Social media calendars are essential organizational tools for strategically planning all the content you’ll create and share.
By the time you’re done reading this blog post, you’ll understand:
How to get started using templates and basic knowledge of social strategy.
How to plan everything from one-off posts to entire social media campaigns on one calendar.
How to organize effective scheduling workflows around your calendar.
Once you create your social media calendar, your team will have a single version of the truth for your entire social media schedule. Plus, with the template included below, you can get started right now.
What Is A Social Media Calendar?
Social media calendars are tools to organize, plan, schedule proactively, and post social messages. Marketers use social media calendars to coordinate when to post, plan the content to share, manage campaigns of multiple social media posts, track deadlines and workflows, and review published content.
Social Media Calendar Synonyms: What do you call a social media calendar?
Social media content calendar: A social media content calendar provides specific details on the day-to-day management of social media content, like what individual posts will be and when they’ll be published.
Social media editorial calendar: An editorial calendar, on the other hand, is focused on the higher-level content strategy, mapping out things like categories and types of posts.
Social media marketing calendar: Finally, a marketing calendar focuses on tying social media content strategy to the larger business strategy, blocking off various campaigns and initiatives to be brought into social media content.
All three of these terms meet the definition criteria of social media calendar because their primary objective is to proactively organize, plan, schedule, and post social media messages.
Social media calendars organize essential information for every social media message, including:
Target audience: The strategic marketing persona with whom you intend a message to reach.
Initiative: The business unit, company or department goal, or market vertical your message supports as connected to larger company-wide objectives.
Campaign: The specific launch, event, or content the message complements.
Social media network: The actual social media channel to which the message publishes, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, or Tiktok.
Social network profile: The specific account or handle to which the message belongs.
Social message type: The media type such as image, reel, video, text, or link post.
Social message copy: The written text that is included in the body of the social media message.
Social message visual and alt text: The images, photos, or videos along with alt text so visually impaired readers may hear the contents of the visual.
Social message tagging: The hashtags and @mentions the message contains.
Marketers typically build social media calendars in one of three different formats: printed paper, spreadsheets, or software services.
Paper Calendars: The old-school approach for those who prefer hand-written organization.
Spreadsheets: A cost-effective route for planning posts ahead of time.
Software Services: The professional option with powerful automation and time-saving capabilities.
Of the above social media calendar options, software explicitly designed to be a social media calendar is the only option that fulfills every criterion within a social media calendar (organize, plan, schedule, and post social messages).
Only social media calendar software can:
Organize all of your social media messages in one place without manual copy/pasting
Demonstrate social media strategy alignment with strategic business objectives and overarching marketing campaigns
Post directly to social media networks and accounts at proactively chosen dates and times
Organize a series of social media messages as a unified social media campaign which may be easy measured and reported on as a whole
Create and upload all assets for a social media network at once to eliminate manual copy/pasting
Post to multiple social media networks and accounts at one time to simplify and unify launches and timely promotions
Empower marketers to automatically choose how many times to post to each social media profile on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis
Automatically fill gaps in social media posting schedules with proactively chosen and already-successful messages to maximize social media engagements
Automatically post to each network at the best times to increase engagement
Empower marketers to save a social media schedule they like as a template to apply for future campaigns to make consistency easy
For these reasons, we suggest using software designed to be social media calendars as a best practice to help you complete more work in less time without tedious, manual busywork.
16 Social Media Calendar Tools, Apps, & Software
1. Marketing Calendar by CoSchedule
Our forever-free marketing calendar helps you organize, plan, and schedule not just your social content, but also the work that goes into producing it.
It has project management tools like idea and task tracking in addition to your posting calendar, giving you complete visibility into your workload.
These features make working on social media content as seamless and stress-free as possible.
2. Marketing Suite by CoSchedule
Marketing Suite is a complete content calendar that helps you organize your social media as well as other marketing activities such as blog posts, emails, web pages, events, and other campaigns.
This platform lets you manage repeatable workflows, connect your publishing and creation tools, and manage multimedia assets.
Planning, completing, and publishing your content in the same place will simplify your whole team’s work.
If you’re also in the market for audience research and brand management tool, Brandwatch is ideal for you.
You can buy Brandwatch’s social calendar on its own for its scheduling, analytics, and managed inbox. Or, you can invest in the full suite to oversee your social as part of your brand.
Buffer is known for its simple queue that makes it possible to “queue up” content quickly.
But if you’re looking for more detailed control over your schedule, you can easily switch to the app’s calendar view. This view will give you a high-level overview of your content schedule for different social media channels.
5. Content Scheduler in Adobe Express
This tool works well for visual-first social media managers who want to create and schedule in one spot. Adobe Express has built-in social templates and design elements to bring images together quickly and beautifully.
HootSuite's social media tool also has a column-based setup, making it a valuable option for visual planners.
