3 time-saving templates for your social media campaigns

Social media marketing is an always-on activity—in the same way that feeds and streams are constantly refreshed, you’re constantly on the hook for fresh content to post. Whether you have a few hours a week to devote to social, or an entire team dedicated to keeping your profiles active, there’s a lot to keep track of: best practices change with every algorithm shift, you have endless stakeholders and approvers to manage, and you have to come up with original, compelling content. Staying on top of it requires a lot of organization—but the right tools can make it easier.

It all starts with a social media content calendar. A good social media calendar doesn't just help you get organized and assign tasks; it also helps you keep track of your strategy and tactics.

Read on for a guide to social media content calendars, plus tips on how to build and refine your own. Or use the table of contents to jump ahead.

Free social media calendar template

You probably already know how a social media calendar can help you stay organized; in fact, you may already have a calendar management tool of some sort. But taking the time to uplevel your calendar will pay off big-time—it’s the kind of investment that can completely change the way you work. Here’s what a best-in-class social media calendar will do:

It helps you stay hyper-organized

Organization is critical to every aspect of marketing, but especially for social media marketing. The nuances of each channel, the sheer volume of posts, and the extremely public nature of the output all make for a highly complex process.

And of course, it isn’t just about the content you share on your feed. Good social media marketing requires engaging with your community, whether you’re proactively starting conversations or responding to comments and questions. A good social media calendar template will include fields for you to write copy and assign task ownership. It'll also help you create an optimalworkflow that helps you manage those tasks, and help you close the loop to see which posts perform best.

It gives you a bird’s-eye view

With a big-picture social media strategy in mind, you want to understand your upcoming posting schedule at-a-glance. What’s your overall cadence? Are you over-communicating to certain audiences, or under-communicating to others? Are you sharing enough content from your community, or catching the eye of certain bloggers or influencers? A good calendar can help you see these patterns.

When you layer analytics on top of your calendar, it becomes even more powerful. Now you can answer questions like: how is similar content performing across different channels? Where are our users most engaged? What’s the best time of day, or day, to post reels, gifs, a poll, or a short video?

It makes your calendar a source of truth—and testing

As you plan your social strategy, a good calendar will enable you to link posts and assets to personas, product lines, tones, formats, and more. Combined with engagement data, this becomes an extremely rich source of insights. For example: most organizations have particular seasons, dates, events, and campaign cycles that need social support. Being able to see and tweak the posting rhythm around those events in advance is important. Knowing when and where you’ll need more content—and more performance check-ins—helps you plan ahead so it’s not a last-minute scramble when a crucial date comes up.

Once you’re ready to invest your time in a social media calendar, the next step is to figure out exactly what your team needs from a calendar.

Lay the groundwork for your calendar

Before you dive into creating your new calendar (or upleveling your existing one), it’s worth spending some time on your basic strategy. A calendar is essentially a way of documenting your plans—so before you document, let’s make sure your plan is rock solid.

These 6 steps are an excellent place to start.

1. Conduct a social media audit

What does your current social presence and posting cadence look like? How often have you been posting, and where? What sort of success metrics do you want to monitor? For example:

  • Production metrics, e.g. “Post every day on every channel”

  • Engagement metrics, e.g. “Increase engagement by 150% month-over-month”

  • Distribution metrics, e.g. “Increase impressions on Instagram by 2x” 

2. Prioritize your channels

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok… the list goes on. You don’t need to use all of them, and depending on your team’s bandwidth, you may want to pick just one or two. While you can post versions of the same content on multiple platforms, your audience may engage differently with topics and formats, depending on the channel. You’ll also want to think about the kinds of posts you’ll publish, within each channel. On Facebook, for instance, you can publish regular posts in the News Feed, or you can post to your Story. You can promote these “organic” posts with paid boosts, or you can run entirely paid ads if you want exposure beyond your followers.

3. Get a handle on your content library

Where will your content come from? What types of content will you share (e.g. blog posts, infographics, videos, quotes...)? What types of assets do you already have at your disposal, and where?

To be efficient, you'll need to get a handle on your content library so you can drop media into your content calendar when you need it. And to do that, you'll need a social media calendar template that supports all media types you plan to use.

4. Hammer out a workflow

What does your posting workflow look like right now? Where do things get stuck or stalled, and how could it be improved? Mapping out your workflow in advance will make calendaring much simpler. For instance, your ideal social media management flow might look something like this:

  • Meet with the social media team weekly to brainstormcontent ideas, highlighting any important upcoming dates and topics

  • Set a rhythm for posting content each week or month

  • Copywriter or marketer writes posts

  • Design team creates accompanying creative

  • Posts go through approval with specific stakeholders

  • Once approved, schedule posts on the calendar

  • Engagement data from posts and campaigns are updated on the calendar

5. Get buy-in from your team and stakeholders

Now that you have a clear picture of what you’d like to post on social media, it’s time to get buy-in from your team and stakeholders. You’ll want to get aligned on goals, prioritized channels, posting cadence, topics, and roles and responsibilities. 

Once you’ve agreed on the basics, it’s time to translate your plans into a documented calendar. Your calendar will become the source of truth for all of your stakeholders, so make sure it’s powered by something accessible, visual, and (ideally) able to connect with the rest of your team’s work.

