What do cross-country road trips, wedding speeches, and social media marketing have in common? Planning.

You could improvise all three, but it's better to have a plan for what direction you're heading — especially when developing your social media content strategy.

By now, most marketers recognize that social media plays an integral role in an effective inbound marketing strategy. And with so many social networks available to us, it's important to stay organized and have a plan for when and what you're going to share on these platforms.

→ Free Download: Social Media Calendar Template [Access Now]

Let's dive into our list of top tools to stay organized and on top of your game.

Free Social Media Calendar

Social Media Content Calendar Template

Plan for your social media holidays with this free content planning template.

Social Media Content Calendar Tools to Plan Your Messaging

1. HubSpot's Downloadable Template for Excel

Content Calendar

Price: Free

social media calendar tools: HubSpot

Download This Template

Marketers might already use Excel for different types of reports and data analysis in their roles, but this multifaceted tool is perfect for social media content calendar organization, too. Excel can be customized according to the priorities and metrics your team is focused on, so it's a great option for planning ahead.

The good news? We've already done the heavy lifting for you by creating a free, downloadable social media content calendar template using Microsoft Excel. Marketers can use this template to easily plan out individual social media posts — monthly or annually — while keeping an eye on bigger picture events, holidays, publications, and partnerships.

  • Use the Monthly Planning Calendar Tab above to get a bird's-eye view of what's coming down the content pipeline in a given month.
  • In the Content Repository tab, you can add the content you'll be publishing on this tab to keep track of which pieces have been promoted already and to easily recall older content that can be re-promoted.
  • On the Social Network Update tabs, you can draft and plan out social media posts in advance. These tabs are for organizational purposes, then you'll manually upload the content of the posts to a social media publisher.

For more on how to use the templates, check out this in-depth guide from my colleague Lindsay Kolowich.

This free resource can be used to draft social media posts, or it can be bulk-uploaded into a publishing app to maximize efficiency. (HubSpot customers: You can use this spreadsheet to organize content and upload it directly into Social Inbox. For instructions on how to do this, check out the template's cover sheet here.)

Why we like this social media tool:

Marketers with small teams and heavy workloads will love this intuitive template. It acts as a social media content planner, tracker, and archive. This makes it perfect for sharing your social plan with stakeholders and referring back to it when you need to repurpose old content.

2. Google Drive

Content Calendar and Asset Organization

Price: Free for personal use. Google Workspace plans for businesses start at $6 per month.

Google Drive has several helpful features that make it easy for social media marketers to build out an effective content calendar.

Here's an example of how a team might use Google Calendar to track both their editorial and social media calendars to make sure they're aligning posts with new blog content. These calendars can be easily shared with multiple teams to avoid scheduling conflicts and ensure that campaigns are aligned.

social media calendar tools: Google Drive

Marketers can also use shared Google Sheets to schedule posts on social media, track the status of different pieces of content, and assign tasks to team members — all on the same platform as their calendar.

Social media calendar ideas listed on Google Sheets

With the help of Google Docs, users can keep comments all in one place and collaborate on different projects without emailing back-and-forth or having to schedule a meeting. This is a particularly useful feature when editing content for social media, which may need to be drafted and approved quickly.

Google Docs document with projects listed and comments on those projects

Why we like this social media tool:

Google has several products that can be used together to create quick, seamless workflows. Whether you're publishing dozens of posts per day across multiple platforms, or ramping up one channel for your freelance business, you'll find value in the Google Drive system. The best part is that HubSpot customers can link their Google Drive accounts to the HubSpot portal to easily upload files from Drive into the HubSpot software.

3. Loomly

Content Planning, Creation, Publishing, and Calendar

Price: 15-day free trial. The Base plan is $25 per month for 2 users and 10 accounts when you choose the annual agreement.

social media calendar tools: Loomly

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If you want more mileage out of your content calendar, you can turn to an all-in-one content planning and publishing platform such as Loomly.

Loomly offers tools beyond content scheduling and management. This tool goes further, providing inspiration and direction to help you create content. It also allows you to manage your content assets, schedule posts, view them as a list or a calendar, and analyze what posts are working vs which ones need work.

Loomly's most robust feature set includes a collaboration and approval environment so that teams can submit mockups, provide comments, see version logs, and flag for approval. This can help you streamline processes for efficiency when there are "too many cooks in the kitchen" on a particular project.

Why we like this social media tool:

If your team is responsible for organic and paid social, this tool can do both. And for your team who wants to avoid using their personal account for social media duties, they can respond to comments and replies directly in Loomly — that means they won't need to login to each native platform to engage with followers.

4. Trello

Task Management and Content Calendar

Price: Free for individual use. The Standard plan starts at $5 per user per month, billed annually.

social media calendar tools: Trello

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Looking for an organizational tool that's highly effective for team collaboration? Try Trello. This platform offers a full calendar view which makes it easy to visualize what content is going out, and when. More specifically, social media managers can use Trello's flexible assignment “cards” and customizable “boards” and “lists” to map out to-do lists, manage a content calendar, plan a campaign, and store brainstorm ideas.

