You’re in the home stretch of 2017.
That probably means your team has started planning your social strategy for next year.
But, there’s one problem: how do you keep everything organized?
The best way to get started is with our 2018 social media content calendar template.
It’ll help your team plan all your posts for the entire year, all in one spot.
In this post, we’ll walk you through how to use it and keep your social media marketing organized all through 2018.
Then, we’ll even show off how to use CoSchedule as your all-in-one social media calendar app.
Let’s dive in and make next year your most organized one yet.
Download Your 2018 Social Media Content Calendar
Keep all your social media marketing on track! With this easy-to-use calendar spreadsheet template, your entire social team can schedule posts, monitor deadlines, optimize your posting schedule, and more.
Plus, we’ve included these bonus templates, too:
- Social Media Campaign Template: Plan every campaign from start to finish with this template.
- Social Media Strategy Template: Set goals, select channels, and more.
- Social Media Content Strategy Template: Figure out which types of content you’ll create to achieve your goals.
- Social Media Campaign Proposal Template: If you’re a consultant or work at an agency, use this template to land more social media clients.
- How Often to Post On Social Media Infographic: Use this visual reference guide to optimize your posting schedule and frequency.
Get ‘em all free below, and then read on to learn how to use your new calendar.
Get Your Free 2018 Social Media Calendar Bundle
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What is a Social Media Calendar?
A social media marketing calendar can be anything you use to plan and execute your social media posts. They're typically built using either a spreadsheet or an app (like CoSchedule). We'll explain how to use the free spreadsheet-based calendar template included in this post. Then, we'll also show what you can do with CoSchedule.
Why Do You Need A Social Media Content Calendar?
As someone who has been working in social media marketing for the past five years, not having a social media calendar forces teams to operate in the dark.
That inevitably leads to confusion, frustration, and a lack of focus. That's no way to effectively create consistent content on social media.
Social calendars give your team an overview of what content needs to be published, what’s coming next, and the strategy behind why content is being published at a certain date and time.
They also help you keep up a consistent posting schedule because you never have to scramble and figure out what to post next.
When your marketing team has several different things going on at one time, knowing your social posts are lined up and ready to go frees up time and mental energy for other tasks.
In short? Save your sanity and use a calendar.
Start By Conducting a Simple Social Media Audit
Before you begin to fill out the social media calendar template you just downloaded, you need to determine what channels and content types you’re going to be using.
First, list out the social media channels that your organization is currently active on.
Second, evaluate the effectiveness of those channels.
There are three things you need to consider when evaluating your channels:
- Where is your audience? If your target audience is more active on one platform over another, that active platform is where you need to be focusing your efforts.
- What platform has experienced the most growth in the last year? If you see tremendous growth on a platform, look through your analytics to find out why. Is it a certain content type that’s attracting audience attention? Or, maybe a specific campaign boosted your growth?
- Where is your traffic and engagement coming from? Is there an individual social channel that seems to be engaging your audience and driving more traffic to your website? What is your team doing on that channel differently than others that is potentially causing that difference?
At the end of the day, your team needs to follow the lead of your audience.
Figure Out Which Types of Social Media Content You'll Create
The last part of your social media audit should include deciding which types of posts you’ll be sharing across each of your channels.
There are four main different post types that your team can publish on social:
- Images. This could include single images or gallery posts.
- Videos. This could include live video streaming (ex: Facebook Live) or natively uploaded video content.
- Text. Sometimes catchy copy is all you need.
- Links. Links to external content (owned or curated) would fall under this category.
Depending on your team’s capabilities and which networks you’re on, some of these content types might be more important to you than others.
If you’re already posting consistently across different social channels, use in-app analytics for each channel to look for spikes in engagement and traffic.
What types of post content are causing those spikes?
On Facebook, that data can be found by going to > Insights > Posts:
On Twitter, go to your profile picture, click the drop-down menu and select Analytics > Tweets:
On Instagram, go to your business profile, select the little bar graph in the top right-hand corner and choose Posts:
For LinkedIn go to Manage Page > Analytics > Updates:
Accessing Google+ analytics is a bit more involved. But, they're easy to find once you know where to look. Check out this video for a full walkthrough:
Finally, for Pinterest go to Analytics > Profile > Top Pin Impressions:
If you want an easy way to access your social message analytics, use CoSchedule’s Social Engagement Report.
To access the report select Analytics > Social Engagement Report:
You can see the engagements your posts receive by scrolling down to the bottom of the report:
How To Use Your New Social Media Calendar Template
Next, let’s look at how to use your new social media calendar.
Nail Your Post Copy
The calendar is broken out with networks listed on the left. Then, there are fields for Content, Image Link, and Time for each post.
Start by choosing a day and network for your post. Then, write your post copy in a Content field:
Need tips on writing awesome social posts? Check out this infographic for optimization best practices on each network:
If you want to really pack a punch with your social media messages optimize them for each network to encourage your audience to interact with them by using our Social Message Optimizer.
