The Perfect Social Media Posting Schedule for 2021 [with template]
14th December 2020
Planning what social media content you’re going to put out in advance, and when, means you’re more likely to get it done.
It’s easy to put off a social media update if you can’t think of what to write. Or, if you’re in a hurry to get it out at the usual time you’re more likely to make a spelling error or hit the wrong tone.
That’s not a good look.
A social media schedule helps you turn your social strategy into a manageable plan by mapping all key events against important dates. Download our social media posting template now and start planning for the year ahead.
Why you need a social media posting schedule
Most great social media marketers recognize that success comes from consistency. Consistency of brand, regular posts, being there to reply, the list goes on.
A social media posting schedule gives you that consistency, helping you find a rough framework to post and ensuring you don’t have any content gaps.
Planning your content in advance gives you more opportunities to involve others in your work too, so the whole company can feel like they’re a part of your social media and wider company brand.
Having a well-managed social media posting schedule doesn’t stop you from posting updates when the moment strikes.
Being organized isn’t the opposite of being creative...
A well-managed social media posting schedule gives you more time to search for and write news updates and company info.
You don’t have to stick to your schedule either. It can be altered with original content for a particular slot - or moved to a different day.
Instead, a social media schedule gives you enough time to plan for important dates.
Got a product launch coming up? Is there a big holiday that’s relevant to your industry? You’ll want to make room in your schedule way ahead of time.
What is a social media posting schedule?
You may think that a social media posting schedule is the same as a social media content calendar. You add the posts and then they’re scheduled to go out
A social media posting schedule is a step before you use your social media content calendar, and a step after you’ve built out your social media strategy.
A social media posting schedule is where you begin to plan how you’re going to implement your social media strategy.
It’s a doc that tells you things like
- How often you’re going to post
- What channel you’re going to post to
- What types of content you’re going to post
- What key dates or themes you’re going to post around
- What times of day you’re going to post (if you want to go into that detail)
Your social media posting schedule should tell you everything you need to know about the content you plan to post, without actually going into the details of what that content will be.
There is often a slight overlap between your social media posting schedule and your social media calendar if you choose to outline what dates and times plan to send out content.
If you get that far, many social media calendars, including ContentCal, let you add in the copy and imagery - and then schedule that social post to send.
How to use your free ContentCal Social Media Posting Schedule
We wanted to create the perfect social media posting schedule that’s flexible to the way you work.
That's why we've put together an awesome schedule to help you get started.
Step One: Download your free Social Media Posting Schedule
If you haven't already downloaded your free Social Media Posting Schedule you can download it here.
Step Two: Answer the six questions
To get started with your content calendar, go to the grey box on the left of your content calendar and answer the six questions asked there.
Your answers to these questions will automatically pull in to the right-hand side of the sheet, and help you get organized when you're filling out your content calendar.
What are your social media objectives for 2020?
Every good social media schedule begins with an understanding of what the strategic objectives are for your social activities.
Then, when you're adding to your social media marketing schedule, you'll have these front-of-mind, helping you focus on activities that will make a difference in the long-term.
What are the 5 main social channels you post to?
This one’s easy. Just add the five channels you post to most. That could be Facebook., Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin and TikTok, for example. There may not be five channels - that’s fine too!
When you start to post to more than five social channels you may begin to lose focus, so we wouldn’t recommend it!
How much appetite does your business have for posting to social channels?
Here you just need to decide how active you want to be on social media. This will depend on your access to resources, how much time you have, and how interesting your updates are.
What different types of content do you post?
What content types help you engage with your audience? List them here.
These could include guest posts, social image cards, client case studies, and many others. We've added a few examples within the doc which you could use.
What have you done so far that’s worked? Add more of that and throw in some other promising channels.
How many times do you expect to post each content type per month?
Along with the content types you expect to post, the number of times you’re should expect to post will pull through here.
Change the numbers here to get the right balance of content types posted per month.
If you're not sure, just leave it as it is. You can come back later and change any of this, the spreadsheet will update automatically.
Tick key dates relevant to your business
This bit is easy. Just tick all the key dates that are relevant to your business and these will automatically appear in your schedule, so you know to build content around them.
These are a mix of US & UK dates, but don’t feel limited by these. Add any other dates directly into the schedule by replacing the date number in the calendar.
