The Perfect Social Media Calendar [2021 Template Included]
By Tommy Griffith • Last Updated: July 16, 2021
This post will teach you the step-by-step process to create a social media calendar that helps you attract more traffic, leads, and sales from social media. Plus, we’ve included the exact template you can use.
If you’ve ever participated in a conversation that includes:
“What are we going to post on Facebook today?”
“Hey guys, where should I post this?”
“Do we have anything to post on Twitter this week?”
Then you need a social media calendar—we’ve included a template for you:
This template was designed by Jasmine Atherton, who has managed social media for companies like Airbnb and Delta.
Their results speak for themselves:
How to Use This Walkthrough
First, you will need to download the template below.
Get The Social Media Calendar Template
Heads up, there’s more to social media marketing than just using the right template.
This post will walk you through each step of filling out each column of the template in a strategic way.
Once you’re done here, be sure to check out the ClickMinded social media marketing course for a more detailed overview of how to get more traffic from search engines to your business. If you just want to see how your social media platforms are already performing before making any changes, check out our free social media audit template first.
Each social media channel is different, and your content strategy for each of them should be designed specifically for a specific goal. Here's how to pick the right social media platform:
At this point, you know when your campaign is going live and where the campaign fits into your sales funnel.
Now it’s time to choose the channel to distribute your campaigns:
There are a couple of common mistakes we see businesses make over and over again when it comes to channel selection.
Mistake #1: Following the hype of the “new and trendy” social channels
It’s hard to read headlines like this and not want to jump headfirst into the newest social media to pop up every month.
In general, most businesses will do just fine if they manage to avoid the hype.
Mistake #2: Treating all social channels in the same way
This one is for those who think they can participate in several social channels by just publishing the same “title + image + hashtag + link” combo in every channel.
You know you’ve tried this ;)
Think of it like this:
You can’t just copy and paste an ad from Facebook into an email campaign and expect it to work.
The same applies to social media channels.
If you try to create something generic that works for every channel, you will end up succeeding in none of them.
Each channel is different, and the content you share in each of them should be designed specifically for its characteristics, strengths, and limitations.
To pick the right social channels, answer 3 questions:
WHERE is your target audience?
This is a simple but effective first step.
If you’re targeting professionals between the ages of 50-65, it doesn’t make sense for your business to create a Snapchat account.
Before picking a channel, make sure your audience is there.
For example, Hubspot knows a lot of their potential customers hang out on Linkedin, so they are especially active in that channel.
WHAT are they doing?
A lot of people get the first step right and fail anyway.
Just because your audience participates in a channel, doesn’t mean they will be waiting for your content.
Next, you need to understand what is it your target audience is doing on each channel.
For example, here’s how Airbnb uses LinkedIn and Instagram.
LinkedIn is where people make professional connections, so it’s a great channel to attract potential employees. You can check out our LinkedIn profile checklist designed to help you grow your professional network.
Instagram is where people go get inspired, so it’s a great channel to attract potential customers. You can create engaging Instagram posts to build your audience and nurture your existing relationship.
HOW are they consuming content?
Finally, you need to understand each channel’s typical consumption habits.
Instagram and Pinterest are both mostly visual social channels.
At first glance, it can be hard to tell them apart.
However, people using each channel consume content in entirely different ways.
Instagram is mostly a passive channel, and Pinterest is an active channel.
On passive channels, users have a browsing mentality.
Think of the way you scroll through a feed on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
In passive channels, you will need to participate as an active publisher—always pushing out new content that enters your audience’s feed.
On active channels, users have a discovering mentality.
Good examples of active channels are Pinterest or YouTube, where users typically go in searching for something in a specific topic.
On active channels, you don’t necessarily need to publish regularly.
That is why your Instagram marketing will differ from your LinkedIn marketing.
Instead, you will focus on optimizing content for each channels’ search engine, so your social media posts can be discovered.
That’s why marketing on active channels is a lot like doing SEO.
Here are some resources to help you choose the right channels:
How to trace back visits and revenue back to your social media campaigns
Track Your Results
At this point, you have a plan for your major social media campaigns, you’ve done your content planning, you’ve chosen the right social media channels, and you’ve created world-class social media content.
Now it’s time to tie your efforts to your business’ goals.
The most successful social media marketers don’t care about “going viral”.
Followers, likes, reshares, and views won’t help you grow your business.
The best social media strategies drive traffic, leads, and sales from social channels.
That’s why tracking is so important.
To trace back visits and revenue back to your campaigns, you need to add tracking parameters to the URLs you share on social media.
This step will allow you to track traffic referred by specific social media channels, campaigns, and posts and learn things like:
How much revenue is each digital marketing channel driving
Which campaigns or posts drive the most traffic
What are social visitors doing after they land on your site
To do this, you need to:
Add UTM parameters to your URLs
UTM parameters are just pieces of information you append to each URL, which Google Analytics uses to create reports for your campaigns.
Tracked URLs look like this:
Shorten the tracked URLs
The problem with UTM-tracked URLs is they don’t look great when you share them on social media.
Instead, you can use a URL shortening service like Bitly or TinyURL to make your posts look cleaner.
Here are some free resources to help you track the results of your social media campaigns:
Basic best practices to schedule your social media content
In this step, you’ll define the specific time for social media posting.
People think this is way more important than it truly is.
The thousands of blog posts and studies about the “best time to publish on social media” have convinced many people that the reason their social media content is not working is that they haven’t been publishing them at the right time.
I don’t think there is such a thing as a “best time to post” that works for every business.
This will vary a lot depending on:
The social channel you use
Don’t stress about whether it’s better to publish at 11 am vs 2 pm.
Instead, choose a time frame that makes sense and test what works for your business.
Obviously, stay away from mistakes like:
Publishing in the middle of the night when your audience is asleep
Not adjusting your publishing schedule to your audience’s
Do this, and you’ll be fine.
If you still want to look at stats, here’s an additional resource to help you schedule posts at right time:
Run Powerful, Metric-Driven Social Marketing Campaigns
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Tommy Griffith has been doing search engine optimization for almost 10 years. He was previously managing SEO at PayPal and Airbnb.
He feels weird writing about himself in the third person, but admits that it sounds slightly more epic.