To use the Social Message Optimizer first create your message and enter it into the field:
Hit Score My Message. A score will generate for each of social channel. You can click on each one and edit the message individually to bring up your score:
If you continue scrolling down on each channel you’ll see a brief overview of what is and isn’t working well for your message on a channel:
As you continue to scroll down you’ll see a breakdown of what you can fix to help make your content even better:
Once you have a message where you want it to be you can copy it into your calendar.
Add Visual Content
The next step is to include any visual content and links each post will need.
The easiest way to do this is to upload your videos and images into a cloud storage system (like Google Drive or Dropbox) and copy and paste the link into your calendar, so your social team can easily access it.
For this example, we’ll be using Google Drive. Go to your drive and create a folder. Title it 2018 Social Media Images (or something appropriate for your business or campaign):
Once you’re in the folder go to the left-hand side menu and click +New and +File Upload:
Upload the images or videos that need to go with your post and label the photo or video with the date that it’s supposed to be published:
Select the image and click share in the upper right-hand corner:
In the following screen click Get Shareable Link:
Copy the link into your calendar:
The last step in filling out your calendar is including a time that you want your post to publish. To maximize the number of people that see your posts, you’ll need to send them at the best time.
Once you’ve determined your time enter it into your calendar:
If you’re using CoSchedule, creating everything from single social posts to entire campaigns is even easier. To schedule your messages click the + symbol in your calendar:
Click Social Message in your content menu:
Choose your channel and craft your copy:
Add images, videos, or links by navigating through menu tabs in your post:
Once you have your content in place schedule your posts a certain time or let CoSchedule publish them at the best time by selecting Best Time from the drop-down menu:
After that you’re social content is ready to go.
Plan Your Social Media Marketing Themes For The Entire Year
Coming up with a year’s worth of content can seem a bit intimidating, but there are recurring events that you can add to your calendar to help fill it.
Some popular events to add to your calendar could be:
- Holidays: Use National Day Calendar to find ones you might not have even heard about.
- Events: These can be company, local, or national events.
- Sales: If you have recurring sales like a Black Friday or Cyber Monday sale you can use them to fill your social calendar.
- Product or feature launches: If you’re team is launching new products or a new feature that accompanies your project build that momentum with a social media campaign.
- Themes: Create your social content around different topics that relate to your organization. This saves your team from posting about the same things over and over again.
That can add up to a lot of things to keep track of, fast!
There is a trick to keep track of your content: color coding.
In your template you’ll notice a color key at the end of every month.
Simply color-code posts that correspond with different campaigns, events, or promotions you’ll have planned throughout the year:
Or add a color fill to the cell:
This way your team can keep track of what events are coming up when. It also makes transitioning them over to a new calendar each year much simpler.
Optimizing Your Posting Schedule
Your social media posts will get little traction unless you optimize the times they post to the network.
“What if I don’t have a posting schedule yet?”
That’s okay, we’ll help you plan one. At CoSchedule, we went through 10 different studies and came up with this basic social sharing schedule you can use as a starting point:
Now maybe you team can’t post that frequently. Start with publishing at a frequency your team can handle and work your way up to a more robust schedule.
Once your team gets into a rhythm you’ll be able to publish more content faster and faster. If you really wanna step up your posting game, let CoSchedule help you out with Social Templates.
Social Templates are part of an automation feature that let’s your team create different publishing schedules and attach them to campaigns, content and more.
To use social templates, go to your CoSchedule calendar and create a social campaign:
Click the box in the upper right-hand corner and click +New Template:
Add in the number of social messages that you want to be included in your posting schedule:
Save your template and apply it to your campaign:
Once you have your schedule established you need to optimize the time they publish to reach the maximum number of eyeballs.
Each social media channel has different suggestions for the optimum times to post. Based on 14 different studies here are the best times to post on each social media channel:
You can continue to use the infographic and manually schedule your posts.
Or, if you’re a CoSchedule customer, you can automate your posting schedule with Best Time Scheduling. Best Time Scheduling automatically publishes your posts at the best time for your audience and using the feature is as easy as clicking a button.
Go to your CoSchedule calendar and craft a social media post by clicking + > Social Message:
Scroll down to the bottom of the post and in the drop down menu select Best Time:
Let’s say you schedule a post that does really well with your audience. Wouldn’t you want to use it again? That’s where ReQueue comes in.
ReQueue is the most intelligent evergreen content tool on the market, and all it takes is a few clicks to republish your best content over and over again.
To start, select ReQueue on the left-hand side menu:
Create a ReQueue group by selecting +New Group and give it a name:
Select the dates that campaign will run and how many messages the group will send per week:
Once you have your group created go to My ReQueue Settings:
In the calendar highlight times that you want ReQueue to send your posts:
To add a message to your ReQueue group, scroll down the bottom of the post, toggle the ReQueue switch to on and choose the group you want to add your message to:
Ready to Upgrade Your Social Media Calendar? Try CoSchedule Free for 14 Days.
Your team will get adjusted and start powering through your social media messages in no time. But, what happens when your team outgrows your spreadsheet and wants to better content in less time?
CoSchedule is what happens.
Our editorial calendar will help you your team, create and publish content faster and easier than you ever did before.