Building an engaging social media presence is a marketing strategy that can bring outstanding returns on investment regardless of the size of your business. As the years go by, a brand’s social media presence becomes increasingly valuable.
No matter how behind you may be with social media marketing, beginning without a clear plan or structure is never a good idea. First, you must assess your current position, establish clear marketing goals, and define what you need to get you from where you are to where you want to be. A well-planned social media calendar template helps achieve this.
This article explores the importance of a social media calendar and its value to businesses. We’ll share tips on using a social media calendar template that fits your needs and how Wrike simplifies marketing project management, saving valuable work hours.
What is a social media calendar?
A social media calendar is a digital marketing planning and scheduling tool that outlines the content to be shared across a brand’s social media channels over a specific period. It is a collaborative calendar that allows social media managers and teams to work together to plan, organize, schedule, and publish their social media content across platforms, ensuring synchronized presentation and messaging.
Social media calendars amplify the effectiveness of a brand’s social media marketing efforts by providing structure and visibility into the content creation, review, approval, and publication process within the marketing team. Using a social media calendar template streamlines and speeds up the process and ensures everyone works together to achieve the same goals.
Why is a social media calendar important?
The benefits of a social media calendar include:
- Staying organized: A social media calendar helps marketing teams stay organized and on track with multiple campaigns. It allows teams to design a process around creating and scheduling marketing content, preventing last-minute scrambling to come up with ideas and execute them.
- Maintaining consistency: A social media calendar provides a reusable template and structure to ensure your content is consistently scheduled and published on your chosen platforms.
- Improving planning: With a social media calendar, you can plan your content around important events, annual holidays, and seasonal promotions. This helps your team create relevant content that can engage customers in their everyday lives. Planning posts also allows enough time to review and approve marketing assets before sharing.
- Enhancing collaboration: A social media calendar is easily shared among the marketing team members and collaborators, which ensures everyone is on the same page. This creates access and visibility and keeps everyone clear on what tasks need to be done to maintain progress and achieve set goals.
- Tracking performance: A social media calendar makes it easy to monitor the performance of your social media posts and marketing campaigns over time. Tracking metrics such as reach, likes, comments, and shares provides insights into the content that resonates with your audience.
- Encouraging creativity: Working with a social media calendar enables marketing teams to set aside time for focused thinking about what goes into the calendar for an upcoming period. This promotes deep work and creative thinking, which can lead to innovative ideas for your social media plan and content.
What are the most important components of a social media calendar template?
There are fundamental components every social media calendar template must have. Below is a list of the most common:
- Date and time: Date and time are the most basic components of any social media calendar template. They signify what day and time each post will be published, helping minimize scheduling conflicts and ensure things move according to the schedule.
- Social media platform: A social media calendar template should include a column or field for every active social media platform a brand uses. This column keeps track of the content published on different platforms and shows the post frequency and assets used for each channel.
- Post type: Most social media calendar templates include a column or field for the post type you plan to publish, such as text, image, video, blog post, or other promotional content. This helps you vary the type of content you share and measure what performs best to keep your followers engaged.
- Content theme: A content theme column or field would highlight the theme of each post, helping you plan your content around specific topics or events and ensure your posts are timely. You can indicate which campaign each content falls under to make results more insightful and easier to track.
- Content description: A social media calendar must include a brief content description for each post. The marketing manager may write a brief synopsis of each day’s content, and the social media manager or marketing team member drafts it and tags the manager for a review before scheduling it to publish.
- Call to action (CTA): A CTA in a social media post is a statement encouraging your audience to take a specific action, such as joining a cause or community or making a purchase. Include a column or field for your CTAs to ensure your posts are actionable and drive tangible engagement, conversions, and traffic for your business.
- URLs and UTM parameters: URLs are public links from your website or other websites you’re curating. UTM parameters are tracking tools: a code added to a URL to enable social media marketers to monitor which content is most effective in attracting engagement and achieving marketing goals.
How to make a social media calendar template, step by step
Now that we’ve discussed the importance of a social media calendar and its essential components, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of creating a social media calendar template for your needs. Below are seven steps to follow to create a social media calendar template:
1. Define your goals
Before delving into creating a social media calendar, defining your digital marketing goals and objectives is essential. Determine what you want to achieve by building your social media presence and tie in time-bound targets to make your objectives realistic and achievable. This will vastly improve your social content planning and ensure your strategy aligns with your goals.
