How to use a social media calendar template

Estimated read time: 3 minutes



Having a social media calendar can help us be more organized when planning and even reporting back our postings and posting frequencies.

This article shares the different types of social media calendar templates and how I use a social media calendar for several social media accounts.

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What’s the goal of a social media calendar?

As should be the case with most everything in content strategy, we need to be clear about the goal. Why do we need a social media calendar to begin with? Some reasons that come to mind include, to be able to:

  • see what posts are upcoming
  • stay on schedule and post  as much – or as little – as was agreed upon in the strategy
  • show stakeholders after the fact what was published, when, and on what networks

How to determine what social media calendar works best for you

Starting with the goal and agreeing on it is one way. Another important aspect here is to consider the current workflows and any other related rules a business must follow. Do you need to save screenshots of published posts, for example? Does that screenshot need to happen on the platform proper, or could it be from the integrated social media calendar?

The types of social media calendars



There are several different types of social media calendars to consider.

The spreadsheet

Yup, teams still use this. Unfortunately, each column has different information – all of which must be typed in manually.

  • Posting time
  • Channel
  • Content
  • Links
  • Etc.

It’s a manual way of doing things, but many social media platforms also allow you to import spreadsheets like this. So that step can save a bit of time, but I think using a spreadsheet is a strategy past its prime. It’s way too time-consuming. And what social team ever has time to waste anyway?

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Project management tools

There are plenty of calendar-type tools out there that allow you to plop in posts on the day and time a post is supposed to go live. Unfortunately, they typically do not integrate with the social channels, so you’d still have to copy and paste to actually publish the posts. Nevertheless, this might be an excellent way to keep track of social media, email, and other content channel publishing times if that’s desired to have everything in one place.

Many social media networks also favor natively published posts so posting directly on the platform has advantages.

Read next: What does natively (or native content) mean?

Integrated social media publishing and calendar

Then there are software solutions like Buffer.com that allow you to set up a calendar while also publishing directly to the channels. Here’s how I’ve set up my calendar in there.

I use Buffer to post to Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. I set frequencies for each network on a per-day basis. Twitter gets half a dozen posts or so. LinkedIn gets two. In Buffer, I set up the posting frequencies.

 

I don’t necessarily take the Twitter schedule as a total commitment. If I don’t have enough posts for a day, I start filling up the queue again when I have posts. But, I do try not to skip days when possible. I could also lower the per-day posting frequency to stretch the queue out.

To see future and past posts, I can see that in the calendar tab, which looks like this:

social media calendar template in buffer

From there, I can give others who need to see this access. There’s also a function to allow others to approve drafts of posts, which I don’t use.

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Social media calendar wrap

Using a social media calendar of some kind is probably helpful, but do try to integrate it with the overall strategy. For example, how does other content fit into the social plan, and how does the social strategy fit into the overall content strategy.

Whatever calendar you use, try not to make the workflow more complex and don’t add unnecessary steps that take away time from actual creation and strategy.



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