a look at this handy tool to do the counting for you: www.hashtagcounter.com
- If you want to hide your hashtags then make sure to space them our or separate them from your caption by hitting enter a few times. As users follow certain hashtags on social media, this is a great way to reach more people, but it can make your posts look massive if you don’t hide them well enough.
- This is a small image or thumbnail of the actual image you will be posting along with your caption and hashtags to your social media. You can design your post images in a variety of free and premium tools available online.
- You can design your post image in Canva which has both free and premium versions.
- If you have graphic design experience, then you can also look at more professional tools such as Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop
- There are also newer options but far less features than Canva, such as Adobe Creative Cloud Express.
- Place a scaled down version of your image in the Image Sample column so you know which image to upload when scheduling or creating your post.
- You can find free stock images in Canva or by visiting Unsplash. With the latter you will need to credit the author.
We offer different tiers of social media marketing from 1 post a week to 2 posts a week with monthly TikTok videos. Take a look at our catalogue below and contact us for more information on how to sign up.