The components of a successful social media calendar template – Sprout Social

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Written by Aubree Smith
Published on January 26, 2023
Reading time 5 minutes
Wondering how to keep your content calendar organized? And improve team collaboration at every step of the process?
Enter: a social media calendar template. Calendar templates allow you to visualize your entire lineup of social content in one location. With a master social calendar in place, you can spend less time ironing out your collaboration kinks and more time creating quality content.
But many calendar templates are too generic. The better alternative? Create your own customized template built for your brand and publishing needs.
This article explains all the essential components you need to create a social media calendar that works. And how upgrading to a tool like Sprout Social can make content planning as easy as a click of a button.
With a template in place, your team can streamline your workflow—from the initial draft to the approved post to measuring success. You can share new post ideas, exchange feedback and house all images, videos and other media assets in one location.
Creating a social media posting calendar template also makes your content development and approval process repeatable. A well-constructed template is customizable and scalable so it can change over time for different publishing needs and campaigns.
For example, let’s say you launch a new TikTok account. Even as you add TikTok posts and media to your existing content calendar, it will still be easy to visualize your entire content lineup at a glance.
Once you start using the template, you can even improve how you measure key performance indicators (KPIs). The template we help you build in this article will track awareness and engagement metrics.
To make your social media content calendar template effective, include each of the following components.
Your content is a vital part of your social media content calendar template. Include all versions of a post message–optimized for each network (within character count limits, including platform-specific hashtags and using a platform-appropriate tone).
Also add all corresponding media assets. Directly copy and paste or link to images, videos, infographics, memes and GIFs included in your post. Size the media based on each network’s requirements.
Include the date, time and time zone each post will go live. This both clarifies your publishing time and helps you stay organized. You might opt to sort your calendar by month or week if you’re publishing a high volume of content.
To simplify publishing, approving and tracking, include your shortened UTM links in your social media calendar template.
For each post, label the network it will be published on. Include options like: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok, Pinterest, YouTube and any other or another channel that might be relevant.
If you manage accounts for multiple brands, include the name of the brand alongside each post.
Pro tip: Depending on account size and posting cadence, it might be best to create separate calendars for each brand’s social presence you manage. For example, if you’re an agency, creating one calendar per client is optimal for planning and getting feedback.
In your template, indicate if posts are part of a social media campaign or larger campaign at your company. Campaign examples include yearly campaigns, email promotions or product launches.
Grouping posts by campaign makes it easier to sort and report on campaign progress/results.
To eliminate messy email threads and frantic direct messages, include space for collaboration in your template. Enable back-and-forth communication between teammates, stakeholders and clients for sharing feedback and asking questions.
Also crucial: making approval steps clear. For example, you could include a column that denotes the stage of content development as draft, in review, approved or published, so the relevant people can be looped in at the right production stage.
To track and analyze your social results, add key performance metrics to your calendar template. This makes it easy to spot trends and replicate the success of your best performing posts. Choose metrics that are relevant to your unique goals including clicks, likes, shares, comments, mentions, conversions and website traffic.
To make sure your social media content calendar template is easy-to-use, create a color-coordinated key to categorize your content. Categories on your key might include blog posts, webinars and product launches.
Here is a step-by-step guide to creating your own social media editorial calendar template that can grow with your brand.
Starting with a blank spreadsheet, add columns for:
To save time and make filling out your template easier, add dropdown menus with prefilled options for campaigns, networks, accounts and approval stages.
Create a color-coded key with labels that match your content categories. You can implement the colors from the key into a new column or change the color of each row.
Begin adding content to your social media calendar template to test how compatible it is with your team’s workflow. Continue tweaking the template to suit your unique needs.
Even though social media calendar templates are helpful, they often rely on manual updates that can be tedious and time-consuming.
If you want to remove the need for spreadsheets and simplify your social media content planning, you can easily do so by using a tool like Sprout Social’s shared content calendar. The calendar’s multiple views (including weekly and monthly) allow you to dig into both granular post details and your content strategy’s big picture. It’s an intuitive tool that empowers you to plan, schedule, collaborate and automatically post from a single platform.
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Here’s an overview of a few of Sprout’s core publishing and scheduling tools designed to make content management easier.
You can compose and schedule multiple social posts across different profiles and networks simultaneously. Take it a step further by queuing up various posts in advance.
As a part of your publishing process, generate approval workflows to guide the submission, review and approval of messages to simplify collaboration. You’re even able to add and remove external stakeholders so they can review social posts before they’re published (without needing to log in to Sprout). Social media marketers can efficiently manage the entire drafting, approval and publishing process in one place.
With Sprout’s internal tagging tool, it’s easy to group and categorize messages based on content type, campaign, workflow, business objectives and marketing strategies while you’re composing a message. Tags automatically organize content and streamline performance analysis.
Rather than storing your social media assets in various locations (including your social media posting calendar template), Sprout allows you to create, organize, edit and publish assets from one central location. From your asset library you can manage media and quickly create visually striking social posts.
Sprout integrations enable you to directly add videos and images from tools like Google Drive, Dropbox and Canva to your asset library.
Sprout’s URL tracking capabilities append tracking data to links to easily identify social traffic in Google Analytics and monitor campaigns, referral traffic and conversions from social posts. Links will automatically be defined by the social network, account and the specific post without manually creating parameters.
Having a social media calendar template is a non-negotiable for team organization and efficiency. But it isn’t the most effective way to up your social media management game.
By using a tool like Sprout, you can have a single source of truth for creating and maintaining your social posting strategy. Sprout’s shared content calendar saves you time and simplifies your process while simultaneously improving your content performance and audience engagement.
Trial Sprout’s social media publishing calendar and other engagement, analytics and social listening tools for free today.
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Aubree Smith
Aubree Smith is a Content Specialist at Sprout Social with a passion for helping others grow as social media marketers. Her enthusiasm for guiding others extends beyond Sprout, as she is also a registered yoga teacher.
Read all articles by Aubree Smith
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