You can use it to create an all-in-one dashboard of your social media calendar with your monitoring and engagement strategies, like replying to messages.
As its name suggests, Iconosquare has a square-based layout in its publisher. You’ll see your current schedule laid out in a grid, and you can add to it by clicking on an empty square.
Iconosquare also allows for scheduling advanced content such as Instagram Stories and first comments.
This tool’s advertising capabilities make it a convenient choice for social media managers who run ad campaigns alongside their regular posts.
This tool also includes A/B testing capabilities to inform your future campaigns.
The AI for this tool provides suggestions for all aspects of social posts, including timing, content type, and frequency.
This tool enables you to organize your posts by campaign. Schedule new content in queues dedicated to your chosen theme, or switch to a calendar view at any time for a top-down view.
SocialBee’s social media calendar posts and organizes your content by category for faster and easier publishing. You can give a category a dedicated posting schedule or pause it if you want to change your content approach.
With this social media calendar, you can also expire time-sensitive posts after a specific time or number of shares.
You can see everything in the traditional monthly view, scale down to a weekly view, or zoom in close with a daily view. Plus, you can filter your content by platform or group to focus on specific accounts.
It's social media calendar helps you put your posting in context through post volume and notes. Look at the top of your calendar to see when you post most frequently, and add a custom note to inform your team about your strategy.
15. Google Calendar
Google Calendar is another valuable tool for teams already using Google products frequently.
When it’s where you plan your meetings, time off, and everything in between, it makes sense to plan your social media content there, too.
A con of Google Calendar as a social media tool is that it isn’t designed to organize, plan, schedule, and post directly to your social networks.
It always makes sense to leverage the tools your team already uses. If that includes Trello, you can use its Kanban layout to manage your social media pipeline. The Kanban focus will also be great for marketers who like managing their workload visually.
As with Google Calendar, a con of using Trello as a social media calendar is that it isn’t designed for this use case. You can’t post directly to your social networks from Trello.
4 Social Media Calendar Templates
1. CoSchedule’s Social Media Content Calendar Template Spreadsheet For Excel & Google Sheets From CoSchedule
Keep your social media posts on track with the perfect social media calendar template for 2022 and 2023. With this easy-to-use calendar spreadsheet template, your entire social team can schedule posts, monitor deadlines, optimize your posting schedule, and more.
You can download this social media content calendar template at the beginning of this blog post.
2. HubSpot’s Social Media Content Calendar Template Spreadsheet For Excel
Plan and manage your marketing content from one spreadsheet with this template containing multiple tabs for different parts of your social media, from monthly campaigns to daily posting. Each social network has its own section, making the setup prime for batch writing for different platforms.
3. HootSuite’s Social Media Calendar Spreadsheet For Google Sheets
If your team works in Google Drive, this Google Sheets template can serve as command central for your strategy.
In addition to different views for planning your social media content on a weekly and monthly level, there’s also a dedicated tab for documenting your overall strategy.
4. Social Media Examiner’s Social Media Calendar Google Sheets Spreadsheet
Finally, this monthly social media calendar best suits teams that post frequently.
The primary view organizes your content by date versus by platform. So for scheduling things day by day, this template will work great.
Examples Of Social Media Content Calendars In Action
Sometimes, it helps to visualize your end goal along the way. For this reason, we have provided some great models for reference.
1. CoSchedule Marketing Calendar
Here is an example of what your spreadsheet template (the one from CoSchedule) will look like once you start filling out important dates in your calendar.
Once you start your forever-free social media calendar in Marketing Calendar by CoSchedule, it won’t be long before it fills up with great social media ideas.
ModCloth is an e-commerce website that sells women’s vintage-style clothing. ModCloth caters to a very niche marketplace as the demand for vintage clothes falls to a unique group of buyers.
What conclusions can we draw from ModCloth’s social media content calendar?
Put your audience’s interests first. Modcloth’s audience is interested in fashion. They aren’t satisfied with what they can find at the mall. By creating content that gives their audience fashion ideas by itself, it’s okay that the copy tells them where to find it. This scenario is an exception where direct selling can work.
Start small and grow. You don’t need to publish 67 blog posts and 123 social media messages immediately. ModCloth’s publishing schedule is small, but that works for them. You have to walk before you can run, including your content creation.
Your blog doesn’t have to be your primary focus. Blogs are great, but they’re also time-consuming. If your team doesn’t have the resources or the time to publish a ton of blog content, that’s okay. Focus your efforts on creating great content on your social media pages, e-books, or landing pages, and slowly grow your blog.
Takeaway: Organic social media content should not always look and feel like an ad.
