How to Create a Social Media Calendar to Plan Your Content

Before we dive into our list of top tools to stay organized, here's what you need to know about social media calendars and why they're essential.

  • What is a social media calendar?
  • How to Create a Social Media Calendar
  • Social Media Content Calendar Tools to Plan Your Messaging
  • Social Media Templates
  • Benefits of Using a Social Media Content Calendar & Content Planner
  • Social Media Calendar Examples
  • How To Create a Social Media Posting Schedule for Your Business
  • How To Create a Content Calendar
  • What is the best social media calendar?

What is a social media calendar?

A social media calendar is a rundown of your upcoming posts organized by date and time. A social media calendar can be a spreadsheet, digital calendar, or interactive dashboard.

To get the most value out of your social media calendar, it may include the following:

  • The date and time a post will go live
  • The social media account or network each post will go live on
  • Materials to include, such as copy, hashtags, links, and graphics

How to Create a Social Media Calendar

To create an effective social media calendar, you should:

1. Conduct a social media audit.

A social media audit assesses your social media presence, accounts, and engagement. This lets you see what's working, what's not, and where to make improvements.

But an audit is about more than analyzing your social media performance.

A social media audit can help you better understand the interests, habits, and expectations of your target audience. It can give you crucial clues about how they engage with your content too.

And auditing your social media channels can also make it easier for you to see how competitors' social media presence could be affecting your performance. 

It's a great way to understand what social media trends, tools, and features you should be paying attention to.

As you complete your audit, be sure to:

Review and analyze your current social media content performance.

This includes metrics for:

  • Engagement
  • Conversion
  • Clicks

It’s also important to do some post-level analysis. Take a closer look at your top-performing posts and find out what made them successful. Ask yourself — does your audience love educational content or do they want to be inspired or entertained?

Connect your social content strategy to business goals.

Find the KPIs that are important for your business, then, make sure your social strategy supports those KPIs.

Run a competitive analysis.

Review your competitors' social media accounts with these competitive analysis templates and check:

  • The types of content they're sharing
  • Posting frequency
  • Audience engagement

Want more details? Click here to learn how to conduct a social media audit step-by-step.

2. Choose your social media channels and the content you'll post.

Once you've completed your audit, it's time to use what you learned. Your audit should give you a sense of what you're doing right, where you should experiment, and which channels are best for your audience.

For example, say that Instagram has historically been your top social media channel for engagement, but you've been seeing a drop in the last six months. Your audit should show you what engagement on IG looks like for your competitors, plus what is and isn't working for your business now.

Choose your social media channels.

Target audience demographics are need-to-know information for planning your content. So, you’ll want to do some market research. This can can help you find the most popular social media platforms for your audience too. As you go through your research, don't forget to assess platform features and strengths.

Next, match your top content types and budget with the platform that's the best fit for your needs.

For example, local coffee shop Café Grumpy focuses its social media presence on a single platform: Instagram. But cosmetics brand Glossier has a powerful social media presence on many platforms, including Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Reddit, and LinkedIn.

Health and beauty brand Golde strikes a balance with a presence on multiple platforms. But it focuses on content publishing and engagement with Instagram Reels.

Keep in mind that with each platform you add, you're multiplying the number of posts you'll need to create and manage. This makes a social media calendar even more useful.

Plan what content you want to create for each channel.

Once you've chosen your platforms, it's time to plan your social media content. To begin the planning process, review your team and budget. This will give you a realistic sense of how much high-quality content you can produce.

You can often produce more high-quality content for less money if you create in batches. This makes careful content planning essential.

Then, use your brand guide and social audit analysis to create content that resonates with your audience.

Create a smart mix of social content.

It's best to create a variety of content. Videos are popular, but images, text-based posts, infographics, testimonials, and live streams are potent too. Mix it up to keep your feeds fresh and appealing. It’s also a handy way to stay up on trends that make the most of each platform.

For example, Instagram is ideal for visual storytelling. With that in mind, Café Grumpy's social posts feature drawings and art from customers, employee stories, and vendor highlights.

Glossier uses a unique content strategy for each social audience. For example, its YouTube channel features a "Get Ready with Me" playlist of videos of influencers, actresses, and CEOs using its products.

