Social media still remains to be one of the most massive marketing tools online today. Studies show that the number of users on social media has now breached over 4.55 billion with people spending an average of 2 hours and 55 minutes on them.
That being said, if your business isn’t constantly creating social media content for social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, Twitter, or other platforms, you could be leaving a lot of money on the table! The key to winning on social media this 2022 and beyond is to be consistent with it. That’s where planning and calendaring your content becomes a game-changer.
At Outsourcing Angel, we’ve come to the conclusion that social media calendars are a must-have for any business that wants to win the social media marketing game. So what is a social media calendar anyways? It’s a tool that gives you an overview of your upcoming social media posts with these elements readily in place:
- Calendar with important dates and events
- Content themes
- Social media content and captions
- Schedule time
- Hashtag lists
- Location tags
The first question you’re probably asking is “well, how do I make a social media calendar?” Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered! We actually have a Social Media Calendar available for FREE download and we’d love to share it with you! If you want a copy of this template, head over to this link.
What is the Social Media Calendar Template
If you’ve downloaded our Social Media Calendar Template already, allow us to walk you through the basic parts that make it work. Or watch the video below as Annie, our Marketing Manager takes you through each step.
You’ll see that we’ve used a Google Calendar format for our template with each tab separated into different months. We have also included important dates to remember, including Valentine’s Day, Easter, and so on so that you can be sure to create content for those special dates and keep your content relevant with the times. We have also included relevant retail events, such as the end of the financial year, and some popular and trending hashtag days like #NationalDayofUnplugging.
Setting up these schedule prompts helps you and your marketing team create content that is relevant and timely so that people will feel that your brand is not detached from the world. Some content ideas might include inspirational quotes, a behind-the-scenes look into your business or educational content that will inform people about your expertise or industry. There are also additional tabs here for your hashtag lists, location tags and Content Guide which I’ll go into a little later.
Some people like to use content planners on tools like Later on Hootsuite. But if you’re like us at Outsourcing Angel and want to plan content way ahead of time (like months before if possible!) then having these kinds of content calendars really helps.
How to set up your Social Media Calendar
So how can you set up a social media calendar? Here are some steps to follow to smash this out and become a rockstar brand on social media!
Step 1. Choose your social media channels
What channels do you want to be on? If you’re not sure, then here’s a quick guide:
- Facebook — Pretty standard, anyone and everyone should be on it!
- Instagram — Great for businesses that have physical products as the platform is very image-driven. But you can also use it if you’re a service provider by creating reels of you giving advice and ideas.
- TikTok — Great if you want to reach a younger audience.
- Twitter — Not as popular, but millions of people are still on it. Great for finance experts, blockchain projects, thought leaders, and so on.
- LinkedIn — Very corporate in nature. LinkedIn is one of the best platforms for B2B businesses.
One tip is to put variety to the content you post across channels. You don’t want your content to be exactly the same across all platforms as there will be slight differences in things, including hashtag usage, video formats, allowed caption length, and a few other factors. So decide which social media channel you’ll be using this template for and duplicate the calendar if you decide to use it for another.
Step 2. Fill out your ‘Content Guide’
When filling out your content guide, you can start by listing out the content that you will post on a recurring basis. To do that, visit the ‘Content Guide’ section of the template and start filling out the recurring content list. For example, for Outsourcing Angel, we have these ideas as recurring content on our socials.
- Charity Updates once per month: We donate 10% of our company profits to charity initiatives so every month we always include an update to our followers so they’re up to date once per month we do charity updates, once per fortnight we upload a new YouTube Video and Blog Article and share it to socials.
- YouTube Videos once per fortnight: Every fortnight we upload a new YouTube video and then turn them into other Social Media Assets like video snippets that we share on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and even blog posts. These are all important things to add to your Content Guide so that any time you work with a Social Media Virtual Assistant, they’ll ensure that there is room for this in your Social Media Schedule for the month.
Step 3. Decide on your content themes
After you’re done with the recurring content list, the next section is to fill out your content themes. These are the tones or feel of your posts. To accomplish this, you can head over to the Content Tab on our Social Media Calendar template and expand on what themes your posts will have. Do you want to be inspirational, educational, lively, exciting, formal, supportive, or compelling? If you need help deciding on a theme, check out this helpful theme wheel from Spin Factory that we found.
There are essentially 6 different content theme variations designed to
If we take a look at the ‘Convince’ section, your content ideas here include things like:
- Sharing your product reviews
- Customer testimonials
- Demonstrations – just like when we share examples of the work that our Virtual Assistants have done
- Stories of winning industry awards
We created this section as a brainstorming area for you to work with a Social Media Virtual Assistant to make the content process faster. So for example, when you’re briefing your Social Media Virtual Assistant on what content to fill out in your calendar, you may fill out month one with your desired themes. We also recommend that you fill month two with a completely different theme to A/B test which one works best for your socials. When your Social Media Virtual Assistant sees your theme notes, they will know what type of content to create or source for your upcoming schedule.
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Step 4. Decide on your post consistency
Many brands choose to post between 3 – 7 times per week but there are no fixed rules on this. The most important things to remember when deciding how frequently to post is:
- What days are your followers online and in the purchasing mindset?: At Outsourcing Angel, we’ve experimented with posting content once per day, 7 times per week. What we found was that our followers were not in their ‘work’ or ‘purchasing’ mindset on the weekend and our Facebook Posts on the weekend would actually result in people unfollowing our page. So we adjust our schedule to the days when our followers are in ‘work mode’ which is Monday – Friday and five days per week have worked well for us.
