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social media how toDo you struggle to keep track of your social media content?

Are you looking for tools to help?

Creating a social media content calendar doesn’t need to be complicated or require a whole new platform.

In this article you’ll find four ways to build a social media content calendar with tools you may already use.

Why Use a Social Media Calendar

Individuals and businesses use social media for community engagement, content promotion, customer support, promoting the latest offers and more.

Managing many moving parts involves multiple people, multiple strategies, and if not handled correctly, multiple problems.

four tools to build content calendars

Discover four tools to build a social media content calendar.

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When you keep all of your social media content plans in a central location, you let everyone know what everyone else is doing, they can see the latest changes and updates and can plan their own content accordingly.

Use your calendar to track a variety of items, including publish date and time, post text, attached link, image or images, post type (image, link, text, etc.), campaign and post category or goal (engagement, content promotion, etc.).

Once you’ve determined what to add to your calendar, it’s time to create it. Here’s how.

#1: List It in Google Sheets

Since Google Drive is a staple for many businesses, calendars managed in Google Sheets are familiar and accessible. It’s easy for anyone comfortable with spreadsheets to use. Plus, when you implement such a familiar tool, you can dive right into planning.

The collaboration features prevent confusion over outdated versions. Furthermore, the spreadsheet can be even more useful if your scheduling tool allows bulk uploading via CSV.

To set up your calendar, either start with ablank page” or search for social media calendar templates online. If you want, add a tab for each social network to keep everything separate.

content management in google sheets

Create a Google sheet for your social media calendar, and add a tab for each social network if you’d like.

Even when you use a template, you still want to customize it a bit. Add all of the info your team needs to know, and leave out whatever they dont. For instance, if it’s important to track who’s responsible for each update, add a column for that. If most of your posts don’t have links, delete that column.

Keep in mind, not all information needs to be written out in the spreadsheet. Use colorcoding, team member initials and other shortcuts to further organize the calendar.

#2: Map It in Google Calendar

Google Calendar, which a lot of people use already, has a slightly more rigid structure. However, nothing beats an actual calendar for keeping track of due dates and responsibilities.

Keep all of your social content laid out in an actual calendar view. Those who prefer a list format are able to switch to agenda view.

Create different calendars for each team member, client or social network to make it easy to segment your content. That way you’ll get a calendar view of not just what’s being posted, but who’s responsible for it or what content category it falls under.

content management in google calendar

Create a separate calendar for each team member, client or social network; whichever way is easiest for you to stay organized.

Decide how you want to set up your calendar system (I colorcode them either by network or content type), and create your multiple calendars. Then create an event for each post.

Organize the details as you’d like. For example, use the location field to note whos writing which post. Then use the description for compiling additional details such as post link once its published.

#3: Visualize It in Trello

Trello, which is organized by boards, lists and cards, is a tool a lot of people already use for brainstorming and collaboration.

Like spreadsheets, Trello is flexible enough for anything. However, it looks and feels the opposite of a spreadsheet. If you’re a visual person, or if you like organizing your content by progress stage, try Trello.

When you first set up your Trello social media calendar, decide how to organize it. Make lists for different progress stages, social networks or marketing campaigns.

Trello also has a calendar view for due dates, which makes it possible to build a plan with the flexibility of Google Sheets and the layout of Google Calendar. Just enable the Calendar power-up.

content management in trello

Create cards and lists for different stages of your social media calendar. Enable Calendar mode to assign due dates.

Use Trello’s Kanban layout for tracking the status of each planned post.

For instance, as you create ideas for posts, add a card with the post title (such as “Promotion: Blog Post X“) to aPlanned Contentlist. After the writer creates the copy for each post, he or she will move the card to the Written list. Once it’s approved and scheduled, the person responsible will put it on the Scheduled list.

You can also organize your Trello calendar by social network or campaign. List the stages and check them off as theyre completed.

Once you decide the best method for creating and maintaining your social media calendar, you’re ready to add and organize content.

#4: Streamline It in Project Management Software

If your company already uses a project management app like Trello, Basecamp or Asana, it should always be your first choice.

If your company uses Asana, create a new project for social media content or divide it into a few smaller projects. Then add messages as tasks to write and complete.

Assign posts to your colleagues just as you assign other work, which they can complete in your main project management app.

content management in asana

Add your social media calendar as a task to the project management software your company already uses.

Project management software is designed to be a central location for everything for your business. Add your social media calendar to the mix, so your processes for social planning can match the rest of your workflow.

Plus, your due dates and your social tasks will be better aligned with the rest of your to-do list.

Wrapping Up

Using a social media calendar keeps your whole team on the same page. Plus, it’s the perfect companion to your content strategy.

What do you think? How do you create your social media calendar? Do you use any of these tools? What works best for you and your team? Please share your thoughts and experience in the comments.

four tools to build a social media content calendar

Four tools to build a social media content calendar.

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  • Something else that works really well is one of those calendars you put on the wall, yes, the physical wall.

    I’m sure you’ve seen these calendars in malls around the country, especially now that Christmas is drawing near…or at least its buying season.

    So why not pick one of those things up? Yes, it might be a little old-fashioned, but gosh darn, it’s cheap (er…affordable) and gets the job done.

    Honestly, do you think I’m going to pay $29 a month to some clown like Basecamp 3?

    Folks, you can do this stuff yourself, without the crutches, and without having to prop up some virtually useless 3rd-party leech that will do little more than drain your bottom line.

    Get back to basic marketing principles. Most could be done with pen and paper.

  • MargaretMuir12

    Love this! We just started using Google Sheets for collaborating on our content calendar and we love it. It takes some time to put it together but it’s so worth it. We’re actually working ahead on content, instead of going day by day.

