How to create a social media content calendar

Do you think running a social media account sucks? 👎

Do you think it’s just time consuming? ⏳

Do you wonder if it’s even worth it? 😩

Well, I’m here to help you answer all three questions. My opinion is that each business will use different platforms for different purposes and yes, running a social media account can be time consuming… but it can also be worth it, given that you’re using your time wisely.

A lot goes into the management side of it, such as writing content, obtaining visuals, developing hashtags – there are a few factors if you want to play by the algorithm. #winnersaregrinners

But for the purpose of today’s post, let’s talk about the basics of creating a content calendar.

If uni has taught me anything outside of my degree, it’s to pre-plan. When I first started, I wasn’t the most organised person in the world and would often do assessment last-minute. I’m in my fifth year of uni (God, help me) and within the last year or so, I’ve become Little Miss Wise in terms of organising my life.

Source 1: Little Miss Wise (Mr. Men, 2019)

My words of wisdom? Pre-plan your content. 🔮

Yeah, it may be a time consuming task but if you think about it… if you spend one or two days at the end of the month working out what kind of content you want to publish for the next month… if you think about your captions and hashtags… wouldn’t that save you the trouble of doing it as you go each day?

Enter: the social media content calendar. 💡 #LightBulbMoment

A social media content calendar is a tool which helps you to plan all of your content for your platforms in advance (Tien, 2018). Facebook has its very own built-in publishing tool (I’ve used it myself) which is handy to create, schedule and publish content with additional benefits of seeing your insights (Facebook, 2019).

Source 2: Screenshot of the published tools homepage for a client on Facebook

There are plenty of other social media management tools that can do the same stuff (depending on your needs) such as Buffer, Hootsuite, Sprout Social (Lua, 2018) and my personal favourite for Instagram: Planoly (Planoly, 2019).

These are all well and good (and I do use some of these myself) but to be honest, Google Sheets is my favourite version. It’s super useful for digital agencies with various clients or social managers who require approval from someone above them because:

“You can create, edit and collaborate wherever you are.”

(Google, 2019)

Let’s try to create our own content calendar for Instagram from scratch. The first thing you’ll need to do is create the title. If it’s for your own business or another client, make sure you list their company name and the purpose of the spreadsheet, e.g. “University of Canberra – Social Media Content Calendar”.

If you have multiple platforms, you can create your own content requirements but for Instagram, let’s use these:

  • Date – the date you plan to publish your post
  • Creative – this is the image or video you’ll be using
  • Pillar – the theme that your post will fall under, which ensures you remain consistent with your overall social media content strategy (Barnhart, 2018)
  • Caption – the text that your audience will read when seeing your post
  • Hashtags – the way your post is organised within the algorithm (Hiscott, 2013)
  • Revision – this is where your client or boss can approve, disapprove or request changes to your post
Source 3: Screenshot of a client’s social media content calendar

You can alter the overall appearance of the spreadsheet as you please, as long as it covers whatever you need to pre-plan. The thing I love about Google Sheets is that you can have multiple spreadsheets within the one document, so you could have one document for the year but each tab is organised on a month-to-month basis.

Source 4: Screenshot of monthly tabs within a client’s social media content calendar

I do have an amateur YouTube video showing you how I create my social media content calendar and you can watch that here. Huge thanks to my little brother for being my cameraman. 😂

And voilà: you’ve created your very own content calendar. 👏

VP. ✨

References

Barnhart, B. (2018, September 30). Social Media Basics: What Are Content Pillars? [Web log post]. Retrieved from Hello Social: http://blog.hellosocial.com.au/blog/social-media-basics-what-are-content-pillars

Facebook. (2019). Instant Articles: Publishing tools | Facebook Media and Publisher Help Centre [Website]. Retrieved From Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/help/publisher/1991907254467023

 Google. (2019). Google Sheets: Free Online Spreadsheets for Personal Use [Website]. Retrieved from Google: https://www.google.com/sheets/about/

Hiscott, R. (2013, October 8). The Beginner’s Guide to the Hashtag [Web log post]. Retrieved from Mashable Australia: https://mashable.com/2013/10/08/what-is-hashtag/

Lua, A. (2018, September 10). The 25 Top Social Media Management Tools for Businesses of All Sizes [Web log post]. Retrieved from Buffer: https://buffer.com/library/social-media-management-tools

Mr. Men. (2019). Little Miss Wise [Website]. Retrieved from Mr. Men: https://www.mrmen.com/little-miss-wise/

Planoly. (2019). Planoly: About us – Manage multiple Instagram accounts and plan a cohesive feed [Website[. Retrieved from Planoly: https://www.planoly.com/about

Tien, S. (2018, September 24). How to Create a Social Media Content Calendar: Tips and Templates [Web log post]. Retrieved from Hootsuite: https://blog.hootsuite.com/how-to-create-a-social-media-content-calendar/

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