But over on LinkedIn, Glossier uses its social feed to highlight its take on culture and events. And on Reddit, the content engages the community with prompts for conversation and critique.

These content creation templates can speed up the process if you’re creating unique content for multiple platforms.

3. Decide what your calendar should include.

You might plan your social content by season, strategy, or campaign. To keep things organized, you need to decide what content you want in your calendar for your desired results.

To start, your calendar should include the following:

  • The platforms you're using
  • The day and the time your posts will be published
  • Links, graphics, videos, and copy

It's also helpful to have platform image sizes, campaign hashtags, and quick tips on hand as you build out your social media calendar.

Color coding is also great for at-a-glance decision-making each month. This is how we color-coded content in our monthly social content planner:

As you become more adept with your calendar, you may want to expand it to include the following:

  • Platform-specific materials include Reels, TikTok LIVE, polls, shoppable posts, etc.
  • Geo-targeting
  • The associated or vertical campaigns, such as product launches and contests

4. Get feedback.

Once your calendar is complete, share it with your team and stakeholders to get their feedback and make sure it meets everyone's needs.

Your social media calendar should be an easy-to-understand plan that aligns with your social media strategy. If everything aligns, there shouldn't be any big surprises or confusion when your colleagues review your plan.

The monthly template in our social media calendar is a useful tool for sharing your plan with stakeholders who want a sense of the big picture, but don't need to get into granular details.

The other sections of this tool are useful for social media managers who are planning, creating, and posting to social media.

شاهد وأحصل على أعمالنا من منصة خمسات

  محدثك د .عبد الغني فؤاد حسين 18 عاماً من واقع عملي حيث اعمل مستشار وظيفي ذو خبرة وله تاريخ حافل من العمل في مجال ‏التدريب المهني وصناعة التدريب. ماهر في المبيعات والاستشارات التعليمية والمحاسبة وإدارة المشتريات وإدارة المخزون.‏
سأكون مستشارك الوظيفي وأقوم بتدريبك على أودو


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Social Media Content Calendar Tools to Plan Your Messaging

1. HubSpot's Downloadable Template for Excel

Content Calendar

Price: Free

Download This Template

Marketers might already use Excel for different types of reports and data analysis, but this multifaceted tool is also perfect for social media content calendar organization. Excel can be customized according to the priorities and metrics your team is focused on, so it's a great option for planning.

The good news? We've already done the heavy lifting by creating a free, downloadable social media content calendar template using Microsoft Excel. Marketers can easily use this template to plan individual social media posts— monthly or annually — while keeping an eye on more significant picture events, holidays, publications, and partnerships.

  • Use the Monthly Planning Calendar Tab above to get a bird's-eye view of what's coming down the content pipeline in a given month.
  • In the Content Repository tab, you can add the content you'll be publishing on this tab to keep track of which pieces have been promoted already and to recall older content that can be re-promoted easily.
  • You can draft and plan out social media posts in advance on the Social Network Update tabs. These tabs are for organizational purposes. After planning out your social media posts, you'll manually upload the content of the posts to a social media publisher.

For more on how to use the templates, check out this in-depth guide from my colleague Basha Coleman.

This free resource can draft social media posts or bulk-upload them into a publishing app to maximize efficiency. (HubSpot customers: You can use this spreadsheet to organize content and upload it directly into Social Inbox. For instructions on this, check out the template's cover sheet here.)

HubSpot also offers social media software that lets you create a custom publishing schedule. This simple tool lets you publish directly to LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Your social interactions all link back to the HubSpot CRM for easy-to-measure ROI.

Why we like this social media tool:

Marketers with small teams and heavy workloads will love this intuitive template. It acts as a social media content planner, tracker, and archive, making it perfect for sharing your social plan with stakeholders and referring to it when you need to repurpose old content.

2. Google Drive

Content Calendar and Asset Organization

Price: Free for personal use. Google Workspace plans for businesses start at $6 per month.

Google Drive has several helpful features that make it easy for social media marketers to build an effective content calendar.

