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How to build a social media content calendar (and actually stick to it!)

A social media content calendar is the secret weapon you need for creating and launching successful posts and campaigns. When you take the time to build a social media content calendar, it can help keep you focused, organized, and working towards your goals, while also saving you time and headaches thinking about what to post every day. 

When you build a social media calendar, you can make it as simple or complex as your brand needs it to be. Whether you create a simple spreadsheet or build a social media content calendar that can plan out dozens of feeds, you’ll be setting yourself up for success and easing the burden of being consistent on social media!

social media content reviewing on mobile phone

Here’s how to make a social media content calendar that you and your team can start using tomorrow:

1. Assess your current profiles

Start by pinpointing your active social channels. Take time to look into who your target audience is for each. Also jump into your platform analytics to check which platform has the most active audience. A good rule of thumb is to keep up with the momentum with what’s working—so make the social platform with the most active audience your top priority!

For instance, you may notice that your Instagram followers are active and engaged, but your Facebook audience may be on the slower side. Try to figure out why certain channels are seeing more success. What types of content are you posting? What works? What doesn’t? Where do you post most frequently, and how does it impact your results? If you find that a certain strategy is working well on one social channel, see if there are other ways for you to implement it across your other accounts.

You may also want to create profiles for platforms that you are not already utilizing. From Instagram and Facebook to Pinterest and LinkedIn, there are lots of different social networks out there. Take some time to research what may work best for your business and optimize them to meet your needs.

2. Make a space for your assets

Your supply of visual content should not be living only on your iPhone, or in a bunch of random folders on your desktop. It is best to keep all of your content organized, and it pays off in the long run. The less searching around for assets you have to do, the better.

Ideally, your content library should be easily accessible from your phone and computer, shareable with team members, and linkable to individual files for you to put into your calendar. Cloud storage solutions like Dropbox and Google Drive are good, budget-friendly picks.

3. Establish a workflow

You need a repeatable process to be consistent on social media. What are the tasks involved with reaching your goals, and who is responsible for each step?

Here are some things to consider when creating your social posting process:

  • Who will build a social media content calendar for each month
  • How will you go about creating or gathering assets for your posts like images and videos? 
  • Who will write and proofread captions?
  • Who needs to approve the content calendar before posts are scheduled?
  • Who needs to approve posts before they’re published?
  • What is your content brainstorming process, and how are new ideas put into action?
  • How will you monitor your metrics and how often will you reevaluate your strategy?

4. Determine your posting schedule

Now that you’ve established a process for posting, you’re ready to start building a framework for your posts. Decide how often you want to post on each platform, and if there are any recurring themes or topics you can post about at regular intervals. Assigning certain types of content to a day of the week (like taking part in weekly hashtags like #mondaymotivation or #wisdomwednesday) can be a great way to fill in your schedule. 

making a social media content calendar on a laptop

5. Build a social media content calendar

If you’re starting fresh and doing social for a side-hustle, a simple spreadsheet may do. But if you’re managing lots of feeds, a team, or multiple clients, you are going to want a more robust solution. Either way, Hubspot has a great social media content calendar template you can use to start with here. Some social management tools, like our favorite Cloud Campaign, have built in social calendars so you can plan posts in the same area that you publish them. 

Here are some basic details to include in your calendar:

  • Platform (where will you be posting the piece?)
  • Date to post
  • Time (and time zone)
  • Copy (Text to use in the caption and/or graphic)
  • Visuals (e.g., photo, video, infographic, gif, illustration, etc.)
  • Link to assets
  • Notes

Once you have the calendar itself built, you can start filling it with content! Here are some ideas to get you started 

  1. Curated content that’s relevant to your audience
  2. User-generated content or UGC (eg., reposts, reviews, and testimonials)
  3. Quotes and motivation
  4. Gifs and memes
  5. Product promotions
  6. Holidays
  7. Events and announcements

We suggest following the 80/20 rule:

The 80/20 rule indicates 80% of social media posts should be useful to your audience—meaning it educates, entertains, or offers a solution to their problems—and only 20% should explicitly promote your business.


6. Invite your team to review

Congrats, you’ve built the foundation of a great social media content calendar! It’s time to reveal your work to the world, or at least your colleagues.

You want your calendar to be intuitive, so send an invite around to the people who will need to use it. Ask them to put it through its paces. You’ll probably find some gaps, but you can use any feedback to improve the system. You’ll be left with an airtight document that even the newest team member can understand.

team reviewing social media content calendar

7. Start publishing and adjust if needed

It’s time! Your social media calendar is up and ready to run. Follow the process you established but don’t be afraid to adjust if you encounter any roadblocks. 

As you start publishing consistently, you may realize that it’s taking too much time to sit down and manually publish your posts. This is especially true if you’re working with some high-volume feeds. In that case, using social media management services or a tool like Cloud Campaign is your best bet.

One step at a time

It can be difficult to create a social media content calendar from scratch. Sticking to it is a whole other beast. If you are looking for some help with your social media, we’d be glad to help. Get in touch to learn more about our managed social media services.

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