How To Use a Social Media Calendar Template – An Easy Guide

Written by Laura Farkas

Updated October 19, 2021

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If you run a business, you might be spending far too much time on social media. Most of our clients report that their employees struggle to come up with post ideas, creative designs, and the right hashtags when attempting to manage the social media channels of the business. That’s why the team at LMNts Marketing created a simple guide to using a social media calendar template. Hope you find it useful. If so, please do share it with your connections.
 

Why Plan Your Social Media Marketing 

There’s far too much white noise online, especially on social media. You have to create unique content consistently to be able to get noticed by your potential clients. The lack of time can be an issue for most employees and business owners, and posting on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn gets pushed down to the bottom of the to-do list.

Creativity and consistency are needed to make your social media posts reach the right audience and get enough engagement. Planning is crucial, and you have to make sure that you know the basics before you come up with a social media plan, such as:

  • Who are your ideal clients
  • What is their main pain point
  • Which platform are they the most active
  • What are their buying triggers
  • What are their main values
  • When are they online 
  • Who do they follow
  • Which hashtags do they use

If you don’t know the answer to all of the above questions yet, don’t worry. We have a perfect ideal client exercise for you. Download the worksheet, gather your team, and get the creative juices flowing. 

Once you know the answers to the above questions, you can start coming up with some themes, ideas, marketing campaigns, and branding ideas that you can implement in the social media calendar template.

Why Use Templates for Your Social Media Marketing

You can only improve what you measure. If you don’t have a plan you can’t set benchmarks and targets for your team or social media agency. Whether you want to get your name out there, build a mailing list, or get people to engage with your content, you have to create posts that will do the job. Here are our best tips to planning your social posts ahead:

  • Focus on engagement not followers
  • Check your current followers’ demographics to tailor your posts to their needs
  • Ask your customers what they prefer reading about 
  • Check past posts’ engagement level
  • Get a hashtag research done (in fact, we can do this for you: find out more here)
  • Check out your competitors. Learn from them but don’t copy them
  • Learn about social media platforms or get help from someone who does
  • Pick the top 2-3 channels you would like to increase your reach on
  • Create set dates for posting different content so your followers will know when to check your account

Once you have done all the above, you can choose which type of social media posts you would like to create. The template will be the same, but the content will be different. Here are the main three types of templates used for scheduling social media posts.

Campaign-based Social Media Calendar Template

In digital marketing, in particular sales funnel development, you should always start with the end result in mind. When we build sales funnels, we always reverse engineer the process based on what the client would like to achieve. 

When you create a campaign-based social media calendar, you will need to set goals. It is always recommended that you check out the stats before you roll out a paid ad. You might also want to do a test run before you set up your AB testing on Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms. 

Once you have determined the most popular posts and your goals, you will need to increase your reach so you can get more followers, engagement, and more people to take action on your website, your social media pages, or even pick up the phone and get in touch with you. 

If you are not currently using retargeting in your social media, you are missing out on conversions. Social media funnels are great for staying in touch with your prospects, giving them reasons to come back to you and getting them to understand and trust you. You can use retargeting ads for your business to maximise your conversion rates and to filter through your strong and weak leads. 

Creating a campaign based social media calendar template will include a testing phase, measurements, and an ad campaign timeline. However, you should also continue to post on your channels about things that are related to your campaigns. For example, if you are running an ad for a seminar, you can compliment the ad with testimonial and social proof posts.

Theme-based Social Media Calendar Template

A common practice among brands big and small is setting up a theme for a week, month, or quarter. This approach is great if you would like to test different ideas. Also, if you have multiple products-services that you would like to focus on, or want to push out there, you might choose a theme-based template. 

A theme-based social calendar will have an ongoing concept and fous. Posts will be arranged around one area of expertise, product, service, or offer. You might also create different themes that are not focussed on selling, but branding, visions, or “feelings”. 

For consultancy firms (most of our clients are in this category), monthly topics and useful tips will work well to create more engagement, trust, and increase follower numbers.

Social Media Calendars for Branding

For new and existing brands, getting the right “vibes” out there is one of the best ways of creating a strong social media presence. There are a few great post types our team has put together to support our growing number of customers with their Facebook and Instagram brainstorming. 

  • Behind-the-scenes photos or videos
  • Interviews with team members
  • Know-hows 
  • Awards and recognitions
  • Memes 
  • Caption competitions
  • Mission and vision related posts
  • Inspirational quotes
  • Testimonials from past clients

If you would like to make sure that your social posts resonate with the audience, make sure that you complete an ideal client sheet along with a Marketing SWOT. These exercises will basically help you find your “superpower” and communicate your USP better.