Here's an example of how a team might use Google Calendar to track their editorial and social media calendars to make sure posts align with new blog content. Multiple teams can easily share these calendars to avoid scheduling conflicts and align campaigns.

Marketers can also use shared Google Sheets to schedule posts on social media, track the status of different pieces of content, and assign tasks to team members without switching between platforms.

With the help of Google Docs, users can keep comments in one place and collaborate on different projects without emailing back and forth or scheduling a meeting. This is a handy feature when editing content for social media, which may need to be drafted and approved quickly.

Why we like this social media tool:

Google has several products that can be used together to create quick, seamless workflows. So you'll find value in the Google Drive system if you publish dozens of daily posts across multiple platforms or ramp up one channel for your freelance business. The best part is that HubSpot customers can easily link their Google Drive accounts to the HubSpot portal to upload files from Drive into the HubSpot software.

3. Loomly

Content Planning, Creation, Publishing, and Calendar

Price: 15-day free trial. The Base plan is $26 per month for two users and 10 accounts when you choose the annual agreement.

If you want more mileage from your content calendar, you can turn to an all-in-one content planning and publishing platform such as Loomly.

Loomly offers tools beyond content scheduling and management. This tool gives inspiration and direction to help you create content. It also allows you to manage your content assets, schedule posts, view them as a list or a calendar, and analyze what posts are working versus which ones need work.

Loomly's most robust feature set includes a collaboration and approval environment so teams can submit mockups, add comments, see version logs, and flag for approval. This can help you streamline processes for efficiency when there are "too many cooks in the kitchen" on a particular project.

Why we like this social media tool:

This tool can do both if your team handles organic and paid social. And your team who wants to avoid using their personal account for social media duties can respond to comments and replies directly in Loomly — that means they won't need to log in to each native platform to engage with followers.

4. Trello

Task Management and Content Calendar

Price: Free for individual use. The Standard plan starts at $5 per user per month, billed annually.

If you're looking for an organizational tool that's highly effective for team collaboration — try Trello. This platform offers a full calendar view, making it easy to visualize what content is going out and when. More specifically, social media managers can use Trello's flexible assignment "cards" and customizable "boards" and "lists" to map out to-do lists, manage a content calendar, plan a campaign, and store brainstorming ideas.

You're not limited to just one structure, however. Users can customize boards according to their needs. For example, a team could create a board to organize social media posts for a given week on a specific platform or post ideas around a topic, such as a campaign or awareness day.

Why we like this social media tool:

Trello cards can be assigned to different team members, marked with due dates, and commented on. Users can even customize labels with varying statuses of publication so the entire team can see the progress of their social media posts and when they're due on the calendar. The labels could also show different social networks where content is being published.

يمكنك أن تصبح مسوقًا رقميًا: اكتساب المهارات الأساسية والشخصية لمهنة تسويقية تعتمد على التكنولوجيا

ستتعلم المهارات الصعبة الضرورية لمهنة التسويق


5. SproutSocial

Social Publishing and Content Calendar

Price: The Standard plan starts at $249 monthly for five social profiles, billed annually.

Sprout Social’s social media calendar and publishing tool make it easy for teams or individuals to plan and schedule their social posts. You can schedule content to automatically post to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and more.

You can also tag each social post and add notes to track and report your posting strategy and campaigns. Additionally, their publishing suite includes Optimal Send Times, which analyzes your social media data and automatically publishes when your audience is most engaged.

Why we like this social media tool:

Coming up with social media content ideas can take time and effort. Sprout Social's social listening tool lets marketers like you uncover niche conversations that your audience is interested in. From there, you can join the conversation for brand awareness or start your discussion on the topic to grow your following.

6. Evernote

Content Calendar, Task Management, and Asset Organization

Price: The Basic plan is free. Create a custom template using the Personal program for $14.99 per month.

Evernote is a note-taking app that marketers can use to keep track of all the moving parts of a social media campaign.

The tool also features yearly, monthly, weekly, and hourly logs, making it easy to track when you're publishing content on social media when you're producing blog content and other team-wide priorities. (Evernote offers customizable templates for each of these that can be downloaded into the app.)

