Social media editorial calendars are essential for planning and organizing content production. Learn about how the editorial calendar can be used to optimize your social media output.
If you are looking to grow your company, social media is an absolute must. Having a presence on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, or Twitter expands your reach and, in turn, increases traffic to your website. If you are strategic about your social media use, you might generate partnerships with other businesses and even amass a loyal following. In fact, 78% of consumers are inclined to use a company’s services after having a positive experience with them on social media.
Research has shown that 55% of consumers learn about new brands and companies via social media, and many of these consumers are Gen Z and Millennials. Why does this matter? Millennials are the largest group of consumers and Gen Z’s spending power continues to rise. As their purchasing power grows, it has become more important than ever for companies to build a strong online presence. After all, Gen Z is set to become the most digitally connected generation.
Generational marketing aside, any kind of company can benefit from a social media presence. This became particularly evident during the pandemic. Since February 2020, chief marketing officers have reported a 24% rise in the contribution of social media to overall company performance. Accordingly, companies are putting more money than ever into social media. Between February 2020 and June 2020, social media spending increased from 13.3% of marketing budgets to 23.3%-- a 74% hike.
CMOs believe this trend will only continue; in other words, social media marketing is here to stay. An effective social media strategy requires organization, planning, and a lot of coordination. Without a system in place, it can quickly become a headache. So how can you reap the benefits of social media in a methodical way? We recommend a social media editorial calendar built on Airtable!
The Social Media Editorial Calendar: What is it?
Editorial calendars are useful tools for planning and creating content. It’s a centralized space/hub for members of a team to:
- Coordinate publishing schedules
- Establish deadlines
- Delegate work
- Collaborate on revisions
- Ask each other questions
With an editorial calendar, you can easily track future projects, ones in progress, and completed work. It’s also a great resource for those who are visually oriented as it organizes information in a visually appealing and structured way. Editorial calendars are highly customizable. You can group tasks in different ways:– by collaborator, status, due date, etc. You can also color code your system and even play around with formatting to find a template that is most intuitive for you. But we’ll delve into that later!
Elements of a Social Editorial Calendar
- Title: Label each project with its name or title so you can review upcoming content at a glance.
- Content Form: Designate the project’s form– is it an image? Video? Tweet? Infographic?
- Deadlines: Schedule due dates for drafts and/or publication.
- Collaborators: Assign tasks to members of your team. Each task will have a person attached to it, so nothing falls through the cracks.
- Status: Keep track of assignments’ progress by marking whether a project is in progress, in review, not ready, or posted.
- Activity and Revision History: Review the task’s revision history and see which team members have collaborated on a task. This is also a place for colleagues to post comments and communicate with one another about the upcoming project.
Using an Editorial Calendar for Social Media
So, as we’ve established, social media is critical for any company looking to expand its reach and connect with consumers. But optimizing your social media presence is harder than it may seem. Here’s where a social media editorial calendar comes in handy:
- Staying on deadline
- Establishing consistency
- Facilitating communication
- Developing a clear vision and goals
- Enjoying preparedness and peace of mind
Staying on Deadline
You want to be strategic about the timing of your social media posts. Maybe there’s an upcoming holiday or event that is relevant to your business or content. It's important to take advantage of that. However, it can be a challenge to keep track of those dates when you already have a lot of other projects on your plate. With an editorial social media calendar, you can schedule the post date far in advance, so you don’t forget.
You can also label a task based on what stage it’s in.
Examples of labels include:
- In progress
- Needs design
- In review
- Ready to post
If a post is marked as “dead,” you can disregard it because it will not be published. Similarly, a post labeled “ready,” does not need further consideration. However, if something is marked as “needs design,” you know to make it a priority because the task is incomplete.
Essentially, social media editorial calendar software maximizes your time by enabling you to quickly identify which tasks need extra attention. This way, there are no surprises and nothing slips through the cracks. You can meet your deadlines without a problem.
With a visual tool like the editorial calendar, it’s easy to spot any kind of inconsistency in your output. Whether it’s posting frequency, tone/voice, or an unbalanced workload among team members, the calendar highlights any deviations so you can course correct.
The social media editorial calendar tool isn’t only for planning and organization. At Slam Media Lab, we are big on feedback and collaboration. We love that the social editorial calendar allows us to collaborate in real-time. That way, we can solve problems as they arise, ask clarifying questions, and make requests of our colleagues, all of which foster a dynamic, open workspace.
Developing a Clear Vision and Goals
A social media editorial calendar helps shape your social media strategy by encouraging you to clarify your goals and intentions.
There are many questions to consider when determining your social media editorial calendar template:
- Who is your target audience? Are you catering to a certain demographic? Are you trying to attract new customers or build loyalty with existing customers? Are you trying to establish credibility with industry peers?
- What are you looking to achieve? Do you want to go viral? Gain new subscribers? Generate more revenue? Seek new ideas? Court feedback?
- How will you measure success?