Breaking it down:
- Increase social media followers by 25% in the next six months
- Increase engagement rate (likes, comments, shares) on our social media posts by 15% in the next three months
- Drive 1,000 clicks to our website from social media in the next month
- Generate at least 50 leads for our new software product through social media campaigns in the next three months
2. Audit your existing content and social presence
Next, audit your existing content to get a picture of what you have and what you need to create to achieve your newly defined goals. Auditing your content also shows what content types and themes have been most successful so far. This data can help you make informed decisions about content types to create in the future.
Review your social media presence objectively and note any inconsistencies in your messaging. Ensure your brand message and visuals are consistent across platforms. This includes your profile picture, cover photo, bio, and tone of voice.
Social media audit
Existing accounts: Twitter and LinkedIn
- Regular posting schedule with a focus on industry news and updates
- Use of relevant hashtags to increase reach
- Active engagement with followers through quick, personalized responses
Opportunities for improvement:
- Increase engagement rate by sharing more multimedia content, including videos
- Use platform analytics to identify peak posting times and adjust both posting schedules accordingly
- Connect with more prominent industry players by engaging with their content and offering more valuable free resources
3. Choose your social media platforms
Now you know what you want to achieve with your social media marketing and what you need to do to get there. The next step is determining which social media platforms you want to include in your social media calendar template.
Consider the most relevant platforms to your business and where your target audience is most active. Look at your competitors’ social media content and accounts to see how they interact with the market and how your brand compares. This can help you identify opportunities to differentiate your brand and decide on the best platform to establish and grow your presence.
- Twitter: For official announcements, customer engagement, and support
- LinkedIn: For building and showcasing the professional activities of the business, leaders, and outstanding employees
- Instagram: For showcasing the fun side of the team and company culture, as well as behind-the-scenes insights into new products in development
- TikTok: For building a relationship with the younger market, tapping into trends, and interacting with influencers
4. Determine your topics and posting frequency
Define and list all the themes or topics you want to cover in your social media content. Themes could include educational or promotional content, or behind-the-scenes glimpses into your business. Topics depend on your industry, expertise, and customers’ needs.
For example, at Wrike we regularly publish project management tips for specific industries, e.g., marketing and accounting teams, leadership, and remote working tips. We also share posts teaching users about our product.
Keep the 80-20 rule in mind for social media sharing: 80% of your posts provide value to your market and the remaining 20% promote your business, communicate news and updates, and drive conversions.
When you have your content themes and breakdown, take a look at your available resources — i.e., time and team members — and determine how often you want to post on each social media platform. This will help you create a schedule that is realistic and manageable.
5. Choose a template format
Choose a template format that works for you and your team. If you work alone, you can go with your preference, e.g., a simple spreadsheet with columns marking the different components of the social media calendar, an online calendar, or a marketing project management platform. Choosing a solution that can scale with your team is important if you work in a growing team or company.
6. Create your template
Once you have defined the above factors, you can now build your calendar. Map out the functions and components that are most important to your organization’s marketing and create columns for each. Small business owners will likely have a simpler social media calendar template than large companies with marketing departments and external collaborators. Invest in the best-suited template to improve team efficiency and collaboration and save time.
7. Enter your content
Start planning your content by filling in the details for each post. Be sure to include each post’s date, social media platform, post type, content theme, content description, hashtags, and CTA. Invite team members and marketing managers to review and approve images, text, links, and any other important parts of the scheduled posts, including grammar and tone.
Wrike’s social media planning template
Once you have your social media calendar and have started planning content, you’ll want to track your progress and measure effectiveness so you can improve. This entails optimizing your social media management workflows and monitoring crucial metrics, tech and industry trends, and customer needs and preferences.
Wrike offers many tools and features to streamline your needs, from campaign planning to analytics generation. Our social media planning and content calendar templates automate repetitive tasks and launch you straight into defining goals, categorizing content, and assigning tasks to team members and collaborators.
Wrike’s proofing feature makes gathering feedback on marketing assets easy, reducing project delays and speeding up delivery time while ensuring quality. Cross-tagging also promotes stakeholder collaboration, enabling everyone involved to see how their tasks and contributions tie into more extensive organizational campaigns and projects.
Are you ready to create an improved social media calendar template to get more done quicker and at a high standard? Get started with a free two-week trial of Wrike today.