You're not limited to just one structure, though. Users can customize boards according to their needs. For example, a team could create a board to organize social media posts for a given week, on a specific platform, or post ideas around a topic, such as a campaign or awareness day.

Why we like this social media tool:

Trello cards can be assigned to different team members, marked with due dates, and commented on. Users can even customize labels with different publication statuses so the entire team can see the progress of their social media posts and when they're due on the calendar. The labels could also indicate different social networks that content is being published on.

5. SproutSocial

Social Publishing and Content Calendar

Price: The Standard plan starts at $89 per month for five social profiles, billed annually.

social media calendar tools: SproutSocial

Sprout Social’s social media calendar and publishing tool make it easy for teams or individuals to plan and schedule all of their social posts. You can schedule content to automatically post to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and more.

You can also tag each social post and add notes to better track and report on your posting strategy and campaigns. Additionally, their publishing suite includes a tool called Optimal Send Times which analyzes your social media data and automatically publishes at a time your audience is most engaged.

Why we like this social media tool:

Coming up with social media content ideas isn't always easy. Sprout Social's social listening tool lets marketers like you uncover niche conversations that your audience is interested in. From there, you can join the conversation for brand awareness or start your own conversation on the topic to grow your following.

6. Evernote

Content Calendar, Task Management, and Asset Organization

Price: The Basic plan is free. Create a custom template using the Personal plan for $7.99 per month.

social media calendar tools: Evernote

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Evernote is a note-taking app that marketers can use to keep track of all the moving parts that comprise a social media campaign.

The tool also features yearly, monthly, weekly, and hourly logs, which make it easy to keep track of when you're publishing content on social media, when you're producing blog content, and other team-wide priorities. (Evernote offers customizable templates for each of these that can be downloaded into the app.)

Another useful feature is Evernote's Web Clipper extension for Chrome. Marketers can use this tool to easily save links to their Evernote Notebook for sharing later on.

Why we like this social media tool:

The Evernote mobile app also boasts some interesting features to help marketers keep their social content ideas straight. For example, you can easily snap a photo and save it to your Evernote files for review later. This feature is of particular value for social content creators looking to maintain a backlog of photos to publish on Instagram.

7. Hootsuite

Social Publishing and Content Calendar

Price: The Professional plan starts at $49 per month and starts with a free 14-day trial.

social media calendar tools: Hootsuite

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Hootsuite offers a built-in Planner tool to help you create campaigns, identify publishing gaps, and collaborate with your content creation team. Its primary features are in social publishing so that you can release content to your networks in advance, but it also has rich features for collaboration and post approvals.

You can even curate content from other sources without logging into your account. Once your content is created, you can preview it with the Composer tool, which displays according to each social network's unique format.

Why we like this social media tool:

Cross collaboration is a big deal on just about any marketing team, and Hootsuite has a way to make this even easier. The social publishing platform comes with a built-in content library that serves as the single point of truth for your entire organization. Does your sales team need a product feature cheatsheet? Customer service looking for details on the latest product feature? All that and more can be found in your team's Hootsuite content library.

8. Agorapulse

Social Publishing and Content Calendar

Price: The individual plan is free, or you can use the Pro plan for small teams starting at $79 per month.

social media calendar tools: Agorapulse

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Similar to Hootsuite, Agorapulse offers social publishing tools and a content calendar so that you can manage your social media accounts with ease. This includes scheduling (or rescheduling), queuing, and bulk uploading posts, which is incredibly helpful for teams who use quarterly or monthly content plans.

Why we like this social media tool:

What makes Agorapulse different is its social inbox that allows you to manage all the interactions from various platforms in a single place. After all, content isn't just a one-and-done activity; it's about building awareness and engagement with your readers as well.

9. StoryChief

Content Planning and Distribution

Price: Team pricing starts at $90 per month, billed annually.

social media calendar tools: StoryChief

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If you want more from your content calendar than simply knowing when posts go live, StoryChief is the option for you. With StoryChief's smart calendar, you can better strategize and plan your content strategy across channels.

It displays much more than your timetable — it also allows you to assign collaborators to tasks and filter them by campaign. StoryChief self-describes its tool as a "content distribution platform" that unifies analytics and publishing across multiple channels for a more simplified approach to content creation. Best of all, it syncs with HubSpot and all of your favorite calendar apps.

Why we like this social media tool:

Believe it or not, there are quite a few similarities between social media marketing and SEO marketing. StoryChief bridges this gap with its SEO Copywriting tool. By highlighting the areas you can improve your copy for the reader (and subsequently the search engines), you can write clearer, more engaging content that works on both social media and on your website or blog.