Creating an editorial calendar for social media means considering these questions, which can be a helpful exercise in articulating your objectives. Once you’ve developed your calendar, it will keep you focused on those goals and help you execute them.
Enjoying Preparedness and Peace of Mind
Your video is set to upload to Facebook in a week, you’ve already written the social copy, and your team has reviewed it all and given you the go-ahead. You can rest easy and get started on the next task!
Choosing a Social Media Editorial Calendar Template
You won’t have any trouble finding social media editorial calendar examples online, but we recommend that you use Airtable to create your calendar. It’s a great platform for project management and for planning social media content. We love the variety of templates to choose from. Each is highly customizable to accommodate your particular work style and goals.
With Airtable, you can format your calendar however you’d like. Let’s look at some of the options.
Unsurprisingly, the calendar view looks like a calendar! This view is especially helpful for tracking deadlines as it gives you a bird’s-eye view of all upcoming content in a given month. If you’d rather focus on a shorter stretch of time, you can select other time frames; you can view your calendar in two-week mode, week mode, three-day mode, or even just one day. This simple and visually appealing layout is particularly popular and our go-to social editorial calendar template.
If you’re most comfortable with spreadsheets, the grid view might be a good choice for you. This format is a table with information organized into rows and columns. Example columns might include: post name, status, publish date, and writer. It’s particularly useful for viewing many records and fields at once.
The Japanese word “Kanban” means “signboard” or “visual card.” This view is helpful for tracking the status of tasks. With the Kanban view, each card represents a task or item of content so you can easily visualize how many tasks you need to complete. Airtable’s Kanban view arranges your tasks into visual stacks and allows you to drag tasks between tasks. For example, you can drag a card from the “in progress” stack to the “ready to post” stack.
The timeline view is like a horizontal calendar. You can view your tasks over any time frame– whether it’s weeks, months, or years. There are also a variety of ways you can group tasks including by creator, due date, channel, etc. On top of that, you can play around with the sizing of the rows to make them wider or more narrow– whatever looks best to you!
The gallery view is best for highlighting images. It presents your posts as large cards. If your social media strategy is more image-based or you’re particularly active on Instagram, the gallery view might be the best way for you to plan your posts. You can view all the images in one place, giving you an overall sense of your page’s tone, themes, and aesthetic.
Using Airtable to Create Your Social Editorial Calendar
- Create an account with Airtable
- Create a base
- Choose a view
- Select date fields
- Group records
- Customize labels
- Create and edit tasks
Create an Account with Airtable
Sign up for an Airtable account with your work email address and then pick a plan. Airtable has four to choose from; one is free and two of the plans you can try out for free. Their most popular plan is the Pro plan which can accommodate 50,000 records per table and 20GB of attachment space. All the plans give you access to grid, calendar, form, kanban, and gallery views as well as realtime commenting.
Create a Base
A base or database is your team’s home base. It’s a central space to store and organize your team’s data and workflows. You’ll nagivate to “My First Workspace” and select “Add a base.” From there, you can select one of Airtable’s templates (which include a social media calendar, a content calendar and more). You can also import work you’ve already done by copying existing data from a spreadsheet, uploading from Excel, or connecting a Google account.
Choose a View
You have plenty of views to choose from. We usually go for the classic calendar view, but it all depends on your personal preference and work goals. The views are listed on the left side of the page under a section titled “Create a view.” You will notice that a couple of them are only available to those with the pro plan or higher.
Select Date Fields (Calendar and Timeline)
Views like the calendar view and timeline view prompt you to select a date range. You can choose a date format, time format, and select your time zone.
Group Records (Grid, Kanban, Timeline)
Grid, kanban and timeline views give you a range of grouping fields to choose from. The kanban view immediately prompts you to select a grouping field so it can stack the records accordingly. For grid and timeline views, the “group” option is in the toolbar at the top of the page. You can organize your records by name, status, assignee, etc.
Customize Labels (Timeline, Calendar, Gallery, Kanban)
Customize your labels by deciding which information is important to you. You can select whether or not you want your records to feature notes, the name of the assignee, dates, the status of the task, social channel, etc. You can include as much or as little information as you’d like. While the language varies between views (kanban and gallery say “customize cards” while calendar and timeline say “customize labels”), you can find this feature in the toolbar at the top of the page.
Create and Edit Tasks
You can create or edit any task by clicking the “+” icon or just clicking the record. If you expand the record, you can see all the information for the record as well as comments and revision history. In grid view, you can expand a record by clicking the double arrow icon which appears when you hover your cursor over a row. In calendar view, the expand record option appears when you click on a record card. For gallery and kanban views, you can expand the card by simply clicking anywhere on it.
Editorial Calendar Examples for Social Media
Looking for some sample calendars to get you started? We got you.
- Social Media Calendar Template
- Blog Editorial Calendar Template
- Klipfolio’s Content Calendar
- Singularity Hub Editorial Calendar
- Social Media Planning and Design Template
There are countless sample social media editorial calendars available online, so find one that works best for you. Remember, your calendar can be whatever you want it to be; its only purpose is to make your life easier.
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