Step Two: Copy the colored boxes on the top right of the spreadsheet into the calendar
As you filled out the answers to each of the questions, you'll have noticed that some cells on the right-hand side of the screen started to populate automatically.
Once you've answered all the questions, you should be able to see:
- Your social media objectives
- Your target social media platforms and channels
- The different types of social posts you’re planning
- How often you plan to post each content type each month (on a grid of numbers)
Now you all you need to do is populate your schedule.
Each of the colored boxes represents a different content type to paste into your schedule. Choose Edit > Copy. Then go to the relevant place in the schedule and hit Edit > Paste Special > Paste Values with Formatting.
To the right of the colored boxes you'll see a countdown of how many times you still need to add that social post type to the schedule.
This will count down to zero and turn green every time you've added your quota of social post types to each calendar month.
Step Three: Populate your schedule until the grid goes green
This rest is straightforward. Add your colored content type boxes to the schedule until the grid goes green.
Once the grid is green, you're all set up for the year, and you know exactly what to do.
What are ContentCal’s posting guidelines? Ours is simple. Post as much high quality, original content as you can.
- Content we’ve built for the social media platform is best (e.g. Insta-specific images)
- Content we’ve created that we can post over all channels is good (e.g. our blog)
- Curated content is only worthwhile if we can add something meaningful to the conversation
How to schedule social media posts
Right, let’s get into the actual social media scheduling. How do you schedule your posts?
We don’t need to tell you that there are many, many social media scheduling tools (71 by our count).
And as you’ve already guessed, ContentCal is just one example of those tools.
But you don’t strictly need a social media planning and posting tool like ContentCal to schedule your social media posts.
How to schedule social media posts with other apps
If you’re looking for different ways to schedule your posts, there are so many tools to choose from. Here are a few of the most popular tools:
Let’s start with what we know best: ContentCal.
ContentCal’s Social Media posting scheduling app is fully integrated with Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn pages, meaning you can schedule and post directly to these channels all from one calendar view.
It’s easy to schedule posts with ContentCal. To schedule a post, go to ‘new post’ on the left-hand side of the page and choose the social media account you want to post to.
Next, write the post and upload images in the central column. It’s possible to tag users on Facebook and Twitter here too, and tag companies on LinkedIn.
Once you’ve done that, click on ‘Schedule’ where you can choose a time, or select from a recommended time via our AI system. Finally, Post allows you to upload it onto the social media platform itself. You can post to multiple platforms at one time.
Keep content organized and separate by creating different color-coded Categories in the Manage Calendar section. You can then select a particular category for your post.
Hootsuite provides one central dashboard where you can manage all your different social media channels in separate columns. You can monitor activity on the Company Page and engage with different audiences.
Sync your LinkedIn Page to Hootsuite account and use the app to schedule text, images or video posts. This can be done individually or even in batches. Then monitor the results.
On your Hootsuite account go to ‘Create New Post’ and choose Post.
Under Post to choose the LinkedIn pages you want and in the text area write your content. You can also tag and use emojis. It’s also possible to see a link preview on the right of the page. Shorten if need be using Ow.ly, Hootsuite’s link shortener.
Add images, a GIF, or video to your post by drag and dropping files into the Media area or using your Media Library. Change the size or add a filter to an image by selecting ‘Edit Image’.
Review the post on the right of the page. If ok, select Post Now on the bottom right of the page or Schedule for later, choose a time, press Done, and then Schedule.
Just like ContentCal and Hootsuite, Buffer is a tool for scheduling your social posts.
Go to the top row of your Buffer dashboard and select Schedule. Then choose the account you want to post on at the left-hand side of the dashboard.
Select the appropriate time zones and the days you want to post on before adding a posting time.
To write your post select Content at the top of the dashboard and Queue. Click the camera icon to add an image:
Share your content using Add to Queue (comes up after other posts have been published according to a list of pre-selected posting times), Share Now, Share Next or Schedule Send.
Why aren’t you already using a social media posting schedule?
A social media posting schedule is a tactical way to know roughly what you should be posting and when.
Too often people jump straight into content creation and miss out on the engagement they’d see if they were a little more organized.
If they were a little more organized, they’d probably be using a social media posting schedule.
So download your social media posting schedule below and get planning!