10. ClearVoice

Content Creation and Management

Price: Request a free consultation for pricing.

social media calendar tools: ClearVoice

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So what about content planning and creation? ClearVoice offers content creation tools to fit into your workflow. While their big claim to fame is their Talent Network Search which allows you to find and connect to content creators to work on your projects, ClearVoice also has features for task management for internal and external collaborators.

You can create, edit, and approve projects in an interface that makes editorial management easy. It also includes a dashboard and dynamic editorial calendar with plenty of interactive functionality, and integrations with other popular software.

Why we like this social media tool:

Not every social team is working for a big agency or client. For freelance content teams who want to stay organized and on time with their social media publishing, ClearVoice offers some of the same great features at a price customized to your team.

11. Zerys

Content Creation and Management

Price: $40 per document plus $49 per month for project management.

social media calendar tools: Zerys

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Zerys is another platform that matches you with your ideal content creation freelancers. However, it markets itself as a platform dedicated to content success, offering features for content planning, production, publishing, promotion, conversion, and analytics.

Why we like this social media tool:

You can manage unlimited content projects, plan keywords and titles for blog content, hire writers, and view all deadlines on an integrated calendar. With the project management features that Zerys offers, in-house writers can use the platform to produce quality work on time every time. It also integrates with HubSpot so that publishing is a breeze.

Social Media Templates

HubSpot's Social Media Calendar Template

If you're new to setting up social media calendars, HubSpot offers a pre-made, free, and downloadable template that you can use to schedule out full weeks of posts.

HubSpot's Free Social Media Calendar Template

HubSpot's Social Media Content Calendar Template for Startups

This template is very similar to the one seen above but also has tabs that work as a repository for content ideas. The template also includes helpful tips for posting on specific social media networks.

Social media idea repository tab on Social Media Calendar template from HubSpot

If you're aiming to get all of your ideas down in order to develop a big-picture plan for your social assets, we recommend starting with this template.

The Benefits of Using a Social Media Content Calendar

We're all busy, and inevitably, tasks slip through the cracks. Social media content is no exception.

Just like with blogging, a successful social media strategy requires regular publishing and engaging with followers to see positive results — whether that's in terms of SEO, brand recognition, lead generation, or all three.

So, if you're not already using a social media content calendar, here are three facts to pique your interest:

  1. You can pivot flawlessly when plans change by using a content calendar. With a social media content calendar, marketers can plan out posts for entire weeks or months in advance, which frees up working hours to strategize for the future. The best part is that you can always leave space for breaking news or current events in your industry. Otherwise, you'll spend valuable time each day searching the internet every day for content to share, which is a known productivity killer.
  2. Grow your audience on each platform by curating content specifically for them. Social media marketers should take the time to craft custom messages for each network because the audience expects to see something different on each one. For example, your Instagram followers want to see Reels and Videos while your Twitter followers like quick sound bites and shareable quotes. Planning this content in advance using a social media calendar will save you time throughout the week and ensure you're being thoughtful and intentional when you post on each site.
  3. Optimize your social strategy by tracking the performance of your content each month. Without a calendar, social media marketers are publishing content into the void and are unable to track big-picture and past performance. With a calendar, marketers can look back and analyze which content performed best so they can adjust their strategy accordingly. If a particular type of post received a significant amount of views, you could recreate it for a different topic and see the same success.
  4. Take advantage of social media holidays to tap into a new, but relevant audience. With the help of a calendar, marketers can plan for holidays and observance days, such as National Cat Day, when they can tailor their content and engage with a wider audience.

Social Media Calendar Examples

1. JotForm Social Media Calendarsocial media calendar tools: JotForm

JotForm's social media calendar isn't just visually appealing, it's also functional. The tabs at the top reveal your social plan for every channel you execute your strategy on, including in-person or virtual events. If you're modeling your social calendar after this one, don't forget to include a tab for content details and who on your team will be responsible for creating the content. You might also include a separate tab for each month to keep things organized.

2. Firefly Marketing Social Media Content Calendar

social media calendar tools: Firefly Marketing

Going a more traditional route with your social media calendar? Try a Google Sheets template like the one created by Firefly Marketing. Each tab is dedicated to a different month while the worksheet includes every channel you might need across the top. The rows are separated by week so you can easily identify the date and time a post is scheduled for publishing. Our favorite part of this template is the social media holiday column that is pre-populated with fun dates that your audience will love.

What is the best social media calendar?

Now that we've reviewed a few helpful tools to kick your social media strategy into high gear, it's time for you to experiment with them. The best social media calendar is one that saves you time, streamlines processes, and helps you work smarter, not harder.

Several of the platforms we've suggested are free to use or offer a free trial. Have one person on your team test one out and report back on their findings. You might just find the tool that helps you reach your next social media KPI. Don't forget, every social media team is different, and it could be a combination of these tools that helps you execute your strategy efficiently to drive ROI.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in 2017 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

social media content calendar

 social media calendar

Originally published Oct 7, 2021 3:45:00 PM, updated December 01 2021

Topics:

Social Media Publishing