Social Media Content Calendar Cadence:
Blog Posts: 2 blog posts per week
Facebook: 2-3 posts per day
Instagram: 1-2 posts per day
Twitter: 1 tweet per day
3. Whole Foods
Whole Foods is a natural grocery store that Amazon recently acquired. Their blog integrates the products they sell with fun, easy-to-read content.
What conclusions can we draw from Whole Foods' social media content calendar?
If you don’t have enough blog content to supplement your social media messages, curate it from other sources. Whole Foods doesn’t publish a ton of blog content throughout the month, so to supplement some of its social media posts, it will scrape content from other related blogs, news sources, and even their own customers.
Try publishing themed content. One thing that Whole Foods does well is post themed content. Whether new Halloween recipes or ways to use seasoned fruits and vegetables, Whole Foods finds a way to make their content timely and themed.
Don’t publish blog content just to fill your content calendar. If you’re experiencing gaps in your content calendar, don’t randomly publish blog content trying to fill it in. Your blog content should always be strategically written.
Takeaway: Everything that Whole Foods publishes is high-quality content that their audience cares about. They might do well to publish a little more, but you don’t have to have a publishing schedule like Red Bull to be successful.
Social Media Content Calendar Cadence:
Blog Posts: 2 blog posts per week
Facebook: 2-3 posts per day
Instagram: 1-2 posts per day
Twitter: 1 tweet per day
How To Create A Social Media Calendar
A social media content calendar proactively organizes:
What you’ll post: The message and assets like copy, images, videos, etc.
Who you’ll tag in your post: The social media accounts you’ll @mention.
Where you’ll post it: The social media network and account.
When you’ll post it: The day and time.
Why you’ll post it: The goal, initiative, or business unit your post supports.
How you’ll measure success: The engagement stats that prove your post worked as desired.
The following steps will help you create a social media calendar in detail.
Step 1: Plan Your Frequency & How Often To Post
Once you’ve picked a social media content calendar, it’s time to pick a publishing schedule.
While it will vary depending on your customer’s social media habits, there are some rules of thumb to keep in mind:
As for Twitter, try to tweet at least three times per day.
On Pinterest, you’ll want to pin at least three pins daily.
And on LinkedIn, one post per weekday works well.
It might sound like a lot, but not all of this content needs to be new.
Both CoSchedule’s Marketing Calendar and Marketing Suite include a tool called ReQueue to help you identify and fill gaps in your social media calendar using automation. When there’s no content schedule for times you’ve decided to post, it can fill the gaps with pre-approved content.
Step 2: Plan Your Content Mix & Curation Formula
Another way to simplify your content calendar is to diversify your content mix by varying things like format and source.
When it comes to formatting, most platforms have several options:
Slideshows of multiple images
Using multiple formats lets you reach users with different content consumption preferences.
Additionally, not all of the content needs to be your own.
Not only does curating content from other sources save time, but it can also help increase your brand’s authority and build connections with influencers in your space.
Instead of creating new original posts daily, your team can decide on a combination of post formats and a ratio of post types.
For example, TA McCann’s “5-3-2 Combo” suggests making half of your content curation-based. Depending on the platform, that can mean retweeting someone, replying to a trending TikTok, or remixing someone else’s Reel.
To make things even simpler, CoSchedule’s Marketing Calendar and Marketing Suite both include our Google Chrome extension for easy curation. When installing the extension, you can write or curate and add the posts to your team’s social media calendar from any website.
You can also use CoSchedule’s software to automatically find the best time for your specific accounts to post to different networks. It finds times based on reviewing your past content for a specific, data-driven schedule without the tedious work of creating it yourself.
Step 4: Plan Your Posting Cadence & Schedule
Keeping your social media calendar full gets even easier when you share each piece of content your team creates more than once. You can also see up to a 192% increase in clicks when you share content repeatedly.
Consider a posting schedule like this:
Day of publishing: share content three times on Twitter and once everywhere else
Days 2 and 3 after publishing: share on Twitter
Day 4 after publishing: share on all channels
Days 5-7 after publishing: share on Twitter
Day 8 after publishing: share on all channels
Given different browsing habits and time zones, your followers are all online at different times, giving your content as good a chance as possible to be seen by them.
With the Social Templates tool in Marketing Calendar and Marketing Suite, you can easily schedule all these different shares at once and even vary up the copy based on pre-written options.
Step 5. Create & Schedule Engaging Social Media Content
Despite talking about the same topics from channel to channel, you still want to customize the message copy to suit each platform.
When it comes to customizing messages:
Keep Instagram captions under 240 characters.
Keep Facebook posts between 40 and 120 characters.
Keep tweets under 100 characters.
Keep Pinterest descriptions less than 215 characters.
Keep TikTok videos less than 30 seconds.
And some tips to keep in mind for optimal engagement across platforms are:
Use line breaks to keep paragraphs short and messages readable.
Image post types tend to perform best at getting readers’ attention.