Another helpful feature is Evernote's Web Clipper extension for Chrome. Marketers can use this tool to easily save links to their Evernote Notebook for sharing later on.

Why we like this social media tool:

The Evernote mobile app also boasts interesting features to help marketers keep their social content ideas straight. For example, you can easily snap a photo and save it to your Evernote files for review later. This feature is of particular value for social content creators looking to maintain a backlog of photos to publish on Instagram.

7. Hootsuite

Social Publishing and Content Calendar

Price: The Professional plan starts at $99 per month and begins with a free 30-day trial.

Hootsuite offers a built-in Planner tool to help you create campaigns, identify publishing gaps, and collaborate with your content creation team. Its primary features are in social publishing so that you can release content to your networks in advance, but it also has rich features for collaboration and post approvals.

You can even curate content from other sources without logging into your account. Once your content is created, you can preview it with the Composer tool, which displays it according to each social network's unique format.

Why we like this social media tool:

Cross-collaboration is a big deal on any marketing team, and Hootsuite has a way of making this even more accessible. The social publishing platform has a built-in content library serving as the single truth point for your entire organization. Does your sales team need a product feature cheat sheet? Customer service looking for details on the latest product feature? All that and more can be found in your team's Hootsuite content library.

8. Agorapulse

Social Publishing and Content Calendar

Price: The individual plan is free, or you can use the Standard plan starting at $49 per user per month.

Like Hootsuite, Agorapulse offers social publishing tools and a content calendar to manage your social media accounts easily. This includes scheduling (or rescheduling), queuing, and bulk uploading posts, which is incredibly helpful for teams who use quarterly or monthly content plans.

Why we like this social media tool:

What makes Agorapulse different is its social inbox, which allows you to manage all the interactions from various platforms in a single place. After all, content isn't just a one-and-done activity; it's about building awareness and engagement with your readers.

9. StoryChief

Content Planning and Distribution

Price: Team pricing starts at $280 per month, billed annually.

If you want more from your content calendar than knowing when posts go live, StoryChief is your option. With StoryChief's smart calendar, you can better strategize and plan your content strategy across channels.

It displays much more than your timetable — it also allows you to assign collaborators to tasks and filter them by the campaign. StoryChief self-describes its tool as a "content distribution platform" that unifies analytics and publishing across multiple channels for a more simplified approach to content creation. Best of all, it syncs with HubSpot and your favorite calendar apps.

Why we like this social media tool:

Believe it or not, there are quite a few similarities between social media marketing and SEO marketing — StoryChief bridges this gap with its SEO Copywriting tool. By highlighting the areas you can improve your copy for the reader (and subsequently the search engines), you can write more precise, more engaging content that works on social media and your website or blog.

10. ClearVoice

Content Creation and Management

Price: Request a custom quote.

So what about content planning and creation? ClearVoice offers content creation tools to fit into your workflow. Their big claim to fame is their Talent Network Search which allows you to find and connect to content creators to work on your projects. Yet, ClearVoice also has features for task management for internal and external collaborators.

You can create, edit, and approve projects in an interface that makes editorial management easy. It also includes a dashboard and dynamic editorial calendar with plenty of interactive functionality and integrations with other popular software.

Why we like this social media tool:

Not every social team is working for a big agency or client. For freelance content teams who want to stay organized and on time with their social media publishing, ClearVoice offers some of the same great features at a price customized to your team.

11. Zerys

Content Creation and Management

Price: Use Zerys' pricing calculator for an estimate.

Zerys is another platform that matches you with your ideal content creation freelancers. However, it markets itself as a platform dedicated to content success, offering content planning, production, publishing, promotion, conversion, and analytics features.

Why we like this social media tool:

شاهد وأحصل على أعمالنا من منصة خمسات

​سأقوم بتصميم تخطيط الكتاب الداخلي ، والتنسيق مع الغلاف هل تبحث عن مصمم داخلي محترف ومبدع لكتابك الملون؟ لا مزيد من البحث! أنا هنا لمساعدتك في مهارات التصميم من الدرجة الأولى. سأصمم تصميمًا داخليًا جذابًا لكتابك الملون يجذب انتباه جمهورك المستهدف


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