Planning and organisation is the key to success with your social media marketing. Just like you’d add and track important items, meetings, calls, and events in your personal or business calendar, you should also maintain an up-to-date social media calendar. It’s a handy, quick reference tool to make sure you’re ahead of the game when it comes to key times of the year.

You don’t want to miss the chance to create and plan posts for an important brand anniversary, a global event, or an industry-specific conference or summit. Even the chance to piggyback on a specific event hashtag to draw attention to your brand, product, or service. And, of course, it’s a chance to plan your seasonal campaigns in advance to make sure you gain the most reach, engagement, conversions and sales.

Have we sold you on the importance of a social media calendar yet?

With this in mind, it’s also important to realise that, if you’re a small business, you probably don’t have the time to spend on researching and outlining your social media calendar for the year. That’s why we’re going to guide you through the process of creating your own, as well as offer you a free, ready-made template to download.

Let’s get started.

Setting Up Your Social Media Calendar

First of all, you should start by conducting a social media audit. This will help you define the purposes of your various social media channels and identify your audience, tone of voice, and strategy. Once you’ve clarified each profile’s goals and decided which platforms your going to focus on, you’re ready to set up your social media calendar.

Generally speaking, the quickest, cheapest, and easiest way to create a social media calendar is to use a good old spreadsheet. You may have access to other tools such as Asana or Trello to create content calendars and workflows. However, these can be overly complicated or cost money depending on your needs. A Google Sheet is free and makes collaborating simple, too.

Your first step is to set up your spreadsheet with the following columns:

  1. Day (depending on the month and year this’ll go up to 28 or 29, 30, and 31)
  2. Event/Celebration (this will be a brief description of what is happening on the given day, for example, New Year’s Day)
  3. Associated Hashtags (these are specific hashtags related to that date or event, for example, #NewYearsDay or #HappyNewYear)
  4. Notes (if there is any further information about the celebration or event, include this here for reference)

Once this is done, you can duplicate the content across separate tabs or sheets for each month of the year. Now you’re ready to start researching.

Populating Your Calendar in Advance

Being planned up and prepared in advance means you’re not chasing your tail. Avoid flying by the seat of your pants by compiling your social media calendar before the year kicks off.

That’s not to say you can’t start one now. Our ready-to-use template is available for free, below. It has everything you need to get you going. But, ideally, you want to enter January knowing what your key social media dates, events and hashtags are for the year. That way, you can plan and prepare your content carefully and decisively. Not last minute.

So, where do you begin?

Hey Google!

Careful keyword searches for annually recurring events, celebrations, and awareness days will yield a glut of information. Hashtag research on Google, Twitter, and Instagram will provide insight into trends that you can include in your calendar.

What to include in your calendar:

  • Annually recurring events, celebrations, and holidays
    • e.g. Easter, tax season, the summer solstice
  • Relevant awareness days/weeks/months for your business
    • e.g. Autism Awareness Week, Biodiversity Day
  • Your internal anniversaries, events, and commitments
    • e.g. company birthday, new office opening, product launches
  • Global, national, and local trends that are relevant to you
    • e.g. back-to-school, New Year’s resolutions

In addition to specific social media events, there are industry-related hashtags and daily hashtags that you can throw into the mix. If this all seems a bit much, you can claim our social media calendar template. It’s prepopulated with the major daily hashtags as well as key events to keep an eye out for across the year.

Claim Your Free Social Media Calendar Template

Subscribe to Get Our Free Social Media Marketing Calendar:

Watch Our Planning Walkthrough

Skip ahead to 8 minutes 20 seconds for just the social media calendar walkthrough, and a preview of the download.

With your social media audit done, and your channel purposes defined, and your key hashtag and event info prepopulated, your social media calendar is ready to go. It’s time to put it to work.

Use it alongside your content marketing plan to save time on social media. If you don’t have a content marketing plan you can always use our content marketing plan template to get started.

Knowing what’s coming is vital to your social media marketing planning and preparation. In effect, you’re giving yourself time to devise, create and deliver social campaigns to coincide with key times of the year. You can plan for seasonal offers, create relevant graphics, write and refine relevant content. Additionally, you can target and access a ready-made and expectant audience on social media by leveraging the correct hashtags. Building all this together means your social media strategy will have every chance of success.

It doesn’t matter what time of year you start planning and preparing, so long as you do.

If you have any questions, or would like additional support with planning and executing your social media marketing strategy, get in touch. We’re here to help.

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Gareth Alvarez
Gareth Alvarez

Gareth, Social INK’s Head of Content (sometimes playfully referred to as ‘spellcheck’), just adores words. He’s written copy for ads, websites, and blogged extensively. Content marketing is his bag. He loves getting creative with his writing.