- Quality over quantity: We don’t recommend just cramming in a social media post for the sake of posting once per day, assess your content and make sure it’s going to add value to your followers. While you want to keep a good quantity to appease your social media channels’ algorithms, you want to be sure that they actually add value to your users. Otherwise, your brand will just appear spammy and pointless. Once you’ve decided on your frequency, block out the days when you don’t want your Social Media Virtual Assistant to create and schedule content for you.
- Build your hashtag lists: Now you want to click on your Hashtag Lists tab and start building your lists. Begin by listing your:
- Mandatory Hashtags: The hashtags that your Social Media VA must include in every post
- Hashtags for your different content themes: Remember the themes we listed in step 3? It’s time to fill out the hashtags you’d want to use for these posts. There are different tools you can use to help you come up with these hashtags such as Keywordtool.io or Hashtagify. You can actually ask your Social Media VA to develop the hashtag lists for you by doing more in-depth research such as competitor research as well as location and niche-specific hashtags.
Later on, when your Social Media VA creates your captions for you, they’ll be able to easily copy and paste the relevant hashtags from different lists to make your process fast and efficient. Just remember to not exceed 30 hashtags per Instagram post!
- Research your location tags: A lot of brands tend to skip this step but it’s a really important one if you want to increase your reach in search results. Go to your location tags tab and start creating a list of locations where:
- Your business is located
- Your business serves
- Your target market is located
- Where your target market shops or researches
For example, at Outsourcing Angel, our head office is in Sydney, Australia, but our clients are from
- Melbourne, Australia
- Auckland, New Zealand
- And various places around the US, UK and Canada
These are all on our location tags list and we alternate between them where we see fit, allowing us to target different locations with different content.
- Determine your post times: Look at your existing data and when your followers are most online, you can do this by looking in your Instagram Analytics or Facebook Analytics and setting your post times for each day.
If you don’t have any data, you can test the following recommended times from Hootsuite:
- Overall best time to post on social media according to Hootsuite:
- Between 8 am – 12 pm for Facebook
- Between 10 am – 11 am for Instagram
- Create guidelines or gather examples for your social media content: The next step is to make sure you have some guidelines for your Social Media Virtual Assistant so that they have clarity over your branding and the type of aesthetic you like. Your brand guidelines should include rules for things like
- Brand colours
- Design Examples
- Your logo files
- Types of posts: Now there’s also a section here for you to list the types of posts, these can include:
- Video Post
- Instagram or Facebook Reels
- TikTok videos
- Text-only Posts
Use this section when working with your Social Media VA so that they know what type of post to design for you. Create social media templates for each type of post so that it’s easy to churn out content consistently.
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Establishing a Workflow with your Social Media Virtual Assistant
Once you’ve finished fleshing out those sections in your Social Media Content Calendar, congratulations! You’re a rockstar! Now all you need to do now is establish some form of flow with your social media team.
If you are the manager or business owner of your department, company or organization, we don’t recommend that you get caught up in the daily grind of creating your own social media content. As the business owner or manager, you need to provide the vision for growth and success. So think about hiring a Social Media Assistant or Virtual Assistant to help you create the content.
Once you have your assistant or team, here’s a recommended workflow that you can establish with them.
- You or your Marketing Manager will fill out the Social Media Schedule at least a month in advance and give your Social Media Virtual Assistant the following details:
- Content themes
- Content type
- Recurring content
- Content ideas/examples
- Promotion/Launch Periods
Once this is ready, notify your Social Media Virtual Assistant which part of the calendar is ready for them to fill and your expected deadline. Just note that this might be what you want to do at the start of your relationship with a Virtual Assistant, but your staff can totally do this part of the process for you too if that’s what you prefer.
- Your Social Media Virtual Assistant will then access the calendar and start:
- Designing the social media content using Photoshop, Canva or by sourcing for social media content online. Just make sure that you use the content you actually have access to.
- Create your social media captions with hashtags
- Fill out the location tags
- Link your ‘post type’ to the link of the content they’ve designed (this can be in a Google Drive or a direct link to Canva)
- Tag you or your Marketing Manager when posts are ready to review (this can be done by adding a comment on the Google Sheet or you may prefer for them to message you on another platform)
- Review and approve the content. If you have any revisions, clearly communicate them so that your Social Media Virtual Assistant can properly execute them.
- Your Social Media Virtual Assistant will schedule the post (this can be done using Facebook’s Native Scheduler called Creator Studio for both Facebook and Instagram) and then mark the calendar as ‘Scheduled.’
When you’ve established a workflow you’re happy with, we highly recommend either listing down these steps or recording a tutorial video using a screen recording tool like Loom in order to have an evergreen tutorial that you can easily give to a Virtual Assistant or anyone that manages your calendar so they know how to use the Social Media Calendar with you. You’ll also need to share information like logins to tools like Canva and your Social Media Platforms.
And don’t forget to set up a Social Media Report to track what’s working for you. Analysing your best and worst-performing posts each week and how you’re growing in terms of followers and clicks to your website are probably the most important metrics.
If you don’t have a Social Media Virtual Assistant yet in your business, you can talk to us. We’d love to make that happen for you. To do that, feel free to book a discovery call with us and we can find out what you need in a Social Media Virtual Assistant to build this system for you.
I hope that this Social Media Calendar template really helps you and your business start creating a brand on social media channels and grow your business tremendously.