Planning is key to avoid missed opportunities to engage with your community, and will also help you feel less stressed and more creative. But if you’ve ever heard the term “social media calendar” and wondered what it is, we’re here to explain. Read on to learn how a content calendar can help your post planning and find out where to get one.
What is a social media calendar?
A social media calendar is a tool or template that helps you keep track of your post activity. It might be a spreadsheet or an online suite that can also help with scheduling and analytics. Some are fancier than others, so the one you pick depends on your activity level and budget.
Why do I need a content calendar?
If you want to be successful on social media, you need to post regularly and often. Sprout Social recommends posting 1–3 times per day on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, and around 3–10 times per day on Twitter. The Pinterest community appreciates up to 20 posts a day, while LinkedIn is best posted on just 1–2 times per week. All this is subjective, of course, depending on your social community. But the point is, that’s a lot of posts. A little help with planning would be nice, wouldn’t it?
A social media content calendar can help you:
- keep track of national celebration days or events relevant to your business
- plan and schedule posts months ahead, meaning less stress to find topics last-minute
- produce content even during slower periods
- record great ideas from brainstorming sessions
- maintain the all-important balance between informational and promotional content – Sprout Social recommends a ratio of around 2:1
You can also use your content calendar to track post performance, helping you work out what time is best to post on your social platforms, and what kind of content your community likes.
How can I get a social media calendar?
There are plenty of content calendar templates out there – plus full-service content suites that help with planning, scheduling, and analysis.
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At the free and basic end of the scale, you could simply create a spreadsheet. Fill in dates, times, social platforms, and post titles to keep an overview of your content. For easier sharing among a team, try using an Outlook calendar or Google Drive. If you need a template, HubSpot provides one to download for Excel.
A slightly more advanced option is to use an online organizational tool like Trello or Evernote. These can help with task management, as well as providing a template in which to create your content calendar.
And finally, there are various paid social content services that simplify the entire process, from planning and scheduling to posting and performance tracking. Recommended for businesses with bigger budgets and a widespread social presence, you could try looking at Sprout Social, Loomly, Agorapulse, or HootSuite. Some can also assist with auto-responses, comments, and community engagement.
Whether it’s a free template or an advanced planning tool, a social media calendar can work wonders for your content strategy. Take the stress out of scheduling and enjoy social media more – the best way to stay creative and engage with your followers!