  • Google Sheets & Calendar are free . . . I like paper calendars as well . . .

  • Hi Greg,

    Yep, you can definitely use a paper calendar, and I do so for most planning. However for this in particular I find it easier to keep everything online (just my personal preference).

    But a lot of companies are already using these tools for other parts of managing their team. I know that I find it easier when all of my work (or as much as possible) is in the same spot, so I thought I’d write about how to take some of the common tools and use them to create content calendars. 🙂

    Plus, as Suzanne mentions, Google tools are free, as are Trello and Asana, so there are a lot of free options!

  • Awesome! Planning everything out really gets you to focus on thinking ahead. It is a little extra work to do the planning upfront instead of on the fly, but it makes overall strategy easier. 🙂

  • Matt Frends

    My organization put a content calendar into play last month. After looking at project management software (several) I realized that it wasn’t really the right style for us. I found SmartSheet, built it out, and found it to be absolutely perfect. Our content effort went from disjointed and a complete pain in the ass to completely streamlined in a matter of a day or two.

  • Time to start learning how to better use Basecamp!

  • Excellent article Brittany! I love Trello. It’s become my fave app this year.

  • Hi Brittany,
    Great tools they are!
    In fact they ease our burden tremendously.
    Thanks for this information.
    Keep sharing.
    Have a good day.
    ~Philip

  • That’s so awesome! It’s amazing how quickly things come together. 🙂 I’ve never heard of SmartSheet, but I’ll have to check them out.

  • Ready, set, educate. 🙂

  • Thanks so much Madalyn! Trello is the best. 🙂

  • Thanks, Philip!

  • Yes! I was so excited when I got this email yesterday. I’ve wanted a calendar of my Buffer queue badly enough that I created one in IFTTT that I can now get rid of. 🙂

    I’m not sure I’m comfortable planning content in something that would eventually publish the post (too nervous that a note like TWEET NEW BLOG POST will actually get sent lol), but it’s already been really helpful for looking at and editing my queue. 🙂

  • What about the new Buffer Calendar??!? It looks like a real game changer to me. What do you think? https://blog.bufferapp.com/social-media-calendar

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  • This is a great article Brittany, and very timely for me. I’ve always used and Excel spreadsheet but I think for my newest client, I’m going to try out using Trello with them 🙂

  • Megan Kellar

    I use google sheets and asana! Really great tools for collaboration and task management.

  • Or you could use Conducttr.
    It has a “Channel Planner” so you can see content by date and channel (twitter, facebook, email, youtube, sms etc) and a Calendar so you can see content week-by-week in a typical calendar view.

    Add to this Conducttr’s intelligent interactivity and you can do waaaay more to personalize replies, publications etc.

  • Hi Jon, I’ve been using it to view and rearrange my queue and love it for that! I really prefer calendar formats, so I do all of my scheduling with CoSchedule through their Buffer integration. So glad that Buffer finally gave us a calendar as well.

    But if you’re also using it for planning and strategy, I would be really, really, really careful about not letting a note or otherwise “not publish ready” get to the top of your Buffer queue and accidentally go through. 🙂 I personally keep strategy and scheduling in separate places.

  • Awesome! Trello is so amazing – you’ll find yourself using it for everything soon. 🙂

  • Definitely!

  • Sounds like a great tip, Brittany. Thanks for the heads up. I presume that Buffer will keep stuff clearly marked in Draft! Perhaps we can cycle back sometime? As you know, the Buffer Calendar is brand new. I’m going to test it out.

  • I used to use Trello. Might have to revisit…

  • True. If I have a resource that works remotely, I could always take a picture with my phone and text it to them. And be sure to either write in pencil/erasable ink or use Post-It Notes so that if you need to change things on the fly, you don’t have to go out and buy a brand new calendar or cross things out.

    Sarcasm aside – I understand the frustration that not every platform seems to accommodate 100% of your needs and that it often feels like a revenue drain.

    That said, I think Google Sheets & Calendar are definitely the most cost-effective way to go especially since you can download the calendar to your phone and set alerts for each post.

    Thanks for the ideas, Brittany!

  • I use podio+google. Works well for me, and I can track in on many devices, tablet, phone, laptop. But with this article, I think I will do it reverse, google+podio, as I have a link to podio via google calendar, and I can add additional info and still see the visual aspect of tracking.

  • Peter L Masters

    That’s funny Greg, I like it.

  • Sandra

    The major problem in our agency and in our team was that we were using several different tools and platforms to manage our work. While we were communicating through so many channels, emails and messages were getting lost, we were forgetting important dates, content was often late, and from time to time we were missing out on events and dates which are important for our industry. We were also using Trello for a while, but after we just felt like we have outgrown it. Then we created our own content calendar. Now everything is in one place and our tasks and dates are clearly defined. Content calendar is simply a must for every serious company. And there aren’t bad ones, it just depends what do you actually need.

  • Sascha Neuwirth

    Hello at all!

    i am the owner of an social media agency in austria. we are a young star up (1 Year) and i look every day to find the best solution to manage the content for our clients. we grow extrem quick. we get every month up to 7 new clients to manage their content in facebook monthly.

    For now we use Hootsuite, but i am not happy with all these softwares (hootsuite, buffer …) because facebook knows this softwares and when you make a post u get the lowest reach of persons. it is horrible for the social mangager world. 🙂

    Brittany or all the other people here, can anybody tell me for what software i have to look or do you have andy ideas?

    i think we need our own software, but it needs a lof of money to create that sofware with all funktions what we want, so for the beginning we try to do our work with softwares that already existst for low cost.

    it would be really cool to some ideas here! 😀

    I wish all a great day

    KR

    Sascha