Use questions and other copy that prompts some kind of reaction.
CoSchedule’s software includes a social media composer that helps you make your posts as engaging as possible. The Social Message Optimizer analyzes your messages for engagement potential and coaches you on improving your content.
Benefits Of Using A Social Media Calendar
Why is a social media calendar important? There are tons of reasons to use a social media calendar.
Before investing time into building one, you probably want to know the real benefits. Here are four key things to consider:
Turning chaos into harmony. Managing multiple social media accounts can turn messy fast. That kind of disorganization will kill your efficiency.
Holding yourself (and teams) accountable. Calendars are great for setting deadlines. It’s easy to procrastinate when deadlines are flexible or nonexistent. Laying out a clear plan eliminates excuses for not knowing what content to publish on your social channels.
Saving time that you can use to get real work done. No one ever has enough time. However, planning your social media outreach with a calendar allows you to make the most of your time.
Measurably improving your results. This benefit supersedes all others. After all, efficiency without effectiveness just means doing things poorly, quickly.
Those are some anecdotal benefits, but what about some hard numbers on the benefits of getting organized in general?
In the company’s early days, Nathan Ellering, our Head of Marketing, gathered data on what happened when he used a calendar to schedule multiple social posts promoting a single piece of content. Here are the results:
A 3,150% increase in clicks. That’s insane!
Best of all, there’s no reason you can’t replicate similar success, too.
What does this mean for you? Organizing and proactively planning your work improves results, and calendars are one of the best tools to support both aims.
Social Media Calendar FAQs
What Is A Good Social Media Calendar?
When choosing your social media calendar, prioritize the features your team will need most. We recommend looking for one that lets you organize, plan, schedule, and publish in one tool since it cuts down on time spent, and errors made manually moving content.
Both Marketing Calendar and Marketing Suite by CoSchedule empower you with a robust social media content calendar experience.
How Do I Create An Engaging Social Media Calendar?
The best engagement tactic is knowing what your audience wants and is interested in and posting that when they’re online.
Beyond that, take advantage of different post formats, especially those with multimedia that grabs attention.
How Much Is A Social Media Calendar?
How expensive is a social media content calendar? You can find an effective option no matter your budget.
For example, CoSchedule’s Marketing Calendar is completely free forever and lets you organize all of your marketing and social media content in one tool.
Who Can Use A Social Media Calendar?
Anybody creating social content — whether for a business, media company, or a serious blog — should consider using a calendar.
Marketing teams: Marketing campaigns often have many moving parts, including social components. Keeping teams organized and ensuring everyone involved in a project understands the social promotion schedule is critical.
Small businesses: Staying organized with a calendar makes saving time and consistency much easier. Optimizing time is vital for small businesses where resources are limited.
Consultants: Getting all of your clients organized with their own calendars can help tame the chaos of managing multiple accounts.
Media companies: If you’re creating editorial content, it’ll need social media promotion. Keep it all together on your calendar.
Bloggers: If your blog is your business, you don’t have time to waste with dysfunctional tools. Make sure every post gets promoted on your calendar.
How Often Should You Share A Single Piece Of Content?
We recommend sharing a single piece of content on social media more than once.
While an accurate answer to this question is “it depends,” when we researched many different social media posting schedules, we found the following formula increased traffic to the content from social media by nearly 200%:
Facebook: 3 times over one month after posting
Twitter: 15 times over one month after posting
LinkedIn: 3 times over one month after posting
Pinterest: 3 times over one month after posting
How Often Should You Post To A Single Social Profile?
Check out step 1 above under “How To Create A Social Media Calendar” for posting frequency recommendations from HubSpot.
How Often Should You Post Daily, Weekly, & Monthly To Each Social Profile?
The research above can help you understand how often to post to each social profile on a daily basis.
Applying those lessons, this is how often to post to a social profile each week:
Instagram: 7-14 posts per week
Facebook: 7 posts per week
Twitter: 105 posts per week
LinkedIn: 7 posts per week
Pinterest: 77 Pins per week
This is how often to post to a social profile each month:
Instagram: 30-60 posts per week
Facebook: 30 posts per week
Twitter: 450 posts per week
LinkedIn: 30 posts per week
Pinterest: 330 Pins per week
This post was originally published on December 18, 2019. It was updated and republished on December 30, 2021, July 6, 2022, and again in October 2022. Ben Sailer and Melissa King contributed to this piece.
Nathan is the head of marketing at CoSchedule. With the help of an awesome team, he’s helped CoSchedule attract more than 65 million marketers, convert 10 million email subscribers, and support 300,000 software users. Nathan has 15 years of proven corporate and startup marketing experience and continues to venture off the beaten path.When he’s not marketing, you’ll catch Nathan canoeing in the Boundary Waters or training for his next ultra marathon. Connect with Nathan on LinkedIn.