Trying to build a social media marketing calendar for free can feel daunting, but there are many different ways to put one together. Using a social media marketing calendar is a great way to stay ahead of your posts and plan your content, so even if you’re just making the calendar yourself, it’s a must for social media marketers.
To build a social media marketing calendar for free, we’d recommend using Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets – the latter if you don’t already have Excel on your computer. Sheets and Excel function pretty much the same, so for the purposes of this article, we’re going to speak as though they are one and the same. Here’s how we’d recommend you build a social media marketing calendar for free with Sheets or Excel.
Build a Social Media Marketing Calendar with Excel or Google Sheets
If you’re posting on social media for your business or for a client, having a social media marketing calendar will make sure that you can see what’s coming down the pike. Setting up a social media calendar in Excel or Google Sheets is quick, easy, and just as good as many of the professional social media marketing calendars that can cost hundreds of dollars a month or more. Here’s how to set up your calendar.
-Open a new Google Sheet or Excel Spreadsheet.
-Set your columns to the days of the week, including the full date.
-Set your rows to the social media platforms you want to schedule, and leave space for at least two cells per day: one for the text in your post, and one with any links, photos, or videos you plan on sharing.
-Add a row at the bottom of every week where you can highlight important dates or trending events.
-Fill out your calendar with your posts.
-Fill in your significant dates column by going through Forekast and adding significant relevant dates to your social media marketing calendar. Or, you can subscribe to Forekast+ to get them automatically added to your Google or Apple Calendar.
When you’re finished setting up your social media calendar, it should look something like the image below.
Schedule Your Social Media a Month in Advance
We’d suggest laying out your social posts for the next month in advance, and adjusting as needed. Planning your social media content for at least a month out does a few things for you.
First, it forces you to put the time into creating social media content that it deserves. Many businesses get used to posting content on the fly, but having to plan a month’s worth of content will put you in the right creative space. Building a social media content calendar with a month’s worth of posts will take a few hours no doubt, but you will find yourself investing more time and effort into your content. This makes your social media marketing better.
Second, it gives you time to see events coming up and really plan for them. If you can create content that speaks to an upcoming trending event, like national dates of significance or something that everyone’s going to be talking about on social media, you’ll put yourself in the best place possible to get more likes, shares, and engagement. Using a social media calendar combined with a tool like Forekast can give you ample amounts of content to post about, while also ensuring that you never miss dates or events that are relevant to your business. You wouldn’t want your dental practice to miss National Toothbrush Day, or for your bakery to miss National Donut Day. Here are 10 of the biggest events in 2021 that will be trending on social media. See if your business can work them into its social media marketing calendar.
Finally, scheduling your content out a month in advance allows you to have someone else edit your social media posts. Have someone you work with check your grammar, make sure you’re being sensitive to issues, and all-around confirm that what you have in your calendar is on-brand. A second set of eyes is extremely valuable.
If you set up a marketing calendar with a spreadsheet and schedule your content a month in advance, you’ll be setting yourself up for success on social media.
To see trending events and important dates that you can use in your social media calendar, check out Forekast.