6. Choose a calendar template

The tech that powers your social media calendar template will have a huge impact on scalability and flexibility. For instance, while a traditional spreadsheet can help you make a list of assets, it’ll be hard to visualize hundreds of tweets and see the big picture.

Excel spreadsheets and Google Sheets also get busy fast—since they don’t allow you to create multiple saved views for your various stakeholders. Everyone has to see all of the data at once, or else duplicate the data to create their own versions. Finally, spreadsheets don’t typically allow for automatic publishing (a huge time-saver, especially if you’re running many social media accounts). Choose a tool that meets your needs today and is flexible enough to accommodate your social media strategy and workflow as it evolves.

With all of this groundwork done, it’s time to pick a tool.

Choose and use a social media calendar template

Social media calendar templates are designed to help you create your own customized editorial calendar, specifically for social media. Typically, a social template will come prefilled with standard categories and examples that you can update or change. A good calendar should let you organize your content by category and assign ownership. It should also let you change the way you’re viewing information, depending on who you're sharing it with and their role—whether they’re in content creation or sit elsewhere on the marketing team.

Look for a social media calendar template that allows you to:

  • See an overview of all posts, but also filter those posts by campaign, category, topic, or social platform

  • Assign ownership of specific tasks to specific people

  • Create, follow, and adjust a workflow over time

  • Ideally, automate certain tasks

Not sure where to start? Here are a few from Airtable to get you rolling:

Social media calendar template

If you want an all-around social media template, this is a solid place to start. This template doesn't just help you plan your content strategically—it also helps you measure your results. Using this template, you can:

  • View content schedules for one social media platform at a time, or see an overview of the entire social calendar—and flip between the two

  • Plan social content production for upcoming campaigns and critical times of year, using a calendar view

  • See a spreadsheet-style list of upcoming posts, with the ability to filter by title, description, owner, go-live date, post status, and more

  • Get a visual of what’s coming down the social pipeline with gallery view

  • Sort posts by priority, ownership, or pipeline, with kanban view

To use this social media content template, you’ll first need to populate it with key upcoming dates and work in a bit of content strategy. For instance, if you're an ecommerce brand, you'll probably want to talk to your audience in the lead-up to the holidays. You might also want to track the dates of industry events or product launches.

Try the social media calendar template

Social media planning and design template

Especially for more visual free social media channels (like Instagram or TikTok), you’ll want to view your copy alongside the creative that accompanies it. Your social media content calendar template should let you see and organize them side by side.

Airtable’s social media planning and design template brings team members from across the org together to collaborate in one tool—a place to store approved media, track posts in progress, and then finalize posts for publishing. Because you can search, filter, and sort your results, you can curate exactly what you’re looking for from within your library of content assets.

Airtable’s social media planning and design template also automatically double-checks character count and helps you visualize the post as you’re working on it, so you can design posts optimized for each social platform. Using this template, you can:

  1. Crowdsource ideas from team members across the organization and store those ideas. Evergreen content, even if it doesn’t fit in your current calendar, will come in handy later. Tip: Use the form called “Submit an Idea!” embedded in this template

  2. Move good ideas through the pipeline, using the status field

  3. Double check character counts for various social platforms using the helper formula fields

  4. Visualize how posts will look using the page designer mockups

  5. Track publishing dates for new content with a platform that serves as a single source of truth

As you work with our free template, you can get more suggestions for how to use it by opening the apps dashboard and checking out the "Read me" description block.

Try the social media planning and design template

Cross-platform digital publishing template

If you're heavily invested in your content marketing strategy, you probably already know the importance of cross-channel publishing and promotion.

Sure, you can keep each channel siloed—but when you use your updates to strategically promote your blog or other social platforms (like YouTube), the benefits multiply. The best way to do that is by folding your social updates into larger campaigns or initiatives: a themed set of content (including social posts) that share a cohesive message with your audience across social networks.

Airtable’s cross-platform digital publishing template helps marketing organizations build their audiences across platforms, creating content tailored to each platform and campaign. This template is ideal for teams with sophisticated or complex workflows involving multiple steps and stakeholders. With it, you can:

  • See a top-level view of recurring content themes or campaigns, and follow all the content you’re creating around each series using the project tracker table

  • Filter social media content and information to see only the posts you care about at any given time

  • Assign production milestones and create different views for each team involved in social media publishing

  • See an overview of your publishing schedule in calendar view

  • See your social posts in the context of your content series 

  • Access a searchable gallery view of all live assets so you always know what material you have to work with

As you work with the cross-platform digital publishing template, you can get more suggestions for best practices by opening up the apps dashboard and checking out the "Read me" description block.

Try the cross-platform digital publishing template

The template is just the beginning

Evaluating your social media needs and choosing a social media content calendar template are just the first steps to creating an optimized social strategy. Laying those foundations will cost time and effort—but it'll also enable your team to be more efficient, strategic, and productive. The more you can streamline your social media posting process, the more time and energy you can devote to connecting with your audience.

Start building with Airtable today


About the author

Chris Kimis Director of Social Media at Airtable. He has 15+ years of experience in digital marketing and content strategy.

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