Step-By-Step Guide to Using a Social Media Calendar Template

Once you have chosen the right type of posts to include in your social strategy, you will need to allocate certain days and times for posting each type of content. You can have days when you only post branding content, while on Mondays you can add motivational quotes and Wednesdays you can let your audience know about your special offers or events. Here’s the step-by-step guide to setting up your social media calendar.

Step 1: Add Themes and Special Dates

You have to allocate themes to each posting day and come up with content ideas. Fill your calendar with the type of post, and add the special dates. Our social media calendar template has all the special dates set up for you, so you always know when you need to create content. This means you will never miss out on a popular hashtag that’s specific for the date, such as pancake day or book week.

At this point, you don’t have to create the content yet, just know how the skeleton will look and how the different types of posts will serve your overall digital marketing strategy. You can plan for a month ahead, a quarter, or even a year, if you want to.

Step 2: Brainstorm with Your Team or Social Media Agency

Once you know what you would like to post about and you have agreed on the theme and the schedules, you can get started with the fun stuff. Gather your team members and get them to come up with ideas. In just an hour or so, you can come up with loads of great ideas to fill the calendar.

If you are unsure what sits well with your brand, why not call for the help of experts? Book a quick social media overview consultation with us and our experts will come up with some recommendations based on your current feed, followers, and content. You can also get inspiration from your competitors, or brands you follow on social media channels.

Write the content first, implement the hashtags, and add some pointers for the visual team, so they can get to work on the next stage.

Step 3: Create Templates

At LMNts Marketing, a full service sales funnel agency, we do everything in-house. This means that we have the team to brainstorm on ideas, and the creative designers to create and implement templates. If you have a running theme for each day, week, or month, you can use the same template and just simply “fill in the blank” or add the content. However, you can also use the same frame for every post. This is a great approach if you would like to create brand awareness and want your followers to easily recognise your brand.

If you opt for the DIY method, you can choose one of the following platforms to design your templates and posts:

  • Canva – we use the team version of this app, and have done so for a long time. In fact, we received an email the other day saying thanks for being one of the “early adopters”. You can create templates, collaborate with your colleagues, and on the Canva Pro you will get access to premium templates and graphics. There’s also a great educational center where you can learn the ins and outs of using the platform. You can get access to Canva Pro for only $9.99 a month. It’s kind of a no-brainer.
  • Lumen5  – This is a great platform for long form videos. You can create presentations, video articles, and even embed your own footage into the posts. Branding is easy, and you can display your logo on every slide of the post. 
  • Ripl – If you are going for simplicity but would like more sophisticated videos than  what Canva has to offer, this is a brilliant app to check out. You can schedule from the platform, or just download the images or videos and add them to your social media feed. 

Of course, there are loads of other graphic design software to try, but our trial and error has led us to these three. We have been in the industry long enough to try a couple of dozen of them. 

Step 4: Automate

Posting manually every day is boring, inefficient, and counterproductive. Not to mention that there are other priorities in your business, too. Why not spend a few hours automating your posts and focus on other areas in your business instead? 

A word of warning, though. Fully automated social media accounts don’t work much any more. You will still need to post manually, engage with other people’s content, and take part in the conversation. Some platforms will notice that there are regular posts going out but you hardly ever log in and penalise you for it.

We use SocialPilot for our social media scheduling. There are different cost-effective platforms, such as Buffer, HootSuite, and Later, but because we deal with a few social media management accounts, we chose the white label license of SocialPilot so we can send regular reports to our clients. You can schedule posts up to months ahead, see stats, and easily find the most popular posts and hashtags. 

You will have to monitor when your audience is online and active on each platform, so you can tweak your social media schedule. 

Step 5: Measure and Tweak Every Month

You can’t improve what you don’t measure. No matter if you are looking at the stats in your social media management software or on the platform’s own control panel, you need to know your numbers. Not just the follower growth, but also the engagement level of each post. 

We send a monthly report to all our social media marketing clients to show them how we are doing. It looks like this:

For Instagram, you can also see your most popular hashtags, too. 

The Bottom Line: Virtual Assistants, DIY, or Done-For-You Social Media Management

You have three options for implementing a social media marketing calendar template: you can create it yourself from scratch, get help from a virtual assistant or freelancer, or engage with an expert agency to get measurable and scalable results. You need to remember that VAs might be great at doing what they do, but they might not be marketing experts. Of course, a marketing agency will charge you more, but they will come up with a solid strategy and follow it up. If you go for the DIY option, be prepared to set some time aside for learning different platforms and creating posts yourself. 

Are you looking for an easy-to-use social media calendar template? Our team just came up with one that will blow your mind. Best of all: you can download it for free. 

Do you have any tips for fellow business owners? What is your experience using social media calendars? Share your views below.

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